Almost There: Edit, Polish, Format, Publish

Yep.  The big edits are now done.

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I’m getting feedback from my editor on it, and I should have the beta readers copy off to my team by the 21st.  Not bad if you think about it.  Only 2 weeks later than I hoped.  So for Book 3, I will know to budget about 1 chapter a day.  So I should start editing that in December at the latest.

I will say that I had a very painful time with doing the edits.  So many chapters needed serious work.  Reading outloud to yourself is time consuming and often just tough.

So what is my process before beta release?

Incorporate the changes from the editor,  panic and scream about it all.
Use a text reader to listen to the book, catching any minor corrections that come up.
Format.
Send.

What comes after?

While the beta readers are doing their thing, I’ll be trying to finalize the title and contacting the cover artist and scheduling him in.  I honestly still don’t know what I want for either.  This happened on the first book too.  Not till the last month did I have the title, or the right scene picked for the cover.  Hope the artist is still available.

And affordable.

I already know what I want to do for book 3′ and 5’s cover.  LOL

Like to give another thank you for my team of Alpha Readers, you were a great help!  Welcome aboard to all Beta Readers (I still have a spot or two left I can bring in, so… contact me if… y’know… you want in.

So there you go.  A quick little update to keep you informed.

And only 2 weeks behind ideal release?  Hey!  I like this!

I see no reason why it won’t be available for…

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Busy Bee. That R Me.

July has been kinda crazed in many ways for me.  Hence why so few posts.  Books 2 and 3 are done.  I just finished the Story Grid edit of Book 2 yesterday, and the week before that, I was at the Realm Makers Consortium 2018 Conference for 5 days.

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A blast was had, and I learned I neither suck at writing, and I have so much more to learn.  Seriously, the classes were phenomenal (with one exception that for a Christian Speculative Fiction Conference was a seriously sour note… but easy to forgive.  I keep thinking of the Niles and Frasier Crane definition of a perfect meal, where everything is perfect, except for one small flaw to pick at for the rest of the evening.

I will be going back, barring the apocalypse or some other minor but inconvenient tribulation.  :cP

No I don’t have pictures.  I don’t like pictures of myself.  I look like a couch with a goatee and an arm brace.  Who needs that kinda pressure?

That’s been July.  Busy editing, learning and generally finding things to fix in my book.  Hoo boy, it’s going to be an interesting edit.  I’m now scheduling two more passes through the book on my own where I do an out loud read through as well as another pass to get it looking nice and polished before I send it over to my editor.

My editor and I had dinner last night, and we talked about what scene to use for the cover.  Originally I wanted to do a triptych for the next three books, but alas, I do not think it’s going to be.  So I’m going to just be happy that I found a scene that portrays Brother Finn and Bergamot I like.  The other four scenes I seriously considered just all had fundamental flaws for how to portray the book best.  Also, you didn’t get Brother Finn like on the ALRDW cover.  I probably should contract the artist soon, if this is going to be a November release.  Yeah, it’s looking like that’s possible.

Still don’t have a title though.  Just the working title, which is going bubye.  Need something more fitting for the aesthetic.  I may wait till my Beta Readers get back to me.

Ohh!  That reminds me!  Beta Readers!  I’m going to put out an open offer for some people to get involved in the beta reading process.

What does this mean?

Ideally I would like to get between 10 and 20 beta readers.  I know that seems like a lot for some authors, but well, I like getting lots of feedback to consider.  I am writing something I want, but it also needs to satisfy you readers.

It will be for the month of September with a hard deadline of probably the last week of the month.  The date is not settled on yet.  I’m going to be a bit more strict this book, but I would love to get some of my fans involved.  I will also consider creating a Discord channel for us to be able to discuss the book.  Or perhaps we can set up a discussion forum on the blog here, or through Minds.com.  Again, haven’t decided but that will firm up, depending on participation from you guys.

Of course that means you will be rewarded with a free Ebook for your participation if you get in and provide the feedback I need once the book releases.

As a consequence of the conference (say that 3 times fast), I will not be doing a pre-order.  I found out Amazon changed their algorithm and it now screws over rankings for those who do pre-orders.  So if I do, it’s going to be less than 5 days if I do it at all.  So thank Amazon everybody.  Speaking of which, I’m probably going to go Amazon Exclusive for these next three books and see how that improves or hurts my sales.  See what Kindle Unlimited will do for me.

Lastly, I have a hardcover here that I am wondering what to do with.  It was supposed to go with me to Realm Makers, but showed up a few hours after I had to leave.  That means I have no current plans with it but the ideas are simmering.  I’m sure there are people out there who would like an autographed copy of the book.  But what to do for a contest for it?  I was thinking about fan art.  Be a shame to throw a contest and nobody came.  So if you like the idea, best let me know.  Something fun for a run up to Book 2’s release.  So, thoughts?  talk to me now for this is the time.

Well, that’s all for now.  The plan is:
August: editing
September: Beta Read
October: More editing, cover and formatting
November: Final polish and release (Late Nov publish date most likely)

Repeat process for an April Release of Book 3.

Repeat process for a November/December release of Book 4 (if all goes according to plan).

So there you have it.  Hope you like it.  Let me know what you think!

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Experiencing My Work Anew

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Over the last month or so, I’ve been doing a final polish of my book before I put it out to print.  I was sad to find so many errors in it that I missed on the previous 7 edits, but I blame myself for I did not do the one thing I should have: Read the book out loud to myself.

Well, now that I have, it has been a very different experience for me.  I was given a chance to experience the work from a more detached eye, and see some things that I was unable to before.  It’s been a very nice blessing.

That said, I am happy the job is done, and if all goes according to plan, the Trade paperback will be available on Amazon in a week or so.

Before it goes out, though, the changes will be uploaded to Amazon, and according to their technical notes, you should all be getting update notifications.  Please take the time to upload them.  They’re supposed to be free, so you have nothing to lose there.

What I found interesting as I edited that I was able to experience the characters more honestly I think.  I didn’t have all the internal chatter in my head, and I could see more clearly ways to restate scenes that might have been clunky before.  The content has not changed, but the delivery is far better… except for one scene.

Yes, one scene was decidedly lacking oomph.  It had been weak from the start, and I didn’t know how to deal with it, till a suggestion was given, and I started rearranging sentences to try and get my meaning across clearer.  Then one paragraph became two, then three… and a whole new level of hard fought meaning revealed itself.  I went back over it, and made sure it made sense and held up… and got excited.  I realized that this scene now set the stage better of what was to follow, and made a much deeper impact.

I cannot wait to share these changes with you, and get the book in print.

But, not to fear, Book 2 will now start moving forward again, after I reconnect with it more.  I will be doing a partial edit to reconnect with the characters and then hope to get much of this done.  I’m setting a personal goal for Memorial Day Weekend, just like ALRDW and the first draft of Book 3.  You did remember, Book 3 was already written?  Well the first draft is, and it will be heavily edited, but, won’t be as hard as Book 1.  I’ve learned some tricks and lessons.

Now I can play Guild Wars 2 with less guilt.

Heavy Lifting and Other Trials

Lifting heavy physical objects is easier.  You can always put them down.

Lifting heavy mental objects is a lot stickier, and often you don’t know how or cannot put them down when you want.

I have been working on my 4th then 5th edit of my manuscript.  I have a wonderful new title, a book blurb, an improved map, and thanks to absolutely incredible work by my aunt Jane who turned the full force of her professional teaching experience on the manuscript a mechanically cleaner, smoother, more glossy copy than I ever had before.

All this to set up for a professional editor.

So now the terrifying step of finding a pro to tear into my work again.  I have been so focused on this product, I am sick of seeing it.  I love it, but dammit, get off me!  It’s just like when my lovable doodlebug wanted to sit on the couch with me and I couldn’t put up with her laying on me anymore.  I love you dog, but you’re too heavy and hot and stinky and drooly.

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I also started a 99designs competition to design a logo for Akiniwazi.  It’s in progress at the moment, but I’ll leave that for another update.  I will say this though, 4 days is too short a time to accept submissions.  Too short by far.

But now, I need to get my mind off of my first book and writing, but I know I can’t because I want to do my next book.  I want to move the story forward, but right now, I’m so bound up, I don’t know how I’m going to pull that off.  So I think I’ll just focus on getting an editor, scheduling it and focus that way for now.  There are so many other things I can be doing that are related to writing.

There it is.  5 drafts in the can.  The beta reads have been absolutely wonderful to go through.  So many things that are done right, but to see my work laid open like it was… wow… I see why some writers dread hearing back from their editors even though, like surgery, it makes you whole again.

X-Post Fact Toast #? 7? Yeah, 7. I think…

Edit 4B is now complete.  It went better than expected, despite some soul crushing realizations.

Words and phrases I use way too much and must DIE be replaced.

  • all
  • also
  • each
  • for the first time
  • just
  • massive
  • now
  • though
  • with

Common misspelling that thankfully I won’t be doing as much anymore.

  • Toward (Amazingly, there is no ‘s’ at the end,  derp.)
  • Whose (Not who’s.  Who taught you inglish?)

 

Now, (see what I did there?) one last structural edit, a quick review and yep… It’s that time… everyone panic!

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Forth Draft Sweep “B” Begins

It has been very humbling to learn I can tell a great story, but suck rocks at grammar!  LOL… well not really lol… unless you mean lol like this:

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Then sure.

That said, I have enjoyed to some extent the editing process, though it may make my eyes want to bleed at times at how many missed commas, passive pronouns and verbs and ugh….  Just… ugh.

Can you tell I’m ambivalent about this process?  I so want it to be done and send to an editor and start focusing on the next book.

But I can see how much stronger it is making the writing so for every time I have this kind of a moment:

 

And I smile because I fixed it, and can that means a better book for y’all.  Hope springs eternal that this draft, and it’s subsequent structural fixes that I must do with it (yeah, I have 2 scenes that need a nice tune up and will increase the drama greatly towards the end) is all for the best.  Now… I NEED TO MAKE MY DEADLINES!!! ARRRRRRRGH!!!!!

 

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SURPRISE EXERPT!

You guys have been so good to me, so congrats, have a surprise excerpt from Chapter 2.  She’s still rough but getting better (There will probably be more polish in the final version but hey, a treat for you guys).  If you need a reminder, you can find the pre-beta first chapter sample here.

Enjoy and comment away.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

from: Brother Finn Arrives

“Mum, Why is Brother Finn here?” Reimar asked once inside their longhouse.

“Do not worry about that, Honeycomb,” she said. “The sun is gone to bed, and that means it is time for you to sleep as well.” Reimar heard something in his mother’s voice. It was almost… yes, something was wrong. Why would that be with a monk? They were going to have Mass, and then back to hunting and scavenging. That meant more apple picking he supposed. Reimar took off his kyrtill, tunic and trousers and put on his nightshirt from his clothes basket. He then climbed up to the low loft where his sister and one of his older brothers slept. His eldest brother Bjorn slept on the other end of the longhouse with his mother and father, farthest from the hearth.

Below, his father came in and dragged his fingers against the loft, tapping the wood in his usual good-night ritual. Reimar, Katrin and Erik scooted to the edge of the little loft and stuck their heads over.

“Ha hah!” Anton said playfully and stood up on his tip toes to give each of them a kiss goodnight, saving the noisiest one for Katrin. She giggled the unique sound of little girls amused by their father.

“Da?” Erik began to ask.

“No,”  Anton said in a voice that brooked no compromise.  “This is not for you,”

“But how-?” His face surprised that he knew what he was going to ask.

“Because I am your father, and I know the minds of curious boys. I promise you, tomorrow you will know more. Be patient till then. For now, you just have to sleep. That should not be so hard.”

“Jah, but I am thirteen! I am old enough to be a man and part of these things,” he protested weakly.

“You are not yet enough of a man to be part of this, Erik. Do not vex me.”

“Yes, Da,” he obeyed.

Reimar and the rest rolled over onto their clover tick mattresses. A few minutes later, Bjorn came in.

“Anton, come. They are waiting,” Anette said after taking the cauldron off the fire, and banked the coals for night.

“Bjorn, stay here,” Anton ordered, hooking a thumb up to the loft where the three younger children pretended to sleep.

“Jah, Father!” Bjorn said with a disappointed sigh.

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Edit #4 begins!… and more.

Oh I am soooooo looking forward to this… but at the same time very nervous.

I got a lot of good advice on Reimarsoga.  Seriously good stuff, and Beta Readers, thank you all.

Thousands of technical issues were caught… yeah, I know it’s over 1500, plus cultural references from one of my experts, and a few questions about the ecclesiastical underpinnings of things that I am mulling over as well.

I can’t wait to start, but I have to wait a little (till after I get home from doing adult/responsible like things, ugh.) And then dig into them.

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Work, work, work, work.

And then there’s the next book which I am really champing at the bit to write.

Thanks to all the feedback, I’m having to push what I had previously written as the second book, back to third book status.  At first I was really grumpy with this, because I really like what I have so far, but after a few conversations with some of the beta readers, I realized I had to put a new book in-between as next in chronological order, which is going to focus on Brother Finn.  Ultimately, it will be a big help for the overall universe, and might work out better in the long run, making it possible for multiple books to be released this year.  Who knows?  Maybe I can go from 2 to 3.  Hah!

At least I know how to speed up the process now.

Anyway, my goal, if I can meet it, is to have the 4th edit done in a week or two, and get it to an editor before the end of the month, and I can start writing forward again.

What’s really amazing is how much anxiety I am having over this all.  I mean I just want to be published so badly but I cannot, dare not afford to put crap out there with a cheap cover.  Gotta do it right if I’m going to do it at all.  In this aspect, it’s been a fight with being patient.  Everything will happen in the right timing I keep telling myself, despite the fact I want it faster than its going.

Le Sigh…

Okay, I gotta shup, go do necessary stuff and get back to edit.

 

The Beta Read Comes to a Close

First and foremost,

Thank you to all my Beta Readers who participated and gave me much needed feedback on my first novel.  If anyone has any questionnaires left out there, I still will gladly accept them if you wish to share your thoughts.

It has been a challenge as the edits came in to look at all my errors laid bare.  I did ask for you to be honest and brutal, and thankfully you all have, just as much as you have been encouraging and supportive.  My ego took some serious hits, but that is good.  Dishonest praise is worse than honest criticism.  The fact that I got lots of both, all done out of love and caring was best of all.

So once again, thank you.

Now, the future looks like the following.

  1. Finish NaNoWriMo.  This has been stumbling thanks to my discovery about derivative works.  I have not been so enthused to finish the project since I cannot publish it.
  2. Plotting the NEW book 2.  Yes, what I have previously written will be bumped to Book 3 in the series, and a whole new Book 2 written.  The goal is to be ready to start writing this when I finish with…
  3. Finish the 4th edit of Reimarsoga.  All those suggestions, edits and conversation come home to roost.  I hope… HOPE I will be done before the end of December because…
  4. Send last edit to professional editor and hire a cover artist.  My true deadline is the 1 year anniversary of me starting to write the first novel.  If I am really fortunate, I will also find a way to pre-order the book.  So, here’s hoping all goes according to plan.  So if you have some Christmas money you saved up for buying a book, get ready for pre-order pitches.  I will announce more where you will be able to purchase your copy as time gets closer.

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