Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Six Steps to Maximize Your Relationship with Your Editor

Jessica Klassen is a freelance editor who works with authors to make their manuscripts publication-ready. She believes a good story can do more than entertain: it can enlighten and inspire. To learn more about Jessica’s editing services, visit her website at

So, you’ve hired an editor. You slogged through websites and forums, perused testimonials and samples, and finally settled on someone. And now, the real work can begin. Many first-time authors are unprepared for the vigour of an edit, and can feel overwhelmed or frustrated with the process. So, in order to maximize your relationship with you editor—and thereby improve the final product—consider following these six steps.

1. Be clear about which services you want

Now that you’ve hired someone, it’s time to decide what you want them to do for you. There are several levels of editing a freelancer can perform, and unfortunately, many writers confuse them. While most editors are aware of this lack of understanding among writers, a miscommunication of your desired services can lead to delays and hidden costs. So educate yourself , and think objectively about what your manuscript really needs. In my experience, it is a rare writer who can go without all three stages of editing: structural, stylistic, and copy editing. Asking your editor what services she would suggest is a good way to evaluate what your manuscript needs.

2. Evaluate your finances

After you’ve decided what services your manuscript needs, it’s time to budget for them. Good editors are highly trained, and charge accordingly. Most freelancers are flexible, and willing to accommodate requests for scheduled payments. But, it may be that you’re unable to afford all the services you need at one time. If this happens, be upfront about it. Negotiate. Maybe she’ll bring the price down, maybe she won’t. But, if at all possible, don’t skip the editing steps your manuscript needs. Pay for the services you can afford now, then save up and get the rest done later. Readers notice editorial lapses, and a bad review citing shoddy editing can cost you much more than the price of the edit, in the long run.

3. Establish boundaries

Once you’ve established which services you can afford, it’s time to decide how your edit will proceed. Talk to your editor about how she usually marks up a manuscript, and think about what you’re comfortable with. Most editors work on-screen, usually using MS Word’s track changes feature. But, if you’re a hard core pen-and-paper person, you may be able to convince her to mark up a hard copy manuscript by hand. You will also want to decide whether you want your editor to make changes directly into the text, and track them, or only to make comments and suggestions, and leave the changes up to you. You may want the entire manuscript edited at once, or you may want to review it one chapter at a time. Discuss your preferences with your editor, find out her preferences, and decide together how you’ll proceed.

4. Set a schedule

At this stage, you know how the edit will progress, so it’s time to adopt a tentative schedule. Edits can drag out if there are no deadlines in place to keep both parties on track; you can become trapped in a cycle of endless edits and revisions. So, since you decided how many iterations the edit will progress though during stage three, you can now decide how much time to spend on each one. Discuss this with your editor, and settle on a few deadlines for the important milestones. But remember to budget for setbacks; there always seems to be at least one puzzle that arises to delay a project.

5. Discuss your vision for the manuscript

Before editing begins, tell your editor what you envision for the manuscript. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people skip this step and assume that the editor will be able to surmise their intentions from the manuscript itself, or from a short email. But, if you and your editor are on different wavelengths about what material to emphasize, and what can be eliminated or re-formatted, you could be facing weeks of backtracking when you get the edited manuscript back in your hands. Avoid this by getting together (in person, over the phone, via Skype) and sharing your vision with her.

6. Keep your head

When you receive the marked up manuscript, don’t panic. It can be a shock seeing all that red on your lovingly crafted work. Initially, you may want to write a strongly worded note to your editor, while clicking reject on every change she’s made, but please, resist this urge. Instead, under the Review tab in MS Word, click the drop box that says “Final: Show Markup” and select “Final,” instead. The red will disappear and you’ll see your manuscript the way a reader would. Take the time to read it through in this view, and you may not even notice that the text was modified. Also, read through the notes or explanations your editor may have left in the margins or in an attached letter. If you still disagree with some of the changes, write a note outlining your concerns and reject the corrections she made in error. But, be diplomatic about it. And be prepared for a negotiation: a skilled editor won’t have made changes without good reason.

All of these six steps have one thing in common: communication. Like every successful relationship, an effective author-editor relationship is built on clear communication. So take the time to plan and share with your editor before you begin. You will most likely find the process less frustrating and more productive than your contemporaries who dive in with little preparation, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a corresponding increase in profit from the sale of your book.

*Side note, Jessica is my editor and she is FABULOUS. I wouldn't be where I am with Sundered, Bound and Dauntless without her help. *

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Write A Book Review- Win an iPad. LAST WEEK! (ENDED)

With only a week left, there are ONLY 23 people entered into the contest folks! Those are incredible odds on winning an iPad. Mostly it's that people don't believe it's for real.

This is the real deal!!! I bought the iPad through an auction site, it is brand new, in the box and cellophane and everything!! I got a smoking good price on it which is WHY I decided to use it as a draw prize. :) Now, to the contest!

Entry into the contest is EASY!

For every one of my books you purchase and review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, you get entries.

Here's the breakdown.

Review of Sundered on Amazon gets you 2 Entries

Review of Bound on Amazon gets you 5 Entries

Review of either book on Goodreads gets you 2 Entries per

For every friend you send my way who also reviews at least one book you get 5 entries, to an unlimited number of referrals.

You CAN also buy both books through Smashwords, though for the contest you must review on Amazon.

*Open Internationally*

*Only one 16 GB iPad to be drawn for randomly*

*The contest closes at midnight October 2nd*

*Winner Announced October 15th*

~My "Guard" dogs~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Reviews - How not to be a Jerk

This is a guest blog post by Clive Scarff a freelance writer, and author of several books on golf including “Hit Down Dammit!”, “Swing Issues”, and “Why You Suck at Golf”. He has also written eight screenplays. You can see more about Clive at Amazon and at Twitter: @clivescarff

It is a coincidence I have been asked to write about reviews as today I received my first bad one for my golf instruction book, Hit Down Dammit! The effect? An immediate deceleration in what was an accelerating sales pace. Why? Because, being recent, the negative review sits squarely at the top of the reviews portion of my book’s Amazon sales page. It is the first review a potential buyer sees. And where am I going with this, other than whining? Do not under-estimate the power of a bad review.

Book reviews are not dissimilar to employment references, restaurant word-of-mouth, or even gossip. Ten great things said can be taken with a grain of salt, one bad thing said and everyone sits up and pays attention.
When going to write a review, whether for a fellow author or simply on a book you have read, keep in mind the power you have and consider the objective of your review. Is it to laud, inform, explore, criticize, or damage? There are many ways to constructively criticize - or even fail to ‘celebrate’ - a book without doing undue harm to the author. This can be done while still providing a service to buyers genuinely interested in feedback on a book they are considering spending their hard-earned money on.

The analogy to employment is probably most apt. a former employer can be as helpful to a prospective employer by what they do not say, versus what they do say. Failure to rave about a former employee can get the point across without saying, “Oh my, he was an awful employee - he was in charge of complaints and for the first time we got complaints about the complaints department!”

Now that I have that out of my system, let’s move on to good reviews. First off, as I alluded to earlier, a reader is going to be more sceptical of a good review than a bad review, so good reviews require more information. While “this book sucks” may achieve the objectives of a cruel-minded reviewer, “this is the best book I ever read” is going to be met with more scepticism. It probably was not the best book you ever read, so you are not doing the author any favours by saying it was.

But it was a good book, right? Then say why it was. Was it the characters? The main character? The style of writing? Was it a new and interesting take on its genre? Did it make you laugh? Did it make you cry and short-circuit your kindle? Telling us any of these things helps us make a decision and… shows us you actually read the book! A ravishingly, glowing review that reveals no details of the story whatsoever may lead readers to assume you are just doing the author a favour, in which case, you are not.

I should add two things: do not make your review as long as the book itself, and consider very heavily what you write in the first paragraph. Most prospective buyers will be skimming across several reviews, often only reading the first paragraph to get a general impression. A failure to say anything constructive in the first paragraph will not help the reader, will not help the author, and in the end may be a waste of the kind effort you made in writing the review.

Finally, stars. Stars are the first thing a buyer sees, and are far more arbitrary. Be constructive with your words and generous with your stars. I am not suggesting that if you think a book is a three-star that you give it a five-star rating, but I am suggesting you give it a four. The goal here is to inform people, not to hurt the author or for you to seek revenge if the book fails to meet expectations.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yes, the iPad is real AND YES there Is a CONTEST for it. (ENDED)

Just over the half way mark in my first ever iPad contest and there are only 16 people entered. This is very good for those of you who are wanting an iPad. :)

But for those of you who don't think the iPad is real, (and I've had a few doubters in the crowd) here's a "lovely" picture of me, only moments ago with bed head and bags under my eyes holding the iPad in its sealed box.

(Gack, that is an awful picture!)

Entry into the contest is EASY!

For every one of my books you purchase and review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, you get entries.

Here's the breakdown.

Review of Sundered on Amazon gets you 2 Entries

Review of Bound on Amazon gets you 5 Entries

Review of either book on Goodreads gets you 2 Entries per

For every friend you send my way who also reviews at least one book you get 5 entries, to an unlimited number of referrals.

You CAN also buy both books through Smashwords, though for the contest you must review on Amazon.

*Open Internationally*

*Only one 16 GB iPad to be drawn for randomly*

*The contest closes at midnight October 2nd*

Phew, I hope that shows you that there really is an iPad!(That picture had better be convincing) I think that next time I will find a prize that is not so flashy, unless all of you like the great prize??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bound (Nevermore Trilogy #2) just Released!

I'm so excited that not only is Bound available on Amazon (will soon be on Smashwords too!), but it's out on the deadline day I set for myself. :)

Many thanks to my brilliant team of editors, proof readers and Beta readers. Not to mention Patrica Schmitt, my amazing cover artist!

Here is the link to the AMAZON PAGE.

Thank you for all the support and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cover art and Exerpt for Bound, Nevermore Trilogy Book 2

Forced into helping a ragtag army, Mara must help them train the Nevermores to fight. If she is unable to do so, Sebastian will be killed.
But when the possibility of a cure is discovered, Mara will do anything in her power to get it. But that will mean taking on a mad scientist,a sadistic army General and a new pack of Nevermores.

So what do you think?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Win an iPad :)

Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Write me a review for my debut novel, Sundered, and your name will be put in a draw for a chance to win an iPad.
 Yup, it’s that simple. IN fact, it will be put in twice. 2 Entries.
What, you want more ways to get your name in the draw? Well, if you insist.
For each friend that you refer who writes a review for me, I’ll give YOU an additional 5 entries. This is unlimited, meaning there is no point where you’ve invited too many friends.
Don’t have any friends? Well, I’ve got an answer for that too. Bound, the 2nd book in the series will be out in mid September and if you read it and write a review for it you will get an additional 5 entries.
And if that STILL isn’t enough, write me a review on Goodreads and leave me the link to check it out and I’ll give you another 2 entries.
*Fine print nitty gritty details*
• All reviews must have a verified Amazon purchase on them(Excluding Goodreads reviews). As I won’t be releasing to any other e-book format initially this should be a given. If there isn’t a verification on your review, it will not count towards an entry. Give me the link either in the comment section below OR you can eamil me your links at
• Friends must acknowledge that you are their friend. They can give me your name, email or Twitter handle to note that they were sent my way by you.
• This will be a random draw with only 1 grand prize of an iPad 16GB tablet, brand new in box.
• This contest is open internationally

This contest will run for 1 full month to give you the most opportunity to enter. Closes October 2nd at Midnight and the winner will be announced October 15th.
Happy reading, reviewing and good luck in the contest.
P.S For all of you who are thinking this is bribery, yes, you’re right. This is bribery.