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Busy (wingless) Bee

Busy (wingless) Bee

I know! I know! I’ve done a horrible job at putting out blog posts regularly. I’ve just been a very busy bee lately. I’m working on a new novel (yay!), sending out query letters (gah), I’ve just started a marketing course, and am working on opening a business.

I realize that I shouldn’t let those things neglect my blog but I’m having a hard time feeling like there is any point to this anyway. This or social media. I’m just the crazy lady on the bus talking to herself while some random troll shouts back “No one cares!”

I’m also sick with some horrible head cold that makes me feel like my head is going to explode and then when I lie down to sleep at night a parade of coughing begins.

Excuses, excuses. I know. Well, despite this and the darkness in mood I feel moving in over me, I’m going to do my best to do what I can to move forward. That may mean neglecting the blog for a bit and just sitting in the sunshine or walking through the woods to remember why I do all this in the first place. It’s not the platform building, or the querying, or blogging…it’s the telling of stories. Maybe I need to focus just on that, even if the only person who ever reads my stories is me.

 

 

 

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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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Intense Focus: friend or foe?

Intense Focus: friend or foe?

I’ve mentioned before–but some of you may not know–I’m an INFP personality type. One of the strengths of INFPs (or is it a weakness? 🤔) is–as the website 16 personalities states–INFPs are “Passionate and Energetic – When something captures INFPs’ imagination and speaks to their beliefs, they go all in, dedicating their time, energy, thoughts and emotions to the project. Their shyness keeps them from the podium, but they are the first to lend a helping hand where it’s needed.”

Oh, is this ever true! I think it’s the reason I can write an entire novel where other people think they could write one (boy am I tired of hearing that, btw) but can’t actually do it.

It makes it hard for me to concentrate on doing more than one thing at a time, though. I’m supposed to be querying, but this new book idea struck and suddenly, I’m all in.

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Me focused on my new book

When I practice my guitar, I practice every day.

When I’m working on growing my social media platforms, it’s all I can think about doing.

The upside – when I want to get shit done…I get shit done!

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The downside – I don’t accomplish much of anything else.

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Just kidding. I’m not a hoarder, and my house is (fairly) neat. (As long as you don’t peek inside my office–yes, it’s messy once again 😬) but that pile of stuff falling over represents all the other stuff I’ve neglected while focused on whatever it is that the project (or person) du jour.

Oh well, friend or foe, it’s who I am, and it’s what makes me, me. For all my weaknesses, I’m not sure that’s something I want to change.

What about you? Are you able to multitask? Or do you focus on one thing at a time?

Is there anything you’d like me to blog about? I’d love to know.

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Sinking

Sinking

My darling friends,

I know I usually post on Mondays but I have some feelings to work through and the best way for me to do that is always by writing.

Over the last few days, I’ve been sinking. Not like a rock in water but more like a discarded daisy tossed in some bubbling, gray muck. I’m not exactly sure what brings me to this place, again and again, but here I am.

I suppose it may have something to do with this sunless, never-ending winter. At this point, it feels like summer is just something I dreamed about once. It snowed this morning, and my spirit sank as quickly as these daffodils.

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I’m taking my vitamin D supplements, but I don’t know if there can ever be a replacement for the warmth of the sun kissing your skin. It’s kind of like a virtual hug versus the real thing.

Maybe part of it is the feeling that people think of me as a toy and not a person with a beating heart. I’m real. And so is my pain. It would be easier to have your heart completely snapped in two and left alone to repair, rather than slow, cracking fissures repaired shoddily with sweet, loving words.

The biggest culprit, I’m sure, is the rejection that comes along during the querying process. I know this is typical, but I think what bothers me most is that people who are not writers and have never written and queried a novel seem to think that if the book is any good, or if you have any talent, your novel will immediately get picked up. I think that’s the part that makes me feel like a big, fat, failure more than the rejection itself.

I’ve been honest about my process and failures, but it’s hard to share that part. It would almost be easier to suffer in silence in some ways and not share what I’m going through. It’s hard to live up to people’s assumptions. If I didn’t suck, I would be successful. Simple. Easy. That’s what they think.

And so many people think they could write a novel (if they had time–how many times have I heard that) and it would be the next great American novel or a New York Times Bestseller. I know that’s how people think because many have messaged me for “writing advice” and told me how they could write a book and that they’re sure it will be “better than anything they see on the shelves now”–the shelves I currently can’t get my book on. That’s why I know that they think if this book doesn’t get published, then it must be because I’m a talentless loser.

I already feel that I’m a talentless loser all on my own. I have a lot of fear that this is what’s going to be proven to me and not the phrases I’m always repeating to keep going. “Keep writing. You can do it. One day it will happen.”

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I know I can work through this. I always do.

Perhaps there wasn’t a lot of point to this post other than me knowing that this expression of my feelings will begin to heal me. Maybe some of you feel the way I do, and you’ll know you’re not alone, in whichever way you are sinking.

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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

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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!

 

 

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Procrastination Queen

Procrastination Queen

Hey, friends,

So, as you know, I finished writing the first draft of my novel. YAY!!!! As much as that was a huge accomplishment for me, the hardest work is ahead.

Editing! Over and over and over, I’ll have to read this novel and find plot holes, inconsistent character traits, sentences that don’t make a lick of sense (oh, man that happens more than it should), wrong word usage, etc. This part is tough for me. I think the biggest reason is that I keep saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m such a crap writer!” and I will tinker with the same sentence over and over and over. Remove the comma. Stare. Add the comma back in. Take it out. Turn the sentence into two. Make it one sentence again. Add the comma. Stare. Delete the entire sentence.

This may be why I’ve all of a sudden become the crowned Queen of Procrastination.

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I got off to a good start on the first day. I edited the first two chapters, but then I really earned my crown.

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What did I do to earn my crown? Well, I sat around watching movies. It’s so important to clear those movies off my Netflix list, you know. I’ve been tweeting and playing hashtag games. I’ve watched Youtube videos. I’ve researched screenplays (like I need anything else to work on right now). Oh, and I’ve suddenly found Snapchat filters to be a very important use of my time.

I feel so much better now. Glad I got that done.

Sigh.

I know I need to sit my ass in the chair and edit these chapters. Once I get the second draft done, I’ll be able to turn the novel over to my first reader. And that might be another reason I’m dragging my feet so hard. It’s terrifying to share my work. Even though my first reader is someone I trust completely and someone who has been honest but gentle with feedback on my other novels, I’m still scared. I’m scared to reach each new step.

I’m scared of sharing with betas and critique partners. I’m scared of rewrites. I’m scared of querying and the rejection that will come with it.

But I’m going to take a deep breath and stop with all the procrastination. I’m going to take off my crown and remember how much I love my stories and how good it does feel when I finally do share them.

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted.

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