My week as it was, hacked bushes, emoji nonsense & bad vibes

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I am feeling the post post-holiday slump 😦

I blame the rain. It hasn’t stopped all month. I heard that a ‘survey said…’ that Brits moan about the weather more than any other nation!

Well it’s because mostly we have a great time and despite differences of opinion over social and political issues – the weather brings us all together. Who doesn’t like a good moan about the damp, the grey skies, the wind, the drizzle or mizzle?

Hacked Bushes… a classic whodunit mystery!

Not really. It was the gardener. Hired because my lovely husband is too uninterested in cutting the hedges once a month. Lazy!!

But the over enthusiastic gardener clearly did a hack & rush job as my buddleia  looks rather scrawny now. The hedges look great, the lawn is shorn… but all the clover has gone and that makes me a bit sad. I quite like the slightly weedy look.

They will grow back & all will be fine.

Emoji anyone

😵  🌹   🐑

The new language that everyone cool uses is slowly creeping up on me.  I wrote my Dad a birthday poem with part emoji, he was able to decipher it but looked rather bemused – he STILL doesn’t know how to open a text message (big sigh…).

Oh the vibes….

Not felt the writing LOVE this week. That’s mass editing for you! [see yesterday’s post] but the sun is out (briefly maybe?) and I have sorted out some annoying paper destroying – shredding + burning = satisfaction.

I also have a start date for my ‘job’ that’s the normal one that earns me regular cash 🙂  until I make the bestsellers list of course.  But I am looking forward to the change of pace – serving slices of cheese and meat behind a counter. Better than a desk job – I hope…

Writing of clearing stuff out… I also started tackling the dreaded TAXES. It wasn’t so bad. I am quite organised so I have a nice neat spreadsheet with almost all my figures entered and added. Just a few items to cross-check and it will be done. Then I can file my return and listen for the echoes of long distance laughter…

Tax Officer says:  “Oh you writers MUST be in it for the laughs!! Ha Ha, I think we may owe you.”

I am expecting a refund, maybe £4 – and I will spend it on CAKE!!

It is true – cake always makes the bad good.

Lizzie HW

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Indie Publishing – edit, edit and how

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Bit later than planned (see tomorrow’s journal…)

I have been in the fog – editing two books.

One is close to my heart because it’s the first collection I expected to get published. Yet it still isn’t! I think it’s an attachment issue now that if I let it go free and it’s not received well I will be likely to cry.

No colours were used in the making of this cover.

No colours were used in the making of this cover.

Writers get emotionally involved. And we should. If your work isn’t brilliant – don’t put it out there for sale. There is nothing wrong with asking for feedback but never publish unless your are sure you’ve given it 100%.

Caution! that doesn’t mean it has to be perfect.

This is the “original” I have been working on for over 2 years now…

Editing and editing until you lose whatever you started with is like beginning with light pruning of an overgrown rose bush to end up with severely hacked jagged stems and nothing else.

You don’t want that & neither do readers.

So if you are in the EDIT SUITE but it feels more like a hole, try these:

  •  cover the first paragraph – does the story lose anything?  You may find your actual start is much further into the writing. The beginning is your position as the writer, for the Reader it could be a few chapters later.
  •  as above – critically look at the End. Can you finish sooner? Do you need to finish up all the loose ends? Does your story work better with some ambiguity?
  •  who is the story about? You may have written from Lady Smith’s view but if the activity surrounds the Butler – perhaps he should be the lead.
  •  Is your lead right? If the story seems contrived, try switching the character’s sex, age, morals – maybe you have written another version and he/she needs a bit of tweaking.
  •  What about the location? If you are using a setting you really love you may have lots of detail – does it work with the story? Maybe you can save the great descriptions for some other tale and move your characters somewhere that better reflects them.
  • Timing?! Similarly – is the period correct? If you like your character but they sound a bit old-fashioned, maybe move the story to an earlier decade. Or is the true tale about what happened in 1890 not the reveal in 1990?

I have experienced most of these niggles. One story that I am still trying to finish may need a change of ‘lead’ but all the characters will remain as will the setting and action but the perspective (as it is) lacks oomph!   So I have taken it out of the collection and left it in my DRAFTS Folder for later consideration.

Another, I loved but initial readers thought it was only OK. So I am re-working that too. And I am trying these ideas (picked up from Open University courses) ~~

1. analyse the adverbs – can you replace the verb+adverb with another verb? EG: read quickly > scan.

2. adjectives next! Do they really add to the story? Can you ‘show’ someone shouting angrily rather than making the reader ‘read it’ – “I am not stopping!” he shouted angrily.

“I am not stopping!” his face was red as he pushed his foot down hard making the car speed forward.

3. Mix sentences, short-long. Short reads differently, try it! Read something by another writer aloud and you will see how the rhythm changes.

Practically – you need: highlighter pens or pencils & don’t try edit all things at once; do a read for spelling, then another for plot; then adverbs etc. Each run through will sharpen the work.

Finally: enjoy the process. This is the hard work. Get rests/breaks and don’t force deadlines for the sake of creativity. You will only hate yourself later 😉

Equally spend as much time as you want to on the Cover Design, Layouts etc – it is your book so make every bit of it count.  I spent a day sifting through Amazon’s own Cover Creator images to find what I wanted. At the end I was still unsure. A week later and more hours – I finally found something that worked. There was a bit of compromise but it was my choice. In the end, after the days feeling frustrated, I was glad that I didn’t rush and just pick something…

Also, look critically at your ‘extra material’ do you really need to show a long list of: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and so on. Maybe you can just start or give the reader another way to navigate with sections instead. I used this approach in my novel Foreplay – after adding each chapter, headings and links, I took them all out! But it’s better with a smaller selection of sections and they have names rather than just numbers – you’re a writer – get creative!

So, go forth and Edit!

Lizzie HW

My week, as it was / radio again! learning not to rush & listening to language

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Last Thursday was my brother’s birthday. As is family tradition, I wrote silly poems in his birthday card. It is something I have been doing since I was a teenager. Not every card gets a poem but most do. And I don’t keep copies, it is a fleeting bit of poetry and may be enjoyed for but a few moments, then lost/destroyed. Mum keeps the ones I send to her and Dad.

I don’t mind that these snippets are ‘lost’. It gives me a sense of setting things free. We cannot retain every written word. There has been lots of talk about this as a problem with the internet storage/compatability that data will be lost, stranded. [ a theme for a poem, story ? maybe?]

 

Friday was Radio Day! Again I was a participant on the local station’s current affairs programme. I was less nervous and met four new people. They were not ‘new people’ but new to me, of course! It was also the BBC’s Free Music Day and I managed to stand in the blazing sun and watch/listen to a huge chorus of children singing medlies. It included one of my favourite songs: Daydream Believer – happy 🙂 🙂

 

Work took a dramatic turn. I read over my only published novel (the other books are collections of shorts/poems) and was embarrassed at the errors. OH! I call on fellow writers to be so careful before publishing: spell-check, grammar check, proof-read – I told them. Hmm, I did those but obviously not with enough attention.

Many problems were typos and easily corrected: at instead of as, Ashe merged from As she… but there were some other issues. Mixed plot lines or unclear order of words. Ahh!

Well that is Big Lesson! I will always take more care. I rushed, that’s the truth. So keen to get my book ‘out there’. Still we learn from such mistakes. I learned to be patient, to take my time, to read my work over and over but also to allow some distance so I can see these problems. I know the story and plot so, it’s like when your brain can read a word that’s typed icorrtlny (see!) a writer’s mind will fix the issues.

So I am re-working and I know it will just make the novel even better!

 

 

Blue, scary face.

She needed a better skincare routine.

 Apart from the crazy editing – I am awaiting a book cover design for my next collection. Hopefully my husband will be persuaded… he used to study art, many years ago. I think he’s got the bug, he’s already drawn two images – great but not quite right for my book. We’re working on it together. But I won’t rush him 😉

This is one of his drawings from a few years ago. It was inspired by a book cover – can’t recall which – so need him to do something equally strange!

The weekend saw a Poetry event in Bradford hosted by the nearby Ikley as part of their Lit Fest which happens in October. There were plenty of free events as well as paid-for options. I spent a delightful afternoon on Sunday listening to many voices. Some spoke in languages I don’t know. It didn’t matter because the richness and variety of tone was still a joy. It is like music, how a voice is deep and warm; another light and delicate and we were lucky to get translations from one speaker. I chatted to a young man who spoke 5 languages! He had his book and was telling me how he was attempting translations to English. Now consider that task – keeping the flow, some rhymes and the same themes and converting to a language that has a different cadence… not easy!

I also spoke to a Poet who kindly gave me her email, just like that! Lesson alert! Don’t be scared to talk to strangers, some will give advice, others may want to swap details – they are just like you! The lady explained how she was nervous before speaking and when I said I hadn’t done that yet but wanted to; she encouraged me. Equally, she hadn’t published anything, I have. So never presume you know how a fellow writer is working. That’s similar to a lesson from Ms Swift (the singer) who says she never assumes people know her name and always introduces herself. How n

 

making faces

give me an OH!

 

My next task – to attend a local poetry group. I know of one that meets every month, so my diary is marked! {also just came across a regular, monthly event close to me that is open to poets, musicians, dancers – all artists willing to perform! ~ need to practice my projections Ahhh BEEE Ceee!}

 

 

The rest of the week =   editing that pesky novel!

I also took time to watch some of the Women’s World Cup. England played France on Tuesday and  I am not a huge football fan (rugby is my game) but it’s important to support the national team. Like most fans I have a second, it is Canada. Not because they’re hosting but I have visited the country twice and it’s always be a pleasure. I will be going again, don’t know when… / England lost, by the way, 1-0 Boo!  😦

But hey! I won another free chocolate bar at my local shop! I love free stuff 😉

In between all of this, I am reading The Quick a delicious gothic horror (watch for my review on Sunday 14th June in the regular/new post: every 2nd Sunday- The Slice).

Wednesday (yesterday) was an early start 7am! But I planned changes to my blog <this blog> then did a house-clean, laundry & wrote two draft blogs ~ all before lunch!  Amazing what a bit of sunlight can do…

Bye now…

Lizzie HW

Self Publishing done? – now Bookshelf, Edits & KDP on Amazon

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Hi there.

Hope you managed to get a book uploaded. My first one was a very, short book of poems. A test really. It’s only got 5 poems and I think I made one sale! But it was the first step in the process so I will always be proud of it.

Bookshelf – this is a great tool that Amazon provide for authors. It’s your control centre within KDP. Here you can see your books, a thumbnail cover is displayed alongside important info; you name as shown with the published book and the price and the ASIN.

ASIN is the assigned code for your book, the shortcut to it. You must note these down so you can publish links to your books across your social media sites.

So you have the basic:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/  OR  http://www.amazon.com/dp/

and after this you add the ASIN.  When added to say Twitter or Facebook, this creates a link with an image of the book’s cover.

From Bookshelf you can check your book is live and organise editing and/or promoting options. >>>

Editing

So, you uploaded your book, proudly told friends and family who nodded with approval and gave you praise and promised to buy it and read it.

Then, one of them comes back to you and starts pointing out mistakes. “There was a big spelling mistake in chapter three!” and “…oh my gosh, that grammar in the final chapter! What were you thinking?”  and “I told you, not to make up the facts around autopsies. I read Scarpetta all the time. It, it just doesn’t sound real. Sorry.”

Don’t cry. Don’t argue with them either. They are your real friends, the ones who tell you about niggles. Side-note: in future ask them to proof read, yes it lets them get the book free but it’s worth it! Now – stay calm, go and find those problems and fix them. It’s easy!

Change the mistakes, then simply upload a replacement file. Click on EDIT ~ under the right-side menu – the ellipsis (now it is three little dots).

Don’t worry about people who already bought it – there is an auto update to any book purchased and the customer can opt to replace their version. You may want to tell people this 😉

You can also alter the categories, blurb, keywords, cover! Anything really.

And don’t be afraid of change.

If you have a gut feeling that there is a better title/cover – go for it! I wrestled with about four covers for my eBook: Towards the Stars, before going back to the original design! I read that an erotic book does better with flesh on show but my instinct was to stick with a sci-fi theme as my primary style is SF/F/H. I slept better after I changed it back.

KDP options (not Kittens Dancing Playfully..)

Kindle Direct Publishing offers ways to promote your book with special deals for the customer.

You have to select enrolment in this scheme. Check the conditions as books have to be above a certain price to qualify. [don’t up the price to get KDP options, that’s not ethical]

FREE book – so you can make your book free for up to 5 days in any 90 day period. The days can be separate/consecutive or a mix. You can set them in advance to allow you time to market the deal. This applies worldwide so is great for exposure!

of course, you won’t earn royalties as there is no cost, this is about promotion so use it carefully – think about what you want to achieve from this option.

Countdown Deals – these are only for US & UK markets (currently) and as above feature 5 days in a 90 day period when you can reduce your book price.

Example: book at £1.99 ($3.99) and you set it to £1.09 ($3.00) on day 1 raising each day until back to usual price. Or you can stick to a discounted price. [books must be priced at least £1.93, $2.99 to qualify – also upper limits].

And finally – you can use paid ads too. This depends on your budget of course. I have no budget, so no paid ads for me just yet! Though Amazon KDP offers a unique twist that you only pay for an ad if a customer clicks through it, so they are more likely to buy at that point.

~ so check your book/s – feel free to edit & think about promotion.

If you haven’t had any feedback yet – ask! Tell people you trust that you want honest feedback too. You need to be realistic.

all the best! 🙂

Lizzie HW

~next week: Your Reports, Sales, Author Page

My week, as it was

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This was a ‘grindstone’ week as I battle to get the next book finished, way past my original deadline of somewhere at the start of May!

The beginning of the week, that was:

I started by using one of those old-fashioned tools of a writer – a diary. I tried on-line calendars but failed because I like to doodle and write outside the lines. So I have resorted to a 2015 slim-line version (complete with a ribbon book-mark) and a weekly notes section. It’s great!

I love modern tech but sometimes a little book set with dates/days and a pen is all I need!

Schedules & drafting… is another new habit. Take this journal. Draft #1 was started last Saturday. And then I set a scheduled date/time for the actual posting so unless I need to anything last minute I can go do something else – like finish that book…

Besides gardening (good for clearing the mind and stretches those unused muscles writers get: anything below the shoulders…) I did an email clear-out. I hate the task more than cleaning the bathroom (honestly).

There are ones to delete straight off = easy.

Ones to read for that tiny snippet of useful info, half-way down, which you then have to ‘keep’ somewhere… I save the email then wonder why, and read it all until I go ‘ah yes, that bit!’ oh well I better save this and … on it goes..

The need action soon kind that always end up not getting actioned anytime this side of the century 😦

Some things never change whether you work in an office, on a building-site or from home…

Bonus though! my eBook is nearly, almost done… I think. Perhaps a bit more editing? Oh I need to tweak that sixth story and alter the tense and…back to the grindstone…

Bye! til next week (when that ruddy book better be done)

Lizzie HW 🙂