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 Needless to say, certain comments wind up in the bin, unpublished, having given us useful information for a particular type of future character, usually of the evil kind.  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…

😀

 

Writers, Believe in Yourselves – Stand On Your Own Two Feet

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A comment on my blog post yesterday about obsessive writers, editing and layout errors got me thinking. The commentator said she had used the services of one of the thousands of Vanity Press publishers out there, waiting for the next sucker to fleece. She found out that after publication the end product had spelling errors. Despite them reassuring her that it would be taken care of, it wasn’t. Why do people still fall for the unmitigated BS that all Vanity Press continue to spew out I wonder? If you want my advice, don’t go there.

Sad to say but in the independent editing fraternity, there are some individuals only too willing to relieve you of your hard earned money, often leaving you with a shoddy product.

Far to many ‘wet behind the ears’ new writers these days think that they should pass their manuscript on to an expert. So they simply find the independent editor whose financial package suits their budget and hope for the best, assuming that he or she is qualified, and from your point of view as a new writer – unbiased. Remember this; even if your editor is the best available, he or she is just another human being, not a machine. Therefore the way they edit your work will be coloured by their own opinions about how your manuscript should read. They’re not infallible. If you let them have their way exclusively, chances are you won’t recognise the end product. Remember this also, not all independent editors out there are what they profess to be by any stretch of the imagination. Buyer beware!

Believe me when I say that the best editor for you is one you know personally, and more importantly, the editor who believes in you.

Even so, why not do what I have done and learn how to lay out a page. Then learn how to edit as well as grammar and spell check using your dictionary and thesaurus, not forgetting how to punctuate as well as publishing your work for yourselves. And while you’re at it, learn how to produce a cover. All of the above isn’t that difficult to master. Like most things in life it just takes application and perseverance on your part, and time to learn.

Even if you have parted with a considerable amount of money to have your manuscript edited, plus having it set up for publication and paying for the best possible cover, there is still no guarantee that your book will sell. So why shell out money you can ill afford when you are just starting out. It makes absolutely no sense at all.

There is one other consideration that you should take into account; before you even begin to show a profit, first you have to sell enough copies of your book to recoup your initial outlay. Whereas if you do it all yourselves, the only cost to you is your time. In other words you are in profit right from the start with that first sale.

All I’m asking you to do is think about it before you make a move…

Totally Incomprehensible Acts

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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…