“Patience is its own reward,” and “Work hard, and you will realize your dreams”. These are two quotes that we hear over and over throughout our lives. This leads me to say that patience and hard work are my constant companions.
And, it’s true. However, if you’re going to be an author, you’d better be totally prepared to be realistic, patient, and work hard without pause. Why? Because you are competing with hundreds of thousands of authors all over the world. That’s even double, triple, or even quadruple the authors, because many have far more than one book out there.
Working hard is just a first step, and it does not guarantee a darned thing. If you’ll notice, most books and authors that are recognized are on the “Best Seller Lists” – and they stay there. It’s not often a new author is on it. A handful of new authors make it big, but the majority don’t.
Is it a mistake for those who make Best Seller Lists to ignore new authors? Absolutely. So many of my followers are authors – all, like me, trying to just get their work out to the public. And, they are really great writers, too!
Before I ever began to write, I was (and still am) an avid reader for years. Books were my getaway from reality. Going to a bookstore was so overwhelming, because I like so many genres, just trying to choose was a headache! But, today? Well, it’s e-books. Just go to one of the big book sellers online, and see how many books there are for you to choose. It’s almost impossible to choose! My problem was, and still is, how to choose a book in the first place!
Well, since I became an author, there are so many amazing authors that are following me on Twitter, that helped narrow choices down for the moment. So, I have opted to choose my followers’ books. I just hope I can live long enough to read them! ROFL! I am wholly impressed by these authors.
Of course, I think the difference between a good book and a great one is editing. Now, I’m not talking about editing to the point that the book bares no resemblance whatsoever to the book that the author wrote, but one that has had collaboration between both editor and author to keep the author’s vision of their book intact while making it read better with the correct grammar, punctuation, and other things. That is not to say that rules cannot be broken. They can. After all, it’s imagination that drives all of us as authors. But, in general, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are the most common complaints among reviewers and readers. Unfortunately, most authors do not have the money to buy an editor. I think this is a sad thing. Being not only an author, but an editor, I can attest to this.
But, back to the main point of my blog. Patience. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll be picked up by a large publishing house whether or not you are self-publishing or with a small, independent publishing house such as the one I chose. But, let’s face it. Most of us will never be picked up, but some of us may make it enough to make a decent living, or even as a supplemental living.
I honestly don’t know if all the work, and PR in the world will accomplish this for any of us, but if any of us quits? Well, that’s where failure starts.
I am going to admit something to everyone. I have failed at so many things in my life. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the 5 star reviews, which my books have been receiving – and they are REAL book reviews, I never buy them – I have decided, for the very first time in my entire life, that I won’t quit. Not this time. I believe in my story trilogy. It was fun to write them for the adult women who dreamed of the same things to read that I did. And, even those who know me who have read them, never had a clue that I could write!
I kept my books a complete secret from everyone until I had the entire trilogy finished. Once I did, an old friend of mine I’ve known since Junior High School, and is an educator, flat out told me that I had missed my calling. She could not believe that I could write like this! In fact, it stunned her so much, she told me she couldn’t wait for the rest of them, and I’d better not disappoint! Well, that put me on the hook. I had a couple of others read the first book before I ever published them, and they were so thrilled, they, too, said the same thing.
Now, for me? That was the most flattering thing ANYONE has ever said to me! With these, along with the reviews that are being posted on Amazon, I realized that I would fail THEM if I quit – especially, when so many people I knew, and did not know, believe in my ability to write?
So. I won’t quit. I have made so many friends on Twitter, and other social networks, that if I decided to stop, I would not only fail them, but I would fail myself.
I will not stop, because of all these wonderful people who have so much faith in me. So much so, that I have begun my second series, and am almost finished with my first book in this new series. Once it is edited, I’ll have it ready for you.
And, still, I have learned a great deal of patience over the past year and a half. I have built my Twitter followers from only 18 followers to almost 10K – every single one of them real, and I never bought any! I won’t buy them simply because I believe in my own books. I also love tweeting about others books, because I think it’s fun! I expect to reach the 10K mark within then next month. Watch for the 1 follower, 3 books coming up!
It is fitting that my first #book #interview call-in should be a great TV show like Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics with hosts Deadgar Winter, Victoria Bathory, and Celeste.
I had never done anything like this before. Oh, I’ve been on TV, but not like this. Not for anything personal. I had the best time ever with these group of people! It was fun, and they had me laughing at every turn from the moment of the “mic” check to the call after the show. They cracked me up during that as well, and yet were so professional, I was amazed!
The show is hilarious, and they host old television horror flicks – something I absolutely love! Deadgar asked me a while back what my favorite horror movie was. I couldn’t believe that the very first thing out of my mouth was “The Raven” in 1963 with none other than horror greats Vincent Price, Boris Karlov, Peter Lorre, and our own, contemporary Jack Nicholson.
When you have that many greats, you know there’s bound to be some hilarious exploits, and the movie delivered! So, he put “The Raven” on for me a few months ago. He had already invited me to come on the show, but my work schedule was the pits, and I had to find a time when I’d be off so I could devote my time without rush. I mean, I didn’t want to embarrass him, or myself. I do so much better with the written word!
But, Thursday, March 12, 2015 was the perfect day! I sort of knew how things worked due to my own daughter who had been in TV for several years as a producer, but the statistics eluded me. After the mic test, I waited for about 20 minutes until I was on the show.
It was so strange for me to talk to them knowing someone was taping it! But, they put me at ease, and had me laughing. I had to think on my feet. I was prepared for the questions about my book, but not for the off-the-cuff things. However, it was hard not to be able to work with them on the spur of the moment answers.
I highly recommend this show! Wisconsin is so darned lucky to have these amazing vampire characters who have all kinds of comical friends join them on occasion. Quite frankly, I wish I could have been on the set, because they are so much fun! He has been on Channel 14 for the last 2 years, and the show has received numerous rewards. In addition, these wonderful people are extremely active within their community, and have all kinds of fun with their fans!
So, I had the best time, and it went so fast, it was over before I knew it! It was awesome, and I loved every second of it! Thank you, guys, for having me on your show. I can’t thank you all enough!
A Sidenote: I don’t wear garlic around my neck, because this Werewolf LOVES Vampires!
~~~ LK Kelley, author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy ~~~
In April, I was contacted by a lovely young woman for an interview. What makes this an extraordinary interview is that she chose me for her final, before graduation. The following is her assignment:
“Hi, my name is Alicia Brautigan. I’m in my final semester of getting my creative writing degree from UCA and there is an assignment where we have to interview published writers from outside the school. The interview has to be turned in on paper so it can be done through messenger. Please and thank you for your help.”
I was not only surprised, since this is the first time I have been interviewed by a writing student, I was absolutely honored! I am very pro-education, and I encourage all young writers to not wait until you are my age to begin writing. Trust me on this! I also promised her that I would publish it as soon as she graduated, which she did on May 14, 2017. I’m very proud of you, Alicia!
So, I hope you all enjoy my very first interview by a student with a major in Creative Writing, and again, thank you, Alicia! Your questions were excellent, and some I’ve never been asked before I truly enjoyed answering! ~ LK Kelley
Interview: LK Kelley
LK Kelley was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and adopted by Curtis and Jerry Smith. Her hometown from the age of seven months was Fort Smith, Arkansas. AT 17, she toured Europe. She graduated from Westark Community College (now known as University of Arkansas Fort Smith, or UAFS) with an Associate of Arts Degree in usic, and a minor in English. As of 2012, she is also a Freelance Book, Article, and website Editor. LK Kelley’s series, the White Wolf Prophecy, has four books in its series, and of January, 2017, published The Anaerris Code, her next series. LK Kelley lives in Barling, Arkansas, which is a suburb of Fort Smith, AR.
Interviewer: Alicia Brautigan
Brautigan: What made you interested in writing?
Kelley: This is a bit involved, Alicia, but to answer this correctly, I have to tell you a bit of my background. I have always been interested in writing, but never really realized it until 2013. That having been said, I was a straight “A” student in all my English classes from day one – until I reached the 7th grade, where I encountered the strangest, English Lit teacher I ever met! Her name was Mrs. Werner, and she made up strange, Sci Fi stories for basic diagramming of sentence structure. I had always been very good at this. However, not so much at that point. I couldn’t wrap my mind around her silliness in her writing! I was always a fan of Sci Fi, so that didn’t enter into the problem I was having with her. Not only did she write very strangely, but she spoke the same way she wrote. So, I went from an A to an F. I was devastated. After a while, I swallowed my pride, and asked her for help. Strangely enough, she was in a continuing education class, and the topic was how to help a struggling student. She asked if I would participate, and I said yes. So, every day for the first semester, she pulled me out of study hall (YEA!), and she applied what she was learning to tutoring me. The scariest part, at first, was the huge, suitcase, tape recorder that was used to tape our sessions. But, that scare disappeared by the third session. By the 2nd semester, I earned a D. Not a great improvement, but it was an improvement. By the end of the third semester, I had earned a “C”, and on my final, an “A+”. She had earned my full respect, and I have never forgotten what she did for me. From then on, I never made less. Because of Mrs. Werner, I could write rings around the other students. But, I was also very active in music, and was planning on becoming a music teacher. As fate would have it, that never came to pass, because I met my husband of 43 years as of this year. I never regretted it. But, in the interim, I found I had a amazing knack for being an office organizer. I’ve worked in that capacity for 20 doctors, and now, I manage an office for an audiologist, and love it! But, still, I never lost my interest in writing. And, I used my skill to write in these positions when my employers found I could writer. The closest I came to writing was when I served as my daughter’s editor – even before she started school. She had the same capacity for writing that I did, but she hated editing. However, that was not lost on her, either. She achieved what I waited most of my life to do. She interned as a writer and producer for KTHV Channel 11, Little Rock, AR as an intern, before graduating, and after, in 2003, she was employed there from for over three years. In 2006, Laura Kelley was snapped up by Gannett News Media in 2006 for writer and producer for KUSA, their flagship station in KUSA in Denver, Colorado. She was there for two years, until she was offered a lucrative position at The SolutionsPR in Denver, CO, and has been in PR for the last 8 years. I still edit for her. Editing, in and of itself, is absolutely fun, and I love it! But, it is highly specialized, and unfortunately, too many writers either do not use one, or they use a friend or family member.
But, finally, I decided to put myself out there, because I believed it was my turn to write. Today, I wonder why I didn’t do this in my earlier years!
Brautigan: How did you go from reading to writing your own book?
Kelley: That is a good question, Alicia. Actually, I didn’t. There was another step, before I began to write. I went from reading a great deal, which I have always done, to a friend who asked for my editing help for her books in 2012. (As I mentioned above, I became a professional book editor, first.) Anita Meyer is the author of a 5***** book series. The books in this series, include: “The Primordial Language – Confirmation of the Divine Creator”, “In Search Of The Holy Language”, and “Beyond The Bible Code”. And, I am presently editing her other book. I have edited many other author’s books since that time as well. She was needing someone to edit for her, and I although I had never edited a book before, so I said yes. It seemed like a fun way to not only get to read books for free, but to edit them for money. I was absolutely right! It has been a great learning curve for writing my own books. In 2013, I actually asked why I wasn’t writing. And, so, I sat down in July of 2013 to write my first series, and had all three books in “The White Wolf Prophecy” Series written by October of 2013. I wrote them in secret. No one knew – not even my husband or daughter! That was really fun! I also had a publisher, Michael Kiser of DragonEye Publishing House, lined up to publish them as well.
Brautigan: What sorts of genres or elements inspired you to write?
Kelley: For years, I have studied many mythologies, legends, and Science Fiction all my life. And, I spent 6 ½ weeks in Europe at the age of 17 actually visiting many of the sites of mythology and legends. I was also an Administrator on a forum owned by Atlantis Rising Magazine that dealt entirely with these subjects. I also had the amazing opportunity to speak with real researchers and writers, and included many famous people, between 2001 – 2015. So, this was my first My writing limited my time afterwards, and I also spent a lot of time studying Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Arthur Conan Doyle, JRR Tolkien as well as contemporary Science Fiction writer in the 20th Century in both books and in television and movies in new ideas as well as adaptations of older books into movies, such as Star Trek (Gene Roddenbury) and George Lucas. Studying TV and movies actually influenced how I write today. This will be explained in your next question.
Brautigan: What was the basic process that you take to write? Do you have a system? Does your system change with each novel that you write?
Kelley: Many writers use outlines, or notes. I found outlines to be far too restrictive in school, so I won’t use them. Why? The restrictions are required that you stick to your basic outline, but as writing progresses, you think of new, and exciting things to add, but if they do not fit into the outline, you can’t use them. I do take some notes, but usually it’s something I just thought about adding or subtracting from my writing. So, I don’t go overboard on them. Something I just thought about adding or subtracting from my writing. So, I don’t go overboard on them.
My very first, basic step? Choose the names of my characters. This is very important. You have to actually develop a real relationship with them – just as if they were real people. This is how you write each one with feeling. Your first goal is to make sure your reader feels a connection to them, and that means that you have to do the same. If you don’t, it won’t come through on paper.
Step 2: I use a process called “storyboarding”. I am a huge fan of commentaries that are associated with TV and movies. I watch, and listen, to all of them over and over. These venues use “storyboarding”. They draw out each scene, and post them to a wall, then the writers brainstorm together. My way is similar except I actually visualize each scene as I write – and act them out! Once I have that scene the way I desire, I sit down and write. You can imagine how silly I must look as I act each scene and dialogue! But, it’s a great way to keep the continuity of the story. I also have a page that lists each character’s name, who they are, their full descriptions, relation to the other characters, and more. I do this so that they remain consistent throughout the books.
I believe that every system is always changing, Alicia. And, it should be a writer’s basic desire – change. Not to change or grow in your writing will result in boredom for your readers. And, I also believe it contributes to the writer’s worst fear? Writer’s Block. So far, I have had no writer’s block. I do not stick with just one paranormal group, but I like to shake things up, and choose a different one for each stand-alone book and series.
Brautigan: What sorts of research did you take on the supernatural/paranormal parts of your books?
Kelley: As I said above, I have been studying these things all my life, so I have so much research already done, I just use what I have. However, as I said, a writer must seek out change at all times. So, while I know a lot about things, there are always things one knows nothing about, or little – such as entropy and time travel – both of which I know something about already. This is when I go online. Since the internet, research goes much faster. There are no trips to the library needed these days. I research people. I pay attention to how each person reacts to different situations. And, this is how a character seems to always be based on a real person! And, this is a really funpart of writing! Depending on the age of the character, you will find all of my characters based upon a real person. All four of my female leads in the White Wolf Prophecy, as well those in the Anaerris Code (out now), are based on real women. I use their personalities in my writing, and only they and their friends know who they are. They are usually very flattered by this.
After assigning a character and their personality, I then assign them to a paranormal/supernatural role. I try to fit the personality to the role – not the other way around. I find that my love of them grows when I do this, and it actually shows well in my writings.
Brautigan: What steps did you take post-writing?
Kelley: This is where the real work begins, Alicia, and it’s the part most writers just do not like.
Step 1: Find an editor! Never, EVER publish a book without having a real editor edit your book. There are many freelance editors out there at reasonable prices, but if your book does not read well, because of a great many mistakes, then I guarantee you, your readers will criticize you over it! Never make the mistake of believing that a reader doesn’t know anything about spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. You will invariably be wrong!
Step 2: While you are actually writing, begin your search for a publisher. If you are going to self-publish, be very aware that many of those who say they are self-publishing publisher to help you, are scams! Research, research, research. It may take you a long time to find a Publishing House, but self-publishing is also a good way to go.
Step 3: Once a publisher is located, and you have made contact with them, and your manuscript is back from the editor, it is time to submit it to the publisher for review. This could be a physical copy or a digital copy you can send by email. Make absolutely sure that it is an unalterable, PDF form! And, then, be prepared to wait…and wait…and wait…and wait. You may be accepted, or not, but either way, it’s a waiting game.
Step 4: You may get snatched up immediately, or eventually, or you’ll get a rejection notice.
Step 5: While many do go the self-publishing route, or not, be forewarned that you may have to pay for several things up to and including an ISBN number – absolutely necessary, your book cover, but unless you design it yourself like I do, these could cost upwards to $600 to $1000 or more. An editor, of course, is necessary. The fees vary wildly, so make sure you get references first. There are other fees that must be paid to different people such as all bookstores and online bookstores. Print seems to be on the way out, but not totally yet. Too many of us like the feel of the book. Bookstores will not always put your book on the shelf, so don’t be upset if they decline it. Also, they will not suffer any monetary loss, but will return your printed book to you if it doesn’t sell, or only sells a few. There are a great many other fees. Also, note…upfront Royalties are only paid to those authors whose books are known sellers.
One final note: You must pay fees to EACH type of format, and to each type of online bookseller.
If a large publishing house won’t consider you, then consider paying flat fees to a smaller publishing house. Again, do your research. My publisher loves to publish new, and upcoming writers. Try this site first, and tell Michael that LK Kelley sent you!
For me, I was lucky, because I was already freelance editing for him. He loved it when I asked him if he would publish my first book. But, there is a reason why we are called hungry writers. Most people will never see a lot of money from their books. It is the author’s responsibility to do all promotions. The publisher only does a minimum amount of advertising. You need your own website, twitter, facebook, instagram, and any number of other social media as well. And, you must be active on them at all times. If you want examples, please feel free to check some of my links below.
Brautigan: How did you feel after your first book was published?
Kelley: Surreal. Exciting. Nervous. To see your book on online bookstores and in a bookstore, give you a feeling that this isn’t real!
Brautigan: What sorts of criticism/praise were you given when you published your first novel?
Kelley: So far, I have had nothing but what is known as 5***** reviews, Alicia. I have also had three Independent Author Awards known as Indie Awards.
Brautigan: What have you done since the first book, i.e. conventions, readings?
Kelley: This is tough in Fort Smith, AR. There are no venues for booksignings. My first one was in Denver, CO, as was my second, both at Barnes and Noble. They were a blast! Setting these up in this area of Arkansas is almost impossible unless you lay out $500 plus at conventions where they will be accepted. Most of us don’t have that type of money, so it’s a useless way to do it. I contrast, Anita Meyer lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is great for authors! She is always going to one or another. It’s rather sad that Arkansas doesn’t support its authors.
Brautigan: How has the experience of writing changed from the first novel to your latest?
Kelley: More Descriptive. It’s something I have strived to achieve
Brautigan: What is your advice to beginning writers?
Kelley: EDIT EDIT EDIT! I cannot stress this enough! The range of errors I see in e-books today is actually horrendous! The main error? The use of “me” and “I” has deteriorated to the point that authors of today are copying this error. And, worse? Not only in print, but in Television and Movies! Other errors are in punctuation, sentence structure, etc. If you are not an editor, you will need one!
My friend, L.K.Kelley, has a new book, The Anaerris Code coming out soon. I can’t wait to read it. This is how she went about writing it.
The Anaerris Code – Release Date: February 14, 2017
As has kind of become a tradition with my Publisher, DragonEye Publisher, my initial book will always be released on February 14! What better day to release a Romantic novel?
Many people already know my personal and writing background, so I’m going to give an overall into how I write. But, since my first book series, I want you to know that the first book in my White Wolf Prophecy series has won an award for best ebook sales, and the series, itself, is 5stars!
I have been asked where the heck I came up with the name, Anaerris. Well, here’s how! I just bandied some words around, until I ended at Anaerris. Truth…
The last couple of weeks has been hard for Americans. Shootings and killings abound, yet we still always seem to ask the one question we all have…
We are a nation of diverse people. It’s what makes us strong. It’s what makes us come together when evil strikes. There are always a few who try to incite hatred when some criminal does something that harms or kills another. And it is even easier when they blame color, race, creed, or religion. But, it’s not about color, race, creed, or even religious reasons. It is about a criminal. And, we lose sight of this. When these things happen, invariably, man seems that he has to try to find an answer as to why this happened; why did the perpetrator do this; what could have we done differently; were there signs pointing to the act?
Mankind has to have an answer – even if there is none. Sometimes, a person is just bad. Sometimes, there is a misunderstanding. Sometimes, there just is nothing that could have been done. And, frankly…sometimes there isn’t an answer at all other than the person is just bad!
We suffer from an unerring condition that has to find an answer no matter what. Sometimes, the answer is in the perpetrator who leaves a message whether on a social media, note, or tells someone else. So, why do we not believe the criminal when these appear? It’s because we have an inherited believe that no one is bad. And, even worse? Today, there has to be a reason for a criminal act, and sometimes? There just isn’t one!
The answer is? There may not be an answer. We go looking for an excuse to exonerate a criminal in order to make explain it. Then, we ask…what we could have done to stop it it? Again, the answer is “we don’t know”. It is NOT in the real of an average person to notice something is wrong in another person’s behavior. The belief that a loved one, or friend, or Co-worker saw the signs and said nothing is idiotic. We don’t see the “signs”, because we are too close to the subject, or no one actually does notice any change. So, the fact is that blaming someone for not noticing anything is superfluous. And wastes time. The signs might be there. But, perhaps they weren’t. By blaming others for not noticing something was wrong ahead of an act of violence, causes guilt. This is wrong.
Weapons can be obtainediillegally. But, think about this. Did the weapon kill, or wound? Someone could just pick up anything around them, and use it as a weapon. No. It did not. Weapons are everywhere. But, removing them from everyone is also not the answer, because most who own them are not evil. They are simply people exercising their rights as Americans.
Our right to bear arms (regardless of what kind), was put into place for one specific reason – The Conquering of the United States of America by a specific group(s). The arms afforded to American citizens were done so that they could form a militia just in case we were ever attacked by either an external or internal force. As long as the people can arm themselves, no one group or country can take us by force easily. It was to defend property and life whether one’s own, or this country.
It matters not if a criminal obtains weapons. What matters is HOW they obtain them. A criminal will NEVER obtain a weapon legally. While that may not always be the case, it is in the majority. And, that is what is TRUE. There are plenty of other criminals willing to sell illegal weapons to illegal criminals! They need nothing else! Taking away weapons from law-abiding citizens is not the answer, because the criminals will STILL get the weapons!
It is important that we all remain vigilant. That’s what Abraham Lincoln warned us about in the first place! He told us that we should always remain vigilant, but no one said we would catch every single bad guy before, or even after, the fact! The pain we have all seen recently is truly sad. It’s not what we want to see. If there was some magical way of telling the criminal before they ever commit a crime, don’t you think we would have found it by now? There is not key to this.
But, we continue to try to make reason from the unreasonable, and it just cannot be done! Bad things do happen. That’s something that we can never get away from no matter how much we want it. It’s been that way since the beginning of time, and it isn’t going to change. All we can do is handle it from the aftermath. We can’t turn the clock back, and this will continue throughout the time of man. Should we curl up and hide? Of course not. If we we did, the criminals win.. No. We go on. There is no other choice.
Reading has always been my very favorite thing to do all my life. But, since e-books have appeared, the book world of books has exploded, and competition is everywhere! Everyone writes today. That’s easy to see based on the thousands upon thousands of books published every day.
When I was first asked to edit a book for another author (before I ever began writing books), I had no idea what went into it. Once I started, I had to make up my own rules. I did a bit of research on editors, and discovered that everyone of them had their own way of doing editing. Well, that left me to come up with my own method. I have always been a stickler for the way I read, and it seemed that editing a book was no different. I worked with the author directly. After all, the book is the author’s idea and story. I was just there to make it read better, and correct errors. As I learned, along with the author, the best way to do it, my rules actually came very easy to me. Thus, I began to edit books as a Freelance editor. I, now, not only am an author, but I also edit books for other authors, and am still a Freelancer.
After quite a while editing, I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the difference between a mediocre book and a best seller comes right down to editing. The former has little to no editing, while the latter has been edited. Now, I know that some authors just don’t have the money, but if you are going to be serious about writing books, blogs, articles, and even websites, you need to have an editor.
Now, the reason for needing an editor is very apparent. The biggest thing other readers and I noticed while reading, is that the number of books with little editing, if any at all. I even have read some excellent stories, but make not mistake…readers are VERY sophisticated, and while they enjoy reading books, the grammatical errors, bad spelling, duplications, and especially the wide use of the improper use of “I and me”, can turn them off of the book.
Let me use the analogy of TV and Movies, because the concept is the same. Everyone has heard editing in these. You have even heard of leaving “clippings on the editing floor”. Every movie or TV series has multiple editors. Without them, no movie or series would be worth watching, because there would be too many errors in them alon. And, while a scene may be really great, it adds nothing to the progress of the story, so they delete it out in favor of a more important scene.
Well, this is the way it is with books. Books were the forerunner of TV and Movies. They have always been edited. However, in this case, the editing is within the written word instead of on a screen. It uses the “mind screen” within your head as a reader and most especially, a writer. When we write, it is our responsibility to draw a picture within another’s mind. But, if the words are spelled wrong, or used incorrectly, then that picture will be hard to form, and therefore, the book isn’t really very good even though the idea is pretty good. Oh, it might have a good concept, but it will lack grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. I know all of you have had this happen. You begin a book, and keep trying to read it, but for some reason, you just “can’t get into it”. So, what’s wrong? It’s a great idea, but something is missing. As you read you consciously, or subconsciously, read misspelled words, or incorrect grammar. Perhaps you read the same paragraph twice, only to discover it really is in the book twice! Or, the characters are almost, but not quite easy to picture. That is just poor grammar. When a book is full of these, and believe me, I read them all the time, and most especially in e-books, the reader just shuts the book, or exits out of it on a digital reader, and won’t try reading it again. The reader feels a bit cheated, because he/she has bought a “dud”.
A publication – of any kind – must have correct grammar and spelling first. This makes or breaks a book. It is extremely possible for a writer to have a great story. Unfortunately, if the person does not know grammar or has poor spelling, it’s harder to sell a book. The next thing is duplication. Duplication shows up in many e-books these days. An author does not want this, because it is very clear that the person did not even read their own book. And, in many cases, they are in such a hurry to get their book(s) published, they just let them go the way they are. It tells the reader that you are not really serious about writing, so they question why should they waste their time reading a book that not even the author cared enough to write it correctly.
Two of the biggest no-nos in writing are:
Ending a sentence in a preposition
The huge and improper use of “I and me”
The second one is the biggest and improper use of these. It will truly ruin a book for readers. No matter what, these two things must be used correctly! The biggest surprise for me is how it has grown exponentially – especially since e-books have exploded on the scene. I have addressed these in another blog.
Remember…the difference between a mediocre book and a best seller is not the idea, or a great story. It is simply a matter of editing. So, why don’t more people use them? It comes down to money. Many have friends who want to help them, but they are not editors, and while some may be very good with words, they are still not editors. It’s a very nice thing, but it’s never a good idea unless the person has time and knows their grammatical skills. Every editor has his/her own prices, and not all of them are totally out of reach. Some are reasonable. Others are higher. For instance, one may charge by the word, while another, in my case, charge by the page. How to find one? Ask for references. Just like anything else you do in life, this is no different. You would never build a house, remodel, or even replace flooring without at least 3 references. This is exactly the same thing, only you are choosing a service. But, you must do your research. If you know of a local writer who uses one, ask them. Most writers support each other.
If writing is something you like to do on the side, and it’s really not a priority for you, then that is one thing. However, if you are a serious writer, you NEED to use an editor. Many large Publishing Houses have their own in house editors. That’s something that Independent authors and some publishers just do not have. While some do have access to an editor, most do not keep them “on staff”.
So, it all boils down to one question you must ask yourself as an author:
How serious are you about becoming an author?
If you are truly serious, you need an editor to make your book read the very best. Why do you think books are turned into movies? Because they had an editor! Turn your mediocre book into a best seller, and use an editor! You will truly be glad that you did!
Above me, two, ancient moons shine – one of brilliant pink and white, and one of blood red and black. Both obscure one-fourth of the night sky giving an eerie light over the charred, black world below of my birth. I stand upon an enormous bluff, and stare down into the great blackened, valley while the final war rages. A massive river of red races toward the brilliant white moon – the blood of my people and his. Tears of blood stain my cheeks and clothing while I watch the end of two races of beings. My race will be gone – including me. A sound behind me. I know it is he. I can feel him as I have always done since we met. Our kind should never be together, but it is as inevitable as time itself. I turn to see my attacker’s body which no longer has his head attached. Blood gushes forth from it. I meet meet his frightened eyes, and follow his down to the fatal wound in my chest where blood runs freely. I will bleed out in seconds.
“NO!” he yells as I begin to collapse.
He catches me long before I hit the blackened earth below me. I stare at the man I love, knowing I should not love him. We are enemies. He has no tears, but he gently cradles me in his arms, his tortured red eyes begging me with the same question he has asked many times. I can barely move my head, but I nod once knowing the precious cargo I carry for my race. I want to be with him forever. And, if I’m still alive, my own race will also continue. I must live in whatever form to save us all. His mouth lowers to my neck kissing the pulse that is rapidly quieting as my heart silences. I feel a momentary sting as his fangs bite into my neck. To be with him forever is all I ever want, and I must complete the task that I was given by the ancients. Warmth trickles down the back of my neck as I feel the liquid of life slipping from me echoing the death of my planet. I hope we have not waited too long. He lifts his head, his mouth dripping with my blood. I see in his tortured eyes that he is hoping the same. I slide gratefully into the unknowing.
Time and space stand still. For how long, I know not. I awake, naked, on a soft bed covered in crimson silk. He sits with his back to the headboard, still cradling my lifeless body in his arms – where I will always be. I lift my eyes to stare at the man I will be with forever. I am ready as his lips lower to mine while my new, strong arms pull his nude body over mine. He is not gentle with his kiss, and I would never want him to be. I kiss him back frantically feeling wetness between my legs as he spreads mine with his. He plunges into my heat sheathing himself as deep as possible, and thrusts hard and fast into my body. My hips meet him with the same desperation and desire. I need him like I do not need air to breathe. As our orgasms reach their climax, I feel his hot seed jet into me. I can feel it enter my womb! He has so much! He stills, and I open my eyes that I know are still ripe with inhuman desire. I stare at the couple that is reflected in mirror above our bed. My bright red eyes look back at me. I am whole again, and in the arms of my great lover for all time to come.
It is time. He shows me the crystal that I had entrusted to him, and I breathe a sigh of relief. I must make sure that the Codex is written, and both it and the crystal must be kept apart. Both are dangerous alone, but together would cause unimaginable chaos. Our race has always been banned from writing about our history. I have been charged with the written word in an indestructible methd. But, I will use not only my own powers, but those given to me by my mate. I will make sure that we do not lose our heritage. If we must sacrifice our own lives, then so be it. At all costs, the one safeguard I carry must be kept safe until a time when the “gem” is needed.
Time ceases to exist in the realm we chose for its magic, where an ancient friend of mine offered to help. An ally who believes, as do we, that nothing can be left to chance. It is time to travel to one place the Council would never expect us to hide the book. As for the crystal? My love has given it to one we know we can trust to protect it, sending him to a primitive planet known as Earth. And, we will hide the flesh-blackened codex – sealed with the most terrifying of magic that cannot be opened by any living soul, or they will die. My magical friend sees the future, and tells us that a time will come when both crystal and book will join together. Because of this, she sends an envoy with the “gem”. And, now, we are leaving behind the only the only one who has the power to open and to read… the codex. It passes into legend and myth.