Lesson’s Learned About #Editing & #Publishing #ROW80 Updates

Lesson’s Learned About #Editing & #Publishing #ROW80 Updates

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Some of you were wonderful enough to come to my aid last check in, offering your support and kind advice. Firstly, I must say a huge thank you to all who did. It helped me enormously and is exactly why I adore ROW80. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, last check-in I shared my humiliation when a good buddy of mine pointed out certain chapters of Finding Esta had somehow swapped around. Not only that, but there were typos. This wouldn’t have been so bad. I could always make the necessary changes. Unless of course I’d published that messy MS on Amazon and Smashwords  *cue glass shattering scream!* That’s exactly what I’d done!

For more information on that crisis, and what happened directly afterwards, click here.

Here’s what I learned:

1) Even after you’ve had your MS beta read, edited and proofed, please don’t read through one more time, decide everything is great and publish it straight away. IGNORE DEADLINES! Somehow, incredibly, I not only suffered severe MS-weariness, but also lost all ability to see any of the glaringly obvious errors. How? I don’t know, so I looked it up. Call me a geek if you will, but I need to understand it. Understanding things helps me to remember them. Of course, I couldn’t find anything, not a jot! *So if you know, please leave your knowledge in the comments section for us. Thanks!

2) Be very careful when writing with the otherwise wonderful Scrivener. It somehow moved chapters – I mean it swapped whole chapters around without my knowledge. This must have been after my last re-through too as error-blindness or not, I’d know if my story was reading wrong, even if I missed a few homophones. Be careful! *If you know why this happened and would like to share, or know how to prevent this from EVER happening again, please comment. Thanks!

3) My major demon: Here’s a brain teaser stolen (to use as an example) from HERE. There are many others there to drive you insane.

The blanks in the following sentences will be filled in with three different homonyms (words that are spelled differently but sound alike) to make valid sentences. The dashes indicate the number of letters in the words. Can you fill in the blanks?

1. The cut on his _ _ _ _ won’t _ _ _ _ in time for the race, so _ _ ‘_ _ have to drop out.
2. The man was so upset about being _ _ _ _ that he regularly _ _ _ _ _ _ himself up on the bed and _ _ _ _ _ _ his eyes out.
3. I couldn’t _ _ _ _ _ any of the _ _ _ _ _ _ in the flower shop, because for some strange reason I had 50 _ _ _ _ _ crammed up my nose.
4. A bloodthirsty pirate will wander the _ _ _ _ and essentially _ _ _ _ _ everything he _ _ _ _.

Answer

1. The cut on his HEEL won’t HEAL in time for the race, so HE’LL have to drop out.

2. The man was so upset about being BALD that he regularly BALLED himself up on the bed and BAWLED his eyes out.

3. I couldn’t SENSE any of the SCENTS in the flower shop, because for some strange reason I had 50 CENTS crammed up my nose.

4. A bloodthirsty pirate will wander the SEAS and essentially SEIZE everything he SEES.


4) Cool huh? Well I thought it might help make my point, which is that I couldn’t see similar pesky errors in my MS. I couldn’t even see other words like To? Or rather o as it was written in my MS, because my brain filled in the gaps and hey presto – I had no idea I needed to replace T in order for it to become a whole word. This happened because I performed my final read-through straight after applying the final editor’s suggestions. As it’s been over a months since I last read it, these things stare me insultingly in the face, scoffing, “Okay, so ya got me. And what?” What does this mean?  Wait at least one month between applying edits and final read-through. 

5)  Tips for improving the MS edit:”

1. Keep a list of the most commonly misspelled words by you while editing/writing. Esp if you know you have a tendency to misspell the same words.

2. Avoid using commas to separate two independent phrases. This is comma splicing and is another pain in my bottom!

3. Avoid using the verb to be. This signifies passive voice, which although not always inappropriate, is clunky if used throughout your MS. Try to stick to active voice for a majority of the text. I really have to work at this.

4. Clarity is key, so unless dialogue requires it, avoid over-complicated words. You don’t want readers frowning while they try to follow your story. They may pick up a dictionary and get distracted (unless they’re reading on a Kindle where they can use the online dictionary).

5. Vary sentence length, otherwise it’s just alarmingly boring to read. I’m quite good at this one – I naturally have good rhythm :D

6. Remember a paragraph should discuss only one idea.

7. When possible, let someone else read your work aloud to you, and comment on your work.

8. Scour the MS for basic errors such as spelling mistakes, improper punctuation,  missing letters, letter capitalization, spacing etc. But instead of doing this via a read-through (where you’ll miss things) try doing it from bottom to top of your pages, or attempt to correct each paragraph out of order. This should prevent the brain from filling in the gaps.

*Want to add anything else? Please feel free in the comments section below. Everyone can benefit from any wisdoms you bring to the table on this subject. Editing is a necessary evil in my view. Without it my stories and characters flounder beneath the manure that is illegibility. I can’t have that now can I?

Shah the Writer

I’ve still had no creative time (or the mind-set) to write. I’m not kicking myself though, at least until I’ve sorted all this out. The first draft (of Finding Luna #2 The Supes Series) is still waiting for me (one the dreaded Scrivener). It’s not going anywhere and I don’t want to give it my complete attention. I’ll try to get to it next week.

Shah the Marketing Wizz

I have desisted on all marketing efforts for now. I’m still dreading the awful reviews from anyone who was unlucky enough to read my messy MS. As I said last update, I did ask anyone who received a copy to contact me. I replace it with the newest file. No one contacted me. The one review I have is good? So far so good, so we’ll see. The review copies which went out for the looming book tour (see my side-bar) were replaced, although I’m unsure if those readers had read the original copy first, or not. *Sigh* I told my tour rep to explain to them what happened for me, to offer them the updated file, and to tell them they were no longer required to review it. So I suppose we’ll see. Still pretty gutted about all the wasted opportunities regarding this mess, buy I’m griped enough. Back to the grindstone.

Shah the Publisher

I decided not to bother with getting my latest file re-formatted for Smashwords (I paid for it to be done before and now, of course, it would need doing again). Instead, I looked into the superb suggestion of Ruth, because Draft2Digital do all the formatting for you, free! It’s a beta service, but I’m going to upload there once all the errors are quashed from this MS. I still need a pesky tax code to become exempt from the default 30% US taxes however. Not sure what to do about that apart from knowing I need a W8 form. These guys keep hold of my US earnings until tax kicks in, then continue to do so until I give them my tax forms. Good, because I won’t have to claim it back from the IRS. Bad because I won’t get my money till it’s all processed. Nothing new to many (most) of you of course. *Any pointers on this would be gratefully received, too! :D

Shah the Blogger

Still reading this book. But also this one for review on Friday!

             

I have made all sponsor visits, twice weekly, plus more besides. You’re all doing so well! I’ve spent stupid time on Fiverr (wow, there are deals to be had) and written more tour posts. I need to do more on the blogging side of things. I found a great blogger/author blog in Jade Kerrion. She has written some brilliantly helpful articles on publishing and writing for us all to learn from. Check out her Author’s Journey posts for tips, highlights and links you need to see.

Please click the link to find fabulous #Row80 participants HERE

 

Those questions again:

1) *So if you know, please leave your knowledge in the comments section for us. Thanks!

4) *If you know why this happened and would like to share, or know how to prevent this from EVER happening again, please comment. Thanks!

5) *Want to add anything else (about editing ideas)? Please feel free in the comments section below. Everyone can benefit from any wisdom’s you bring to the table on this subject. Editing is a necessary evil in my view. Without it my stories and characters flounder beneath the manure that is illegibility. I can’t have that now can I?

Shah The Publisher: *Any pointers on this (tax codes and what-not) would be gratefully received, too! :D

 Have a great day. X

Comments

  1. I’m too familiar with all these flaws. The worst part is that it’s very easy to fix one thing and then mess another thing up during edits.

    The Scrivener issue… It’s not so much that the software does it to you. It’s just that one of it’s main features is also one of it’s main flaws. You can move anything at the slightest flick of a mouse. Which means you can move EVERYTHING around at the slightest flick of the mouse too. I’ve found that I have to just skim through a document with arrow keys rather than the mouse and keep my mouse out of the active window when I’m in editing mode.

    Sorry to hear about your first book disasters. I did buy the book and haven’t had a chance to actually read it yet. I’ll leave it up to you how you want to handle the situation,
    Eden Mabee recently posted..Slush in Laptop-landMy Profile

  2. I keep promising that I’ll use Scrivener, and every time I use it I shut it down and say, “forget this!” I hope it stops misbehaving for you.
    John Holton recently posted..It’s that time again! (#ROW80 Round 1 2013)My Profile

    • Hey John. Scrivener is great for so much, I’m not happy to stop using it, despite this error. I’m going to have to be very careful now though. I’m sure it’s not a common issue, so trust me to stumble on it. X

  3. Glad you found my suggestion, useful, Shah! And also glad too see that the desperation is waning. :)

    *Hugs.* Hope things calm down enough for you soon so that you can get back to writing!
    Ruth Nestvold recently posted..Changing your book’s categories (and why you should); plus an updateMy Profile

  4. I’m sorry to hear this, my friend. You know, it’s just so hard to do all that is required by ourselves. I work an 11 to 12 hour shift which sometimes also includes Saturdays. That makes it just so difficult to make sure that everything is perfect when that final button is pushed. Best wishes as you pick up the pieces and move forward. All you can really do is keep moving forward. :) *high-fives and hugs*

    -Jimmy
    James Garcia Jr recently posted..A Disclaimer: Romance?My Profile

  5. Oh Shah, what a mess. I’m so sorry. It sucks. But you’ve weathered the storm and you’re still alive, you’re smarter, and it won’t happen again!
    I’m now very glad I work on my pitiful old HP laptop and my pitiful old 2003 MSWord Office docs. No Scrivener switcheroos for me.
    Lexa Cain recently posted..Celebrating My CPsMy Profile

  6. Even after two editors went through my last novel with a fine tooth comb, a reader wrote to say she’d found a mistake. It happens. She was very nice about it. But it’s still embarrassing.
    joylene recently posted..ASK PZM: May 2013 – Amazon Goodreads 2My Profile

  7. One more reason to continue to use Word! I find it does anything I need. :)

    It’s really hard to see our own errors. And like you said, our brains fill in the words like we meant them to be, so we don’t see the errors. That’s why I’m so happy to have a couple of great beta readers who are also great editors. I’m a pretty good proofreader most of the time (I catch a lot of errors in already published books), but it’s hard to catch my own errors. One of my major problems is when I’m typing a word, but there’s a similarly spelled word that my hands are more used to typing, it types the more common one instead of the one I want it to.

    Oh, I’m happy to report that I got ALL your fill in the blanks, even though I almost missed one of them. LOL

    Good luck with editing and writing, Shah. Don’t let this one thing discourage you so much that you don’t want to write. We all make mistakes and we learn from them. We have to move on. :)

    • Yes, I’ve decided since this post was published to plan and story notes etc on Scrivener, but to write in Word. It’s just so much easier. And I don’t need to worry about the conversion to Kindle etc anymore (one reason I used Scrivener) because D2D do that really well for free. :)

      Glad you enjoyed my little challenge Lauralynn. :D

  8. Hi Shah, and thank you for being a wonderful sponsor and stopping by my blog!

    As regards the tax situation, you might want to check out this post on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog – http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/02/24/non-us-self-publisher-tax-issues-dont-need-to-be-taxing/
    There’s a wealth of information there (be sure to read the comments too) on how non-US citizens can get their tax sorted out as painlessly as possible.

    All the best.

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