A little help from my friends

A little help from my friends

As some of you know, I’ve completed writing and editing my romance novel and am now at the querying stage. Recently, I came across the most interesting agent with an unusual submission process which I found extremely entertaining. He also sound a little bit like Seth Rogan and I had a fun time watching his videos on submission.

Anyway, this agent talked about the importance of having a platform and having a good one. (My platform is my following on social media, my blog, and email subscriber list. This shows that people are interested in me and my work.)

I only recently began to work hard on growing my platform. I had a different one before for another name under which I wrote middle-grade fantasy novels. I severed ties with my publisher and deleted all my accounts and started over in November 2017.

It’s always been extremely difficult for me to ask people for help but I need some support. I need your help growing my platform. I know there are quite a few of you who come over from Twitter to read my blog posts and I really appreciate it. It would help me so much more if you would also follow my blog. You can use the subscription window that pops up when you visit this blog or sign up to “follow” with WordPress, or even better, do both. If you’re hesitant to sign up with the popup subscription form, I just want to reassure you that I won’t share your email address with anyone or spam you.

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One more thing, I’d also appreciate if you’d follow my other accounts on social media sites where you’re active. I’m happy to follow back so if you’re one of my readers, leave a comment and let me know you followed because of this blog post and I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Here are the links to my social media accounts Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ 

Phew, I’ll admit, that was difficult for me. And I just want to say thanks again for reading my blog and supporting me. You have no idea how much it means to me. You’re all great!

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What Every Author Needs To Know About Editing A Manuscript

Hi friends,

As you know, I’ve finished my book and I’ve begun the long process of editing it. I’ve been fortunate to have award-winning author, Christina Kaye, work with me on the edits. So, I’ve invited her to make a guest post on my blog to help all of you who are going to be editing or are currently editing your novels.

The blog is all yours, Christina!

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What Every Author Needs To Know About Editing A Manuscript

Author: Christina Kaye (author of the Award-Winning Flesh & Blood Series)

You’ve finished your manuscript. Congratulations. Now what? Time to send it off to agents, right? NOT SO FAST! SLOW YOUR ROLL! HOLD YOUR HORSES!

This is one of the biggest mistakes newbie authors make when trying to get their book published. They want to rush straight to querying agents the moment they type THE END. I get it. It’s exciting. You’ve spent weeks, months, or even years pouring your heart out through your fingertips and creating your “baby.” You know you have written THE book…the next best seller. Come on, don’t deny it. You know you’re thinking it. That’s okay. All authors have had the same feeling. But you can’t rush the process. You can’t skip the most important leg on the journey to book publication…editing.

It is essential that your novel be thoroughly edited before you even consider querying agents. But most authors, especially newbies, aren’t sure how to go about editing their manuscript. Either that or their intimidated by the idea of having someone “tear apart” their work. So let’s discuss some key points regarding editing so you can hopefully ease your mind about this absolutely crucial part of the writing/publishing process.

Why Hire an Editor?

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but there are so many authors who believe they can simply type up a manuscript, review it themselves, and call it a day. But that is super risky. Why? Because everyone becomes blind to their own mistakes. You’ve spent so much time focusing on getting your story down on paper that you probably weren’t thinking so much about grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and even those pesky little rules of writing that go above and beyond what we learned in high school and college English courses. You need an experienced, trained, and objective set of eyes to check your work and make sure the manuscript is in as good a shape as possible. If you send an unedited manuscript to agents, no matter how great your concept may be, you will be done before you even get started. If an agent asks to read a manuscript because the query has piqued their attention and then they begin reading only to find the script full of errors, or not properly written, they will stop reading immediately and write the book off. I’ve seen so many manuscripts come through my email based on an amazing query and then had my heart broken because it’s clear the author didn’t bother to have the manuscript edited before sending it to me. Don’t do this. It’s not worth it. Hire an editor.

What Exactly Is Editing?

There are a couple different types of editing for manuscripts. Which type you choose is completely up to you, but I highly recommend you go for broke and have your manuscript edited as thoroughly as possible. Here are the two main types of editing:

Copy Editing (sometimes referred to as Line Editing)

This is where the editor will focus solely on the words in your manuscript, not the bigger picture, plot, characters, etc. Your editor will correct any spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or punctuation errors. A good editor will also keep an eye out for all those annoying little writing rules, such as dialogue tags, overuse of adjectives/adverbs, dangling modifiers, passive voice, and so on. Again, these are the kinds of issues an author typically either doesn’t know, or doesn’t catch on their own because we are so focused on the story and characters. Even if you think you’re a good self-editor, trust me, you’re not. No offense. You may be more highly skilled with the technical aspects of writing a novel, but as I said earlier, I can guarantee you can’t catch even half of your own mistakes. It’s just human nature.

Developmental Editing (sometimes referred to as Content Editing)

This refers to the work an editor does on the “big picture” aspects of your novel, such as plot, consistency, timeline, plot progression, pacing, and character development. This can be done in lieu of or in conjunction with Line Editing. Again, as with technical writing, there are so many rules we authors have to follow to please editors and publishers. For example, where you start your novel is one of the most important things an author can consider. If your book starts with a dream sequence, description of weather or setting, or too little/too much dialogue, then you’re going to lose the reader’s (and the agent’s) attention on page one. Also, slow pacing is a huge deal breaker for agents. If your book moves too slowly, if you spend too much time describing a person, place, or thing, you will lose their attention and put the book down (which means an instant rejection). These are just a couple of things a good editor can help you with.  In my opinion, you should always pay a little bit extra for good developmental editing. Not only will you learn so much more and progress as an author, but your book will be so much better than you ever imagined possible.

How Much Does Editing Cost?

Depends. Like any professional service, editing can run the gamut from super cheap to painfully expensive. You don’t have to hire the highest charging editor. There are plenty of affordable options out there if you take the time to research. But keep in mind, you get what you pay for. If you settle for the lowest possible price and put cost above all other considerations, think about what and who you are paying to work on your baby.

I’ve seen editors out there charging upwards of $1,000 or more for an average length manuscript. To me, that’s just ridiculous. Now, maybe if you’re Stephen King or Nora Roberts and you have money to burn, you can hire a top of the line editor and pay them an arm and a leg for primo editing. But most of us are struggling artists and very few of us have the funds to pay that much money. I argue that you don’t have to break the bank in order to find a quality, experienced, and professional editor. Most reasonable editors will charge you something like this:

.007c per word (80,000 word MS would run about $560.00)

Be prepared to spend anywhere from $250 to $600 (or maybe slightly more), depending on novel length, editor’s fees, and type of editing desired. You will typically pay less for line editing and more for content editing. Some editors will ask you to pay this all up front, but I strongly urge you to seek an editor who will consider either payment plans or splitting the fee (half up front, half upon completion). God forbid you pay someone $500 to edit your book and either you don’t get your work back, or they don’t do amount of work you have paid for. Trust me, this happened to me once, so I now only work with editors who will split the fee half and half. This keeps everyone honest and relieves some of the financial burden, making editing more affordable and less painful for the author.

How Do I Find/Hire An Editor?

This can be a bit tricky. How do you know you are hiring the right editor? Look for editors with experience, testimonials, and even better, published authors on their resume. To find a quality and dependable editor, reach out to your author friends and do some networking. Ask around for recommendations. Another way to find a great editor is to join groups on Facebook for authors and editors (just search Groups for those words). Or follow the #amwriting and #amediting hashtags on Twitter and tweet that you’re looking for referrals. There are also databases you can find online that list professional freelance editors, their requirements, what they offer, and their fees.

This is super important! Never, ever hire an editor without first asking them to provide a sample edit for you. Most reputable editors will offer you a sample edit (5 or 10 pages) so that you can get a feel for their skill level as well as if you will work well together. I repeat, NEVER pay an editor the full fee up front without at least checking their references, getting a sample edit, and doing your research on them. Once you’ve narrowed the editors down to your top choices, ask those editors not only for the sample edit, but for names of authors they have worked with in the past. Ask if you can reach out to them and DO IT! Ask the other authors if they were satisfied with the work the editor provided, did they work at a reasonable pace, etc.

TO SUM IT UP:

Now that we’ve gone over the important aspects of hiring an editor for your manuscript, it’s time to get the ball rolling!

If you are seeking a reputable, experienced, and affordable editor, please keep in mind that I do offer editing services to authors of all genres and categories. I have testimonials from past clients posted on my website. I offer reasonable, competitive rates you’ll be hard-pressed to beat. I have a fast turnaround time and I offer unlimited free communications by email, phone, or social media messenger during the process. And also important – I’m an author, too, so I know what my peers need/want and I treat all my clients with respect. I am very thorough and honest, but never rude or condescending.

If you would like to discuss working with me to edit your baby and get it in the best shape possible, please check out my website. Read my Bio Page so you can get an idea of who I am (author, editor, literary agent intern), then check out my Editing Services Page for rates, guidelines, and contact info.

www.xtinakayebooks.com

Best of luck to you. Any questions, comments, etc. can be directed to me at the following email:

xtinakayebooks@gmail.com

I never charge a dime for advice or guidance. I love to help fellow authors navigate this exciting but demanding industry.

Christina Kaye, Author/Editor

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Thank you so much, Christina, for sharing that important and useful information with my readers. I can’t tell you what a difference you’ve made with my  novel!

 

 

Thanks for the support

Thanks for the support

Hello friends, just an update from last weeks blog (in case you were wondering how I’m doing) I’m feeling much better. Hopeful. Stubborn. Determined. I’m sure I’ll end up down in the dumps again one day, but it’s so nice knowing I have so many hands reaching out to help me back up.

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So many of you reached out to me with encouragement and support after my last post. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it. All your messages of support made me feel like I wasn’t alone and just maybe people actually appreciated my writing and connected with my voice. I used to feel like I was just shouting into a void with this blog. I know that’s not true now.

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So many of you supported my need to take a break that the pressure I was putting on myself just drifted away. The next morning, I was filled with the urge to write. When my writing didn’t feel like something I had to do anymore, the joy naturally drifted back into my heart.

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Sometimes it’s hard to admit, or even recognize, that I need support, but it really did make a difference. I loved the interaction with all of you who read my blog post and took the time to send me a message. I honestly had no idea how many people were reading along. It touched my heart. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me. I was overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful, inspiring messages…and only one dick. Ha ha! There always has to be one, doesn’t there?

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To allow people to support me in other ways, someone suggested I set up a Patreon page–which I’ll be launching in a week–for anyone who wants participate as I move along this writing journey of mine. It does feel awkward to me to allow anyone inside and show them my work before anyone else sees things or to accept financial support. Even when I had my middle-grade fantasies published through a small press, I had a hard time accepting money for my books. I think I gave away more than I sold. But I’ve realized that I need to get over that. I should feel proud of my work, time, and effort. Support will allow me to spend more time writing, attending writing workshops and conferences, and purchasing resources that will allow me to improve my craft. I want you to know though, that just because I’m starting this Patreon page, you shouldn’t feel obligated to contribute. Believe me, your words of encouragement are enough. I won’t disappear from all the ways we interact now. I’ll still be tweeting like a madwoman (I have an addiction!), and I will keep writing on this blog. But individuals who want to become patrons of mine will have more access to my work and my process.

I’ll be offering rewards for my patrons. What will these rewards be?

1) Access to early drafts. You’ll be able to read my chapters (and tell me what you think, make suggestions.)

2) You’ll get to see extra materials that won’t be included in the book. (Scenes I’ve deleted. Ridiculous lines that I can’t believe I wrote. See the ridiculous scribblings I put in my dream journal. A behind the scenes look at where I find inspiration.)

3) Q&A’s – Ask me anything! Want to know about my creative process, when I write or are you curious about whether I have any weird writing rituals, you’ll be able to ask.

4) My super patrons will find their way into the acknowledgments of my finished work (if it ever gets published. No promises there but I’m a stubborn daughter-of-a-gun so, while it might be 84 years from now, if it happens, I won’t forget you.)

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5) Access to signed copies of any of my work that gets published.

6) Name some characters for me or help me name the book. Sometimes I struggle with character names and titles for my books. I’ll be looking to my patrons for help.

 

 

If you have any other ideas for rewards, I’d love to hear them. You can comment here, tweet me, or leave a comment on my Facebook or Instagram page.

Thanks again for all the love you sent me. I’ve brushed off the dust, and I’m ready to do this!

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

Author Interview 📚 Christina Kaye

Author Interview 📚 Christina Kaye

Hello friends, I’m proud to bring you my interview with the award-winning author, Christina Kaye! I’ve read a number of Christina’s page-turning books, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all. 

The first book I read was LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTER, and I loved it so much I went on to read the entire FLESH & BLOOD TRILOGY. 

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Click here to get your copy!

So, here we go…

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Author Christina Kaye

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing?

A: I write suspense/thrillers, so I love coming up with interesting, new, and exciting twists for my books.

Q: What is the most difficult part of the novel writing process for you?

A: I have a bad habit of “info dumping” in my first manuscript drafts. I tend to get a bit verbose sometimes and go a bit overboard in trying to expose my characters’ backstories.

Q: What inspired you to write Like Father Like Daughter?

A: I watched a documentary one night about a girl whose father was a serial killer. It made me wonder…what would life be like if your father was a murderer? And then, what if you were also accused of murder yourself? That’s how I came up with the idea for this book.

Q: How long did it take you to write Like Father Like Daughter?

A: About eight weeks for the first draft. Then I spent about 2 months editing with my editor. So in total about four months.

Q: Do you plot out your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or some combination of the two?

A: Usually, I just let it flow and write as the ideas come to me. But I’m currently working on a manuscript for a psychological suspense novel with 3 different characters written in all three POV’s. With all of their stories to keep track of, I typed up an outline and it really is helping.

Q: How do you select the names for your characters?

A: Every time I hear a name I like, I type it in my “notepad” on my phone. Then when I go to write a book, I just refer to my list of favorite names and go from there. But, I will admit to using an online name generator from time to time.

Q: Are you working on anything new?

A: Yes, as I said, I’m working on a new psychological thriller about a psychic with a dark, secret past who is hired to help two men (a detective and a search and rescue coordinator) find a missing six-year-old girl. It’s my favorite novel so far. So fingers crossed!

Q: Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or whenever you find a spare moment?

A: I usually write at night, but with a full-time day job as a paralegal, I have to just write whenever I have the time.

Q: Do you have any writing rituals?

A: Not really. I know some authors write to music, etc., but I can’t do that. I need absolute silence in order to write.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

A: I think if you can create characters that readers will care about and want to root for, and combine that with a story that is somewhat original and intriguing, you can capture and hold the readers’ attention to the very end.

Q: Dogs or Cats?

A: Dogs. Although I do have one of each.

Q: Savory or Sweet?

A: Savory/salty/cheesy.

Q: Beach or Forest?

A: Beach. Always the beach!

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your free time?

A: What free time? With a full-time job as a trial paralegal, two teenage daughters, a dog, and a cat, not to mention my writing, I rarely have any “me” time. But when I do, I love to read.

Q: How can readers keep in touch with you? Do you have a website? Are you on social media?

A: I try to be very accessible.
www.xtinakayebooks.com
Facebook/xtinakayebooks
Instagram/xtinakayebooks
Twitter/xtinakayebooks

Q: Do you like to hear from your readers?

A: Yes! Good, bad, or indifferent, I love talking to readers whenever possible. It teaches me what I’m doing right and what I can improve upon.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

A: I also help other authors perfect and refine their queries before sending them to agents/publishers. All the information about those services is available on my website.

Thank you, Christina!

Well, I hope that you all enjoyed the interview. The next time you’re looking for a great thriller to read, remember Christina Kaye! 

Dealing with Self-doubt

Dealing with Self-doubt

 

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Oh man, do I understand this quote! Self-doubt is forever getting in the way of my creativity. I’d even go so far as to say it is the only thing getting in my way.

I have no shortage of ideas. My idea book is so full that I bet if I wrote every day and lived to be 150, I wouldn’t’ be able to get through them all. So what is stopping me?

Writer’s block? No, if I sit down and get going, I always have plenty to say.

Time? Please! I waste more time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and everywhere else! I have time, and when something is important to someone, they always find the time.

I’m always dragging my feet because I don’t feel like my ideas are good. Or my writing sucks. I feel like I’m a nobody and no one in the world gives two shits about what I have to say.

I struggle to believe in myself. I struggle to feel worthy. But I’m going to keep on trying. I’m going to put those words down on the page and try to believe that I can do it. It could be true that no one else will ever think my words are much of anything, but shouldn’t I?

I’m not sure how to do it, but maybe if I just keep moving forward, I’ll inch closer to believing that I’m worthy.

 
https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

How to read more

How to read more –

I’ve admitted before that I’m a reluctant reader. I don’t ravenously devour books. I don’t have the kind of swoony love affair that others seem to have with them. Now, when I do find a book that grabs me, I fall head over heals in love. Like those Matthew McConaughey movies where he’s this big playboy until he meets that one special girl.

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When I find that special book, you know what it’s like? It’s like I’m Angela Chase obsessing over Jordan Catalano!

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Unfortunately, there aren’t many Jordan Catalanos leaning against lockers waiting to steal my heart (Ah, I love the way he leans). For me, the book world contains a lot more Brian Krakows.

Now, I LOVE to tell stories. I think people assume that all writers love to read, but it’s just not true for me. They are two different activities. I mean, I like to eat but don’t necessarily like to cook. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

But I know I have to read to be a better writer. It’s studying. I have to do it because I want to be the best at what I do, so I’m willing to put in the work. (Keeping my fingers crossed each time I open a cover that love is waiting inside!) And I’ve been reading a lot more. A LOT more! It’s gotten easier. How? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I’ve made a list of all the things that make it easier. I’m sharing because maybe it’ll help other reluctant readers.

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1) No guilt over how long it takes me to read a book. I’m always slow. And who cares? What does it matter how fast you travel from cover to cover? Maybe us slow readers are the ones who are stopping along the way to smell the roses. Besides, anyone who cares how long it takes you is kind of a jerk.

2) If a first chapter is painful to read, toss it aside! It’ll only reinforce your belief that reading is a horrible task. Reading isn’t horrible, the crap book is.

3) I take recommendations. This is how I found THE WHEEL OF TIME series. I’m enjoying it, and I plan to finish the whole thing (slowly).

4) When I do take recommendations, I don’t care to pretend I think it’s awesome or even that I’m willing to finish it. “Good, but not my cup of tea” is a good line to throw out there.

5) Read outside the stuff you’d find at Barnes & Noble. There are a lot of good books published by small presses that don’t make it into the stores as well as good self-published books. Did you ever consider that you just may not like the stuff that’s meant to sell to the masses? Sure, there’s some self-published crap, but then you return to number 2 on the list -you don’t have to read the whole thing! And a lot of times, the ebooks are free or 99 cents on Amazon. That’s better than picking something up at a bookstore, paying a lot more, and it ends up being crap too. I’ve started quite a few books I hated recently and was glad I got them at the library instead of the bookstore. You don’t have to have a big bookshelf to impress anyone.

6) I require absolute silence when reading! I’ve learned not to try to read anywhere women gather and have unreasonably loud conversations. There are always these loud moms roaring on about their Disney Cruiseline vacations and who booked a more lavish trip! And by the way, WHY do people talk so loud? Especially when the person they’re talking to is sitting right next to them? But loud-talkers are a whole other topic. I used to constantly try reading in places that weren’t silent, and I’d end up reading the same line over and over. It was frustrating! Once again it reinforced the belief that it was the reading I hated and not what I now recognize as a hatred for overly loud people. I want to fall into a different world, and I can’t do that when some lady is bragging about the size of her husband’s SUV.

7) Most importantly – I read what I want! For the longest time, I was embarrassed to read middle-grade fantasy in public. Then I stopped caring what other people thought.

So that’s it. I hope it helps.

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

I’m tired.

I’m tired.

When I was writing my first novel, I felt so alive. I enjoyed every single moment. Words flowed out of me and problems seemed to solve themselves. I fell in love with my characters and I still find myself thinking about them and wondering how they are doing. I cried while writing the end of my story. It was one of those wonderfully cleansing cries that make you feel like you can face the world again. Best of all, along with creating a story that I loved, I felt like I rediscovered my lost soul while putting those words on the page.

Now, the editing part wasn’t as much fun. I still enjoyed (most of) the process because I felt like I was improving my story. Over and over and over again, I poured over my manuscript making change after change. Feeling like it was getting better with every correction, I remained energized and determined.

Then, I started to research how to query. And, I did some querying. I got rejections and had no reason why. All I knew was that my story wasn’t good enough or desirable. Was it my writing? Was it my querying skills? Was it the premise? I followed all the submission guidelines…yet with crickets chirping, the silent rejections flowed.

I finally started to share my work with more people. I even hired an editor. The feedback I got was pretty positive. Still, I’m left wondering, what is so wrong with my story?

I’ve been scouring the internet, searching, searching, reading, seeking answers. What I found is that books like mine are “a tough sell.” I’m not even sure if that is true. There is so much stuff on the internet, who knows what’s true and what’s not. I am even more confused now than ever.

I thought more than once about shelving my novel…or just sending it into my trash bin altogether. What is the point after all? Why write a story if it won’t get published and no one ever reads it?

Ugh! What got me to this point? I was in love, and now I’m ready to throw the thing I love in the trash (and not just the book, my will to tell my stories.)

I just feel so tired. I’m tired of the frantic internet searches to answer the question “why.” I’m tired of people giving me pitying looks and telling me to “just self-publish” as though it is a consolation prize for those who suck (me. A rejected writer must be a shitty writer.) I’m tired of thinking I should just write something marketable that will be an easier sale, even though my heart won’t be found anywhere in it. I’m tired of feeling like a talentless hack.

Once a balloon floating high and proud. I am now a sad little thing, shriveled and hovering just above the floor. I hope to find my high point again. Maybe it’s so hard to continue because I do care so much about those characters I created. It feels like I invited all their friends to a party and no one showed up. All of us sitting there with our party hats on,  noise makers poised and ready, staring at a door that never opens.

I don’t know how to move forward. I guess I put my dreams of publication up on the shelf and just write for me.  I’m too deflated to do anything else at this point.  Plllllllllllfffff.

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