The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘editing’

Saving My Sanity

Okay, Crusaders, I had to do it. I apologize profusely. But when I looked at Google reader and saw several hundred posts from all you fabulous writers, I just had to do it.  Yep, I marked all as read.

Later today, I’ll start going through the posts that show up as new. But there was no way I could deal with several hundred posts. We are a prolific bunch.

In other news:

  • My upcoming book “Blind Leading the Blind,” a lesbian mystery, went to formatting yesterday. It will be released on March 20th by Puddletown Publishing Group. Yes, I know, I am a co-founder of the press. But my book had to go through the same process as all the others, and this one made the cut. Another one of my books did not. Well, it sort of didn’t. I have to do some serious rewriting on it then try again. That’s what happens when you have a blind acquisitions process. Even the owner can be rejected.
  • Building a social networking platform is fun. Too much fun in some cases. If any of you have ideas on how to reign in Twitter, let me know. I’m enjoying all the blogs and Tweets, and Facebook has been a big time suck for me for a couple of years now, but it’s overwhelming. My mother was a total Luddite and right now I’m sort of envying that.
  • Today, I have two things on my plate: Paying the bills and having some fun
  • Paying the bills means I have to do some writing for various clients. Yep. Non-fiction. Articles. Money. That sort of thing. With the new publishing company, we’re not yet drawing salaries, and I’ve had to put my indexing business on hiatus so I have time to do publishing. Things are tight. Thank God, I’ve got a big check coming soon and my partner’s tax refunds should be here any day.
  • Having fun: My favorite kind of fun! My middle daughter and the amazing 5-month-old Wonder Babe will be here this afternoon. There is nothing like a happy, well-attached, silly-face baby to make it all worthwhile. And, really, I find that the older I get and the more grandchildren I get (four in April), the more I find that I’m really doing everything for them. Whether it be writing a book, preaching a sermon, making the decision to live lightly on the earth, or starting a publishing company, it’s all becoming about what legacy I leave for my grandchildren. (To see some of my sermons, go here and here)
  • I’m skipping church. I love church. I love my church. But I also have fibromyalgia, a genuine pain-in-the-butt-and-everywhere-else condition. I have to set limits on what I do or I end up not being able to do anything. So years ago I instituted the one-thing rule. Basically, I allow myself one energetic activity per day (not counting work). And today it’s Wonder Babe.
  • This is especially important today as I did spend all of Friday night (until 9 am Saturday morning) doing final edits on my book. When I get to the end of a project, I can no longer work on it in small chunks. The last three passes have all been marathons, going through the entire book from start to finish. Unfortunately, Friday night was date night (that’s not the bad part) so I didn’t start editing until around 10 pm. (That’s the bad part.) Oh, well. It’s out the door and now I’m taking a few days to recharge before I start clean-up on the second book in the series.
  • Okay, in my final sanity saving move, it’s back to bed for this woman. Gotta get some energy before the Wonder Babe gets here.
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Why You Should Consider E-books

The dream of every writer has been to get published, and when we think publishing, we think traditional publishing with hardcover and trade paper, finally ending up in pocketbook at Safeway. But are you sure this is what you want?

Last year, Barnes&Noble and Amazon both saw the sale of e-books and e-readers overtake and surpass the sale of paper books. The mighty Powell’s, the largest indie bookstore in the country and possibly the world, just laid off 10 percent of its workforce and froze salaries and canceled 401k contributions for their remaining staff. They blame  e-books. Borders has fallen, or at least is struggling to get up.

I am fortunate to live near Powell’s and it is my favorite place on earth. I’ve been going there since it opened. Which may give you some idea how old I am. I was one who was never going to switch to e-books. I love the feel, smell, sound, sight of a book more than anything else. About the only thing I don’t like is that weird thing they do when dropped in the bathtub. But as I approach 60, my body no longer likes books. In order for me to read, I have to take off my glasses, close one eye, squinch up the other, and hold the book about three inches from my face. I can only do this for about five minutes before it becomes tiring. I’ve tried all sorts of solutions, most involving my eye doctor, and finally had to admit that I couldn’t read anymore.

So I bought a NOOKcolor. I can now read anything available, and most of it is available. After several years of only reading on my computer (bumped up to 200 percent), I’ve read roughly four to five books a week since I got my NOOK. The NOOK is my first piece of adaptive technology and I suspect a hearing aid is not far behind.

But why should authors consider e-books? Well, there are several reasons, and I’ll put them in the next post. But first a disclaimer. I am not talking about self-publishing here. Not that I have anything against self-publishing, but most of the self-published books I’ve seen have serious flaws in writing, editing, structure, and just about everything else. Self-publishing, as it stands now, gives e-books a bad name. Yes, some people, like Amy Rose Davis, produce beautifully written, well-edited, engaging self-published e-books. But the vast majority are, IMHO, garbage. If people want to self-publish, go for it. But for Pete’s sake, hire an editor. A real one. Not your best friend. Do it for yourself and for your craft. Because, folks, I have to tell you: e-books are where it’s at.

More at 11.

Faking Myself Out

As you may or may not know, I am an editor. I’ve been at this for nigh on 30 years, so I pretty much edit automatically. (Like menus, grocery store signs, reader boards outside porn shops. If someone can write it, I *will* edit it, at least in my mind. If I find it funny, I’ll even take a picture with my mighty phone.)

Except when it comes to my own work. I can’t just read and edit my own work. I’m way too involved and have a love/hate relationship with it. So I’ve had to figure out some ways to approach it that make me detach from it.

I used to edit from the beginning. The first two chapters of my upcoming book have been edited to the point I don’t even know what they say anymore. (Sort of like saying your own name over and over until it starts sounding funny.) The end result? I couldn’t remember how the book ended because I never got there.

Then I tried editing a few chapters at a time. While this seems obvious, again I found myself forgetting about the rest of the book in my quest to polish chapters 11 and 12.

Finally, I sat down and read the whole book in one sitting. Three times. Found lots of plot holes, some copyediting problems, and a few unclassifiable oddities. But I got too involved in the story and missed a lot of stuff. (I know, I wrote it. I should know how it turns out. But I must have some sort of filter that makes me forget. I have this same problem with my editorial work. I can read the same book several times, during several phases of production, and still find new things.) (I prefer to think of it as a filter rather than the natural progression of aging.)

So now I’m editing my book backwards. I’ve used this trick before on short stuff, and on other people’s short work, but I’ve never read a whole book from back to front. It’s an odd experience. But, so far, it seems to be working. Maybe it wouldn’t work if I didn’t know the whole story. And I don’t read it backwards word-by-word. I’m going scene-by-scene. This forces me to look at each scene as a discrete piece of writing. It’s interesting. Sometimes I find myself wondering what comes before!

Anyway, if reading your own book is wearing you down, turn it on its head. You might find it helpful.

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