Tag: Editing

I Would Really Like Your Help!

Montagnard is coming together!

I just received the official Kindle version cover from my cover design expert, Angie, on Fiverr.com. The paperback and hardcover versions are waiting until I get the final edits back from Beth Werner at Author Connections in about two weeks. I need the actual page count to determine the spine width.

Another component, at least for the paperback and hardcover versions, is the back-cover book description, a 200 to 250-word blurb designed to catch the prospecting reader’s attention and get them to buy your book.

A fiction book’s back cover blurb should:

  • Situation: Briefly describe the circumstances of the story.
  • Problem: Highlight the situation or hitch that makes change inevitable.
  • Hopeful Possibility: Provides the hope of overcoming the crisis, whether a cool character or long-shot possibility that provides the belief that the difficult problem can be overcome.
  • Mood: Sets the emotional state that readers will have from reading your story. For instance, a “dark, dystopian tragedy,” “humorous chick lit,” or “suspenseful, romantic and awash in…magic.”

Here is the most recent version of the back-cover blurb for Montagnard

Navy SEAL, JD Cordell, is ready to retire and take his K9 partner, Ajax, with him. JD has exciting plans for a new life that includes the courageous and beautiful Doctor Ellen Chang he met on a mission in Niger.

But when JD’s father unexpectedly dies of cancer, his grieving mother travels to Vietnam to search for her adopted Montagnard brother whom she hasn’t seen in over thirty years. Mai unwittingly steps into a blood feud between her Montagnard brother and a powerful Vietnamese drug lord, a bitter hatred that began during the Vietnam War.

When his mother disappears into the seedy underbelly of Ho Chi Minh City, JD has no choice but to come out of retirement for one last mission. And Ajax is with him all the way.

Dealing with an explosive situation such as this, even two battle-hardened veterans like JD and Ajax might need a little help from some old friends … and maybe a few new ones.

I would love to read your reaction to it … pro or con. Please take a moment to leave a comment.

Thank you, in advance, for your help with this.


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Editing Montagnard: The Beta Version

Have you ever used beta readers for a writing project?

For my first novel, Serpents Underfoot, I did not use beta readers. I did the editing myself with a great deal of help from my mother. Neither of us was a professional editor.

Needless to say, it took several content uploads before I had eliminated all of the typos, etc. And, I have to thank several of my early readers for pointing some of them out to me. I think Serpents Underfoot is in pretty good shape now, but you never know, there might be one more typo lurking in the shadows, ready to spring out on some poor unsuspecting reader!

Even as short as Adirondack Bear Tales is (only fifty pages or so), it took two rounds to get it to what I hope is now a typo-free state!

For Montagnard (the sequel), I am doing something new

I have read and re-read the draft of Montagnard several times. I have run through Microsoft Spellcheck and Grammarly several times as well. Unfortunately, I am sure there are still a few typos, punctuation errors, homonyms and homophones, and probably even too many adverbs.

So, sending a copy out to five beta readers is a bit intimidating. While these are readers whose opinions I respect, I certainly don’t want them to think, “Egad! How’d he miss this!”

On the bright side, I am hoping that if there are any plot holes, sections of the story that are confusing, or parts that simply suck, these five individuals will let me know. And the end result will be a much better novel … and a sequel to Serpents Underfoot.

Then the final step …

I figure that once I have gone through all the observations and edits suggested by my beta readers, I will be ready to send the manuscript to my editor for its final edit. When she is through with it, it will surely be ready to publish.

And, while all this work is being done, I should have time for some pre-release marketing, etc., as well as getting started on my next book project, a story of family, love, and sacrifice during World War II.

While you are here, check out a few of my other blog posts by clicking here!

Editing is Truly an Art Form, Part 1

editingsymbolsI have a friend who recently published his first novel on Amazon.com. He had a really a great story. The editing was pretty bad. He needed an editor!

Unfortunately however, his book did not sell very well. It also did not get many reviews. Writers certainly know that there are no guarantees when you publish a book. There is always a very good chance that it will simply not catch on.

However, there are many steps a serious writer can take to better their chances. Here is one …

I had ordered a copy of my friend’s book from Amazon, planning to do a book review on my blog. Unfortunately, when I tried to read it … I found a lot problems.  Those problems included grammar, phrasing, poor word choice, awkward sentence structure, passive voice, etc. I could not get past the second chapter. One thing my friend could have done to  increase his chances of success was to have somebody edit his book.

editing

As good as his story line was, the novel was very painful to read because of some of the issues mentioned above. How can you get positive reviews on Amazon if your readers cannot even finish your book?

Editing is vitally important!

I have been through this process myself. An editor would have caught those problems and helped him correct them. That would have made his book a lot more readable.

What you have to try to understand is that there are very good reasons for these “archaic” rules of grammar. After all, we are not simply Tweeting here!

Good word choice, proper sentence structure, proper punctuation, an active voice … all help to build the excitement or tension in the your story.  The tension builds, there is a climax. The writer then creates  a calm period where the reader recovers … and then it all starts again.  Good writing techniques are much more than just old-fashioned grammar rules they taught in school once upon a time. They actually make writing readable and are vital keys for getting and keeping your reader’s attention,. They also help build the tension and create the periods of calm. Write a great action scene in a passive voice and the reader yawns!  Not good! Good editing helps with all these things

It is very hard to be objective and to try editing your own work. Believe me, I know!  I have been there and done that. While it can be scary to let somebody else critique your work, a good editor can really help put the polishing touches on a writer’s work. And, that may be the difference between someone reading your work and enjoying it, maybe even reviewing it online and recommending it to a friend  … or simply putting it down. There are even online editing tools that can help a great deal. One such is Hemingway Editor!

I decided not to review my friend’s novel.

More to follow!

The Art of Wordsmithing, Part 1

Editing_SymbolsI have a friend who recently published his first novel on Amazon.com. He had a really a great story.

Unfortunately however, his book did not sell very well. It also did not get many reviews. Writers certainly know that there are no guarantees when you publish a book. There is always a very good chance that it will simply not catch on.

However, there are many steps a serious writer can take to better their chances. Here is one …

I had ordered a copy of my friend’s book from Amazon, planning to do a book review on my blog. Unfortunately, when I tried to read it … I found a lot problems.  Those problems included grammar, phrasing, poor word choice, awkward sentence structure, passive voice, etc. I could not get past the second chapter. One thing my friend could have done to  increase his chances of success was to have somebody edit his book.

passive-vs-active-voice2

As good as his story line was, the novel was very painful to read because of some of the issues mentioned above. How can you get positive reviews on Amazon if your readers cannot even finish your book?

I have been through this process myself. An editor would have caught those problems and helped him correct them.  That would have made his book a lot more readable.

What you have to try to understand is that there are very good reasons for these “archaic” rules of grammar. After all, we are not Tweeting here!

Good word choice, proper sentence structure, proper punctuation, an active voice … all help to build the excitement or tension in the your story.  The tension builds, there is a climax. The writer then creates  a calm period where the reader recovers … and then it all starts again.  Good writing techniques are much more than just old-fashioned grammar rules they taught in school once upon a time. They actually make writing readable and are vital keys for getting and keeping your reader’s attention,. They also help build the tension and create the periods of calm. Write a great action scene in a passive voice and the reader yawns!  Not good!

It is very hard to be objective and edit your own work. Believe me, I know!  I have been there and done that.  While it can be scary to let somebody else critique your work, a good editor can really help put the polishing touches on a writer’s work. And, that may be the difference between someone reading your work and enjoying it, maybe even reviewing it online and recommending it to a friend  … or simply putting it down.

I decided not to review my friend’s novel.

More to follow!