We can all agree writing is a joy.
It’s fun and many of us make our living doing it. But, there are parts of the
publishing aspect that can be frustrating and difficult. Most of us find
revision to be the most difficult hurdle. “I like it the way it is. Everything
there is important and I don’t see anything that needs changing.” How many of
us have approached the revision process with that mindset? I think we all have,
at times. In other words, you are not alone.
Although I am an editor as well as a
writer, I don’t find revising my work to be easy. However, I’ve collected
tidbits of advice from several writers and editors. I’ve found them helpful, so
I’m sharing them here:
Revise big stuff first,
make small edits later. This doesn't mean you should not correct obvious typos
and grammar errors as you notice them. However, you shouldn't be actively
tinkering with word choice until after you've nailed down the structure of
Put the manuscript down
and walk away.
Writers need at least a little distance from their manuscripts before
jumping into revision.
Scan the whole
manuscript without reading. Scanning can make big problems more obvious
than a writer might not notice when reading closely.
Read carefully. Take your time and
read every word. Then, read it out loud. This
will help you catch obvious errors and check for smoothness or the “flow.”
Look for ways to be more concise with
Can you turn a 15-word sentence into an 8-word sentence? Can you turn an
8-sentence paragraph into a 5-sentence paragraph? Less almost always means
more for the reader.
Use active voice over
There may be occasions for using passive voice, but for the most part be
Vary sentence structure. Don't fall into the
trap of always writing: Noun + Verb + Noun = Sentence. Even if it's
grammatically correct, using the same pattern over and over again will
make your manuscript boring. Don't feel like you have to be creative with every
sentence; just check that you're not falling into a monotonous pattern.
Save each round of
revisions as its own file. Start with the first draft. Then, the second draft.
Then, the third draft and so on. Saving these files provides a record of
your changes and shows your development of the story.
Have someone read the
The more eyes the better, because they'll be more objective when reading,
and they're less likely to make "leaps of logic" than you, the
writer, might. It is always best to ask someone other than a relative, who
naturally will be biased.
Print the manuscript for
a final edit.
There are things you’ll catch on paper that you won't on the screen.
Take your time
with revision. Set it aside for a few days, a week if you have the time. Then
return to the work with a fresh attitude. Save your revised version in a
separate file. Be sure you have addressed all of the editor’s comments. Do
not ignore them. If there are some changes that you don’t agree with,
write the editor a note explaining why the revision called for will change the
meaning of your work. It’s best not to take exception to more than one or two
editorial changes. If you and the editor are far apart on the way the piece is
written, you may wish to withdraw the work and resubmit to another publisher.
That, of course, is beyond the topic at hand.
necessary to polish the work for the reader, and the reader should be foremost
in your mind. If you use these revision tips, you'll be ahead with your
revision process and find the editor is not the ogre you imagined.
"Hey" is "in" now but it is about the most obnoxious salutation I've heard. Kids say it to one another on the playground but I expect more from adults who are attempting to get my attention. It does get my attention, but in a negative way. I just delete the message without reading further. If you want to get my attention, start with"Hi" or "Mary".
5" x 8" (12.7 x
Black & White on Cream paper
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic
Kiara grew up in a secret,
magical city buried under the earth. She lives a happy existence in Emeraldo as
the daughter of the queen, until her twelfth birthday when her parents are
brutally murdered by the power-hungry Chief Administrator. Kiara escapes with
her life, and the secret to ruling the city of Emeraldo. Finding herself in the
strange Land Above, she discovers a new family kept secret from her. But safety
doesn't last, and when her family's murderer follows her to her new home, she
must use all her powers to protect herself and her new family.
There are a handful of reasons
you’ll need a short, compelling book description (one or two sentences at
most): as a soundbite in interviews, as a teaser on your website, as the hook
in your press materials and communications with folks in the publishing
industry, and maybe even as the tagline in your email signature!
A longer book description
hooked ‘em with the sound-bite, they’ll want to read more. Give them another
paragraph or two to really sell the book. But don’t get long-winded or you risk
losing their interest.
Your author bio
So, what’s your story? It’s time
to tell the world — in the 3rd person. 2 – 4 paragraphs should be plenty if you
tell your story well. If not… well, 2-4 paragraphs might be painful.
Start putting together all the web
content you’ll need well in advance of your release.
This includes some of the things mentioned above (bio and book
descriptions), but also blog posts announcing the book launch,
behind-the-scenes content that gives your readers a glimpse into your writing
process for the book, any study-guides or accompanying material that you’ve
envisioned for readers, your book trailer, links to retail sites where your
book and eBook can be purchased, etc.
A good author photo
In fact, try to get a few good
shots. A headshot, a casual shot, one with lots of space or landscape that you
can use as a wide header image for Facebook and/or your website.
Hi-resolution .jpg of your book cover
Ask your designer for a
hi-resolution .jpg file of your book cover. You’ll need to both display it and
make it available to download on your website (for any bloggers, media folks,
or book critics who write about your book).
While you’re talking to your
designer, and while your book design is fresh in their mind, ask them to put
together any banners, headers, or print ads you think you’ll need in the first
3 months after your book is released. You’re going to be very busy at that point,
and you don’t want to have to wait for your designer’s schedule to clear up
when you’re in the thick of things.
They’re old-fashioned. But if you
attend writers conferences, they’ll come in handy. We’re talking about writers,
If you plan on doing signings,
readings, or getting a booth at a book fair, you’ll want to invest in some
eye-catching, portable signage. It could be a pull-up banner (for big shows) or
as simple as an 8×11 laminated sign, but make sure you’ve ordered it long
before the event.
Your press materials (press kit,
press release, etc.) will be comprised of some of the things already mentioned:
bio, description of the book, plus some of the story behind the book and
author, contact info, any standout praise you may’ve already garnered
from the press, etc.
When you’re gathering all these elements together into a press kit or press
release, keep asking yourself these questions: “Why should anyone care about my
story and book, and have I clearly communicated that here?”
Book trailers are important. In a
world where YouTube is becoming one of the most-used search engines, it sure
helps to have some video content available. Plus, book trailers are great
content for your own website, for other bloggers, and to mention in your press
release. Besides, it gives the impression that you’re really in tune with the
6" x 9" (15.24 x
Black & White on White paper
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic
Would you risk everything
just to be cool?
Young Duggan McDuggan really has no choice. Her habit of talking to trees has
made her the most teased kid in her village. Duggan would love to stop the
teasing but there’s no way she’s going to give up her tree friends. And so
she’s worked out a daring plan to journey with her two best friends to
Eshmagick, ancient realm of the Faeries. This will certainly stop the teasing.
No one in five hundred years has made it there and back again.
For their dangerous journey, Duggan and her friends will need a Faerie guide.
Unfortunately, legend says harming a Faerie will bring down a terrible curse
and it’s hard to catch a Faerie without hurting it. But when you’re as
desperate as Duggan, no curse is too scary to stop you.
Dr. Robena Egemonye
retired as an educator with over forty years of experience. She was nominated
and selected to “Who’s Who among America’s Teachers”, 2005-2006. She was
also listed in the Outstanding American Teachers National Honor Roll. THE FENCE MENDER is her first published
Blue MacGregor has been wheeled into the Raven Hills Regional ER. Why is he so
badly hurt, barely clinging to life? What happened to him? Some of the ER staff
dismissively refer to Blue as ‘poor white trash’ from Ergo Estates, a local
trailer park. However, Dr. Vera Drake, the ER physician in charge, is
intrigued. Blue reminds her of Marshal, her grandson. Dr. Vera learns that Blue
is one of the last purveyors of a dying art –he is a fence mender. She vows to
find out how Blue ended up in the ER and to do whatever it takes to ensure that
Blue recovers. Will Dr. Vera’s determination to help Blue lead to the
truth or place her life as well as his in jeopardy?