Posted in books, characters, creative writing, editing, publishing, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Improving your self-editing skills

Self-editing is not a skill that comes perfectly paired with great writing.

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Not all writers are good editors. Why?

  • It’s difficult to see your own errors
  • You’ve seen it too many times and practically have it memorized
  • You’re sick of looking at it by that point
  • It makes sense to you, or you wouldn’t have written it
  • You’re too close to it

The aspects of editing many writers are good at include:

  • They have the best overall understanding of the concept of their story
  • They know the characters best
  • They get what makes a good story
  • They are readers, and understand readers

Before you start editing, it’s important to understand what type of editing you’re undertaking.

  • Proofreading: Picking out typos, missed words, misplaced commas, etc.
  • Line editing/Copyediting: Critiquing sentence and paragraph structure, repetition, word choice, etc.
  • Content/Developmental Editing: Story, character, flow, cohesion, etc.

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It’s also important to give yourself some time away from the project before you start editing

  • Begin the editing process by NOT editing
  • Step away for a while
  • Get fresh eyes
  • Read something in your genre
  • Read critically for style, flow, and pacing
  • Forget the details
  • Do something non-writing related!

The overall editing process is broken into several stages:

  1. Read the entire text and focus on plot/character issues
  2. Focus on wording and readability
  3. Focus on word choice and sentence structure
  4. Focus on grammar and punctuation
  5. Final review to polish

Make use of tools that can help make the editing process easier and more efficient:

  • Run Spellcheck
  • Run Autocrit, Grammarly, or ProWritingAid
  • Print it out if possible/change the format
  • Many authors edit better in hardcopy
  • Read in different format than the one you wrote it in (like on your Kindle)
  • Get out your Freshman Comp books (Elements of Style is a classic)

Before you dive into typos and comma usage, think big picture when it comes to editing

  • What is the point of your story?
  • What is your character meant to accomplish?
  • What do you hope the reader takes away at the end?
  • Why did you write this book?

As you start editing, think like a reader

  • Change your perspective: As you’re writing, it’s difficult to be objective, so you need to start thinking like a reader
  • Read the story critically like you would any other book: What do you like? What don’t you like? What stands out as out of place?

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Evaluate the plot as you read and identify weak areas

  • Create a timeline as you read: Is the timing consistent? Is the pacing consistent with the timeline?
  • Are there plot holes or unanswered questions? Don’t attempt to answer them yet, but write them down
  • Does the reveal of information come logically? Where do the characters find answers? When do they find answers?
  • Is there enough complexity to remain interesting? Is their too much filler to cover up loose plotting?

Great characters can make or break a story, so focus on characters and their growth and development while editing

  • Character Consistency: Character BIO (know the details), Who is this character on page 1? Who is this character on the last page? What does their dialogue sound like? Write down a sample from the beginning, middle, and end and compare. What is their world view, attitudes, and ethics?
  • When to break consistency: Situational (Events or knowledge drastically changes something and they act outside their norm, i.e. “Insanity is a perfectly natural reaction to an unreasonable situation.”) or Paradox (The reader thinks they know the character and later learns more that changes who they are)

Lastly, check the overall fit of your story elements

  • Point of View/Tense: Is this the best point of view or tense for this story?
  • Style: Does this style of writing fit the character and story type?
  • Structure: Does the way the character move through the plot make sense?

The purpose of this first, full edit is to identify major plot, story, character, and content issues that need to be addressed before any further editing is done.

 

Posted in marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 5

To start building your marketing plan from the beginning, start with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Now let’s move on to Post-Launch marketing.

Post-Launch Marketing

79420-calendardeadlineFirst 3-4 months after release. This is when you want to keep the high of your release going. Marketing does lessen from the initial blitz surrounding the release, but should still stay higher than what you will maintain during the long term marketing phrase.

Consistency is KEY!

Plan consistent exposure over the first 3-4 months after the release party. This will include daily, weekly, and monthly tasks oriented at keeping up exposure.

  • Examples include FB group posts, links on Twitter, guest posts on book blogs, special content (character interview), personal or author blogging posts, in-person events and appearances, interacting with readers, etc.

Blog Tours

These should have already been set up (if not, set them up ASAP). As tour posts begin to be posted, make sure to visit each blog and leave a comment thanking the host. This is not only polite, it helps expand the exposure of the post. Share links on you social media accounts.

Subscribe to each post (not necessarily each blog) so you are notified when readers comment. Go back and reply to comments as needed. Keep a list of which bloggers reviewed your books, whether or not they liked it, and whether they might be interested in reviewing future books.

Reviews

Large Stack of BooksWhy are reviews so important?

  • New reviews boost rankings on sites like Amazon.
  • Boost reader confidence. It shows that people are buying and reading the book and hopefully that they are enjoying it. Makes spending $$ seem less risky if you are a new author to them.

How do you get reviews?

  • Ask for them! In many cases, it really is that simple, but you need to go about it the right way and only approach those interested in your genre/topic.
  • Friends & family (They need to be honest!), beta readers, critique partners, other authors.
  • Bloggers (best if relationship already in place). If you are cold-submitting, follow their guidelines posted on their blog, make sure the are OPEN for reviews, only submit to bloggers who actually read your genre, and be professional.

  • Put a message in the back of the book. This is a very simple and effective way to encourage readers to review your book.
    • Apps like the Kindle and Audible apps now bring up a screen when a reader finishes a book that asks them to review or leave a star rating.
  • Incentives (send review link for…offer some extra or bonus gift to encourage reviews)

DO NOT PAY FOR REVIEWS

Except…

Dollar SignReview Services are different from “paying for reviews,” which is against most ebook stores’ review policies. What makes these services different?

  • You’re paying for access to reviewers, not actual reviews. These services offer no guarantee on the number or star level of reviews you will receive. Your book is added to their list of book available for review and the reviewers who participate in their service choose which books to review and give honest reviews after reading.

BEST: Net Galley (cost: $600)

Others: Books Machine (monthly fee)

  • Similar Idea: “First Reads” programs from certain publishers aims at getting early reviews for their books but are limit to books they choose to include in the program.

Other sites/avenues for readers to access books or post reviews include publisher specific programs, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, etc.

A big part of the post launch marketing includes consistency and gathering reviews, but it takes persistence and time.

WPR Header ImageTo listen to the full podcast on Creating A Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable, check out the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast Part 1 and Part 2.