Editors for Hire (Chantelle Aimee Osman)
Once you’ve written “the end,” the journey is only half over. You must put out the best book you can – if it’s not, you might sell it, but they won’t come back for more.
A clean, polished manuscript can make all the difference – a copy editor is a must if you’re self-publishing and even if you’re going the traditional route, I recommend having your first 5-6 chapters gone over by a professional.
How much editing do you need? Most professional authors might get by with only one edit. Some people need 4-5 edits.
Do a read-only edit yourself before sending it to the editor – catch major errors and over-arching story problems before you send it off for a line edit or line and content edit.
The thing everyone is looking for is your passion on the page. Never write just for a trend. Write what you love to read, what you love to write.
Know your genre – don’t write a zombie vampire YA mystery with Western overtones.
The first two and last two chapters of your book are the most important – have a hook at beginning to make them need to turn the page – no backstory.
- awkward phrasing, repeated phrasing
- do not try to have a unique voice – just write your way and the voice will show through
- the tighter, the better – cut unnecessary words
- preaching is a no-no
- watch for changes in tense or POV
“good dialogue is one of the most difficult and challenges a writer has”
- fake dialogue – not using contractions, very formal, awkward
- dialogue to obviously advanced the plot “radio drama dialogue”
- forced dialogue – do your research
- too many trendy words date your work
- show, don’t tell
- make sure characters have distinct speech patterns
- Read your dialogue (and everything else) aloud
- using the protagonist’s senses to relate information is a better way to show instead of description
- avoid general descriptions (beautiful, nice, etc)
- avoid laundry lists
- watch out for repetition – favorite phrases and images, sentence structure – “crutch words”
- combinations of words with the same meaning
- a set of fresh eyes are valuable in catching these things
- adjectives and adverbs – don’t use too many, never more than one together
- cut 10-15% of your words
- watch “to be” – try to avoid if possible (passive sentences)
- no qualifiers like very or really
- cliches (that also includes cliched descriptions and situations)
- wrong word choices (towards instead of toward, affect/effect, etc)
- watch for sentences with more than two commas – maybe two sentences instead
- now it’s one space after a period
- double check for possessives and plurals
“Punctuation is like a throw-pillow.” Doing the job without calling attention to itself
Errors in character:
- characters must be unique, bring the readers back
- know your characters well, give them clear motivation
- must have goal and clear reason to work toward that goal
- characters must grow
- no stereotypes
- outlandish names – names often paint a better picture than descriptives – you don’t want something that reader must stop reading to figure out how to pronounce it
- misplaced or overly long backstory
- if characters just go along without anything interesting happening, there’s no emotional attachment
- every book should have basic essential question (who/what/where/how/why) – know what that question is and be able to resolve it in the end
- don’t write about something you don’t know about
- know your genre!
- almost as important as the beginning – what’s going to sell the second book
- resolution must make reader feel something
- don’t keep readers wondering in a bad way (forgetting a plot point)
Now you’ve just started on your journey of queries, rejections, edits, cover designs, etc.
Social Media 101 for Creative People (Alison Sky Richards):
- Website (your store front)
- FaceBook (your billboards)
- Twitter (your conversation)
There are around 328 highly utilized social media sites – around 600 total
- Create an author (or book) page
- Create an author voice
- Be careful who you follow/allow to follow you – spambots and trolls
- Build dialogue and communication – look for your favorite authors and create communication
- Hashtags #amwriting, #amediting – scroll past photos to get to # feed at bottom of screen
Grab your author name on major social media sites – and URL
- Responsive design – allow for different devices
- Visual design – images get 10% more response than text
- Appearance – NO Comic Sans! Need an easy to read font like Verdana or Arial – nothing too trendy or crazy. Use tinted background instead of plain white – easier for most people to read. Red is also very visually attractive, but not fire-engine red
- Have your social media integrated
- Search Engine Optimization – takes a lot of work! Need to get a lot of people to look for a specific phrase and click on the website.
- Constantly re-evaluate your website. Check content for freshness and readability – average reading level is 8th grade – recommended website level 6th. Rebrand website to be most effective.