I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

 

Hey, you with the tear in the corner of your eye and the frown dripping down your face,

I know you’re querying and I know you’re thinking of giving up.

Here’s the truth: Querying is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s hard on your spirits. There’s a lot of research involved. It requires a lot of time-consuming attention to detail, and you are most certainly guaranteed to receive a lot of rejection. Maybe–all rejection and nothing else.

It’s brutal on the heart and spirit. You feel like a complete loser. It’s embarrassing. And there comes a point where you may feel like an untalented piece of shit poo, and you should just quit. But you have to look in the mirror or open up those pages and look at all those words that spilled out of you with great passion and heart. Ask yourself–how much you want it?

Don’t forget that every writer has been rejected. Even those you think of as being “the greats.” Maybe they didn’t get quite as much rejection as you are getting, but they still got rejected by someone at some point.

When you get those rejection letters that tell you that the agent or publisher just “didn’t connect” with your book, think of all those books that your friends so highly recommended, but you just didn’t love. Over and over you’ll hear that this is a “subjective business,” remember that it’s not just a line that agents feed you. It is, in fact, a very real truth. It doesn’t mean that you, or your book, suck. There are a lot more factors that go into someone deciding whether they want to take on your project than just the words you wrote.

One day, you’ll get something other than a rejection if you keep working to improve and you don’t give up on yourself no matter how hard it gets.

And remember…

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.”

You just need the courage to continue. Be tenacious. Work to improve. Do not ever give up. You can do this. I believe in you.

 

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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!

***

 

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

***

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!

 

 

I’m finished

I’m finished

I’m so excited to say that just a few moments ago, I finished writing the first draft of the novel I’ve been working on.

This is extra exciting because it’s the first adult length novel I’ve ever attempted. I’ve completed middle-grades before, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write anything that would be more than double the word count I was used to.

Good thing I’m a stubborn so-and-so because even though I doubted myself I kept on working and today I got to write those two little magic words…

end

Sure, it’s just a first draft, and it’s full of mistakes. I have rounds and rounds of edits and rewrites ahead of me, but I’m going to take a moment to celebrate this victory.

giphy (15)

Woo! I feel so incredible. To celebrate, I’m going to give away a copy of the Romance novel that I’m currently reading (Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James) and will kick back and enjoy for a little while before I get back to work.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway (Legal residents of the USA only) which begins 2/28/2018 at 12AM and ends 3/07/18 at 12AM by clicking HERE

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/539f1df61/?

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. 

LFLD Cover New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

So, here we go…

Christina Morgan Profile Pic

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! 

I hope I never Roseanne my novels

I hope I never Roseanne my novels

This didn’t start out as a blog post idea, or anything to do with writing at all really. I was washing dishes and thinking about the show Roseanne. Wanting to watch a few episodes, actually, but Netflix doesn’t have the beginning seasons anymore just those later ones. 😞

Oh man, I LOVED LOVE that show. Well, the first few seasons anyway. What happened after that? Does anyone know?

 

Remember the episode where Becky farted at school? Ahh! I die every time I watch it. Darlene kills me every time. Or how ’bout the episode where Roseanne is in the car accident and comes home all hopped up on painkillers. Hilarious! Remember when Roseanne and Jackie had a fight and Darlene goes to Jackies and she’s drunk. HA HA HA!

This family reminded me of my family and still does. I’ve got a great big ol’ teddy bear of a dad like Dan Conner. There were two older sisters and a little brother in my family. My mom was a lot kinder than Roseanne, but she sure loved her kids. I had a cool single (for a while anyway) Aunt that I looked up to.

Then, the show got weird. It changed slowly at first, and by the end, you wouldn’t even know it was the same show except that it had all the same characters actors–well except for Becky.

I think the worst thing that happened was that the show didn’t stay true to the characters personalities. I know people change and grow over time, but they all changed too much. Invasion of the body snatchers different!

Becky started out as the smart, studious one and then was this blond bimbo. What?

Darlene was a witty, bad student, tomboy-type then was all of a sudden the smart one and teasing Becky about being dumb.

Who knows with DJ!

Jackie was this cool chick who turned into a whiney obnoxious character, and somehow it seemed like her nose got bulbous. Or maybe I just got nit-picky because I grew to hate her.

Roseanne was this fantastically funny and smart mom, but the fun went away, and she was just plain…mean.

And Dan, okay, I loved Dan throughout. I don’t remember wondering about Dan (other than the affair which turned out not to be true according to the final episode, so I don’t know if I count that)

Did they get all new writers who had no idea who the characters were and had never seen the previous episodes? Did they forget what it was that made so many of us love and identify with the Conners, to begin with? What the heck people? Who F-ed up that incredible show? And how do I avoid that in my writing?

I know that last episode “explains things, ” but it didn’t make the time we spent watching those later episodes enjoyable, for those of us who hung on until the end that is. I’m sure the majority of fans tuned out long before the finale.

I guess it’s important to remember who my characters are and not to force them to do anything they wouldn’t do. Yeah, they may change and grow but in a way that stays true to who they are inside.

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.

matthew

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

angela

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.

list.gif

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.

reading
https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

Nanowrimo Failure?

Nanowrimo Failure?

Back in April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I feverishly wrote every day and finished a novel in record time. So when Nanowrimo came along, I thought, “Sure, I can do this!”

Boy, was I wrong!

I stalled out at 10,000 words. I tried to make myself write every day, but it just got harder. The more I tried to force it, the harder it got. And worst of all–I wasn’t enjoying myself like I did during Camp NaNoWriMo.

So what was the difference? Well, I think the only difference was that during Camp NaNoWriMo I had a story beating at the back of my head–begging to be written. During NaNoWriMo, I had a story idea that I didn’t let wait long enough for it to start begging me. I was trying too hard to be like other writers–to take the advice to “write every day.” That just doesn’t work for me. You’d think I’d know by now that I’m not the same as everyone else so why would I think that all the writing advice I read should apply to me. Sure, I have more in common with these people than most other people on the planet, but I’m still me. And I’m going to learn to trust my own advice because I know what actually works for me.

I’m not really a Nanowrimo failure. I tried and what’s ever wrong with that? I learned a little more about me and my writing style. I got to cheer on friends who sailed through Nanowrimo like Rocky Balboa running up those glorious steps. (Yeah, I know Rocky didn’t win at the end of the movie, but he won that training montage!).

rocky