Out Of Control

Relinquishing creative control can feel like the end of the world. One cannot simply do everything and have a successful book launch.

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  • Let your editor edit. You’re paying them to do so. Give them space. Let them work. And if they don’t meet their deadline, let ’em have it. All hell will break loose. Be easy on your editor who’s focusing on the substantive editing. They need to pick apart your story and ask questions. Don’t flip out on them. Take a chill pill.
  • Unless you’re designing your own cover, you’ll also need to take a step back and tell yourself: “I’m not the expert.” Give the designer what they need, info-wise. Maybe a little more. Be realistic in your feedback and don’t get irrationally angry if they don’t follow your original request. They may have a marketing tactic or two behind their reasons why. Just ask.
  • If you’ve hired PR to help with your marketing, then you need to lay out your terms and conditions to a degree. Once again, you’re paying this person to do a job for you. They’re the expert. Not you! They will treat your upcoming work with TLC and sketch out a marketing plan tailored to a genre and audience. If they don’t, something isn’t being done right. Ensue virtual yelling.

Think of this time away from your work as a vacation. Go to the beach, go for a hike. Drink a nice, cold pina colada. And when you’re notified from any of the people you’ve hired about your book…

Panic.

Downsizing Your Writing

Inspired solely on the act of decluttering a home, we’re talking about a part of editing some people dread: downsizing the finished product.

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There is a such thing as writing too much. Spending an excessive amount of your time world-building all at once, having long conversations between characters to reveal information, or describing your characters in great physical detail and not focusing on the plot. These are examples! There can be all kinds of details you may be able to omit!

If you find yourself growing insecure or anxious about your ability to write effectively for an audience, you may want to begin the downsizing process.

Those moments too large (or too long)…revisit them. Break it down and see what can be taken out. What’s important to your writing is showing your reader what’s going on around your character or how your character(s) perceive the world – not telling your reader. They won’t feel it.

Small details may be important to hold onto so save them in a note on the side. They might be able to be woven into the narrative in a flowing manner.

Try to set a time frame in which you’ll work on this form of editing. And if you have to – do it more than once. You’ll realize how a whole paragraph may only needed to be one sentence.

Everyone Is…

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…DIFFERENT.

There. We said it.

We thought it was about time it was said.

You can scroll through the blogs, the forums, the advice columns…but always remember, you’re different than the person posting online. Your creative experience and beyond is your experience alone. Two people will not share the exact process…similarities, sure, but not replicated.

So, take any writing or publishing experience stories as a grain of salt in the big pot of publishing stew!

Proof It Once, Proof It Twice…

…Third times a charm! Right? Right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to editing and proofreading your novel. If you’re trying to save money and doing everything by yourself is your only option, we want to be there for you.

Meaning, we’re going to give you some advice.


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  1. Take some time away. We mean it. You may not be able to do a vacation getaway from your writing, but you could leave the room. That’s like a vacation, right? Leave your writing domain for an extended period of time and take a breather. You deserve it! And plus…if you jump into proofing and editing immediately, you’ll end up critiquing yourself as a writer more so than edit your actual book.
  2. Figure out what you want the process to be likeWhile you’re away from your writing space would be the best time to do this! Mapping out your editing goals will help you focus on what’s important and needs to be done. Don’t let your mind wander!
  3. Sit down.
  4. Make sure you’re reading your book as a strangerAnother important part of taking a break is coming back with a new, fresh perspective. With healthy distractions, you’ll be able to forget (for the most part) what your book was like and when you start to re-read, you’ll think…”What did the author say?…Oh wait, that’s me.” You’ll notice details differently, too.
  5. Get into the reading groove. Maybe you’ll read very slowly, maybe you’ll read it aloud to yourself (or force someone to read it for you…ALEXA.)
  6. Pace in your space because it becomes too much.
  7. Don’t worry! We always see writers attempting to word particular things differently. Don’t worry about that. Sometimes…you just have to use the word ‘said.’ There’s no reason to get fancy. Focus on other bits, not that.

Letting Characters Write Themselves

Writing is an experience which changes from person-to-person. Some are very straightforward: outline the work, write as they’ve planned, and stick to what they initially imagined. Others…this one is for you…let the writing take over. Some may let the characters do the writing for them. Even with an outline to give an overview of what’s to come, sometimes a character’s personality or background won’t allow what’s been planned to happen the way the writer may want. (And we don’t recommend forcing it!)

The character may become the author of their own story – you’re only the vessel!

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If you’re feeling as though your story is straying away from the original plan, don’t worry – this may come with purpose.

During the editing process, make sure everything links together. Even if your character takes the wheel and steers you in a new direction doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always going to be right! Nervous about taking the leap? Duplicate the document, re-read each chapter as it’s written, refer back to your notes and put your brain to work!

Writing doesn’t have to be a cut-dry part of your life; your characters have a story you’re destined to tell, so let them help you tell it.

A Brief Guide to Shaping the Next Generation

What lesson do you think kids (we’re talking teens, tweens, and drama machines) these days need subconsciously taught to them? Is it something you remember neglecting when you were a little one yourself and regret wholeheartedly? Or maybe it’s something you were never taught! Writing a YA novel can open a door in a young adult’s mind which will start them on the road to success or down a path of self discovery.

One thing to remember in writing a story for a younger audience is you want to tap into their emotions. This is a time in one’s life where they’re channeling all sorts of feelings: some old, some new. They’re trying to sort things out and maybe, just maybe, your book can assist them along the way.

You know what else teenagers are trying to sort through? The latest trends. You don’t have to be a genius to know this one. You were a teen once, right? Remember how you wanted to go and grab the most popular pair of shoes or learn every word to the number one hit on the radio so you could scream along with your friends and not feel like an outcast? Utilize teen culture to cultivate your world, your characters, and your readers. Don’t rely on trends too heavily though – it’ll make for a bad YA novel. Mainly because you’ll hear in the back of your head, “Mooooooooom!/Daaaaaad!” in a whiny tone to stop trying to be cool. You want to be able to speak to your audience, eye-to-eye, and connect with them.

Speaking of an audience, know who you’re targeting! You should that for any book before you start writing but it’s easy to write a book about young adults rather than for young adults – catch my drift? For example, Stephen King’s IT is about young adults, tweens, whatever…but it’s written for an adult audience. Don’t aim for adults: know how your audience talks (don’t go crazy with slang either, it’s not that important), what they like, what issues they may encounter. You want to be able to relate, not have your reader feel like you’re talking about them to another adult right in front of them.

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Oh, and stereotypes. Tropes. Get rid of them. Or if you’re going to use them, please make the idea original. Please. The future leaders of the world are begging you to.

Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

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Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

Save or Delete?

Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?

Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?

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Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.

Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.

Real Endings Need Love Too!

real boy.gifWe’re not saying there are fake endings floating around in the writing world but what we are trying to say is realism is a wonderful way to end a book. Seriously! To remind your reader their head shouldn’t be in the clouds will have them feeling a lot.

Take a moment to think about a not-so-happy ending you read and stuck with you. There’s a reason why you remember it…it’s memorable due to being different than all the rest. We also want to mention: these endings don’t have to be sad, necessarily. Just real.

Sometimes people like the chaos and fire-burning-everywhere ending to a book they’re invested in. Or the cookie-cutter romantic, hero saves everyone at the end of the day. It’s about preference.

Or shock value.

You choose.

Age of Escapism

escape.gifWith the end of year in sight, we tend to highlight expected sales trends of the upcoming year. We’ve seen high sales in politically-driven pieces, success behind female leads, and diversity taking the reigns.

Say hello to our oldest and dearest friend, Escapism. Too dark? Fear not, we mean well with this. Listen here: escapism isn’t a new concept. It’s been around forever. Since entertainment conception came to fruition, to be exactly. It’s a drive for many to pick up books and escape to another world, where chaos can be mended.

To say the least, the consumption of books may rise when we think about what’s going on whenever we turn the news on. With this chaotic day and age, there may be an interest in any genre, really. As long as there is provided escape to a new world.

Help provide the escape for potential readers. Provide the bridge between their reality and your fictional world. Get to writing.