You are your own worst enemy when it comes to editing. There’s a psychological term for this that escapes me right now, but it boils down to mind games. Your brain will look at errors and automatically correct them or fill in the blanks.
Can You Read This? by Chris McCarthy (Study@ecenglish.com)
I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.
Whether you are self-publishing or signing with a publisher, you want the best editor you can get. Constructive criticism is hard to take these days. It’s not intended to beat you down. An editor is the invisible person behind you who honestly has your best interest at heart. An editor can shape your manuscript from the ordinary to the best product possible. Yes, it can be frustrating and take a while, month and years.
But, there are options there, too. If you don’t like your editor for some reason, ask for another. You can always go out on your own, but remember good editing is expensive. Yes, your first-grade teacher or next door neighbor, friend, or spouse can always look at it, but is that in your own best interest?
How to I start?
Typically, you pitch an idea or send a query letter before you write an entire manuscript that may or may not be accepted. Don’t pitch to a company that doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Don’t pitch a romance to a company that specializes in mystery or a children’s book to a company that specializes in adult literature. Do your homework. Check websites or get access to the Writer’s Market.
Do I send everything?
Never write or submit more than an idea or several chapters It’s unrealistic to expect one or more people to drop a current project and read your 50,000 words overnight.
What about a contract?
Never work without a contract. Contracts vary from company to company. Again, unless you are Stephen King, Lady Gaga, or a Real Housewife, don’t expect millions in signing bonuses. Traditional publishing houses are not going to extend any offer until you have proven yourself profitable. Small publishing houses don’t make those kinds of offers.
How long before I publish my book?
Just because you have finished writing, or assume you have a final product, that is not true. You are now in the hands of several editors and the editing process. And unless you are Ernest Hemingway, you need those editors. (See my blog about the publishing process and what does an editor do.)
You want the best for your “baby.” There are short cuts, but that doesn’t guarantee your baby will be healthy and thrive.
You might start out with a plan, but after you write a while, your writing can take on a life of its own and lead you down another path. Don’t despair. “[T]hat’s the great thing about fiction. We use it for entertainment, and we also use it to explain and understand our lives. We only make sense of what has happened to us when we can tell it as a story. I’ve used my fiction to deal with 9/11, the War on Terror, aging, death, wealth, poverty and a host of other issues. I just happened to include the undead and werewolves and spies while I did it.
Five books in, this is the one lesson I can say I’ve learned, the one thing I can tell any aspiring writer: Write what you want. Even if it includes lizard people or Atlantis. If people don’t like what you like, write it again, and make it better until they do. But never be ashamed of your enthusiasms.”
Read more of “I dreamed of being Hemingway and ended up a pulp fiction writer” at http://nypost.com/2016/08/14/i-dreamed-of-being-hemingway%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8b-but-ended-up-a-pulp-fiction-writer/
Jodie Archer had always been puzzled by the success of The Da Vinci Code. She’d worked for Penguin UK in the mid-2000s, when Dan Brown’s thriller had become a massive hit, and knew there was no way marketing alone would have led to 80 million copies sold. So what was it, then? Something magical about the words that Brown had strung together? Dumb luck? The questions stuck with her even after she left Penguin in 2007 to get a PhD in English at Stanford. There she met Matthew L. Jockers, a cofounder of the Stanford Literary Lab, whose work in text analysis had convinced him that computers could peer into books in a way that people never could.
Soon the two of them went to work on the “bestseller” problem: How could you know which books would be blockbusters and which would flop, and why? Over four years, Archer and Jockers fed 5,000 fiction titles published over the last 30 years into computers and trained them to “read”—to determine where sentences begin and end, to identify parts of speech, to map out plots. They then used so-called machine classification algorithms to isolate the features most common in bestsellers.
The result of their work—detailed in The Bestseller Code, out this month—is an algorithm built to predict, with 80 percent accuracy, which novels will become mega-bestsellers. What does it like? Young, strong heroines who are also misfits (the type found in The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). No sex, just “human closeness.” Frequent use of the verb “need.” Lots of contractions. Not a lot of exclamation marks. Dogs, yes; cats, meh. In all, the “bestseller-ometer” has identified 2,799 features strongly associated with bestsellers.
If you’d like to read more, this article is available at https://www.wired.com/2016/09/bestseller-code/
If you put in about the same effort I did, you are in the try-it-again-next-year club! I haven’t succeeded yet, but I do get closer every year.
But isn’t that what writing is really about? All the time and effort is for us. It makes us a better person, we’ve (sort of) created something, and we emerge changed for the good. Writing builds character and a smug type of inner satisfaction, but the bottom line is we do it for ourselves.
Any of us who have done our time in the writing world, know that effort and willingness are certainly essentials in that world. We also know that even though the creation of the written expression is a vital component to writing, we also know that rules apply and we don’t always get it right the first time.
And then come the rewrites–tedious and meticulous rewrites. What is the exact right verb in this sentence? We write so we can rewrite and rewrite.
And that, in a nut shell, is the writing process, unless, of course, you are rich and famous.
Then your masterpiece moves quickly through the system and voilá the New York Times Best Seller List
The rest of us go round and round until we find the magic in our NaMoWriMo moment.
First of all, thank you all for the tremendous number of excellent quality manuscripts we have received. Because we are a small publishing company, we try to pick our projects carefully.
We are happy to announce the 2017 selections have been made. Our goals for the 2017 publishing round are to continue with the series, to add new genres and authors, to promote writing, and to offer readers alternatives.
Please continue to visit our website crystalpublishingllc.com to keep up with the latest publications and news from Crystal Publishing. We look forward to hearing from you.