editing rambling

I’m NOT going to mention title or author because she’s indie (and probably very young or uneducated), but I stumbled upon a free read that deserved 1 star for grammar/style/formatting and 3 for story. So I’m not going to mention who suggested it either, but other reviews went from 1 to 5 stars – which probably means something.

What I felt is she uploaded her piece too soon, without even bothering a pass with the spellchecker. Punctuation was an optional, correct formatting of dialog and whatnot almost unknown and similar sounding words (you know, like their/they’re/there?) were constantly misused which made the story really hard to enjoy (and sometimes even to follow). That’s the 1star part.

I hated her crybaby protagonist, which reminded me of a friend’s story in the same genre some 15 years ago, where both her (male) protagonists were crybabies. Here it’s only one, but it’s still too much. But then, I also usually hate romance heroines, so I’m probably the sociopath here! 😉 And I couldn’t appreciate the high school setting, because I’m not American, so it didn’t remind me of anything (which was a good thing for the highest rated reviews).

Anyway, I’m certainly not going back to that author. A typo or two will always be in any manuscript or traditionally published book, but one or two on each page is way too much. Her English is worse than mine (she keeps using “then” instead of “than” by the way…), and I’m not a native speaker, so if I can’t improve MY English, why waste my time! 😉

So what I would like to recommend to ANY and ALL writers is: be aware of your limits. If grammar or punctuation are your weak spot and you don’t have the money to pay a pro editor (like I do with the novels, but not the shorter pieces), find a friend who is an English geek  and use him/her for proofreading. You live in English speaking countries, it can’t be too hard to find somebody! My friends mostly speak Italian (that’s why I rely a lot on my beta from my offline writers group), so it’s harder for me now that I switched languages. But when I did write in Italian, I knew what my weaknesses were and I had specific friends to catch my specific problems (like putting too much Roman dialect in dialog, so I had a Tuscan friend go over it – Tuscany is supposed to speak “real” Italian, so those are the best judges).

It’s hard to catch your own mistakes, so always have at least another set of eyes checking your work of fiction before putting it out there, either as submission to trad pub or uploaded as indie.

Maybe in a few years this author will be the next Amanda Hocking (who has been criticized for bad editing of her best sellers, in case you didn’t know), but at the moment she’s on my “forget her” list… don’t do that to yourself, or even giving away your stuff for free won’t bring in any new readers…

Happy writing!


Indie Publishing Week 1

So, here’s the schedule – and it’s already all corrected! 😦

Ahem, well… cover artist had forgotten she was busy on Monday, so I’m seeing her today – hence the switch.

SO! Saturday I did the final edit of Air and worked on the book cover (and printed a first draft of Earth as well, so I can give it to my first beta). Sunday was off to take care of the spirit/soul/inner writer (AND it’s Six Sentence Sunday – I DO visit all the other 90+ blogs, even if I don’t leave comments… which isn’t something everybody else does! ;-)) and Monday had the usual Happiness is… post scheduled. But what did I do of the things on the list?

“Opened” the Kindle account – first a new one, then I realized I can actually use my Amazon account, even if it’s under my real name. Have no idea of how to close the second account, though – Amazon feels free to close accounts, but doesn’t allow users to opt out easily? Maybe I just can’t find it. I’ll just leave it dead and use the older account.

Then I read all the Kindle fine-print and again wished I lived elsewhere. That 70% royalty rate? It’s only for UK, US and Canada. MUST find a husband in one of those countries (and my Muse has a Canadian passport… maybe I really should propose! 😉 JUST KIDDING! :D). Or stick to the 35%. Have to get on the Kindle anyway, because as Mark Coker himself says “Amazon is 2000 times larger than Smashwords” so if I want to find my 5000 readers, I must get on the Kindle. Somehow I’m relieved because the exclusion includes also an English-speaking continent (Australia), so it’s not only a question of mother tongue.

Then I did my Smashwords formatting, but I don’t have Word, I have Open Office at home. And I’m away from Day Job where I have Word. So I’ll ask my cover artist if she has Word so I can add the hyperlinks to the Smashwords file (couldn’t figure out how to do it with Open Office) – otherwise I’ll have to complete the file next week. Sigh.

Oh, and I managed to finish all my handwritten Zero Drafts, so anytime I’ll switch off the computer to give my eyes a rest, I’ll be drawing SKYBAND chapter 6 – no more procrastinations excuses (and if you wonder where this fits in the schedule, look at the last column).

What I haven’t done yet, but is on the list, is check how much is a book tour with a company that contacted me to be part of someone else’s book tour (so next week I’ll have a guest post), if it’s worth the expense or if I should just try to organize it myself like Krista D.Ball is doing. Has anyone done a virtual book tour? Did you organize it yourself or paid someone to contact people for you?

Next: the meeting with the cover artist! 😀

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