The Torture of Comparison

By Jeanine Englert

Okay, here it goes. I’m going to dive into a pool of discomfort for this month’s blog as it has weighed on my mind and been a talking point with more than one of my writing friends over the last few months: the soul sucking torture of comparison.

If you are above the dregs of comparison, then this may not be the blog for you. If you suffer from comparing your writing, books, sales, career, and any other green eyed monster frailty, you might know exactly what I’m speaking of. As a writer, it’s so hard, I daresay impossible to rid yourself of comparison whether it is with your own books, other books, other writers, or your writing career, but I have found something that has worked to lessen the grip that comparison (and the following downward spiral) has on me this year. Does it work all the time? Absolutely not. Does it work sometimes? Absolutely. Which for me is enough.

When I start anything new, whether it is a writing project, ad, or writing related activity, I give myself a personal goal that I’m working toward. For example, it could be a sales goal for a new book, a number of interactions on a social media post, or number of “want to reads” on a Goodreads Giveaway. It could be as small as getting more link clicks on an ad in a different age demographic. Whatever it is, I make my own personal goal for that, and most importantly, I commit it to paper and write it down somewhere, so I can see it. Usually, it is on a sticky note within eyeshot of my writing desk. Once I set it, I try to forget it until the results of that goal arrive.

While this doesn’t prevent comparison, it helps to anchor me back to my writing goals when it starts, which helps me remember that my journey isn’t someone else’s. It helps me stay in my own lane, most of the time anyway. Because we all know what a soul sucking, horrible feeling it is to compare your sales, reviews, book deals, social media likes, or awards to other writers. Nothing can get me into a darker whole of self-doubt faster. Having a visual goal written down helps to shine a light on my progress, as I find I reach 90% of the goals I set for myself. If my goals were comparison based, I’m not sure I would even be in the double digits. As I’ve heard many times before: someone is always doing better than you and someone is always doing worse. Some people will love your books, while others will give you the dreaded one star review and the longest explanation ever along with it. Setting personal goals will help you remember that being an author is a journey and a personal one.

My critique partner (Thanks, Tanya!) loaned me Becca Syme’s Dear Writer, You Need to Quit, and it could not be a more timely read for me. Wow. I’m only about 100 pages in, but I feel seen, and I’ve found it helpful as it encourages you to question the premise of many of the things you hear about writing and accept as truth. If you are hunting down an “out of the box” craft and/or career book, you may want to give it a read. You may want to also try setting some personal goals for yourself over the summer months to see if they work as well for you as they have for me. And, if you do begin to fall into the green eyed monster of comparison, just know you’re not alone, but also remember someone else’s journey doesn’t matter nearly as much as your own.

This is your writing career, not theirs.

Care to share a personal goal you might set for yourself this summer or your own ways to escape the clutches of comparison? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Jeanine Englert is a double VIVIAN ® FINALIST, Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion Award Winner, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romantic suspense. After years of writing in secret, she joined Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers in 2013 and has been an active member ever since. She writes Scottish Highland historicals and historical romantic suspense novels.

When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved pups, and of course mysteries with other readers on Twitter @JeanineWrites, Facebook, or at her website www.jeaninewrites.com.

Her debut novel, Lovely Digits, released in June of 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing, is a Victorian romantic suspense that won the 2020 Silver Falchion Award for Best Mystery and the 2020 Maggie Award for Best Romantic Suspense. It also won the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award and was named a 2018 Golden Heart ® Finalist for best unpublished romantic suspense. It is currently a double VIVIAN ® FINALIST for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense-mid.

Where you can find me:

Website: https://www.jeaninewrites.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeanineWrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46222432-lovely-digits

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanineWrites

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jeanine-englert?list=about

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeaninewrites/

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When Life Kicks You in the Teeth

What’s that saying? People plan, God laughs?

Four years ago, almost to the day, my life changed forever. I was up early in the morning, preparing to take over a Facebook page I had with a group of authors. My posts, games, and pictures were ready. I was excited and eager to begin.

But fate had other plans.

A sound from the bedroom alerted me something was wrong with my husband. He’d awakened
paralyzed on the left side of his body. I called for an ambulance and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He’d had an ischemic stroke. Totally unexpected.

I spent the next two months sitting by his bed, watching him struggle to retrain cells and muscles to move his leg and his left arm and hand. Thankfully, his mind was not affected, although speech was a bit slurred in the beginning.

But there are chilling elements in this story.

Earlier that month, my husband and I had driven to the state of Washington to begin our summer trip aboard Sea Bear, our 32-foot boat. We planned to cruise in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands. But the boat yard, doing a few minor repairs, had discovered a glitch and the boat would not be ready for two more weeks. We left the car in Seattle and flew home to Las Vegas. If we’d been at anchor in a remote area, or underway at sea when my husband’s stroke happened, we might have had a different outcome.

There is a happy ending. My husband learned to walk again—a bit shaky and with a sturdy cane—but it’s walking none-the-less. His left arm movement is good and he can grip with his hand if something is put in it. But the best part is his speech was fully recovered and his brain activity still remains unaffected. Sadly, our cruising days ended, but we have a good life with lots of memories and we have each other. We are truly blessed.

Lessons in this? Take nothing for granted. Your life can change in an instant. Asleep one minute, in a hospital the next. Live one day at a time and enjoy what that day brings. It might not be what you expected, but you can find small positives in almost every situation.

And tell your loved ones how much you care every day. Don’t wait. They might not be there tomorrow.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 5 Comments

YORKIES AND COMPUTERS by DEANN SMALLWOOD

Have you seen the poster of Garfield, the cat, holding a running chain saw over a computer? He has a look on his face that I have had the last few weeks while trying to get my computer and printer to talk. The caption above Garfield’s head reads: “Compute This”. Oh yeah!

Finally, after days of trying all Google and I know, I called a computer expert. We set up a time for him to come to my house. NO SHOW. I could hear Garfield’s chain saw running and the words compute this, expert, were dancing around in my mind. It’s been another frustrating week I still can’t get my computer and printer to make friends. Guess I’ll have to pack it up and take it to the Geek Squad. No joking, that’s their name and they know what they’re doing. I just hate to be without my computer for a couple weeks-they are that far out.

My Yorkie kids lay on their pillows, worried looks on their faces while mom punches keys, checks out google again, then fumes and mutters under her breath.

But today I’m putting all that aside. My latest book, HEART WHISPERS, will be out this July. I’m finishing the last read for errors then it’s SoulMate’s baby. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the thrill of seeing my books in print. Makes you want to pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming. So if I could give any advice to beginning and hopeful authors it would be to keep at it. Don’t give up. If you are like me, you couldn’t anyhow. The writing gene is there from birth and it won’t be ignored.

Sorry this blog is short but I have to load up the sick computer and take it to the Geek Squad. Hopefully, it can be fixed and not cost bundles. Hopefully, I don’t have to buy a new one. And hopefully, you will enjoy reading HEART WHISPERS as much as I enjoyed writing it. The hero is a very handsome, mind blowing, strong, compassionate, dynamic, did I mention handsome, cardiologist. He is also mourning the loss of his wife two years ago. He needs a beautiful, patient psychologist to. . .well I’ll let you read what transpires.

The Geek Squad doesn’t accept phone calls so keep your fingers crossed for me that they’ll take my ailing computer and release it from the hospital before many weeks go by.

The Yorkies and I wish you summer days of curling up with a good book.

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Buttons

Long before I started writing romance, I was (and still am) an avid romance reader.  I’d like to share some of my favorite elements from romance novels and the reasons why I think they work so well.

Today, I want to talk about buttons (and not just buttons, but also hooks, ribbons, lacings, and other fastenings).  Specifically, I want to talk about the anticipation and tension that an author can create with each careful, deliberate undoing.

Buttons really are the equal opportunity pinnacle of seduction.  They work regardless of gender, social status, and subgenre.  They can be the potent symbol of attraction in a chaste romance, perhaps by one character leaving a single button undone and thus driving the love interest to fervent distraction.  Torn buttons that require a jury-rigged fastening can create a moment of powerful physical awareness in a romantic suspense while also emphasizing the dangers the characters face.  Paranormal shifters undoing buttons are often a sign of deepening trust and intimacy as they reveal their other forms to their love interests.  And, of course, historical romance novels are the reigning champs of seductive fastenings, with a plethora of options for the eagerly debauched.

Most romance readers have their preferred button moments, whether it’s an artful strip tease or a passionate tear.  It’s an easy way to encourage people to wax eloquently about their favorite scenes.  But why do we have such a strong visceral reaction to them?

I believe there are two reasons.  First, the way buttons are dealt with can be an effective symbol for the developing relationship.  A tender, tentative undoing leaves a very different impression than a frenzied bursting.  The former is an expression of trust and building intimacy while the second emphasizes passion and impulsiveness, a letting go of expectations and boundaries.  Buttons allow an author to demonstrate the emotional connection without having to be jarringly explicit.

The second reason that buttons work so well is because they are familiar.  Even in today’s world of T-shirts, almost everyone has experience with buttons.  It’s a part of the romance world that can be easily and safely recreated.  We might never enjoy the real life thrill of a CIA-trained assassin protecting us or a thousand year old vampire sweeping us off our feet, but we can have the satisfaction of undoing our lover’s dress shirt one button at a time between dizzying kisses.

There’s also the element of undercutting formality.  In today’s world, buttons tend to be associated with businesswear and formalwear.  The garments are designed to shift emphasis from the private to the public.  By returning the reader’s attention to the private, the author creates a stronger impact.

This is also one of the reasons why lingerie designs often deliberately echo the garments of the past, using lacings and ribbon fastenings to evoke a sense of the taboo.  By creating an association with unconscious links with a time which is assumed to be more sexually restrictive, the garment increases the tantalizing pleasure of crossing social boundaries.  It also emphasizes the importance of intimate connections by requiring the participants to take more time in donning and removing the clothing.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that romance novels emphasize buttons and other fastenings.  It’s part of the centering of mutual pleasure that makes romance so satisfying.  The intimacy isn’t just to be yada, yada, yadaed past.  It’s a significant part of the whole experience, one that is celebrated and allowed to be enjoyed in all its little moments.  One button at a time.

I write paranormal romance full of suspense, action, and adventure (and buttons, promise).  My first book with Soul Mate is Deadly Potential (Federal agent Ben will do anything to protect songwriter Katie from a supernatural stalker who can hide in plain sight), available on Kindle Unlimited.  Or there’s my original series about a secret society of superheroes living among us.  Begin with Revelations for free!

Or check out my previous Favorite Things post about the powerful drama that happens when a main character believes their love interest has been killed.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 1 Comment

The Joy and Anxiety of Summer post-COVID-19 closures:

            Like many teachers, I count down the days of May, awaiting summer vacation. In 2021, my teaching year ended on May 27. Students left the day before. We the teachers huddled together for Records Day. After the responsibilities of school were over, my husband and I shared a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, remembering those who sacrificed their lives while we also attended a live music show, experienced a Mardi Gras parade (yes, in May. I live in New Orleans. In a normal year, this would happen in February, March at the latest.), and accomplished several household chores.  Today, I find myself lamenting that so much of my summer vacation is already gone. 

            My husband, a retiree, laughs at my lament. He says, “It’s a day out of your life, not just one day out of your vacation.” I agree, but no one but a teacher can understand that teachers squeeze in any relaxation around those vacation times. We do not like stressful summer breaks because that is our time to decompress, and this summer all plans are on hold until I am evaluated for cataract surgery. The prospect of this surgery is depressing for me because it also means I will have to delay my writing goals as well as any longed for travel plans. Most people tell me that cataract surgery is easy and swift these days, but I have some eye conditions that could hinder a timely recovery. No writing, no relaxing vacation. 

            The prospective delay in my writing plans is the most distressing prospect of this whole ordeal. I’ve experienced some challenges in my writing career this year. I’ve accepted them and triumphed, but I still do not want this setback to interfere with my goals. Writing has become embedded in my psyche in a way most people cannot understand; only other writers can. I began writing seriously when my mother became very ill and then succumbed to that illness. Writing was my salvation and still is.  Much of my historical fiction is based on family lore. 

            Hopefully, I can complete a venture this summer that will take me into another era and another project that will allow me to dissect this crazy time we call the pandemic. 

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 8 Comments

It’s Beach Time by Susan Hanniford Crowley

Photo Courtesy of Susan Hanniford Crowley

I love the beach, not so much for the crowds but for the surf, fresh air, and the sound of the surf. It’s also the time to get out your beach umbrella and blanket, and fill your beach tote with water, snacks, and books.

Vampire Princess of New York is about Noblesse Vander Meer, a young woman who happens to be a vampire in modern day New York and whose broken heart is still lost in Paris. (Sha is an endearment that Donovan has for Noblesse.)

Excerpt:

Disappearing for a moment into the bedroom, Donovan emerged with a blanket and two pillows and plunked them down in front of the fireplace.

“Now this is comfortable. That’s the problem with most antiques, ma chérie, they’re too hard to sit on.”

Noblesse laughed and flopped down on a pillow. Donovan sat on his facing her.

“Noble, I’d like some truth now.”

She sat up straight. “What do you mean, mon cher? I always tell you the truth.”

“When you don’t want to tell me, you avoid the subject by changing it. Why does your apartment look like rooms from the palace of Louis XVI? I know you hated the royals, so why would you do this?”

A blood tear dripped down Noblesse’s face. “My mother went to Paris to get a job. She sent letters with money back to my grandmother for us, then the letters stopped. It hurts me to talk about it.”

“You’re still searching for her?”

“Yes.”

Donovan took off his boots and socks, laying with his feet near the fire to warm them. “I want to help you search. Do you think her disappearance had something to do with the royals of that time?”

Noblesse nodded, kicking off her shoes and doing the same. She wiped her hand across her face, not wanting any tears to escape. Crying only caused blood stains and she hated that.

He bent downward and ever so lightly brushed his lips against hers. She leaned up accepting his kiss. They relaxed into each other. I wish his kiss could last forever. Donovan heard her wish and pulled her closer to his heart.

*

For the second night in a row, Noblesse slept in the arms of Donovan Dupre.

Inside her dream, she screamed.

“Noble, wake up. Noble, you’re having a nightmare again.” He gently shook her.

Noblesse blinked and stared at him, confused for several moments. “Donovan,” she said half-in surprise, then hugged him for all she was worth.

“What happened, Sha? Last night you wouldn’t tell me, but tonight, please, you must.”

Biting her lower lip, she huffed. It was a habit she had tried to stop, because it revealed her feelings too well. Donovan, with that slight Cajun accent rolling off his tongue, made her feel safe and the floodgates opened.

“It’s always the same. I see and hear everything so loud, every word and sound as I stood with them and screamed. It was July 17, 1789 all over again. I was with the patriots waiting outside the Bastille. They refused to release their prisoners, and we stormed the prison with all we had. Gun and cannon fire struck us. Hundreds of tiny stars of light hit me and burned. I fell.

“At that very moment, Max walked through the mob to carry me away. He said he walked a distance to find a house both empty and far enough not to be fired upon. My heart could barely beat. I remember him saying, ‘I don’t want to hurt you. I want to give you another chance, my brave one, my noble one.’ The sky must have turned black. I couldn’t breathe. His fangs sank into my neck, but death was already there to claim me. I did not understand him but asked God for forgiveness. I died.”

Donovan frowned. “I remember you telling me this story before. Why is it suddenly so terrifying?”

“I saw something I’ve never seen before. When Max was carrying me, when life was swimming around me, we passed a doorway where a man concealed himself in a black cape.”

“Who was it?”

“I don’t know. His face was covered. I don’t remember seeing him there. Could this be a restored memory?”

“Sha, I don’t know.” He breathed into her ear.

Noble hugged him but couldn’t stop trembling.

“It’s okay.” He held her tightly against him and rubbed her back. His calm melted into her, and the fear subsided.

*

Want to know more? Check out Vampire Princess of New York is available in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Have a fun day at the beach, lake, or park! Remember it’s time to relax and don’t forget your beach tote.

All the best for a great summer,

Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley

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Beauty and the Bees

It seemed to take such a long time for warmer weather to arrive in the Northeastern United States. Though 2021 has been much less tumultuous than 2020, emerging from the cocoon that I’d buried myself in has not been easy. I’m sure that most of you agree that coming to the point of a “new normal” has not been a straightforward path.

My adrenaline has been pumping so hard and so long, that sitting still has become impossible. I figit, can’t get comfortable, and have difficulty focusing on anything, especially the details that are so important to writing. And my moods swing from hyperactive to phlegmatic, and it’s hard to get out of bed, then hard to get out of the house.

Last Sunday the temperatures rose into the high 70’s and there was no wind. I stared at my back patio which was a mess, with flats of plants to be put in, pots filled with straggly geraniums that made it through the grow lamp illumination in the basement, and lots of leaves and twigs.

It was too nice to stay inside so I promised myself I only had to clean up one corner. I started with the iris bed, which was past its peak, with dead leaves imbedded in the day lilies coming up around them. But before I got my garden gloves on Mother Nature provided a hard stop.

At first I thought they were flies, but on closer inspection I realized they were bees flittering around the bed. I wasn’t getting any closer. Just like when I hit a block when writing and use any excuse to avoid getting in my daily pages.

https://www.icloud.com/photos/#0ZOWtbg9ddx9j1ejikucYeVXA

But the busy bees motivated me to do something, and I quickly filled two bags full of leaves and twigs. I organized the pots, and cultivated the containers that will soon hold vegetable plants. I tied the spent daffodils and tulip leaves with twine so I could weed the bed along the driveway where I will plant impatiens. Things looked so much better, and before I went back inside, there were only one or two bees left, and I was safely able to tidy the garden bed.

Gardening is a lot like writing. Real life gets in the way and stifles your creativity. Every word seems like struggle, but once you get started and connect with the rythym the sentences come together. Sometimes you have to detour to another part of the garden to cultivate an inspiration buzzing around in your head before you head back to finish what you started.

So, what has the emergence on the other side of the pandemic been like for you?

What If You Got A Second Chance?
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Eleven More Second Acts

I started the Second Acts series on my blog in July of 2013. Since that time, over 100 women have shared reinvention stories that have inspired anyone asking the question: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

This past year, eleven more women have shared their reinvention stories.

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Here are their pearls of wisdom. Click on their names to read the original posts.

Are you facing tough challenges of your own? Relax—you’ve got this. Know that you will get through whatever life throws at you. You’re stronger than you think, and you have the power to reinvent yourself as many times as fate demands it. Kimberly Baer

I am nothing if not persistent. I don’t possess great intellectual genius. My changes were out of necessity rather than a master plan. If you ask me for advice, I will keep it simple. Paraphrasing my yoga teacher, no matter who you are or where you are in life, “Just keep showing up and shining out!” Candace Colt

My advice for anyone thinking about pursuing a second act? If you can afford it, go for it! You never know when you’ll get another opportunity. Also, look for the positive in change. Sometimes it feels like a loss. You might be sad or angry or scared. But it might be the nudge you need to explore or develop that next act! Darlene Deluca

For three Acts I learned to share, lived in a body never photographed for a cover, suffered bitterly jealous, was betrayed, bought the wrong gift for important someone’s, pretended knowledge I had to later scramble to learn, until I met and liked the culmination I was born to be. I carry the full script now. And when I meet children, teens, and young adults, I skip to the back, to Act IV which is Act I with something extra at the end. Colleen Donnelly

Thinking about venturing out there? When it comes to online dating, remember that nothing counts until you meet. Emailing and zooming aren’t dating, but they’re a good start.

You’re never too old to start new. Shirley Goldberg

My favorite quote of all time is from the movie, Hope Floats. Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Remember that when you find yourself at the beginning and give hope a chance to float up, and it will.

My other favorite quote is from Betty Jean Eadie, author of Embraced by the Light. I met her once and she is amazing. She said…Everyone is a writer, some people just don’t know their own story.

I don’t know if she knows how much that resonated with me, but it was very powerful.
Jeny Heckman

Starting a second act can be scary. Who knows whether you’ll succeed? But what if you do? Even the effort is an achievement. Not everyone even gets a chance, or pursues a long-burning dream. Don’t expect success right away, stay the course and be patient. Julie Howard

I advise anyone thinking of writing to seize the day – Carpe Diem. Good luck.
Jane Risdon

Don’t let old dreams pass by unfulfilled. Take them out of the box you’ve shoved them into. Look at them. Really look. They may be unrealistic. But maybe we can make it a more reasonable achievement. You may never be the princess of your youthful dreams. But you can write about one. Perhaps even in the first person. Have you always dreamed of being a singer? Same thing. Even if you can’t sing worth a dime, you’ll always have music. What were your dreams, and how can they be brought forward to today? D.V. Stone

Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Trust that little voice within, even if at times, it seems to make no sense. It is leading you somewhere, someplace that you can’t even imagine – yet.
Wendy Stross

If anyone planning to pursue a second act would ask my advice, the first thing I would tell them is to work on their inner self and internal dialogue. After all, you’re going to take you into every aspect of your life so you might as well love and appreciate yourself! I built myself up layer by layer by writing and repeating positive ‘I Am’ affirmations…. Pamela Thibodeaux

Where to find Joanne…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Verbs paint the essence of your characters–a writing tips post.

This page is from the 1906 “Text Book of Art Education.” Paintings evoke emotions, as should your books. How to compose like a painter? After attending an inspiring Master Class by Damon Suede, author of Verbalize: Bring Stories to Life & Life to Stories, I purchased the book and it stays by my computer for reference. Your story is a vibrant, evolving portrait. Contemplate your protagonist in an overall view, or big-picture sense. Ignore physical details to determine a single, key verb defining their internal need.

Creating an engaging, emotionally driven character requires broad swipes and delicate strokes, layered onto a solid base. Damon used Severus Snape and the verb, vex, to clarify his point. Throughout the Harry Potter books and movies, Snape’s depicted as annoying, disquieting or irritating—all synonyms of vex. Under paint each scene in your POV character’s key verb with a ‘wash’. In painting, artists often use an under color on the canvas to eliminate the urge to fill in the white space. Plant the POV character’s verb in your brain while you write. The underlying tone driving their actions should cut back on the need to use adjectives, adverbs, and back-story. 

Identify the big moments. On a canvas, you’d block out the big shapes, in a manuscript the consequential scenes. Choose synonyms to the POV character’s key verb and post them at the turning points, setbacks, black moment, and climax. In my second book, Torn by Vengeance, my heroine’s key verb is prove. At different junctures she’ll confirm, convince, demonstrate, determine, explain, justify, substantiate, or validate.

Do a value study from light to dark. Intensity is critical in your characters’ arcs. My story opens with the heroine justifying her drive to earn money and by the story conclusion she’s validated the power of love in her life. Layering in shades of how and why she proves herself, through her actions, creates the base to support her growth.

Block in the colors. Conflict arises from oppositional key verbs. The hero in this story is a doctor. His key verb is assist and the two begin their relationship realizing their external goals clash. Don’t forget your side characters. The villain in my story radiates his drive to avenge in every move he makes against the heroine.

Adjust color and value. Pacing increases and dialogue pops when two opposing forces play out in the push/pull, win/lose, hate/love interplays. Add a few highlights, and remove dull areas and stop. That means complete the detail editing and take the next step to publish the story.

You never finish a painting, but find a perfect place to lay down the brush and be satisfied.

Posted in Simply Stated By Sally! | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How Many Eyeballs Does It Take to Make a Book?

We live in an age in which a person can write a book, type “The End” and immediately  publish it on multiple platforms. That’s one look from one set of eyes. The next person who sees it is the reader. The results are usually appalling, and  I’ve read a few that appeared to  have been done that way.

Most authors, even those of us blessed with a company like Soul Mate Publishing, self-publish at least a work or two. We have to  locate an  editor, and good editors are expensive (But worth every bit). The temptation to skip a full professional edit is great. If you are so tempted: don’t. Short cuts cost you in the long run when you put out a book that isn’t as good as it could be. An author with a skilled friend and something to barter may escape the cost but dares not skip the process.

Here’s the heart of the matter: the more eyeballs that see your work, the better, more polished and professional it will be. Counting each run through by as one set of eyeballs, mine, this  is my count of the number of looks a well edited book gets:

  • First draft – 1
  • Read through and self-edit – 1
  • Do it again for good measure – 1
  • Show it to at least three (preferably 6) beta readers – 3
  • Rewrite and edit based on comments – 1
  • Submit it. Each pass of the editorial process is two looks, the editors and mine. – 2
  • Usually  a second editorial pass – 2
  • A final run through – 2
  • Read the Advance Review Copy  when  the publisher  sends  it –  1

That’s fourteen looks from at least five different people. Some authors also hire  proof-readers or developmental editors. All that attention  will have ferreted out things like plot holes, name inconsistencies, grammar issues, confusing or anachronistic word choices, and typos. But here’s the thing:  even after all of that, a reader will come upon the book a few years later and find a typo. If we’re lucky they report it and we fix it. Make that fifteen sets of eyeballs. Perfection? No. Professional and polished? You bet.

This is on my mind because I just finished all those steps. The Price of Glory will be off to reviewers and up for pre-order soon. I can hardly wait!

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