Answer Me This If You Can

Editor

Editor at work – Yeh right!

For as long as I’ve been writing full time (since 1995), one aspect of our chosen career path has always bothered me. We all know that writers in publishing house stables are expected to apply all the corrections that their editors deem necessary. More fool them!

Why should Indies suffer this totally illogical practice as well? For many, myself included, we parted company with traditional publishing to get away from this less than satisfactory aspect of the writing game, and the often dictatorial way in which publishers rule over their writers, amongst other things.

I’ve given up counting the number of times I’ve heard fellow Indie’s complain about their editors, and the hard won money they’ve spent on their sometimes dubious services.

If you take the sensible decision to go it alone and self edit, you’ll soon find any errors and correct them. Whereas if you pay for an editor’s services, while they give the impression of doing a so-called professional job, what do they actually do for their often exhorbitant fee? Not enough! They only do half a job, then send it back to you to do the rest. What’s the point of that? A writer can do it all themselves and for no cost to them except time.

Yes your editor will tell you that they have judiciously gone through your manuscript, purportedly working their way through your story word by word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, picking up on bad grammar, spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation, plus suggesting you change this or that aspect of your story as if it was them who wrote the darned story in the first place, so that when pedants, armchair critics and literary snobs challenge you (and believe me they will), you can honestly say that your work was professionally edited.

Big deal!

Logic dictates that if someone is employing you as an editor to find all of the errors, that once found, you should correct them yourselves, not send the manuscript back to the writer to do your job for you! Otherwise, what’s the point of employing you in the first place. If a writer does the sensible thing and sends their manuscript to a few dedicated beta readers, hopefully they will point out any and all errors for free!

Remember this, no book is ever perfect. Even the very best editors employed by the major publishing houses will miss the minutiae, after all they are human just like the rest of us. Paying for an editor’s services, as they stand at the moment, is a waste of money. Before you even begin to show a profit from the sales of your books, you have to recoup your financial outlay first, ie, editing, layout, cover design. From a financial point of view its far better that you do it all yourself. Thinking about it, so-called professional editors are little more than failed writers.

If you are a truly dedicated Indie writer, don’t think that once you have written your manuscript that you have finished. You haven’t. Your work has only just begun. Above all don’t fall into the trap that your manuscript need the services of a paid ‘professional’ editor. It doesn’t. If you are any damned good, you will do it yourselves!

Here endeth today’s lesson…

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Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

If you’re a writer, you already know this if you’ve published a book and it appears on Amazon and Goodreads…

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists.

Ruminations of a Remembrancer: A Curmudgeonly Pontification on Editors and Self-Promotion

Lorinda J. Taylor goes into battle against editors and other things that annoy her. šŸ˜€

Ruminations of a Remembrancer: A Curmudgeonly Pontification on Editors and Self-Promotion.

There Is Nowt Queerer Than Folk

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People in general are probably the most complicated, dangerous, confusing, annoying, tiresome, argumentative, frustrating, angry, illogical, emotional and idiotic creatures roaming this planet of ours. Don’t even get me going on the differences between the genders…

To begin with, the greater majority of mankind believes in some form of non existant all powerful entity. Why? What’s wrong with standing on your own two feet? To any logical thinking being, any form of religion makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Where is this all powerful being when we need them the most, like when we are involved in a war, or are suffering a family crisis? Nowhere, that’s where! So why bow down to them? It makes no sense at all.

Religion is hardly peaceful or benevolent, despite everything its devotees preach. Each religion believes it is the only true one, conning its faithful into thinking that all the others are unbelievers to be destroyed! I’ve lost count of the number of wars that were, and still are, being fought in its name – an ugly trait of those who still believe that they are still the masters of all mankind. It seems that we can’t get through a single century without declaring war on each other. Once again, why is that? In the days of yore the common people were given no choice in anything. Once upon a time we were ruled by Emperors, Kings, Dukes, Earls, Barrons and tribal Chieftains. What they decreed simply happened.

I’ve got news for you people. These days we do have a choice, despite what our political and religious leaders may say. Our politicians, backed by the more fantical religions, have taken over from any kind of royalty, prosecuting wars in other lands like there is no tomorrow, usually because those countries are oil rich. While we can’t do much about the religious fanatics, except ignore them, every few years we do get the chance to vote out the political party that is annoying and frustrating us the most. The real trouble is that instead of thinking first, many simply give their vote to a specific political party because that’s the way their family members and them have always done it. In my own case, I usually vote for the Labour party. Why do I do that? Habit, pure and simple!

More and more these days people simply don’t bother to vote, believing that their one vote won’t make any difference. Total rubbish!

With barely a fortnight to go, the good people of Scotland will get the chance to vote, either for independence from the rest of the UK, or to maintain the status quo. This is a historic moment in the history of these islands. The Scots won’t get another chance like this in the forseeable future. The political pundits and polls suggest that both sides of the argument, for and against, are about even. When have polls and pundits ever got anything right when it comes to elections, or in this case, probably the most important referendum that Scotland will vote on?

Since the Jacobites were beaten in the eighteenth century, ending any previous thoughts of Scots’ independance, the proud nation has been nothing more than a vassal state of England. Despite all of the scaremongering and threats from the UK parliament, personally I hope that Scotland achieves it dream to break away from the houses of parliament, otherwise known as Westminster, once and for all.

Role on the eighteenth of September…

Remember That Words Are Our Craft

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As writers we are always on the lookout for those personality traits which each human being has within them when creating our characters.

To that end, besides acting as a means for our readers to get to know us, blogs are a positive gold mine, especially when certain commenters lose their composure, and drop their guard. Remember that words are our craft. What you say, or don’t say, how you react to a post, gives all of us useful information to draw upon. So don’t be surprised if one day when you are reading one of our books, that a particular character seems very familiar to you.

People simply can’t help themselves when any blogger writes a piece that they feel needs to be commented on. Some have extremely strong views on a specific subject. Others simply agree with what was said. Yesterday’s post on spamming and unsolicited book links in proposed comments certainly qualified. One or two of the commenters where forthright in their opinions.

Some hopefuls even attempted to chastise the blogger in question, taking offence at what was said, often resorting to foul languge. Needless to say, certain comments wind up in the bin, unpublished, having given us useful information for a particular type of future character, usually of the evil kind.Ā  Still others tend to go off at a tangent, talking about something else entirely.

So, to all of you, bear in mind that once your comment has been approved by the blogger, literally everyone who reads the blog, and your comments, instantly forms their own opinion about you. In short, unless you are careful, you will expose your real selves to the world and everyone who reads a blog, intentionally or otherwise.

Having spent twenty-five years in a university in New Zealand, without exception every one of the academics I worked with gave me an endless supply of character traits, which I have used in two of my books. The same can be said for the people I met and served alongside in the military back in the nineteen-sixties. In their case I created military style characters for two of my science fiction novels.

Even talking to our friends give us useful character traits. So, if you don’t want to wind up in any writer’s next novel as a shady, or even a bad character, think long and hard before you loose all sense of decorum…

On second thoughts, don’t. We need you to lay yourselves wide open. Far too many books these days contain shallow uninteresting characters…

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As Writers, We Demand To Know!

demographics

In fellow writer Derek Haines’ recent post Who Are Your Readers, he raises some pertinent points regarding demographics when it comes to the literary world. Without exception, all publishers be they traditional or self do not pass on the information to we writers. Why? Because they keep it to themselves, guarding it jealously to sell books. We’ve all seen examples of how they use it. Think about those annoying emails from Amazon et al. You know the ones I mean. They begin with “Since you showed interest in etc, etc”.

Well, as the writers of those self same books, we also need access to that knowledge!

Just think about it. Wouldn’t you like to know which gender your books appeal to? Which genre is selling? Which is not? As Derek says, you can’t draw any real conclusion from reviews these days, since their value was cheapened by the likes of Amazon and Goodreads when they gave over their review systems carte blanche to their inhouse trolls, and the growing number of self important armchair critics and pedants that crawl out of the woodwork.

As a writer, what do you think?

When we write a book, no matter the genre, in effect we are reduced to adopting a ‘hit or miss’ approach. Will it sell, or won’t it? If the publishers shared the knowledge with us, it would go a long way to deciding what that next book would be. If, like me, you write purely for the eBook market, you soon find out that the largest market for that particular format is the US. No one told me. I had to find it out for myself!

What about paperbacks or hard cover? Which countries are hungry for them? Which are not? Which country loves Fantasy? What about Adventure? Which gender prefers which genre?

All this information is held in secret by all publishers. If only they would tell us, we wouldn’t spend months writing a book that no one wants to read. But then again, when have publishers given a tinker’s cuss about writers?

My fellow writers, do yourselves a favour and reblog the living daylights out of this post to all the writers you know. It’s high time we showed all publishers that we mean business. Let us become organised!!!

Got a minute?

Why-bother

Since I began writing seriously back in 1995, I’ve written eleven books, a mixture of novels and novellas, and one anthology. Inevitably once they were published, the attacks began. This involves various assorted nasty individuals with an axe to grind, mainly the trolls that inhabit Amazon’s fora and on Goodreads.

Why do I put up with it all? I don’t need it. No writer does come to that? All we’re trying to do is give you the reading public another absorbing story to read at your leasure.

I’ve written countless short stories over the intervening years. Some of them like the Gilbert Briggs historical short stories which I have recently reblogged here. Unlike my published books, when it comes to this blog I don’t get attacked by you. Instead you either like my posts, or you don’t. You comment, or you don’t.

So why should we writers be attacked when our books are published, and not be attacked whenever we present a story on our blogs? Could it be because your average troll knows full well that should they try anything like offering one of their hateful comments, that all we have to do is throw the offending item into the trash? Perhaps they are envious of our growing readerships. Perhaps they are simply frustrated because their own efforts haven’t done well. Maybe. Who can honestly say?

In my case, given all of the endless hatred directed at me by these people over the past quarter century, do I really need it to continue? Why do I bother? Do I honestly want to write another book knowing that once it is published it will immediately be targeted? Or do I say enough is enough and call it a day, concentrating on giving you my followers more short stories here on my blog?

I’m totally fed up with the whole situation. You decide…

For God’s Sake, Get a Life!!!

Family_Guy_Stewie_Chat_Total_Idiot_

I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it bears revisiting. Besides which, its been a while since I had a rant about one of my pet hates.

What is it with idiots who begrudgingly part with a paltry US$0.99 for an eBook, then demand their money back? Once again I merely say this to them – try before you buy you moronic idiots. Use the darned ‘See Inside’ option. That’s what its there for!!!

Use those two remaining brain cells rattling around inside your heads for a moment and think about it. When you visit your local high street book store, you don’t just grab a book off the shelf, pay for it and rush out of the book store do you? If when you got home, you found out that the book is not for you simply because it never occurred to you to take a look at the first few pages back in the book store, or in some cases – the ending, after laughing at your stupid demand for a refund the kind folk in the bookstore would simply kick you out of the door. Who could blame them!

This mind numbingly stupid nonsense is down to Amazon for deciding that it would be a brilliant idea to give a refund, no matter the book’s price.

I even had one idiot write a complaint about one of my eBooks, thinly disguised as a negative review simply because he had trouble downloading it in its entirety from the Amazon outlet near him. Hardly my fault, but he didn’t seem to appreciate that fact.

Come on people. I mean to say, I could understand it (almost) if you had paid US$15 or $20 for the book in question. But US$0.99 – really? Don’t even get me going about the other kind of idiot who loves to complain about a book when they get it for free during a promotion. For your own sakes do yourselves a favour and get a life!!

Rant over…

Totally Incomprehensible Acts

insecurity

There is an unwritten understanding that all self-published writers will help each other out however they can. For my part I use this blog from time to time to pass on my own experiences in this bitchy world we all inhabit – aka, the world of publishing. I also try to make people aware of other writers who also have a blog by creating a link to their posts via the medium of the reblog. From time to time I offer positive comments on their posts in support. I don’t have to do it. It’s just in my nature to want to help others…

Yesterday, through our mutual friend The Storyreading Ape, I saw another post that cried out to be reblogged to make it known to those of you who follow my blog. Because I totally agreed with its sentiments, I also left a comment. Then I received the following from the writer concerned:

“Thank you for reblogging my post. However I deleted your comment because I find it extremely offensive when people shorten my name without asking permission. My name is ………; and I clearly indicated that I go by ….. In the future, please respect a writer by using their given names unless otherwise indicated. Thank you.”

To say I was totally taken aback would be an understatement!

Because of that childish outburst, simply because I used the first part of their double barrel Christian name instead of the second part as they insisted, like you I can only assume that they are not only wholly insecure but also deeply ungrateful for my wishing to help publicize both them and their blog. Once I got over the writer’s irrational outburst, I immediately deleted the reblog of their post as well as blocking their blog from my list of Blogs I Follow. You will note that to prevent the writer being embarrassed or harrassed for their incomprehensible act I have deliberately left out any reference to them, their blog and the post in question.

As writers we all need to embrace positive public relations. Clearly the writer in question either doesn’t realize this, or they have decided that they don’t need to avail themselves of it, taking the totally misguided view that their talent alone will ensure their success as a writer. This particular writer obviously needs to reassess their attitudes. All writers need allies and friends, especially other writers…

Dumb as a Rock? Far Worse…

a_rock

For months now I have been battling with the computer equivalent of an Indian Call Centre, for Amazon UK over a clear fault in the software of the otherwise excellent Kindle for PC Application installed on this laptop.

While I also own a standard Kindle, owing to my age and my less than perfect eyesight, I need a much larger screen to enable me to enlarge the print even more than the stand alone Kindle allows. To that end, I have duplicated all of my physical library of research books into Kindle form on this laptop, merely to have everything necessary for me to write my novels in one place. Clearly a sensible, not to say, practical move on my part. Therefore I am able to use my Kindle for PC app daily as a necessary research tool.

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Now for the real reason for this post.

It all started several months ago after the then latest update for the application was automatically installed. In effect what happened was that the new software inexplicably decided to place gaps at random throughout the text shown on the screen. By that I mean that words were broken up, and larger than standard gaps appeared between words. Each time I sent a message of complaint I received yet another email apologising for the problem and promising that they would look into it and get back to me. Needless to say they didn’t. To say I was less than pleased would be an understatement.

Eventually I found out what the problem was by myself when one day I needed to enlarge one particular passage in one of the books, far more than usual owing to the small font size in the particular eBook. The problem is that in effect when you alter the font size and words per line to make it easier to read, the software employed has the computer equivalent of a hissy fit!

When I once again sent a message to the ignoramuses, via the application’sĀ ‘Contact Us’ button, telling them I had done their work for them by finally being able to clearly establish the exact problem, yet again I received an email thanking me for pointing out the problem and promising to pass on the information to the relevant department within Amazon. Sadly, many months have gone by and the problem still persists after several more automatic updates.

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Next we turn to the software program Amazon employs to run their automatic book information emails. As we all know there are some writers out there who think nothing of stooping to employ an underhand technique known as ‘sock-puppeting’ –Ā  the unscrupulous practice of promoting their own books by writing glowing reviews using a false online identity. Amazon loudly condemns the practice. For that I applaud them.

But, once again the dumb software Amazon employs for attracting reviews tries to get a writer to engage in the practice themselves by asking you to ‘review’ your own work!!! Its pointless trying to complain to anyone in Amazon, because it appears that no one is actually monitoring the software algorithm in use. Plus, the automated emails offer no chance for you to complain, even though you will see the ‘Reply’ button at the bottom of each email.

If you send Amazon a separate email pointing out the problem, all you will get once again is their equivalent of the ‘Indian Call Centre’ which we all dread communicating with, in this case inhabited by yet more ignoramuses with a strict mandate to only pay lip service to a problem; never to fix it!

In both of the examples I have given you, whether you are a reader, or in my case a contributing writer for Amazon, makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Like all major publishers, they simply don’t give a damn!

Come on Amazon. Who is running your company, dumb software or people? Don’t bother answering that. We already know the answer…