editing

All you need to know about Beta Readers!

Charla White Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as…

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What’s a Beta Reader and how do you find them?

Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as a writer…

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Interview with Jennifer Quinlan-Historical Editorial

indiebrag would like to welcome back Jennifer Quinlan today to talk about her editing business. Jennifer, aka Jenny Q, owner of Historical Editorial, is an editor and cover designer specializing in historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. A member of the Historical Novel Society, the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, the American Historical Association, and various local and regional historical organizations, she lives in Virginia with her husband, a Civil War re-enactor and fellow history buff. Jenny, what is your editing business called? Historical Editorial How did you get into editing? I was having a bit of a professional crisis in the corporate world, unsatisfied with my job, but in a down economy, there were not a lot of appealing options available. So I asked myself: If you could do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? And I said: Well, I want to read books all day, but who’s gonna pay me to do that? At that point, I had an established book review blog and a growing network of readers and writers. So I started doing a little research and discovered there was a market for editors in the booming business of self-publishing. But not coming from a publishing…

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How to Be a Better Writer #5: Master Your Phrases

More recently than I'd like to admit, I'd hear "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band and sing along at the top of my lungs: "Some people call me Maurice (woo woo!) / 'cause I speak to the prophetess of love." That is, until a friend gently pointed out that the line is "'cause I speak of the pompitous of love." Whatever that means... Belt out whatever lyrics you want on karaoke night, but when it comes to your writing, you've gotta get your phrases right. Today, I'm sharing 15 of the top misconstrued phrases, plus the correct ones you should slate in their place. 1) Instead of: Flush outIt's actually: Flesh outTrick: Think of giving an idea more body, fattening it up, making it fleshier. 2) Instead of: Hone inIt's actually: Home inTrick: Picture a homing pigeon returning to its place of origin -- getting to the point. This one's contentious, actually, but linguists generally agree that "home in" came first. If you can't stand that idea, try using another phrase altogether: "zero in." 3) Instead of: For all intensive purposesIt's actually: For all intents and purposesTrick: Just remember you're including all your reasons -- intents and purposes. 4)…

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How to Be a Better Writer #4: Revise!

                                            Good on you! You've published your novel and it's on digital bookshelves everywhere. Then you get a note from your outspoken cousin Tom. He loves the book...but he found a typo in chapter two. Ugh! Back when all books were ink on paper, you would've been out of luck. Thank goodness it's the Digital Age. Fixing errors is no big deal -- at least in your e-edition. Notice how I said "errors" there? It's entirely possible that Cousin Tom's discovery is the only typo you and your editor didn't catch, but just in case there are others, save your future self some work and proof your published book once more, noting necessary updates as you go. That way, you'll need just one revision. The process takes a little time, and you want your readers (current and future ones alike) to have that flawless copy ASAP. Both Kindle Direct Publishing [link: http://kdp.amazon.com/] and NOOK Press [link: http://www.nookpress.com/] give you the option to make corrections to a published manuscript. Not surprisingly, their services are a little bit different. Here's how each one works. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)Updating your Kindle ebook is pretty darn simple. You fix…

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How to Be a Better Writer #3: Get an Editor

Yup, it's true that your writing will improve if you proofread it, but guess what: You can take it leaps further. When I was interviewing renowned indie author Helen Hollick for last month's Post she had nothing but praise for her editor, and with good reason. A fresh set of eyes makes a world of difference. "A good editor is a must for indie writers—not only to ensure the final proof has as few typo errors as possible, and for the obvious grammar, punctuation and spelling bloopers, but also to assist with the writing process as an overall experience," Helen says.Editors vary greatly when it comes to their services, editing styles, pricing structures and so on. I got in touch with editor Dulcie Shoener, so we could offer a big-picture look at what you can expect from the experience. Why consider professional editing?Simply enough, hiring a pro has major benefits. First, editing is his or her job. He or she knows how to hone your language, plot flow, character development and all the other components that will keep readers engaged from the very first page. "Every sentence should be a good sentence," says Dulcie, who's been editing newspapers, magazines and books for…

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How to Be a Better Writer #2: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

  Greetings, authors! I'm back with another dose of writing wisdom. This time, it's about what happens after the creative work is done: proofreading. When I told Geri Clouston, indieBRAG's founder and president, about the topic for this month's blog, she hooked me up with Helen Hollick, a British author who's received a lot of praise for her brilliant manuscripts. Helen's big on proofreading and editing. It might be one reason three of her books are B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees. "Keep this in mind," she tells me. "Anyone can write a book. Not everyone can write a readable book." It might be a bit hard to admit, but she's absolutely right. The two of us agree, a thorough proofread (and, if you can swing it, a professional edit) is an excellent way to bump your work into the latter category. "It is essential to ensure that your final proof, before going to print, is as error free as possible (although I am convinced that the gremlins creep in as soon as the printing press starts running...)," Helen says. "It doesn't matter how good your plot and characterisation are, if the final printed version is littered with silly errors, the reading experience…

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Editing by Ellie

How to Be a Better Writer #1: Don't Count on Spell-Check Greetings, authors! I'm Ellie, an editor by day and a voracious reader by night, and I'm thrilled to be a new member of the indieBRAG blog team. Each month, I'll be sharing tricks and tweaks you can use to shine up your writing. I've been reading books for indieBRAG for quite awhile and have discovered so many talented authors this way. But sometimes it's hard to ignore my inner writer-editor so I can relax, have fun and just read (I'm sure you can agree!). Sure, it's annoying, but that little voice has led me to some helpful insights into how we can all improve already good writing. One biggie has to do with spelling. Not the basics; more like spelling 2.0. Poll your Facebook buddies about their biggest writing pet peeves, and you'll see a lot of gripes about there/there/they're or to/too/two. Makes perfect sense. Homonyms -- sound-alike words that mean different things -- are tricky stuff. Even so, readers tend to notice when they're misused. Your book could have a fantastic storyline that uses an impressively diverse vocabulary, but if you flub on words like the ones above,…

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Can An Author Have It Both Ways?

Along with the ease of self-publishing came the ability to publish cheaply, and this may be one of the biggest problems with self-publishing today. Some of the disadvantages of getting a traditional publishing house contract are a loss of control and much lower royalties. The publisher chooses a cover they think will sell and they edit a book, including copy, line, and development editing. Even so, I have to say that not all traditionally published books are edited to perfection, or to the author's satisfaction, despite the fact that the publisher uses professional editors. Most self-published authors love the higher royalty percentage but often don't want, or can't afford, to hire the appropriate professional talent to make their book a quality product. I think it is accepted that in most cases an indie author simply can not properly edit their own work. Being so close to it, an author often sees what they think is there and not what is actually written on the page. Catching spelling mistakes is hard work (let's hope I didn't miss any in this blog), and in many cases, they fall in love with their own words. This makes it very hard to remove words,…

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SPBE Blog #2- Editing a Self-Published Book

    As I said in my previous blog, copy editing errors are the reason that most self-published books are rejected during the indieBRAG screening process. An indie author must not edit his or her own book. Although professional copy editing can be expensive, it is the single best use of an author's money. There are also other less expensive ways of doing this such as by using beta readers or joining writers' groups. Here are two slides from our presentation that address this issue: As you can see in Slide 19, our readers ranked copy editing as fourth in importance of the characteristics in their liking a book. BUT as Slide 20 shows, it is the number one reason why readers dislike a book. In other words, good editing alone will not make a book but bad editing will certainly kill it! In conclusion, we cannot emphasize enough that an author rarely gets a second chance at a good first impression!

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