Good morning. Welcome to my blog.

Today’s topics will be geared toward aspiring authors. If you are writing your first story or if you have ideas for one then this blog will offer a peek into the writing and publishing industries.

Authors and editors will be offering helpful cheat sheets or commenting on the different aspects of writing and publishing. Guest bloggers include editors Lee Morris and Zaynah Monodee from Eirelander Publishing. Also blogging are writers J. Hali Steele on critiquing, Jan D. Holiday on self-publishing, Becca Sheridan-Furrow on writing as part of a series bible and Dara England on being a newly published writer.

If you are a published author, please feel free to blog about your writing and publishing experiences or offer words of advice.

Liena~

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25 Responses to “Good morning. Welcome to my blog.”

  1. lienaferror Says:

    Journey of An Author (or How I Plunged Into the World of E-publishing)

    Ever since Liena invited me to guest blog with her I’ve been thinking about what subject I would blog on. And in the end I settled on the topic I felt would be of most interest to other writers and (hopefully) to some readers as well. Publishing. Or, more specifically, what the process of having my first book published was like for me.

    Firstly, I should say that my book was published by a small press—an e-publisher. Because of that, the process was somewhat different than what it might be with a traditional publisher. I had (and still have at this moment) no agent. What I did have was a 45,000 word novel—one too short for most publishers—and no publishing experience beyond a slew of short stories published in various zines online.

    Then a lucky thing happened for me. I joined a great writers’ forum where, when I talked about my book, some of the more experienced writers suggested I should trying subbing my book to e-publishers, where they are usually more open to books of unusual lengths.

    And that is exactly what I did. Of course, being as green as a seasick sailor I wasn’t sure how to go about subbing my book to e-publishers. So I went with a machine gun tactic, firing submissions off to about ten e-pubs at once—never dreaming that any of them would actually want the thing. Hadn’t it been reject by a million agents already?

    Then a peculiar thing happened. Somebody said yes! And before the euphoria of reading that acceptance email had faded, I received two more like it. Not one but three e-publishers wanted my book! Yes, I was definitely elated and yet at the same time…I found myself in an unexpected predicament. How was I supposed to choose between the offers? And more, how was I supposed to reject two of them without looking like an unprofessional twit who had been on a multi-sub spree?

    I didn’t do anything hasty. Over the next few days I Googled like a maniac—finding out anything I could about my prospective publishers. I looked up some of their other authors and asked about their experiences with the publishers. I asked for the opinions of outside authors who hadn’t worked with any of them. Most of all, I read every blog, forum thread, etc. I could find about the three of them.

    It didn’t take me long to realize that one publisher stood out from the others. Lyrical Press. I was impressed by how many times I ran across them on the internet. Although a newer e-publisher, they’d really been putting themselves out there. I was also impressed by their level of professionalism and organization—something I hadn’t really expected to find in an e-publisher.

    My choice was made. I sent off apologetic emails to the other two pubs and signed my contract with Lyrical Press Inc. And I have to say that I haven’t regretted it yet. 🙂

    –Dara England
    http://www.daraenglandauthor.com/

  2. lienaferror Says:

    Writing as part of a Series Bible by Becca Sheridan-Furrow

    Many romances are part of a series. Like many readers, if I find one I love I diligently seek out every book in that series and eagerly anticipate the next release.
    Most series are written by one author, but occasionally there is a series written by different authors. Harlequin does many multi-author series. A few years ago there was the fabulous Crimson City paranormal series. Ellora’s Cave/ Cerridwen has the Hunters For Hire scifi/scifi rom series.
    Not too long ago I stumbled across the Del Fantasma stories, a multi author paranormal series from Aspen Mountain Press. AMP offered a series bible (a pdf file) for prospective writers, so I got that and soon I began a Del Fantasma story.
    A series bible is a tool that records the pertinent aspects of world building for a particular series. Settings, recurring characters, magical ‘rules’, character backgrounds, physical descriptions, history and necessary requirements are found in the bible. In the bible I learned the Del Fantasma bar and restaurant in southern California had to play a prominent part. The bible also set the series expectations for the use of the characters(for instance, no matter how yummy Cody the vampire owner of the Del Fantasma is, I can’t write his romance!).
    So I had to come up with my own yummy hero, and a reason for him to hang out at the Del Fantasma. And of course, Cody had to play his part in the story.
    I had a blast writing my story within the framework of the bible. While the Del Fantasma backdrop came from Aspen Mountain Press, the romance of Jagger and Letha is my creation, built within that Del Fantasma frame work. I’m happy to say my story Del Fantasma: Tiger Juice will be released on April 10!
    Some might think that using a series bible would hinder their creativity. I found it to be a creative experience similar to writing to a story prompt−get an idea and see where you can take it.
    Using the bible has also helped me reorganized a series of my own into a bible, where details are so much easier to access than scrolling through a WIP. I just made a doc where I can keep place names, object names, character descriptions, and all manner of inspirational pictures.
    If you run across a multi author series, I encourage you to look into it. It may take you on a satisfying creative journey.

  3. lienaferror Says:

    Importance of Critique Groups

    You know… critters. At least that’s what we call them. No, they’re not a bunch of little creatures running with nuts and looking for cover. Well, not most of them. Though we’ve been known to hide out when involved with a new WIP and the words simply fly from our fingertips.

    Finding a group that fits you is very important. You’ll only grow as a writer if you learn the mechanics of writing. I remember reading somewhere that great authors weren’t born that way–they learned to write. This doesn’t mean not to attend classes, you should. But read, read, read. From all genres. Become serious about your craft.

    You have a story to tell, so now you have to write it in a way that others want to read it. Nothing works as well as having someone (no, your mom, sister or best friends don’t count) look through your WIP with a fine tooth comb. The fun part is–you get to comb theirs.

    It can be scary telling someone you don’t think something they wrote works or is passive and, ach! the dreaded backstory. But it’s important to be honest in your critique. There’s no need to be brutal or disrespectful of someone’s creation. A few well thought out ideas or suggestions will go much further in teaching and helping. This is a very subjective industry. We all read books looking for something different. It’s not the difference we critique, or the author, it’s the mechanics of writing.

    When I joined my first group, it literally scared me to death. I was getting ready to give my story, my baby, over to a total stranger to rake over the coals! What if they didn’t like what I wrote? What if they tell me to forget it, you’re terrible. All these things ran around in my head until I gathered my courage and posted the first chapter. And, boy, my first one was tough. She wrote, “watch the head hopping.” Then every other sentence there appeared a box to the side saying, “whose POV is this?”

    I’ve since learned that little box to the side is a comment box. It’s used to give suggestions and comments, and if used effectively, it will help you to hone your craft. All kinds of good stuff can appear in that one little box. One day there was a comment to me from the same person that said, “Wow, this is good.” An encouraging note that told me I learned, I improved.

    Without my critters help I’d probably still be sitting at my computer, all alone, struggling through another story and wondering why the hell my email was full of messages saying thanks but no thanks.

    There are many groups out there who share their expertise in various genres, google critique groups. Find one that fits you and always keep an open mind. You’ll only improve at what it is you love doing–writing. – J. Hali Steele.

  4. lienaferror Says:

    A Self-Editing Cheat Sheet by Lee Morris

    You’ve completed a story – Hooray!

    Don’t think it is time to submit it or even hand it over to your friends for their opinion. Oh no, on the contrary, the work is only beginning.

    Here are a few quick steps to polishing a work before you begin submissions.

    1. Set the book aside. Some writers do this for a week, others as long as a month. This will help you lose your inherent familiarity with the story. It also gives the story time to rest and your imagination time to perk.

    2. Read the story and create your own broad-notes. In a notebook write out, yes, that means longhand, areas you need to revisit. Focus on plot, flow and general weaknesses you might have. Go through the entire story in one read. Do not give into the temptation to begin edits before you’ve read your story cover to cover. This is a fresh read with fresh eyes.
    Some authors find it helpful to do new character charts at this time or revisit their world building sheets.
    3. Complete the first edit from your broad-notes.

    4. Rub your hands together and get ready to expand. That’s right—expand. Setting, scenery, character descriptions and world building is fleshed out in this edit. You should expect your story to grow by one-tenth of its original word count.

    5. Complete the edit.

    6. Set the manuscript aside for at least a week. You’ve worked hard on your story; give it a moment to relax and yourself a pat on the back.

    7. You are now the surgeon. Remember all that information you put in during the second round of self-edits? Now it is time to streamline the story. All redundancy and illogical moments should be stripped out. If you are going over setting and have more than three paragraphs of description opening a chapter, minimize. You may lose one-tenth to one-quarter of what you added in the second edit. Keep in mind: streamline.

    8. Last read it is. Typos, grammar, spelling and character consistency are the focus in this edit. Clean it up and get ready to send it out.
    You’ll notice that this process is based on a writing method, The Tapestry Method. There are many websites out there that go over this process.

  5. lienaferror Says:

    The Birth of my Company: Book Garden Publishing
    By J.D. Holiday

    Here’s the story, it’s sad but true. After years of doing what all
    writers do with their work, submitting manuscripts to the big
    publishers and waiting for the rejection letter, I had enough. Don’t
    misunderstand, I wasn’t through with writing, which I love, but with
    the writing game. Too many hoops to jump through to attract
    publishers, editors and agents to your work. I’m convinced you
    either have to be part of the Unknown Secret Society (wink wink-
    nod nod), know someone who knows someone, or be lucky enough
    that the RIGHT person picks up your manuscript and likes it.

    Yes, I’ve had editors interested in my stories, I’ve had some short
    stories published, some in a Chapbook, and I even had an agent, but
    in the end, no books published. Then, finally, along comes POD
    publishing.

    Print On Demand was just starting to make it possible to afford
    getting books into print and I was hooked. If only I could get my
    stories printed, I thought, I could easily sell them. I had joined an
    organization called, SPAN, Small Publishers Association Of North
    America. THIS would be one of the things that helped save my
    sanity. Through, SPAN, I was beginning to get an idea that I was
    maybe doing some things wrong though I couldn’t nail the facts
    down yet.

    So we paid the money and signed the contract with a POD service.
    It was ALMOST a money making deal for them and was a
    heartache for me. I was told the book would be ready in eight
    months. We got everything in motion. Flyers to be mailed to
    newspapers, bookstores, libraries, and letters to accompany the
    review copies of the book were all ready to go. Then the galleys
    arrived! I thought they would look great and ready to sell. But they
    weren’t. They was a MESS!

    Among the things wrong were that the pages where the pictures
    should be covering the entire page, with the text embedded in the
    pictures, were on half the page with lots of white space around
    them. The text ran through the picture all right, but also out of the
    pictures into the trim off area! There was no way this was a finished
    book!

    Okay, so I cried and when I was done, I got to work.
    I knew enough about Photo Shop to show this company how each
    page should look. I sent the galley back with my examples.
    Weeks later, coming to my book release date, the galley was back.
    They failed to correct almost everything. Not even the few spelling
    mistakes were corrected. A release form accompanied the galley. It
    said this was it, according to this company, the book was ready to be
    published! They expected me to sign the release with nothing more
    to be done to correct the problems in it.

    My rep was unavailable. I kept calling but no one there would talk
    to me. I had no contact. For three weeks I called every day trying to
    find someone to tell me what was going on. I got a recording every
    time to leave a message, which no one returned.

    Then one morning a short email arrives from the Philippines. A
    woman named, ‘Sugar.‘ The email said, my rep was fired, the
    company had moved overseas and I was to speech only to her. She
    was my new rep and she said to be patient they ‘re working on my
    book. She would get back to me in two weeks.

    I had no patience left. I emailed back telling her that I needed to
    speak to someone in charge. The reply from Sugar was, “we’ll get
    back to you.”

    Being a quick study, I saw that there was a phone number on the
    email and I called it. A woman answered the phone with a thick
    accent. Sure enough, she used that company’s name and she knew
    Sugar. Sugar got on the line and spoke slow English. I moved ahead
    with my question. “Can I speak to someone in charge about my
    book?” “No. We are sorry,” she answered and repeated it after every
    phrase she said to me. “I don’t understand…(something about)
    business…We contact you…Thank you…Ok?…We call you when….”
    This is where I put in quickly, “What is happening to my book? And
    WHEN will they get back to me?” “In two weeks, Ok?,” she stated ‘sweetly.’ Which she was! She was nervous and had no answer for me other than what they instructed her to say.

    I felt almost as sorry for Sugar as I felt for myself. She wanted to
    end my call. Trying to be optimistic I accepted the two weeks more
    of being put off.

    Here you can guess. No call from them after two weeks! I called. Got
    Sugar on the phone with the English phrase book dog-eared to the
    page where all sentences start with ‘We.’
    “We get back to you in two weeks,” Sugar started with.
    I explained it was two weeks, but she stated, “In another two weeks
    we will get back to you.“

    Through the next two calls, adding four more weeks to my time in
    never -never land and again in each call hearing, “We get back to
    you in two weeks.” Now totally exasperated, I could barely put two
    words together that made sense. I spit out, “They have to talk-to-
    me-the-it‘s-you-ahhh!”

    Somebody recommended I call the Better Business Bureau. I
    decided to contact them by email would be wise in my emotional
    state of mind. I was put half out of my misery in 150 words or less,
    when in TWO WEEKS I got my money back in full!

    My journey continues. I have painted, (yes, I can paint) the
    pictures for one if my children’s picture books, Janoose the Goose
    and published the book myself with my own publishing company,
    Book Garden Publishing. The blow was also softened by the things
    I’ve learned from what I call, my self-publishing groups. They are a
    group of publishing professionals in the SPAN online discussion
    group. There are other good organizations out there but SPAN
    turned out to be what I needed. What I have learned from this
    discussion group and its spin out group for children‘s authors, the
    resources SPAN has for its members, the books I’ve read and the
    internet have began to put my publishing future into focus.
    What I can’t do well enough myself, I can find the right people to do
    it for me. Oh, I’ll still do some things wrong, no doubt. But I have
    the tools to find the solutions to my problems.

    JD Holiday

  6. Hi,

    I’ve gone through some similar experiences on the road to getting published. Then, I lucked out and was found by someone who didn’t mind the extra effort it took to get me published. I won’t mention any names here, but if I hadn’t received this special help I wouldn’t be published today, so I owe my mentors a huge debt.

    I was published last year for the first time, and you would think I would be on the road to success. lol Unfortunately, the worst happened my publisher closed due to the owner’s health problems. What happened next was the best possible scenario, my books were contracted by Eirelander Publishing. It has been wonderful working with these lovely people. They show tough love, but they are willing to work with budding writers. I know my books will be even better than they were before.

    Sandra K. Marshall

  7. There’s no sugar-coating when it comes to publishing
    By Lee Morris, Editor-in-Chief, Eirelander Publishing

    I’m enjoying the posts already offered up. Many of them are aspects I’ve either experienced or sent sympathy cards for.

    To be totally blunt this isn’t an easy industry. Not to break into or even wrap your brain around. There’s six of this, seven of that – a dozen different ways to work a story, and then the damnable rules of the road come into play.

    The plain truth about rejection —

    You can have a glorious little story that you adore more than the stars in the sky, but when you send the baby out it receives -clunk, clunk, clunk – rejection. It hurts. It makes you mad. It turns you into a raving lunatic.

    Here’s a bit of advice; come back to earth, take a deep breath and get ready for the long haul. My experience comes from the long haul. Hey, if I can survive the lean 80s when submissions were handled via snail-mail and you waited *gasp* a year for an answer, if you got one at all, you can survive the long haul.

    A couple of things to keep in mind:

    1. Never give up. Never surrender. As an EIC, I give great credit to authors who go through broad note rejections, revise and resubmit. This shows a publisher they are dedicated to the ‘craft’.

    2. Understand the ‘craft’. Writing is a process. It can take months or years to figure out why a story isn’t selling. The best way of handling this is to look at your baby with fresh eyes or find an unbiased person who will give you the down and dirty truth. A few things to keep in mind–cliche is out, omniscient isn’t very popular, head-hopping is frowned upon, don’t write over your reader’s heads.

    3. Lead the Parade. Got a great idea? Good. Don’t think it won’t sell simply because you’ve never seen it on the bookstore shelves before. Originality sells to e-publishers and small publishers. New York loves originality as well, but watch that you go with an agent who will actively push the story for it’s blending of ‘tested story line’ with a ‘unique twist’.

    4. Understand what sells and what doesn’t. That doesn’t mean your baby isn’t sellable. It means you may have written a story that is now cliche. Luckily, publishing is cyclical. What is out today might be in a few years from now. Shelve the story and watch for the genre to hit again.

    5. Always remain professional. In this day and age of instant gratification the one thing you shouldn’t do is blog, Twitter or rant about a rejection. Even if it appears the publisher didn’t take the time to read your story, another publisher might check out your blog, MySpace or whatever and see your words. Want to land in the rejection bin? This is one of the easiest ways to do so.

    It’s a brutal industry. It’s best to get used to it now rather than later.

  8. lienaferror Says:

    I was as fortunate as Sandy to get contracted by Eirelander Publishing for my first published work.

    I looked long and hard for a publisher for my manuscript. I jotted down notes, made comparisons. It is important to research publishers to find one that seems like a good fit for you. There is no rush in finding a publisher. You invested all that time writing your manuscript. Take your time finding the right publisher for your work. Eirelander Publishing fit what I was looking for and it was a great decision for me.

    Liena~

  9. Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for coming by.
    There are many stories out there similar to what you and I went through. Lee’s comment has great advice for all of us. Glad you did get published.
    Sincerely
    Jan
    J.D. Holiday

  10. Hi, Jan
    Just wanted to stop by and say hello. I am looking for a blog, but I guess you are blogging by talking about getting published. See you soon. My book is a POD book, and I am pleased with the company who published it. It was very professional, and I went through what every writer does; critique, edit, revisions until the final draft was sent and I signed off on it. I had about 25 copies initially printed. The company prints overruns for companies like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million and Ingram. I was surprised when I approached an independent book store owner last week and he pulled my book up from Ingram. He received a 35% discount and it was returnable. He said when he returns books there is a restocking fee. I gave him 30% discount on 90-day consignment, and he was pleased and understood. He can purchase the book from my publisher and get 50%, but he would have to pay upfront, so there is a catch 22. He’d rather just deal with me, and that is the way I would prefer it anyway. I purchased my own book from Amazon.com just to see how long it would take, and it arrived within 8 days. Rita Hestand bought my book from Amazon.com and had hers according to schedule. So, I am pleased. My PR person will be working with me this week to set up regional and national PR for the book. It has national and international appeal since Homeland Security is committed to investigating right wing extremacists organizations with the intent to terrorize. Unfortunately, my group would be on Homeland Security’s watch list.

  11. I was invited by Zaynah/Aasiyah. I am enjoying the wonderful stories and comments.

  12. Hi John,
    Thanks for coming by and giving that information. Glad there are many more good stories out there than bad ones.
    My children’s book, Janoose The Goose is a POD, too. I have been amazed at how well it’s done. It was on both Amazon’s Best Selling list for Children and on their Hot New Releases list for over 3 months. It is still on their Kindle ebook reader’s Best sellers list and can be ordered just like you said in any bookstore. Sold (just one) copy at the Olympic’s in China! Good luck with your book, John.
    Sincerely
    Jan

  13. Hi Chicki,

    Yes, enjoyed the articles by Lee, Hali, Becca and Dara as well. Liena’s site has lots of good information on it. Thank you.
    Please say hi to Zaynah for me.
    Jan

  14. lienaferror Says:

    I would like the thank everyone who’s stopped by to this point for the comments and great information!

    Liena~

  15. You think you’ve figured out, and then woopsy doodle.

    A few tricks of the trade for someone who has been there.

    1. Give a prospective editor some meat to chew on. If you have that stupid rule, no backstory in the first three chapters stuck in your head, get over it. Backstory, in its most basic form, is an integral part of a story. It is easier for an editor to trim too much then get lost because there is not enough set up.

    2. Understand how you can make a story active. This is ‘character forward’ writing. It should always be understood that from the beginning of a scene/chapter that a writer has a firm lead. This character is thinking, doing and interpreting. Omniscient writers also need to have a firm lead.

    3. It’s all in the emotions. If you take a good look at a story you can see the plot is the road, the characters are the drivers and the emotions are what fuels the auto. If you feel your characters start to lose their emotional drive, you’ve depleted your fuel. There is a trick to fixing this – go back two to three chapters, and kick in a small teaser crisis. This will refuel your characters and restart the story.

    4. The sagging middle. This is a problem all writers run into. It can easily be handled by pulling in a subplot or adding a teaser crisis. The trick here is to know your characters and give them a plot driver they need to wriggle out of.

    5. Know your plot/mythology/world/facts forward and backward. This is a must for any writer of fantasy or sci-fi, but when it comes right down to it, these factors are integral to any story.

    6. Make your characters real. That’s not a joke. Characters who act and react real to life jump off the page. Remember, how we think, say things and respond to things are not grammatically correct. -Ing ending verbs and -Ly adverbs are not incorrect if someone is speaking/thinking. Alpha heroes are in your face characters. Boss heroines are the same way. They should not become wimps. A Nurturer is a fixer, keep that in mind. A Bad Boy bucks the rules.

    7.Don’t play with me. Readers hate it when they feel duped by an author because they tease a reader to think one thing and that ‘thing’ never happens. The rule of thumb has always been, if you are going to go there then do it and get it out of the way.

    8. Logically speaking. We’ve spent almost a month over at the Royal Blush blogsite going over logic and we haven’t even scratched the surface. Logic is key to a story because nobody likes it when a character contradicts the story. Get your story set and make it run with sense.

    I’m sure I forgot a few, but these are important rules an aspiring author should keep in mind.

  16. H Liena,
    Great information. I’m one of the lucky authors of Eirelander. Can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find a publisher that was interested in really working with an author to improve.

    Seeing some of the info here just brings home once again what a good decision I feel I made.

    Keep up the wonderful work.

  17. Thank you for the much needed information. It really helps to have such giving people in this industry offer advice.

  18. lienaferror Says:

    I’m glad you found the information helpful, Chelle. Let us know if you have any questions.

    Liena~

  19. lienaferror Says:

    I am currently in the editing stage of my story The Risen: Queen of the Ghost Drakon. I have learned a lot from my edits and editor. I decided to blog about the three biggest problems a new writer might face.

    1) Being in your character’s head- whoever leads the scene should have the main point-of-view. When writing, you should write through your characters eyes, show your characters emotions. Describe what the character would see, hear or feel. A good analogy is look out the window and describe what you see. Think that way with your character. Look at the scene through the character’s eyes. Describe that in your writing.

    2) Head-hopping- for first-time writers, the scene you are writing should stay in one perception, the lead character. A good example would be as follows:
    When Francesca saw Jordan for the first time, she thought that he was the hottest man she’d ever seen.
    Jordan thought that Francesca was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen with her long black hair and ice blue eyes.

    Two sentences written in the same paragraph in two different points of view. If Francesca was the lead character in the scene then her comment could stay. Jordan’s would have to be moved to a different part of the story or vice versa.

    3) Redundancy- saying the same thing in different ways. Say it once and keep it simple. Here’s an example:

    Lisa’s didn’t know how she’d survive when Davis walked out of her life.

    If you would add the following sentence to your paragraph:

    She had no idea what she’d do without Davis in her life.

    You’ve just basically said the same thing twice. Don’t bore the reader by having them read the same thing over and over. This applies to using the same words as well. These redundancies are also referred to as crutching.

    Liena~

  20. unwriter1 Says:

    I’ve self published two books via Lulu. One of them has absolutely no plot! But then again, how many math books really do? My other one is what I do best, short, humorous stories. I’ve been on the museitup conference and the catholic writers conference. On both I talk about adding humor to your work. On May 9th I’ll be on Jo Iindells conference talking about making character websties.

    I did one POD that I’ll never do again. I shan’t name the publisher but although it didn’t cost me anything, neither did it bring in many sales. Oh well, live and learn. For anyone interested in learning how to add humor to anything written, I can be contacted at unwriter at yahoo.com

  21. lienaferror Says:

    I want to thank everyone who posted a comment today on my blog. I appreciate it. I hope we helped aspiring authors get a better understanding of the writing industry.

    If you still want to post a comment, please do.

    Again, my sincere thanks to all.

    Liena~

  22. Zaynah Monodee Says:

    Hello everyone

    I’m Zaynah, most commonly known as Z, and I’m the senior editor for the main line at Eirelander Publishing.

    Please forgive how late this post is – I live in a different time zone and it is now early morning at my end.

    So, what else can I add to the absolutely brilliant advice that’s already been given up above? I guess I could tell you more about my path/journey in the world of writing/publishing to this day.

    Before being an editor, I am first and foremost a writer too. My pen names are Aasiyah Qamar and Nolwynn Ardennes. Why two names? Because each one brings something different to the table. Aasiyah writes culture-based fiction in stories happening in a multicultural island in the Southern Indian Ocean called Mauritius (my home land). Nolwynn writes what doesn’t fall under the culture-based umbrella. The common thread between the two? HEA and romance.

    So, I am a writer and I am also an editor. Would that mean I am right on the fence, dipping into one side for one job and vice versa? Not necessarily. the two are intricately linked but ultimately independent as well. Here’s what the dual position brings to me.

    As an editor, it means I need to know the craft, and that helps me as a writer to pen better stories.
    As a writer, I’ve been on the receiving end of edits, so I know how I should conduct myself as an editor because at the other end is a person, not simply an ms I am rejecting/accepting/scribbling over with my red pen.

    You wouldn’t believe how much courtesy and decent manners are overlooked into this business.

    It starts with the critters, as J.Hali Steele has mentioned up above. Many a times, we blindly handle our works to the eyes of our crit partners. Mostly, you would get feedback that while not sugar-coated, still delivers the ugly truth in a nice way. But, there are often people who are out there critting just for the sake of trashing or flaming someone down. When you meet one of those, buck up and simply take a step back. Don’t lick your wounds – simply forget you were wounded. If 9 people are saying that even if you have a problem with redundancy, the story is worthy of reading and your characters hook the reader, the 1 person who goes, this is total crap because blah blah blah, ditch that last one.

    Next, as a writer, after paying heed to what unbiased eyes are seeing in your work, take a stand too, and become the unbiased eyes on a second read/editting stage. Lee gave a very good tip sheet about this above. The biggest help here? Take a break from the story, so that when you come back, it is a fresh story that you’re looking at with a calm and composed mind.

    After that, polish, polish, polish. You want to send the best work as a submission.

    Now, the dreaded wait! As a writer, I absolutely hate that stage. But as an editor, I can tell you it’s not by sheer sadistic pleasure that we make you wait.
    The brunt of an editor’s job consists of reading. However, despite however much a reading junkie you may happen to be, you cannot simply read and read all the time. Reading takes time, demands concentration and focus. Editting demands a lot of thought and processing, because we as the editors do not know the story like you the writer do. Add to this that most of us are also spouses and parents, and basically, humans, so we also need to compartmentalize our day into work, family life and personal well-being. And yes, that elusive thing called sleep as well… Time is a precious commodity for us editors, and on most days, there aren’t enough hours to allow us to tackle our full workload. So please, bear with us. If you haven’t heard back in like 4-6 weeks, you are most welcome to send us an email and ask about the status on your submission.

    I see in the comments that Jan had a pretty horrendous experience with a POD company. While I won’t say that all POD companies are the wrong way to go, like with any publisher, do your research. I have been printed by a full press pirnt here in Mauritius and I have also worked with e-publishers. The way they do things is pretty much the same, only the means is truly different (paper v/s softcopy). But from my personal experience, I can tell you that a good e-publisher beats every other publishing house out there. Yup, even the big guns. Why? Because half the time, with an agent and a big house, you’re on your own. They want the story this way, not that way; then after you’ve made the changes, lo and behold, they don’t want it like this but the original would suit. No, wait, revise as per this guideline because this is what’s hot now.
    There’s a lot of talk about how fast and accessible email is. Believe me when I tell you how true this is, especially where e-pubs are concerned. Generally speaking, a good e-pub assigns an editor to your work, and you work closely with that person to enhance the story. Mind you, this does not mean overhauling everything. As editors at Eirelander Publishing, we work with the author to strengthen the story, to remove all the little flaws that could ultimately make the author lose a reader. We don’t tell you to change your voice, to rewrite 2/3rds of the ms, to add sex scenes beacuse hey, sex sells! You as a writer are an individual, and that individual carries forward into your work. A good editor works with this ‘combined’ individual, treats her/him as a person and not just a money cow to be milked (ladies, I’m not saying you’re cows, okay? *wink*) You also get to have a say about your cover art, about your promotion. You are encouraged to set up your own promo but the house often has someone who can help with that and even hold your hand while navigating the churning waters of book promotion via the Internet. And the best imo, are the authors’ groups. There you meet other people contracted by the same house, and many a times, wonderful friendships blossom there. You are definitely not alone with a good e-pub.

    So, I guess I’ve muddied the waters even more here, lol. Let me take another approach. In an nutshell, both as a writer and as an editor, this is what I have to tell you –

    Know your story. Every detail about it, even if it won’t be used, know it. There is no better strength on your side then.

    I wish everyone all the best with their writing.

    Hugs (I’m big on hugs!)

    Z

    Zaynah Monodee
    Senior editor – Main Line
    Eirelander Publishing

  23. Hi Z,

    Glad you made. You and Lee, both gave sound advice. The experiences from all the others also helped.

    This was a great blog, Liena.

    Sandra K. Marshall, Author
    Addiction released November 6, 2009
    from Eirelander Publishing

  24. Hi Liena,

    I want to thank you for this opportunity. Like you, I hope we
    helped writers to advance their careers and exposed some
    of the pitfalls out there for them.

    Sincerely,
    Jan

  25. This post is really the best on this notable topic. I absolutely feel the same way with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the great lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay up to date of any updates. Marvelous work and best of luck in your blogging endeavors!

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