Category archive: Editing

Bad Plots and Scary Fish

I saw the new Mad Max movie the other day, and while I really liked the movie, there were a couple of times when I thought about Plot Fail #4 according to author Therin Knite: The Plot That Never Slows Down. The relentless action of Mad Max did finally take a long deep breath before rushing back to an intense pace, which it sustained for pretty much the rest of the movie.

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The Self-Publishing Bar is Going Up: A look at 2014

I’ve watched with fascination over the last four years as self-publishing changes. In the early days (2010), when many authors still feared self-publishing, selling novels on Amazon was much easier. My short stories used to go at the rate of one or two a day. Now, even getting people to download your free novel by the thousands (which also used to be easy) is a challenge because the market is so crowded.

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The Undead Blog

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Blogging requires commitment, and all the experts warn me that abandoning a blog for a month or more is the kiss of death. Stupid experts. Okay, maybe they’re right, but last month I had to decide how long I was going to make my fans wait for book two of the 1000 Souls series. I was overdue, buried with work, and the kids were getting out of school for the summer.

So I decided to stop blogging until the novel was finished. It was ‘finished’ on July 4th, but I’ve been in editing and re-writes since. Now it’s so finished that it’s off to the editor and out of my hands until he’s done. Alas, my editor just gave his publisher two weeks notice and (being the conscientious guy that he is) he’s busy wrapping up his day job until July 27th. The good news is that means he can edit like crazy the next week, no day job in the way.

But that means that I must again push the publication date, this time to mid-August, a month and a half late. The good news is the cover artist is just about ready, and the cover looks great.

The other good news is that I’ll have lots of time to blog, and I’ve lots to tell you about, actually warn you about, regarding one too many free days and Amazon’s promotional algorithm.

Good thing I’ve got another novel coming out.

Finished

I could have written this post a week ago, but summer got in the way. I’ve finished book two of The 1000 Souls. Yes, I’m being cagey about the title until I have it published, but my fans already know.

Revisions are going well, and I hope to be able to turn it over to the editor in just a few days. He’s fast, so if all goes well we’re looking at a launch date of July 20th, 2012. Thanks to all those who have e-mailed asking when book two is coming out, and thanks for your patience. I know I’m three weeks late, but I think you’ll be happy with the results. I’m pumped.

As for summer? Kids out of school. Warm weekend in Muskoka at a friend’s cottage with many other kids. Swimming, water fights, capture the flag and even tubing. Scraped knees, racoons, a deer leaping through the forest, and a blown radiator less than seven kilometers from our second destination. Tow Truck. Car in shop. Swimming at a beach on a river. Running around with the cousins.

All in all, pretty damn exciting. I think the kids are having fun too.

Priest: Not Like My Vampire Novel

The biggest similarity between my vampire novel and the vampire movie Priest is the concept of a religious order that has trained specifically to fight vampires.

The use of monks to fight enemies of a religion is not new, of course, as anyone who has read The Monks of War could tell you.  In fact, my sister gave me that book after I had first described my novel to her, and its one of the reasons my protagonist is referred to as a crusader.

Other than the religious order, Priest is very different from my novel.  The vampires are another species and would fit into the movie Alien easily, but not so much into Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The whole setting is also very different from our Earth.  It’s meant to be either an alternate history or another planet–take your pick, and the Catholic Church is Big Brother.

In fact, the whole society is an Orwellian dystopia set after environmental degradation and nuclear war, very different from the leafy green of my post-industrial, post-apocalyptic world.

I’d still like to capitalize on the movie’s marketing campaign, but I’m reluctant now to tell people that my novel is just like Priest. Firstly because it’s not accurate, and secondly because now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m not sure that will send people flocking out to buy similar stories.

The movie is more like an expensive TV pilot, with a lot of Matrix-like big freeze shots and the anti-gravity stunts that have become the norm of Hollywood sci-fi action.

I’ve finished going through Fogel’s edit of my novel (it was brutal) and my proof-reader and I are making a last pass.  With luck I’ll launch Monday, over a week late, but Priest isn’t going to make or break this novel.

Busted a Deadline

People are watching the movie Priest as I write this, but they aren’t reading my vampire novel because it’s still in my hard drive.  I’ve been slogging all week through the editor’s notes, and all I can say is that I don’t pay her enough.

But I’m close.  I’m four-fifths of the way through, and my cover artist has delivered a great cover.  I’ll finish with this round of editing over the weekend and then it’ll need another copy edit to catch any typos from the changes.

It’s a lot of work, but I don’t want to be a Howett, the writer who self-published an e-book with so many typos that the reviewer, Big Al, had trouble reading to the end.

So while I wanted to launch the same day as the vampire movie, Priest, I’ll just have to accept that I’ll be a couple of days behind.  Better to publish a great book three days late than an unreadable one on time.

Kindles Everywhere

Look out Sony e-reader, Nook and Kobo, because Amazon announced this week that Kindles are now on display and available for purchase at 3,200 Walmart stores.  Since they’re already in Best Buy, Staples and Target, that means they’re everywhere, and they’re getting cheaper with the new ad version.

This can only be good news for authors, because once people get their hands on an e-reader, any e-reader, they’re going to want content–inexpensive content.

I know I keep repeating  this, but so many good writers I know out there refuse to publish because they’re waiting for the brass ring and the pat on the head from a literary agent, a publisher and the adoring public in that order.  A two year process at best.

So I’m going to try a little experiment.  By this Friday, I hope to have crunched through all of the editor’s notes on my vampire novel.  I want to publish it to coincide with the launch of the movie Priest, which as I posted before, has some very similar themes–walled cities, vampire armies and warrior priests.

I’ll keep track of how many copies of my e-book novel (and its sequels) that I sell in the next two years.  There’s only one prediction I can make that I’m certain will come true: I’ll make more money and have more sales than my friends who have yet to get a literary agent to start their ball rolling.

My Editor has My Other Baby

Fogel and I have been debating how e-books will affect freelance editors.  I’m guessing that people who want to indie e-publish will be swamping freelancers’ in-boxes with edit requests.  Fogel argues that freelance cover artists will get a lot of business, but freelance editors won’t.  She says:

“Most self-published e-books will fall into the same categories paper books do. There’ll be the professional writers who rerelease books that are out of print, and haven’t the rights to the original cover, or hated it. Then there’ll be the rank amateurs who have no business calling themselves writers and self-publish because no legitimate publisher will take them on. The former don’t need editors because the book’s finished; the latter won’t use them because they think they can write, but know they can’t draw.”

I’m sure some indie authors will fall into the Howett category, writers who simply can’t believe they need a substantive editor let alone a copy editor.  But Joe Konrath keeps pointing out that indie writers need two things: a good editor and a good cover artist.  I’m not the only indie author reading his blog.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve gone through the editing process so many times with my short stories, but I can’t imagine publishing without an editor.  So I’ve sent Fogel my other baby, the vampire novel, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that she won’t totally gut my heart out.

The good news is that she’s already read the first two chapters and written back that there are “no show-stoppers.”  From Fogel that’s high praise.

Fogel’s launched a website, but don’t hire her if you’re looking for the sort of praise you’d expect from a mother, cause you won’t be getting it.  You’ll be getting the unvarnished truth.  She doesn’t care about your feelings.  It’s why I chose her for my editor.