Saturday, April 30, 2011

Professional Editing Is A Must!





Lynn O'Dell of Red Adept Reviews has now ventured into editing!  Here she is to tell us all about it...

We know a lot about your reviewing side but what about your editing side.  How did all that come about?
I think I have always wanted to be an editor. When I began reviewing, I would be most irritated with those books I read that had terrific story lines, but poor editing, causing me to have to lower the star rating.
I soon realized that part of the problem was a lack of inexpensive editing services available. I knew that I could edit for a lower fee than most, as I am an extremely fast reader.
Also, it was my dream job. When I started editing, my boyfriend commented that people were paying me for doing something I loved. He said, “That would be like someone paying me to sit around and drink beer all day.“ 
How important is it to have a book professionally edited?
It is extremely important. Nothing can take the place of a good editor. Beta readers are nice, but they don’t catch every grammatical issue. Friends and family will usually not be as honest as they could be in a misguided effort to not hurt the author’s feelings.
How long does it take you to do an edit normally?
It varies from book to book, depending on the error rate. I can edit anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 words per day.
Your editing fee is very low, how can you afford to eat? :)
Well, for one thing, I live with my boyfriend. Also, currently, my prices are very low in order to build my portfolio. I have raised them a miniscule amount, and I do expect to raise them a little more around the end of the year. However, I hope to always keep my prices ‘below the norm’ to ensure that Indie authors can afford editing.
Many authors don't know when to stop tweaking their book and get it out to an editor and beta readers?  Any advice?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of experience with that end of the process. I have many clients who send their books to beta readers prior to editing and some that engage betas after the editing process, but most consider editing to be in place of beta readers. With so many Indies publishing these days, it’s difficult to find beta readers.
Mostly, I think it is up to the author to decide when their manuscript is ready for an editor. I have had to turn a couple of projects down as they simply weren’t ready. However, I did offer them some commentary and advice, so hopefully it was not a bad experience, but a learning situation.
Do you prefer reviewing or editing work?
I prefer editing by far. With reviewing, I simply have to report problems and errors. With editing, I get to assist the author in fixing the problems.
What are your favorite genres?
That answer changes all the time. I am finding that I enjoy books across almost all genres. The more I am exposed to different genres, the larger my list of “favorites” becomes, to the point that I really have no favorite.
Any other contests coming up?
I have a Scavenger Hunt Contest running currently. I do hope to have many more in the future. Fortunately, ad sales continue to support these.
Any advice to new Indie writers?
If you are working on a book, schedule time with an editor long before you complete it. Many editors are booked months in advance, including myself. You wouldn’t call a carpenter and expect them to come build an addition to your house the next day, would you? Treat requesting an edit of your novel the same way.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
My editing services offer an additional perk that many freelance editors don’t. I have a proofreader, Jim Chambers, on my staff. Having a book read by a second set of eyes to catch those little errors that crop up during the editing process is invaluable. Jim is excellent at this. Also, he feels the same way I do regarding keeping prices low so that every Indie can afford editing.


Thanks Lynn, best of luck!
Patricia


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview With Zoe Winters - Paranormal Romance Author



Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance.
Zoe’s goal as a writer: “I want to write a book that makes you almost pee your pants because you don’t want to put it down long enough to go to the bathroom. I want to write a book that you miss meals for. I want to write a book you miss bathing for. I want to grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page, where you crumble to the floor in a blissful heap, ask for a cigarette, and say: “Damn, was it good for you too,” then tell 300 of your closest friends about it on Twitter.”

Interview:



Please tell us about your latest book Save My Soul.

I hate to do copy/paste but the best way to sum it up is the back cover copy, since that's the "best" I could ever figure out how to describe it. :)
All he’s asking for is her soul.
After buying the antebellum home she’s fantasized about since childhood, Anna Worthington discovers Luc, a dangerously seductive incubus who has been trapped in the house by a fifty-year-old curse. To rid herself of her problem house guest she’ll call on a priest, gypsies, ghost hunters, and the coven of witches from lust bunny hell. All she has to do is resist him long enough to break the spell so they can go their separate ways. If she doesn’t, she could die. And that would be the best case scenario.

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

Oddly this may be the only book I can say: "Here's where the idea came from" because mainly books are a smattering of a bunch of different random things running around in my head like stoned circus clowns. I was driving in the historic part of town and was looking at this old house and most of the plot fell into my head. Truly the creepiest way I ever got an idea. I have no idea what else was percolating in my brain to make that all come together. I was just driving, trying to come up with something to write for NanoWrimo (national novel writing month) that year, and saw the house, and there it was. Or most of it anyway. Some of the cooler stuff came to me later in the planning stages. (Like the twist at the end. I resisted the twist forever!)

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real people you know?

Yes and yes. My characters are totally made up, but I think every author in some way borrows from people they've been around and observed. But we mix it up so nobody can get mad at us. My husband says some of my villains sound suspiciously like him, especially Cain. He should be flattered though, Cain is my favorite, and he gets his own book later. :)

I loved your ‘Save My Soul’ book trailer.  Do you have plans to make more for your other books?


Yep. Right now I plan to do book trailers for all the books in the series (except Blood Lust, since I don't want to back track). They're a lot of fun, and I think can help get fans excited about the book.

Do you have a writing process?  If so can you please describe it?


I sit down and type stuff.  Not very sexy, I know. ;)
Did you hire a professional editor or use any beta readers?
Both. I use a pro editor and have several beta readers/critique partners.
Please tell us about the book you are currently working on.

Right now I'm deep into worldbuilding and planning for books  3 and 4 of the series. I'd like to get them both ready so I can release them close to around the same time. Maybe two weeks apart. It means a slightly longer wait for the next book, but double reward and almost instant gratification for the fourth!

Your book covers are fantastic, who designed them?
Thank you! My cover artist is the fabulous Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Design Inc. People can find her at: www.rldprint.com

Any ideas for future work you want to share?

Well, I'm pretty secretive about what I'm working on in the earlier stages but, I will say that book 3 features an agoraphobic witch named Fiona and a panther shifter named Z. Jane, Cole, and Cain will all make important appearances in the book. I'll also be introducing my heaven dimension and angels in this book. And book 4 is Cain and Tam's book. I'm fascinated by their story and can't wait to share it. After that, things get weird. But that's all I can say. :)

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write a lot and read a lot. Not very original, but pretty much the most important thing you can do. Also, ignore as much Internet drama as possible. I was super happy when I wrote before I started interacting with writers online. It's not that writers are bad, it's just that they are VERY passionate and opinionated and have a way with words. This sometimes leads to more online drama than you want and it can easily get overwhelming. The writer friends I have are like gold to me, but... there are always going to be those you don't click with so it can be refreshing to just go into your bat cave and get away from it. The more you can shut that out, the happier you'll probably be. At least that's true for me. 
Anything else you’d like to talk about?

If it's all right, I'd like to give my site information and maybe share the book trailer for Save My Soul with those who haven't yet seen it. 
Twitter: @zoewinters
Blog: http://zoewinters.wordpress.com (buy links for Save My Soul are at the top of my blog.)
Thanks for having me!


Thanks so much Zoe and best of luck!
Patricia
:)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

KindleProcessor - Fast And Easy Kindle Conversions


May I introduce Brian Kittrell, fabulous author and inventor of the Kindle Processor...

Thanks for contacting me, Patricia, and thank you for your interest in the Kindle Processor project. It's been in development since November, 2010, when my first book came out. A few people complained about the formatting of the book, and I went back and found out that none of my formatting from my word processor "stuck". So, my book didn't have indents, spacing, or really anything to make it easy to read. Thus, Kindle Processor was born in its earliest form, a few simple lines of code to go through my book's body and format it to read better on the Kindle.


Q: Can you tell us about KindleProcessor?

A: Sure. KindleProcessor is a tool that takes the body of a book and formats it for the Kindle in HTML with CSS styles. Basically, a Kindle is nothing more than a portable web page viewer, so the books distributed for it need to be optimized like a web page would. KindleProcessor goes through the file, adds indents, centers chapter headers, and so forth. I've been adding and tweaking features as time has gone along, and I have a whole new phase of the project in mind. I'll discuss that a little later here.


Q: Where did the idea for it come from?

A: As I mentioned before, the idea came about from my own personal needs of having my books formatted properly. I didn't want to go through and code the thing myself from start to finish, so I started writing a little bit of code. That little bit of code is now several hundred lines long to account for all the extra options and preferences that I had for it. As time went along, I saw lots of other people having problems getting their own books formatted properly. Even people who had software designed for this specific process were experiencing difficulties. So, I decided to make it available for public use.


Q: How can it be so cheap?

A: Originally, I was charging $0.35 (35 cents US) for the processor and unlimited support while using it. Unfortunately, I discovered that PayPal was taking the entire amount in processing fees after the second person used it. So, I had to up it a bit. I could easily charge much more for the service, and I've actually been advised to increase my prices by people who have used the service. If that's not satisfaction, I don't know what is!

But, back to the question at hand. It's cheap because I choose for it to be cheap. Some of the money from the $0.99 fee helps support the server equipment to host the tool online, and part of it goes toward securing unlimited support from yours truly. Yeah, it usually takes me about 30 minutes to 1 hour to fix a book if something went wrong, and I know that most people wouldn't accept mere pennies to offer support; however, I enjoy offering the service to people and helping them. So, I only charge what I think is necessary to keep the service going. I'm an author, too, and I know how expensive really everything is for publishing.


Q: How long does it take to format an ebook?

A: The average promised turnaround is 10 minutes, but just about everyone has gotten their book back in under 3 minutes. Once you upload the book, it is added to the queue for processing. Since this is a relatively new service, there aren't going to be many in front of you at any particular time. So long as the processor succeeds, it's done in no time at all.

If you have to utilize support because something went wrong, I usually get it processed and back to you the same day.


Q: Can you convert an ebook to any other formats with this?

A: Not yet, but it's coming. Plans for Phase II are being drawn as we speak. The plan is to convert the processor into an ePub format compiler. The reason this is good is because both Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble's PubIt! service accept ePubs for distribution. That would mean you could pay once and receive one file that was properly formatted for both services, and it would include the book's cover, proper formatting, and a table of contents.

Phase III of the project is moving the service to be free for users with advertisements supporting the server costs, and a premium option for those who want the highest priority for their books. The premium service would give authors the ability to be placed in a separate premium queue so their books are processed almost immediately. (in under 10 minutes every single time.)


Q: Are there any other products like this on the market?

A: Yes and no. There are plenty of other products that will turn your manuscript into an eBook, and they vary in cost. Some are free, of course, and a Google search will bring up several options. I don't know of any others that cost $0.99 that come with unlimited support, though.


Q: Do you have any other projects in the works?

A: Of course, there's Phase II and Phase III of Kindle Processor that I'm working on. Of course, I am a writer, too, so I write and publish my own books as time goes along. Those are much more time consuming than working on KindleProcessor, and they demand the highest level of attention. I always find it funny how writing hundreds of lines of code is so different from writing a book; the software will tell you when something's wrong rather quickly, but it takes several people hundreds of hours to find all the errors in a book, and there are usually still some errors when you go to press. Ah, the curses.


Q: What else would you like to tell us about yourself?

A: I'm just a guy who tells stories and writes programs, really. I'm content to live out my days and design little things like KindleProcessor or my books. As long as there are people out there enjoying my little contributions, I will keep making them.

Thanks for the opportunity. I always enjoy interviews and publicity stuff. It's so much more interesting and engaging to me than simply putting up advertising, so I welcome these opportunities. I have been writing books for about 7 months so far, and my book publishing website is http://www.latenitebooks.com. My stories are available just about everywhere books are sold online.


Thanks so much Brian!  
Patricia

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview With Author Kait Nolan



I love your book covers, especially on ‘Blindsight’, did you design them?  Where did you get them done?
Oh heavens, no.  I don’t have that kind of skill with graphic design.  My cover artist is the fabulous Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Designs.  She’s incredibly talented and manages to take the often incoherent description from the authors and turn it into awesomeness.  She’s very reasonably priced and absolutely worth every penny.  Professional cover art is the one area that I absolutely DO NOT believe in skimping on to try and to DIY. A good, professional cover is worth its weight in gold. 
Can you tell us what your new book, Red, is about?
Red is a paranormal YA novel outside my Mirus series. 
Elodie Rose has a secret.  Any day, she’s going to turn into a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. Living on borrowed time, she can’t deal with brooding bad boy Sawyer, who’s named himself her protector.  But she doesn’t just have the curse and an unwanted bodyguard to contend with.  Someone knows what she is and is determined to exterminate her family line.  Will she survive this madman?  And if she does, will she be the first to survive the curse?
I see that you have ‘Forsaken in Shadow’ available as an audio book.  Could you please tell us where you can get this done or describe the process.  Do they sell well?
I went through Perfect Voices, which is a fantastic company geared toward affordable audio book production.  They have several tiers of pricing available, depending on your budget and the ability to get your audiobook into several distribution channels that you, on your own, simply can’t. My experience with them was fabulous and positive, and I was thrilled with the final product.
Have you done or are you involved in legacy/traditional publishing?  If not, can you tell us why you choose the indie way?
I have not been traditionally published as yet.  I had always expected to go that route, as for years it was the only alternative.  When I wrote Forsaken By Shadow, I intended it use it to start building a following for myself and the series I intended to pitch to New York. Then self publishing exploded and suddenly it was a realistic means to make a living.  That’s all I ever wanted to do.  To be able to make a living and quit my two evil day jobs.  So I threw myself into building my platform (it’s never too early) and writing more.  The great irony was that right when I’d absolutely contented myself with the indie track, I was offered representation by the awesome Laurie McLean, an agent with Larsen-Pomada in San Francisco.  She’s very supportive of my self publishing efforts, and we’re going to be pioneering a new frontier…making a living via a combination of traditional and indie publishing. 
A Round Of Words in 80 Days looks inspiring.  How did all that come about?
I have an addiction to writing challenges, but most of them out there are impractical.  They expect you to check out of your life for two weeks or a month or whatever.  You’re supposed to spew words willy nilly at an incredible rate and put the book first.  That last part is the only thing they get right.  The problem with this scenario is that the point should not be to write a book.  The point is to BE A WRITER.  You need to establish good writing habits to put the writing first all year.  So instead of taking on a challenge to check out of life for a month, I wanted a writing challenge that recognizes that we all HAVE a life, and in order to be professional writers, we must find a way to make the writing a perpetual PART of that life. Establish HABITS, make it NORMAL.  And if Life Happens (as it is wont to do), you simply adjust your goals.  No beating yourself up, no feeling like a failure, just steady progress.  That’s what ROW80 is all about. 
Many writers have a difficult time in the beginning trying to decide what their genre is, do you think that it’s necessary to concentrate on just one or is it ok to have a few?
In the traditional world, genre is a huge part of branding.  Stephen King is synonymous with horror.  Nora Roberts with romance.  And while in the long run, it is great to be able to be counted on for a particular kind of read, I think one of the great things about the indie track is that it gives you more freedom to explore your options.  If you’re interested in several genres, go ahead and explore them.  You never know what’s going to click with readers.  I think the really important thing is to KNOW the rules and conventions of all your genres and deliver a good, solid, well-edited, well-written read.  Readers are more intelligent than they are often given credit for.  As long as you’re not crossing between two serious extremes like erotica and children’s fiction, I think you’re fine doing it all under one name. 
Any advice you can give for people just starting out?
·         Read as many books on craft as you can get your hands on.  I highly recommend Larry Brooks’ Story    Engineering and Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. 
·         Read as many books, period, as you can.  From the good ones, analyze them to figure out what makes them work.  For the bad ones, figure out why they suck.
·         Never underestimate the power of editing.  Get as many eyes on your work as possible to find the errors and fix them before you put your work out.
·         It’s never too early to start building your platform.   Check out Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone: A Writers Guide To Social Media.
·         Serve the work.  Put it first, take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it’s intended and figure out what will truly improve the story and make it sing.
·         Make friends.  Find a good, supportive crit partner who will tell you the truth, not just stroke your ego.  Check out Crit Partner Match
·         Remember that, traditional or indie, publishing is a long haul game.  Overnight success is a myth (no matter what rumors you may have heard).  A platform and reputation take time to build, so just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do something toward your dream every day.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
--Ray Bradbury
"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." Gloria Steinem 

Thanks so much Kait.  Best of luck to you in your career!
Patricia

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Indie Writers Zone



The Indie Writers Zone has been created to help the independent author with all the must have tools to facilitate a fabulous indie writing career.  All the stuff you need will be here plus advice from those who have bravely gone out into the unknown ahead of you.  From writing, formatting, editing and publishing info to author interviews and book reviews, together we will have a wild ride.  Onwards my friends...