Category Archives: Publishing

Swear words and story telling.

My YA novel, Girl Friends, features a lot of characters who, in real life, would swear frequently and rather unimaginatively. My initial mistake was to reproduce their conversations faithfully. That is, until a more experienced author pointed out that a) this was boring and b) no publisher of a YA novel would consider publishing my book if it remained in such a raw state. I hope my subsequent re-drafting – which did find a publisher – resulted in a sharper, more readable story. It is certainly a lot shorter!

A problem in real life is that many people use expeltives without realising – in the end it just seems like padding around the small, not necessarily very rude or significant point they want to make. Constant swearing can be tedious to listen to – even more so to read.

Consider the following dialogue, quoted in The Joy of Words, by Fritz Spiegl, purportedly between a soldier charged with rape and his defence lawyer.

“Well, I met this f’kn bird in a f’kn disco and we had a couple of f’kn drinks and went back to her f’kn place to have some f’kn coffee.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well one f’kn thing led to another, and before I f’kn knew where I was, we, you know, we was having sexual intercourse.”

Here the most common expletive in the English language has been used with such a lack of discrimination it has become meaningless, and isn’t used when he gets to the nub of his account.

Or perhaps the soldier was wiser than we think. The word expletive actually comes from the Latin expletus / explere. This does not mean a swear word / to swear, but ‘a filling in’ – exactly how he used the word.

Aside from being a rather long-winded and boring book (in my opinion) maybe DH Lawrence, in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was fighting the wrong battle when he shocked polite society by trying to normalise the use of that particular expletive.

If you would like to read my novel, Girl Friends, or any of my other work, please follow one of the following links:

Girl Friends - coverGirl Friends

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01EX9DPMS

myBook.to/GirlFriends

Amazon Author Pages

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

 

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Speling Misteaks

Graham Sharpe co-founded the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, and was a judge for this year’s competition (which was won, incidentally, by a biography of the cyclist Tom Simpson by Andy McGarth). After reading the 131 books that were entered into the competition he was dismayed by the number of misspellings of simple words. He described it on the Bookseller website as a ‘crime against books.’

He sympathised with writers, who can become blind to their own mistakes, and wondered whether some of the problem lay with the demise of the ‘dragon’ editor (my description), from the big publishing houses. Indie publishers have always been under time and financial constraints and have little leeway beyond, for example, offering one proof read with suggested corrections sent back to the author, one follow up by the editor, and a final check via the author to the editor in chief before the manuscript goes off to the printer.

This still sounds like quite a lot of checking, and opportunities to put things right. But even after all that, some of the most vigilant of authors can gasp with dismay when the printed version of their book is in their hands – and a missed typo leaps out from the page.

What to do? I find using the ‘tracking changes’ in Word difficult, and don’t use it myself if I can avoid it. But editors do, so it is something I need get up to speed on. I love the spell check on the computer, but it can be a false friend, and let through a misspelling, or ‘correct’ you to something you hadn’t intended. Beta readers can help, but that is not really their role, so don’t blame them if they don’t point out your tendency to add apostrophes where they aren’t needed (or leave them out where they are) etc.

Of course, a self-publisher has to take all the responsibility for errors, but writers with publishing house support can also follow a few simple steps to reduce errors. Yes, use spell check, track changes, recruit beta readers etc. But it also helps to leave a bit of time between finishing a manuscript and re-reading it, to change the font and letter size, and even change the ink colour – anything to make the work look different from last time you worked on it. Some mistakes will still get through – we are human, and ‘to air is human’ after all.

If you have any suggestions for reducing misspellings, I’d love to hear them!

If you have enjoyed this post, and would like to read more of my work, please go to my Amazon author page.

Two short stories might interest you to get a feel for my writing style. I don’t think there are any typos in either, but you never know …

Love in WaitingLove in Waiting 

 

sleeping beautySleeping Beauty

 

Both these short stories are published by Solstice as e-books for about £/$1.00 – http://www.solsticepublishing.com

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Meet author Josie Montano

Josie Montano is an award-winning author, and has just released her sixtieth book in over Josie 120 years within the publishing industry. She has been internationally published, translated into Italian, and writes under two pseudonyms – fiction under the name of Montano, and resources on Autism under the name Santomauro.

Josie also dabbles in freelance having had a variety of differing articles and regular columns published. Her play ‘The Great Escape, Italian Style’ trod the boards at the Gympie Rush Festival. She has contributed to technical handbooks, narrative scripts as well as co-edited an international journal. She has been short-listed for a variety of literary awards and acquired many achievements over the years. These include a residency with the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, and she has been a presenter with ‘Out of the Box’.

She grew up in rural Australia within a strong Italian community. From the age of nine, she self-published her own books for borrowing at the school library, and received her first rejection letter from Golden Books when she was thirteen.

 What is the title of your latest book?

STUFF THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT SCHOOL. Everything from acne, after-parties andJosie 2 alcohol to wannabes, waxing and zits – this is a thorough A to Z dictionary handbook for teens full of the stuff that really counts but doesn’t get a mention at school.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

Challenging: making deadlines! Putting your work out there for people to judge, criticise or/and love.

Rewarding:  seeing your labour of love in book form, holding that first copy in print, having readers love your work – it’s all worth it!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Keep writing, EVERY DAY! Rub shoulders, network, attend conferences, workshops, writing courses etc, to hone your craft. Don’t assume you ‘know it all.’ Even after 60 published works I am always refining and learning.

 What are you working on at the moment?

Josie cartoonI always have a few pots, or should I say stories, on the boil. I have been contracted for three upcoming picture books and, a total contrast, I am also on a deadline for a contracted, non-fiction, resource on Autism and relationships.

 What do you like to read?

I can vary from a soppy trashy romance, a children’s book, a classic, to a soap magazine. I recently created a ‘Classics’ bookclub so we can read the classics eg: Brontes, Jane Austin, Ernest Hemingway etc.

 Where can readers find you?

http://www.booksbyjosie.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/Josie-Montano-Author-88023619410/

 

 

 

A Blog About Blogging

Today, multi genre author Marie Lavender describes her blogging ‘journey’ – and offers several ideas for new authors thinking of starting a blog. She also has a new publication of her own  out this week – see details at the end of this article.

Blogging: A Journey and Its Benefits – by Marie Lavender.

Marie Lavender LogoWhen I started publishing books back in 2010, I had read about launching a blog. So I went for it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the first thing about blogging at the time. If you browse through my older entries, you can see the struggle. But we all learn. In 2012, I was invited to guest blog on Nicole Galloway’s site. From that experience I gleaned how it was supposed to look. Of course, over the years I’ve subscribed to numerous blogs, and I’ve picked up little nuances here and there. I kept myself open to trying out new projects, not just with my writing career, but as a blogger.

My first blogging venture was the Writing in the Modern Age blog (affectionately termed WritModAge). It was established in 2010, but I didn’t accept guest writers/authors until

March of 2013. Since then, the blog has expanded into a great place for writers at any stage of their careers to visit for advice, and for readers to find their new favorite authors. Posts range from articles with tips about writing, publishing or marketing, all the way to new releases and book features, cover reveals, poetry spotlights, author interviews, service interviews, the Author’s Bookshelf Feature, occasional multi-author book giveaways, and special annual writers’ participation events, such as our 350th Anniversary post “What Does Your Writing Process Look Like?” On Writing in the Modern Age, we average about 95 guest authors featured per year, but that doesn’t count the new ones that donate books in our giveaways.

Another site I launched around the same time was Marie Lavender’s Books! blog (affectionately named MLB). The MLB blog was established in 2012, when I began writing articles and sharing writer news equally between my two blogs at the time. In 2015, I started accepting guest authors through exclusive author interviews, book spotlight interviews, cover reveals and new release features. We average about 60 to 70 guest authors featured per year on the MLB blog. I still post my own articles on both of those. I have another blog through my author website, offering updates, but that one is definitely smaller for now.

 

The final blog I want to mention is the I Love Romance Blog (ILRB). This blog was launched in 2014, with the intent of centering it on discussions about romance novels, as well as tips on romantic relationships. At first, not knowing exactly where to go with the blog, I posted random thoughts on romance, then started writing and posting romantic poetry. Soon enough, however, I networked and hosted character interviews, and the blog evolved to include other features like new releases, cover reveals and promoting free Amazon days for authors, presenting romantic guest posts, poetry spotlights, special events like multi-author book giveaways, or our latest popular series, “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” Our upcoming feature is titled “Heroes & Heroines”, which will entail a glimpse into each author’s take on a character (what drove them to write the story or kept them up at night). Each year on this blog, we have 60+ guest authors and average about 20,000 visitors and 40,000 total views.

 

So, what are the benefits of blogging as a writer?

  1. You will find your blogging niche. Discover what interests you and tell others about it in a unique, fun way. Plus, you can talk about your books in a manner that doesn’t sound like shameless promotion.
  1. You can meet new readers. I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me, or tagged me on social media, just to thank me for a great blog post!
  1. Readers need a way to keep connected with you. Whether you decide to get into indie publishing or go a more traditional route, you must find a way to reach potential readers. Even traditional publishers expect new authors to have a blog, or at least a website with a blog option. In my case, I have four blogs. I still write articles now and then for my blogs, but I am usually hosting all these great people, you know?

Blogging, however, is a great method for learning about others, and to show readers your utterly human side. Yes, even those foolish mistakes, the wins and losses we don’t always talk about.

My blogs aren’t the New York Times, but I’d like to believe I’ve made an impact on readers and writers alike. None of blogging was easy (don’t get me started on the occasional tech issues), yet in the process I’ve gained author friends and met people whom I never imagined I would. And last but not least, I helped other authors by promoting their work, and even assisted fledgling writers in making their mark on the world.

Marie Directions of the Heart - eBook cover

Thank you for reading about my blogs, and feel free to check out my modern romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart, which was officially released on the 25th July!

Purchase Links for Directions of the Heart:                  

 

Guest Blogger Bio: Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Links:

​http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

​​http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

 

 

 

 

 

 

A peep behind the door of a Publishing House.

I have interviewed several authors on this blog in the past year. Most have been published by one or other of the ‘Indie’ publishers. But what is it like to be a publisher? And what is a publisher looking for in authors they choose to take on? Here Kate Collins, who is herself a noted author, describes her work with  the American publisher, Solstice Publishing.

KateMarie CollinsHello Kate, what is your job title?  Chief Operating Officer.

 And what does the job entail? A little bit of everything, to be honest. I upload the books, take care of contract renewals, pull books and send releases when a renewal doesn’t happen/author requests it, do the math for the monthly statements, send out those statements, set up promo days, mediate problems between authors and editors/staff. I’m also the cheerleader and do my best to motivate the authors to get out there and promote!

What is the skill set you need for a job like this? What attracted you to the job?

A high degree of professionalism, excellent writing/communication skills, and the ability to tell someone they’re not going to get what they want without making them mad. Most of the time.

I fell into this job, actually. I started with Solstice as the executive assistant to our CEO, Melissa Miller, and the Editor in Chief for the Shadows line. Approximately a year later, Ms. Miller decided to hire someone else for the EIC job and told me that she’d already changed my title on the website. That’s how I found out I was the Chief Operating Officer.

Does being a publishing executive help or hinder your work as an author? 

It helps, really. I’ve got an understanding of both sides of the coin. I understand as an author what it takes to write a good book. By being COO, I also understand what publishers do and don’t do. It gives me a truly unique perspective on every aspect of what it takes to be a successful author.

What advice can you give to any aspiring writer looking to submit a manuscript for publication?

We want authors who will promote their book, not drag our name into a flame war by association. Posting 3 or 4 memes about politics or faith and then following it up with 1 about your book? Not going to work for us. If you can, keep your personal views out from your public image as an author.

Any advice for someone looking for a job like yours?

Don’t expect it to drop into your lap like mine did. I love my job. I have the best possible job for me. I get excited on Sunday about coming to work on Monday! It’s hard work. There’s days I want to scream at authors. And there’s days I celebrate with them. This is one of the few businesses where the nice guy finishes first. This is true for both author and executive. You want to do high school drama and back-stab people? This isn’t the career for you. It’ll take time, but you’ll get noticed because of your work ethic and how well you interact with people more than not.

I am delighted to report that Kate, who writes under the name KateMarie Collins, has agreed to do an author interview for this blog later in the year. Meanwhile, you can find copies of her work (and mine!) on Amazon books, and on the website for Solstice Publishing.

http://www.solsticepublishing.com

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