What Type of Editing do I Need?

Types of Editing

pencil-1979pxWhat Type of Editing Do I Need?

If you’re an author, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone along the way say something about getting an editor. You may have a sneaking suspicion that your work could probably use a little polishing. Are there paragraphs that just don’t feel right? Parts of the story line that feel rushed or too slow? Did you get a C in high-school English? Yes, you need an editor. Depending on your writing experience, you can use one or all four edits on your book, and those edits can be done by one person or four different people. Stephen King has an editor, you should too.

So, what are the different kinds of editing available and which do you need? Here’s a breakdown of editor services.

Developmental Editing

When you are stuck anywhere in a story, whether you are at the initial stages of creating an outline, or you are at the end of writing the rough draft, but the pieces aren’t lining up, you need a developmental edit. A developmental editor will review the whole story for you and tell you where there are holes in your plot, where your characters aren’t developed, where you’ve left story lines dangling with no conclusions. They will make suggestions on where and how to fix your story. In short, a developmental editor will help you develop your story.

Substantive Editing

When you are finished with your manuscript, you may consider a substantive edit. An editor will help you put your story into its final form. They may change points of view, look for inconsistencies in your character’s behavior, rearrange your paragraphs, and rework your dialog. You want your story and your characters to be believable. This is the outcome of a good substantive edit.

Copyediting

Once you’ve completed your “final” manuscript, you want to have an editor do a copyedit. A copy editor will read each sentence and fix grammar, punctuation, spelling, and voice. If you give them enough latitude, they will rework tangled sentences and paragraphs. They will also check your captions and footnotes for accuracy against your text. You may get the work back with ideas to improve or delete parts of your work. Your book should be close to finished after this step.

Proofreading

Proofreading is the final step in editing. When you a sure your work is finished, a proofreader will go over your manuscript one sentence, one word, one comma at a time and make sure it is all correct. If you have photos or charts, they will also review those. They will correct any errors overlooked in the copyedit. They will also check all elements of design, including headers, font styles, and page numbers.

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Rocking Your “About” Page

vintage-hand-about-meSo, you’ve started a blog. Good for you!

What did you write on your “About” page? A lot of people write a simple bio, then walk away and never touch it again.

Yikes! Don’t do that!

Your “About” page is the most important post on your blog.

It tells a reader who you are and what you’re about, and most of all, WHY THEY SHOULD READ YOUR BLOG. Most people will check out your “About” page before they get two or three blogs into your site, because your “About” page lets them know instantly if they’d like to find out more about you and if they’d like to spend more time on your blog. Think of it as an introduction to a new friend at a party. Do you simply say “Hi” and walk away? No, of course not. You chit chat. You let your new friend know a bit about yourself. In your introductory conversation, they will find out if you have anything in common, if you’re an expert on a topic they find interesting, and if you will grow to be friends. This is the goal of your “About” page.

3 ways to make a better “About” page!

  • Add a photo! Nothing connects people more than being able to put a face to a name.
  • Write your “About” page as if you’re writing a blog post. Make it interesting, funny, or serious, however you normally write on your blog. If there’s one thing that bores everyone to death, it’s “I was born in Little Rock and I have two dogs.” Snoozer! That does not tell us why we should read your blog and does not entice us to come back again later.
  • Update your “About” page periodically. If you have a new picture taken, put it on there. If you have recently moved to Uganda, tell us all the wonderful things you’re going to post about Uganda. Got a new giraffe? We want to know!

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Amazon Paperback Giveaways and Growing Twitter

Hi authors! I’m not dressing up this post with pictures and frills. This is business! If you’ve been trying to grow your Twitter following, this post is for you.

Amazon has a new program for authors of paperbacks. Scroll to the bottom of your Amazon paperback page, underneath your reviews. You’ll see “Set up an Amazon Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works:

You can offer as many books as you’d like, keeping in mind you have to pay retail price + shipping + applicable tax. You can set up the giveaway in two ways. 1) first come, first serve. Don’t pick that one. Or 2) offering your book to a lucky number (entrant). You can require your entrants follow you on Twitter. If you choose option 2, click “lucky number” and the button to connect to your Twitter account, select the winning entrant from 2-50,000, enter the number of books you’re giving away. The giveaway will run for one week. You cannot change the dates.

MATH: I know what you’re thinking – if I give away 5 books, 1 to every 20th entrant, I’ll get at least 100 new Twitter followers. No, no, no, think bigger. That’s what I did the first time and the 5 books were gone in less than a half hour. Yes, I got just shy of 200 Twitter followers, but the giveaway was over before I even told my Facebook people to enter. Set it up for a BIGGER number. If you give a book away to every 1000th follower, you would get 5000 Twitter followers! FIVE THOUSAND. It’s taken me two years to get to eight thousand. Maybe even go bigger if you’ve got the guts! You need to fill out three short blurbs, one to announce the giveaway, one for the people who didn’t win, and one to congratulate the winners. The contest is instantaneous. The entrant learns if they’ve won or not at that moment, so they’re not going to put off buying your book because they want to wait and see if they’ve won. I filled out the forms like so: Enter to win one of five paperbacks of XYZ. – Sorry, you didn’t win this time, but stay tuned for future giveaways. – Congratulations, you’re the winner! Enjoy XYZ and please check out all my books.

WORK: The cool thing is that Amazon does all the work. They contact the winners. They ship the books. You do nothing! It costs more than hosting a giveaway yourself, but when’s the last time you got 5000 Twitter followers from your giveaway?

MONEY: My paperback sells for $9.99, so my total cost for 5 books with shipping and my Tennessee tax was about $82. I got $13 back in royalties from CreateSpace AND I got credit for the sales in my Amazon rankings.

THE PIS DE RESISTANCE: If you don’t give away all your books in the allotted week, Amazon will return your unused money.

If you try it, let me know your outcome. We’re all in this together. 🙂

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Starting an Author Blog

i-blog-therefore-i-am (cartoon by brajeshwar.com)

So, you’ve spent months or even years writing and perfecting your book and you’ve put it out there for all the world to see. Now the real work begins! You need to find your audience.

One part of finding an audience, what we love to call “building a platform,” is becoming an expert in your field and attracting readers. One way you do that is to create a blog to support your work.

Do you need a blog? Yes. When should you begin? Yesterday.

REASONS TO HAVE A BLOG

  • You’ll network with 1) other writers, 2) other people interested in your topic, 3) potential book buyers, 4) and believe it or not, you may actually cultivate some great friendships. I’ve never met a blogger who didn’t have a few very dear friends they met while blogging.
  • You can link your blog to your Twitter and Facebook to instantly notify people when you’ve posted a blog. That makes one less Tweet and one less Facebook post you have to make!
  • If you’re a non-fiction writer, you can’t afford to NOT have a blog. You have to establish your credibility for anyone to take you seriously and buy your book. For fiction authors, you need to find readers interested in your topic.

WHERE SHOULD YOU BLOG?

You can set up a free blog account here at WordPress.com or at Blogger.com. Typically, WordPress is used by bloggers in America and Blogger is used by the Brits, but there are no rules, so choose the one you like best. There is also WordPress.org which has more options available for your page, but requires you to own your own domain name (more on that below). If you plan on growing ridiculously big, WordPress.org may be a better choice for you. Here’s a free step-by-step tutorial at About.com on how to set up a WordPress.com blog.

imagesNOW, STRUT YOUR STUFF!

1. Decide on your content. You can always go left and post about the neighbor’s dog, but you need to mainly focus on one subject. Many writers blog about writing, and those sites are a dime-a-dozen, so pick something you’re passionate about. History? Spaceships? Hot Romances? Whatever it is, you’ll attract many people who are also passionate about it too. And, I HAVE seen blogs written by dogs – quite entertaining posts over at Wiley’s Wisdom.

2. Choose a name. Hmmm. You’ll have to give this one some thought. “John Doe Author”? Sure, that’ll work, but you may be able to come up with something better if you give it some thought. You can use the free name provided by the blog site, such as JohnDoe.wordpress.com or you can purchase a domain name such as JohnDoe.com. Domain names will cost you a yearly fee and often look like websites, but if you have both a website AND a blog, you can double your audience, then again, you must maintain both. Websites tend to be more static, whereas blogs change almost daily.

3. Now, the most important thing about blogging is to post blogs on a regular schedule, so plan your blogging schedule right now. Once per week is okay to start, but you’ll eventually want to increase your postings. One blog per day is great! You can try different topics on different days like Manic Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Sunday Snippets. Personally, I change my schedule as I feel the need. I currently do books I’m reading on Mondays, ancestors on Thursdays, and snippets and characters from my books on Saturdays, but in August, I’m not doing books anymore, I’m concentrating on these “Wednesday Writer’s Corner” blogs. You can always write blogs ahead of time and save them as drafts, then you can post them at a later date. You’ll see that option (on wordpress) on the writing page. You can either “publish now” or “schedule for later.”

4. To make your blog look more inviting, limit your posts to less than 1000 words. 500-700 is perfect. Add a few photos, make your headings in bold, and leave lots of white space. Most people scan, not read, while on the Internet, so give them what they want. Let them scan the photos, the bold headings, and decide if they want to stay and read the post.

5. Now go make friends. Search the site for topics you’re interested in and also ones you’re blogging about. Like posts, follow other bloggers. Bloggers are a friendly bunch and will most often follow you back. Search for a monthly blog challenge and try it. Other people doing the same challenge will drop by and often like your page – another good way to make friends.

If you create a blog here on WordPress, let me know and I’ll be happy to follow you! 🙂

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Build Your Twitter Following in 6 Easy Steps

twitter-birdsBuilding your Twitter following is easy as pie, but it does take consistency.

So, you’ve started a Twitter account and wonder what to do next? How do you make friends, grow your audience, build your following? Sometimes Twitter feels like being in a room with everyone screaming at the same time, but you can wade through the chaos with a few simple steps.

1. Decide what your interest is. I imagine it’s writing or you wouldn’t be on this blog reading this. So, in the search box, type in something specific, say “indie authors” or “civil war” or “sparkley vampires.” This will pull up only people and comments that contain that specific phrase.

2. Click on the names of the people who interest you. If they have about the same number of followers as following, they are likely to follow you back. If you want to grow your followers, those are the people to follow. People who have 50k followers but only follow 18 people are not likely to follow you back. If you are interested in their Tweets, follow away, but if you’re trying to grow your following, don’t waste your time or your finite following limit (more on this below).

3. Do this 10 minutes per day. Click on people you’re interested in for all the topics you put in the search box. Do it religiously. Set your alarm. 10 minutes is all it takes. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your following grows after a few weeks.

4. Use advertising finesse! Only advertise your product every so often, maybe one-out-of-every-ten-Tweets. Use the other 9 Tweets to make friends, share information, build a rapport. After all, it is SOCIAL media.

5. Put yourself on a schedule. Cultivate your followers for 10 minutes per day. Tweet twice per day. Respond or comment on other Tweets twice per day. Re-Tweet other’s Tweets twice per day. If you’re doing the math, that’s 6 Tweets. That means tomorrow, you’ll hit your one-out-of-ten-Tweets advertising point and  you can post a link to your book or your review. Don’t forget to add hashtags so it gets retweeted. Click HERE for a big list of hashtags for writers.

6. Connect your Twitter account to your blog. When you post a blog, this will automatically Tweet for you and that’s one less Tweet you have to do today.

Check out CrowdFire. It holds all the magic buttons to see who is following you back and who is not.

Pre-schedule your tweets at Twuffer! If you’re busy or out of town, this can keep your account active for you.

Let the computer re-tweet for you at RoundTeam. You can choose up to three hashtags to retweet.

One note about the number of followers you can have. Twitter has a magic 2000 following limit at the beginning. When you try to follow #2001, you’ll get a pop-up from Twitter telling you that you’ve reached the maximum number of people you can follow. It’s a percentage thing. Once you reach 1819 followers, that 2000 number will begin to increase. As a matter of fact, the number over 2000 you can follow is 10% of your followers. So if you have 1900 followers, you get an increase of 190, so you can follow 2190 people.

Take your time. Work at it a little every day. When you Tweet about your new book and it gets re-Tweeted by 28 people to 800,000 people, it’s worth it. Happy Tweeting!

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

5 Ways to Market Your New Book Without Social Media

I.Heart.Marketing5 Ways to Market Your New Book Without Social Media

Congratulation on your new book! After months and months (sometimes years and years), you’ve released your baby into the great wide unknown. It’s like sending your four-year-old off to preschool, isn’t it? Well, pat yourself on the back and breathe a big, heavy sigh of relief. Done?

Okay, now the REAL work begins.

Carefully remove your author hat and replace it with your marketing hat. Nobody cares more about your book than you do, and even though it is undoubtedly the most brilliant work of literature to ever hit the globe, no one will know about it unless you tell them.

I’m sure you already have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a website, among others. You are the king/queen of social media and all your friends and family already know about your book. What do you do now?

images 1) Write a press release. Google “Press Release” for formats to write your very own release. In general, write it in third person, like you’re delivering a news report. Capture your audience in your first sentence. “Local Man Hits Home Run with First Novel About Baseball.” Your release should tell Why, Where, Who, What, and How. “John Doe of Detroit, Michigan released his first novel, “Baseball,” to rave reviews.” Continue with reasons why anyone should be interested in this. If you can, include what other important people have to say about it. Keep it to 500 words or less. Finish with where the reader can buy it, where you’re speaking next week, and conclude with your contact information. The last thing to type is ###, which ends the release. Have someone proofread it for you!!! Step one: Google your local newspapers and magazines and send it to the editors. Step two: Find magazines and trade journals that deal in your topic and send it to them. Step three: Don’t neglect big bloggers. Find ones that are in your genre. (You can set up a Google Alert and will be notified by email if your topic appears anywhere on the Internet. Then you can see if your press release was ever actually released by the people you sent it to. Google “Setting up a Google Alert” to find out how to do this.) Finally, Step four: Send it to iReach at PR Newswire. It will cost between $129-$399, depending on who you want it to be available to. It is not cheap, and there are no guarantees, but if someone picks it up, you’re in!

Entry1_51_PageImage2) Direct Mail Marketing. Mail a postcard or a bookmark. You can buy occupant lists (Google “mailing list”) in a specific area, but if you’re not going to use it over and over, it is pretty expensive. You’d be better off finding lists of people who belong to groups that may be interested in your topic. Decide, based on your book, if you want to mail only to women or Harley riders or baseball fans. Yes, stamps are expensive, but if your postcard is attractive, you should see a healthy return on your investment. Generally, about 2-3 of 100 recipients will act on a postcard offer, so do the math before you invest in the stamps. If you’d like to hit every house in a city, Google “direct mail companies” and find one around you. They will print the postcards and mail them, so you have to do nothing!

newsletter3) Newsletter. If you have a list of email addresses, you can set up a FREE email newsletter on Mailchimp. If your newsletter is going out to less than 2,000 recipients, it’s free. Remember, any unsolicited mail is spam, so you might want to mention in your newsletter that you’ve personally included your family and friends in the mailing and they can unsubscribe if they choose to do so. Note: Only about half of your list will actually open the newsletter. The others end up in their spam folder.

4) Personal Appearances. If your book is specialized, you can visit places that are related to your specialty. If your book is about baseball, try the local Little League fundraiser. If it’s about animals, try the local shelter. If it’s about history, try a historical site. If it’s a cookbook, try the local grocery store. If your book is general fiction, try your local book club or library. Towns love local writers. Don’t stop with the town you currently live in. Try the town you grew up in and/or the town your book takes place in. You can introduce yourself with a professional brochure. Make one at Vista Print.

images (1)5) If you have a travel budget and vacation time from work, try Trade Shows. There are numerous book festivals and trade shows in every state, every year. And don’t forget summer festivals. If your book takes place at a certain time in history, try the historical festivals – Civil War Musters, Renaissance Festivals, the list is endless. Use those previously made brochures to introduce yourself, and you might want to get some posters made to hang at trade shows. Vista Print makes posters, also.

Write down a list of anyone and everyone who might be interested in your topic, genre, era, and get busy finding ways to let them know about your book. Keep in mind, you have to tell someone to buy something three times before they actually buy it. Tell them you’re going to tell them, then tell them you’re telling them, then tell them you told them. Mail a brochure, stop by to chat, call them to follow up.

 

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – Swag-o-Rama

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Swag Swag Swag!!! I love Swag!!!

What is Swag, you ask? It’s STUFF. Junk, really. But cool junk!

In planning my Nov 4th online book release party and my Nov 4-16 virtual book tour for my new book “Elly Hays,” I’ve lost my mind looking at swag to give away to lucky winners at the events. And, I must admit, I want to keep it all for myself.

My amazing book designer sent me a FREE bookmark file, which I uploaded to Overnight Prints, and for less than the price of a grande mocha cappuccino, I ordered bookmarks.

elly_bookmark

My designer is amazing! I love this! BTW, he’s working on a new website which I have misgivings about. I want to tell the world about him, but I’d much rather keep him to myself. Writers are possessive of their designers and their editors. Don’t even think about asking me for her number.

Anyway, back to Swag. There is an Etsy site called “The Book Swag Shop” with nothing but Swag – check it out here. She makes custom mini book charms, buttons, charm bracelets, potion bottles, just about everything cool you can think of. OMG, I’m more excited about the Swag than the book! 🙂 It’s all about the Swag!

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – Sept 11, 2013

Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books wrote a blog entitled, “How to Support an Author’s New Book: 11 Ideas For You.” It was posted today at Writersinthestorm here on WordPress. Check it out HERE.

He offers great ideas to help you support your author friends and your fellow authors.

book-love22Here are some more ideas:

Host a book party – invite your friends over for coffee or wine and discuss the book with them. It’s a good way to get together with your friends, and at the same time, get the word out about the book. If the work is a period piece, perhaps you could host a costume dinner party. If it’s a book about wine or a cookbook, all the better!

Invite the author to speak at your organizations – churches, schools, evening events are always looking for a fresh face to entertain the crowd. Make sure he/she brings lots of books to sell and a good pen to sign.

Suggest the book as next month’s read at your book club – that one is self-explanatory.

Invite the author to post on your blog – either a snippet, bio, or an interview, or you could just write a review of the book yourself. Don’t forget to post the buy links.

The number one thing you can do to help your author friends is to SHOW UP & BRING FRIENDS!! Attend their book signings, virtual book tours, Twitter chats, Facebook events, retweet, share, tell.

It takes one person to write a book. It takes a village to sell it.

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – Sept 4, 2013

1860614957_1375101769Are you a writer? How often do you write? How many words do you write when you sit down? Do you think you should write more than you do?

Do you know that the more you write, the faster and more prolific you become? Yeah, me too. I heard you. Your answer was, “Yes, but I don’t do it.”  So, try this… “750 Words”

http://750words.com/

This is a fun and awesome site for you to write 750 words per day in private. It is not a blog. No one else can see your blabbering. You can write a story or you can just brain-dump. It’s all up to you. Just write!

The cool thing is you get badges and awards for consecutive days, writing quickly and not being distracted, entering monthly challenges, points, points, points, badges, badges, badges. I am addicted to anything that even slightly resembles a game. And I think sometimes I get overwhelmed by my schedule and find it cleansing and therapeutic to dump all that crap out of my brain.

When you’re done for the day, it even gives you stats, graphs, and pie charts to let you know what your thinking about and what’s weighing most heavy on your mind. Today, my stats came up as PG13, containing either swearing, sexual content, or violence. I swear I didn’t say anything that was even close to any of those, but whatev…it’s fun to look at.

I’m hooked!

 

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – August 21, 2013

Swimming in a Turquoise Sea of Jumbled Lyrics    

  *or*

Why Don’t You Just Hire an Editor?

“The sky was the color of a bruised palette…”

Road-Cloudy-Sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was reading an intense, frightening chase scene when the above sentence appeared. It stopped me dead in my tracks and has stuck in my mind for a long, long time. I assume the writer meant the sky was filled with blue and gray clouds, but he could have meant someone’s mouth was bruised from getting punched in the face. Obviously, I don’t know the difference in spelling between the roof of your mouth and the board used to mix paints. Either way, it took me out of the story. I began thinking about painter’s palettes and how they can’t get bruised, because they’re made of wood.

I’m not only going to pick on that writer. I’ve done it myself. While running from a murderer through the foggy forest, my character “looked up into the black arms of the haunted trees.”

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Fortunately, I have a fabulous editor who crossed it out in bold, bright red. I thought it was pretty clever, but I could almost hear her yelling “WTF?” all the way from her office in California.

An editor will kick your artistic butt, but they will make you look good. They will correct your grammar, your punctuation, your point of view, tighten up your wonky dialog (as above), and if you give them enough latitude, they will do heavy copy editing and replace your poor choice of words, repair your jumbled scenes, and restructure your paragraphs. They will also check your facts and your timeline. In one book, I mentioned Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a story that took place two years before he was knighted. My editor caught it and deleted the ‘Sir’ from his name. Deep in my heart, I know she’s worth far more than I pay her.

There’s only one bad thing about a good editor. When you get your manuscript back with more corrections than your ninth-grade English term paper, you will feel like you should never write again. But you have to shake that off. Editors do what they are paid to do, and it has nothing to do with your talent or your feelings.

Stephen King has an editor. You should too.

(The above photos are from thewallpapers.org and flickriver.com.)