Thursday, June 23, 2016

What You May Have Missed . . . the Odd Stuff

This post follows up on the last one, with the flip side of what I've been up to in my own little editing world.

I've had some odd experiences over the past couple years when editing for people, and I sort of file those under the "huh" category and move along, not knowing whether I'll hear from them again or not, for whatever reason on my end or theirs.

I receive editing requests on a regular basis (that's the goal, after all), and I've learned to not get excited about them until I research a bit more. I've had dozens of instances of "I FOUND YOUR SITE AND I LOVE IT AND I HAVE A BOOK THAT NEEDS EDITED CAN YOU HELP ME I'VE ATTACHED MY FIRST THREE CHAPTERS FOR YOU TO EVALUATE!"

My standard response? I reply with some questions, such as:

  • What is the genre and length of your novel?
  • What is your expected publishing date and how long do you anticipate the edits to take?
  • Have you been in contact with other editors for evaluations?
  • Has anyone other than you read through your manuscript for beta purposes?
  • How did you find me and have you read through my terms and pricing? 
I don't think these are unreasonable questions. They're pretty basic, in fact. And yet, I'm never surprised when 90% of those people don't reply. My guess is that there are people out there who submit a different set of chapters to a variety of editors for a free eval, with the intent to work the system and eventually get all their chapters edited for free. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but a realist with human nature when strangers deal with each other for business purposes.

Still, there are the 10% who are serious about needing an editor; some have become friends, some are merely friendly business acquaintances who contact me when they need me, and others simply puzzle me. 

One author I worked with contracted me for a novel that had been subject to what I call "backward publishing"—when the book gets released for sale in the hopes that it will generate enough income to get it edited later. When the author approached me, it was stated that there would be "a second book, probably following within a month, because I just need to get this done." That was fine by me. The author was pleasant, the writing was decent, and of course I was happy to have the work lined up back in the earlier days. I did the first book, sent it back, the author was pleased, and I asked to be notified when it was updated on Amazon so I could promo it. The author replied two weeks later, saying things had gotten really busy with regular life (they own a family business) and that the book would be uploaded when there was time. I never received a notification that the book was updated. I've looked on Amazon a few times and have never seen my name or ERE listed with editing credits, though there are many other acknowledgements listed in the front matter of the "look inside" feature. In reading the first chapter, it seems as if my edits are there (mostly because I remembered there were a lot of punctuation issues in the original and now they're gone) but the lack of any follow-through bothers me. As you may have guessed, there was no second book and no reference to the fact that the time had been booked for it. By then, I was busy enough that I didn't press the issue, but it was a curious event nonetheless. A lot of hours go into what I do, and having my name or the business name in the list of credits is how I can prove I've done the work I claim to have done. And if an author isn't happy with my work, or found someone more affordable, I will never know it (or why) if there's no followup. [Side note for this particular author: just before publishing this post, I did notice there is a second book now published in the series I worked on, and an editor was thanked—though not by name (what??)—which makes me wonder if there was something I did wrong or if a friend offered to edit for free. I need to know these things. Curiosity kills me.]

Thankfully, most people aren't like that, and I've only had one hostile person who would not take advice (and who I ended up declining to work with when all was said and done). I hear from some authors more frequently than others, because everyone writes at a different pace, some penning four books in the time it takes another to write one. I've met some interesting people in the process, whether they ended up working with me or someone else, and I have to admit that I enjoy being surprised by the high-quality creativity some people have bubbling in their brains. 

And I still get a thrill when someone comes back as a repeat client, because ultimately, that speaks volumes over a pleasant email "thank you" any day.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

And now, for something you'll really like . . .

So yes, I’ve only been back to the blogging world for a handful of weeks, and I had planned on posting only every two weeks. I still do, but this is a timely interruption for something I don’t want you to miss.

Since I’m Stephen Fender's slave editor and have worked on all his novels so far, I wanted to be sure to promote what he’s doing right now that some of you may be interested in, and I didn’t want to wait and possibly run out of time.

If you enjoy science fiction—specifically space opera—you’d enjoy pretty much anything Stephen has written. Over the past couple years, he’s managed to do a little Star Trek fan fiction as well, through the use of Kickstarters. Because his ever-growing fan base has been demanding more, he’s launched a new Kickstarter for his own Beta Sector novels, with a new one titled Master of the Void.

This campaign has a lot going for it, and based on the results of Stephen’s previous campaigns, you’re in for a good read and fun perks if you become a backer.

Master of the Void takes place during a period known as the Great Galactic War, a nearly ten-year struggle between the peaceful worlds of the Unified Collaboration of Systems and the destructive Kafaran Empire. This particular novel is based on Jules Verne’s classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, woven as a modern retelling that uses the thematic essentials from 20,000 Leagues and elements specific to Fender’s own Beta Sector universe, creating something new while keeping the grand adventure of the old.

The campaign met its initial goal within the first three days of launch, and because Stephen’s the generous guy he is, he’s offered perks galore and stretch goals people actually want to stretch for. I’ll let you visit the Kickstarter to see those rewards for yourself, so as not to be a spoiler for all of it. Here’s the link:

For those of you who wonder if you’ll really get what you pay for, here’s a glowing testimonial from a previous backer, Tim Knight, in a blog post, complete with photos of the finished products:

The blog post starts off with “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Stephen Fender delivers incredible Kickstarters.” I have to agree. Great writing, high-quality design on all perks, fun giveaways—all the components are there. I’m proud to have worked on the books with him, and a little jealous of his graphic design skills when it comes to patches, posters, maps and more.

The campaign ends in just over three weeks, so you don’t want to miss your opportunity to get in on something special. And as a special “extra,” if you have a blog and share the project on it, send the blog link to Stephen and you’ll get a free gift from him.

Jolly Rogers Productions:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What You May Have Missed . . . the Good Stuff

All right, so I've been gone for quite a while. Part of what kept me too busy to blog was my day job, but a good portion of my time outside that job was devoted to editing and more editing, and that's what I'm going to talk about today, since that's kind of the purpose of this blog.

When I edit a book, I'll often promote it here once it's published. Not always, but when I have time and it fits in my schedule. Or maybe I play favorites . . . who knows? It's my blog and I can do what I want. Not only that, I typically enjoy most of the stuff I work on, so it's more along the lines of recommending a book to a friend.

Anyway, here are the more recent things I wasn't around to shove in your face promote when I worked on them, but that you should check out anyway (direct links to these books on Amazon can be found in my "links" tab):

Keepers of Arden: The Brothers (book 2) by L.K. Evans—Dark fantasy, superbly written saga involving war, mages, evil, gods, the abuse of power, and destiny of two brothers. Part of a series, so make sure you check out Book 1 first.

The Forest of Windellyn by Andrew Marr—Juvenile fiction, fun and thoughtful, in which children are being kidnapped and replaced by elves intent on stealing their souls. The rescue involves a forest which has been created out of cyberspace by the elves, and all the complications that arise from the mesh of reality and cyber.

Bloodwinter: Immortalibus Bella 3 by S.L. Figuhr—Dystopian dark fantasy, incredibly detailed and intricately woven. There are royals and peasants, corruption and greed, mortals and immortals. What more could you ask for?

Beneath the Gathering Storm (The Creepers Saga Book 3) by Raymond Esposito—Post-apocalyptic dark fiction/horror filled with all the great stuff I'm always telling you about Raymond's writing. He thought this would be the final book of the series until he sat down to write it, and is sincerely hoping there's only one more to tie things up. If you haven't picked up the previous two Creepers books, you really need to get with the program. You'll never look back. I had the privilege of flying to Raymond's home in Florida in April to celebrate his birthday with his family (and S.K.!!), and I got to see his beautiful and interestingly designed office where all the magic happens. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that in future blog posts here.

Static (The Luminaries Book 2) by S.K. Anthony—Fiction that falls under everything from "superheroes" to "coming of age," it seems. All I know is that it's great. S.K. and I have had a lot of adventures, so my opinion could be biased. However, it's not. She's just a terrific writer and her books speak for themselves. They're full of characters you want to be friends with (or beat up), superpowers you wish you had, and plots that are "curiouser and curiouser," as Alice would say. The third book in this series is in the works and I can't wait to see where it all goes. S.K. and I were able to meet in person for the first time last summer on our two-year anniversary of knowing each other and decided one of our husbands has to pack us up and move to where the other one lives, because we were seriously meant to be next-door neighbors. Or roommates. Living at Raymond's house for four days in the spring only cemented our decision.

Star Trek: The Four Years War; Star Trek: The Romulan War; Star Trek: The Four Years War and Romulan War Technical Manual; and Star Trek, the Next Generation: Pirate's Cove by Stephen Fender—Military space science fiction at its best. The reason I mention these last is because if you missed out on the Kickstarters for these, you missed out on something special and you, unlike me, will not be the proud owners of limited edition Star Trek books. The eight novels and one technical manual account for probably 60% of what has kept me busy over the past two years, with over 500 editing hours logged. I don't get a whole lot of rest when we're working on a project, and I'm pretty sure Stephen is glad to live on the opposite side of the country from me, well out of choking range, when things are busy.

So . . . yep, things have been active on my end of things, to say the least. And that's just the editing portion, which, by its order in the balance of my life, comes after the 40-hour job. But I love both jobs because even though they're work, they're satisfying and enjoyable and I can't imagine giving up either one completely.

Have you read anything over the past few months you simply couldn't put down? Something that had a plot twist that surprised you? I'd love to hear about it as I continue to catch up with what I've missed.