Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Lessons Learned.

Hello friends! I trust you’ve all survived the hectic Christmas Season with its family drama, over-eating and traveling. I hope Santa treated you all right. I had a quiet holiday here with my kiddos, and that was just fine by me. 2011 just kissed me on its way out the door and 2012 is wiping its shoes on the welcome mat, so I thought I might reflect on what a crazy year it has been (Though my first short was published in October of 2010, this is my first full year in publishing), and share some important lessons I’ve learned in hopes of helping any new writers out there who are choosing to throw their hats into the ring this coming year:

The publishing business is hard. It’s mean and unforgiving. If you make it to any level in this industry, there will be ugly and sometimes unfair reviews. There will be those that like you just because they think it will help them. There will be those that hate you because you are doing better than they are. You need a thick skin and a certain level of shrewdness to determine who is really your friend, and you will still be suckered by a few.

It’s still worth it. I have met some real assholes over the last year. Some were straightforward with their assholery, while some were weasels, pretending to be friends. It’s still worth it. I have met a handful of honest, genuine friends in this industry, and their friendship makes it all worthwhile. Thanks guys~you all know who you are.

Aim for the stars. Set your standards and goals too high. Tell yourself that you are going to do all of these things and win all of the awards. Tell yourself you can achieve what you have only dreamed of, then go after it. Failure is not an option.

Forgive yourself when you fail. You won’t reach all of those goals, but you tried. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Look at all of the goals you did reach because you pushed so hard. You are a ROCKSTAR! Next time, you will make it. The failure helped you learn. You are improved. I repeat~you are a damned ROCKSTAR!!!!

Not everyone will like you. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, not everyone will like you. Sometimes it’s personal. Sometimes it’s not. I have a sarcastic personality and a strange sense of humor. Some of you get it and enjoy my posts for what they are. You realize that they are only 5% actual annoyance, and 95% humor and snarky fun. Some of you don’t, and I offend the hell out of you. I’m not good with sensitive people. All I can tell you is that I don’t mean to offend. There is very little real malice within me. I won’t apologize for being myself.

Letting someone else edit your work sucks! It hurts. It never stops hurting. Some editors are better than others and don’t hurt you as badly, while others don’t care. Some editors want to improve your work, and some just want to change it. Once you get over the initial shock, you will recognize which one you are dealing with and learn how to react to the edits.

Letting someone else edit your work makes you better. Besides improving the work itself, a good editor helps improve you. There are lessons to be learned by a good edit from a good editor. Pay attention. Despite the pain of having your story overhauled, they are your new best friend. Everyone needs an editor. EVERYONE. Maybe even 2 or 3…

Act like a pro if you want to be a pro. There are poopyheads everywhere. Some will try to get under your skin. Some will succeed. Always conduct yourself with a professional attitude. Don’t defend a bad review, but if you are personally attacked on a blog or forum and want to respond, do so with class and grace. The other person may be a dickhead to you in response, but the other readers will remember that you were a pro about it.

Don’t let it go to your head. People like other people who are approachable. Readers love authors who interact with them. You aren’t Stephen King. He’s one of the few who can get away with not having an easy way for readers to contact him such as facebook, twitter, email and so on. Be there for your fans and they will be there for you.

Spare us the drama. Writers are people like everyone else. We have bad days and good ones. We get pissed at life and depressed at times. But, if you take my advice and have avenues in which your fans can interact with you, don’t use them as outlets for your personal drama. If your personal facebook is also where you interact with readers, don’t piss and moan about your mundane problems and what a bitch your mother-in-law is. We all hate that when our actual friends do it on facebook, what makes you think we want it from a stranger whose books we happen to enjoy? This all goes toward the professional point. Sure, be personable with your fans, but stop short of telling them about the fight with your husband or whining about how no one really loves you. Everyone has problems and sometimes it feels good to vent. Just not on facebook okay?!!

 I could go on with this list forever, but I will stop here. 2012 can be a great year if we let it, and I for one intend to do so. Thank you to everyone in my life who has, in some way, helped to encourage me on this journey. I love you all from the bottom of my sarcastic, dark little heart~C. W. LaSart


Could Being A Writer Ruin Me As A Reader?

Lately I’ve been struggling with something that bothers me more than I care to admit. It’s something that goes so deeply into the core of who I am, that the thought of changing it at all terrifies me. It’s my love of reading. I have always loved to read, from the day I learned how. I can’t remember a time in my life that books didn’t play such an important role that I often chose them over real people. That is, until about a year ago, when my writing really started to take off and I was presented with a little thing called deadlines. My reading has been woefully inadequate of late. But what do you do? I’ll tell you what I did. I started setting time aside for reading. Making goals that if reached, allowed me to read a book before trying to write something else, and that’s when the real terror set in.

Though I have always been a writer, I haven’t always dealt with editors. This is something new and unusual for me. And painful. Holy cats is it painful! This isn’t going to be a rant about my LOVE/HATE relationship with editors, but more a voicing of my concern over how that relationship has changed me as a reader. I have always been a very forgiving reader. A few typos might catch my eye, but I wasn’t one to reflect on how much passive voice a writer chose to use, or if their characters were unrealistic, cliche or every other thing editors like to say. I think most readers out there are the same. The only people who actually care about these things are editors, book reviewers and those assholes on Amazon that can’t just say whether they liked a book or not, but have to throw all kinds of high brow terminology into the review and act superior to every other reader on the planet. You know who you are. If you are reading this, I just want to tell you that you are a pretentious asshole and we see through you! Good Day, Sir!

Sorry about that, but that guy really torques my bisquick! (Yeah, I don’t know what it means either, but my friend Axel said it once and I liked it!) So here’s my problem. After spending the last year-year and a half with editors, I am beginning to lose my enjoyment of the reading process. Suddenly I find myself picking apart stories, noticing flaws in the pacing, passive voice and other things that I like to call “soft writing” when I find myself doing them. And you know what? It really scares me. A story has to be really great to keep me from noticing the errors. Am I becoming one of these people? I don’t want to. Is this just a phase for me? I guess only time will tell, but I hope so. Maybe I need to practice meditation, or yoga, or voodoo magic before I pick up a book. Anything to teach me how to keep my own inner editor from ripping apart the work of others. I want to love to read again. The alternative is too scary.

OF COURSE you’re special, honey!

 Today I think I will climb up on a powder keg instead of my usual Monday soapbox. Just for fun, I think I will light the fuse as well. I’m about to seriously piss some of you off. But I’m about to make some of you smile as well. I would like to discuss a VERY hot topic in the publishing world right now, one that has writers in two decidedly different camps. But I’m not talking to you as a writer today. I’m talking to you as a reader. First and foremost, all writers are readers, so I am as entitled to my opinion as the next. Please wait until you’ve heard me out before gathering the pitchforks and torches.

Most of you probably realize already that I’m going to talk about self-publishing. Now put down that club, I’m not done yet! We live in a world now, where all you have to do is type something up, and you can publish it on a variety of venues such as Amazon yourself. The question that was posed to me was this Does that make you an author? As a READER, I will say no. It doesn’t. With the invention of the e-reader came the freedom for me to download these stories in the blink of an eye, and I will say that I have purchased enough self-pubbed works to have a definite opinion. As a reader, I like my books to be well-told and well-edited. I like to be entertained by someone with the talent to tell me a story. I’m not finding that here people!

EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! C. W. LaSart Just Said Self-Pubbing Is SHIT! Now hold on a minute, I haven’t gone there, yet. The majority of what I am encountering in the self-pubbed market is in fact shit. No character development, little plot, NO STORY, and the editing of a 5-year old. Some of it is just plain illiterate. Notice I didn’t say ALL. There are a few self-pubbed authors who have a story to tell, and also enough pride in their work to pay to have it professionally edited by someone other than that friend who always did pretty good in English when they went to school together. These are few and far between. I have read a couple of self-pubbed books I liked, a couple that were good, but none that were great. I’m sure there’s some great ones out there, but sadly I will never read them because the abundance of shit has soured me towards spending my money on self-pub. Those of you doing it with talent and pride should be the ones most pissed about the trend. They are giving you a bad name. And making it harder to sell your work.

For those of you who just decided you needed to be an author, and put out whatever you wanted without so much as spell check, you have a lot of nerve. Not only do you put it out there, but you expect me to PAY to read it! That’s like me saying I know how scissors work, why don’t you PAY me to give you a hair cut even though I’m not a hairdresser. So sure, I’ll buy your book, but I get to give you a makeover after. Fair is Fair. And that’s what you want, right? For it to be fair? It’s just not fair that you don’t have a traditional publishing contract. It’s just too hard. You’ll just skip those steps. Please tell me it’s not because you think you don’t need an editor. Everyone needs an editor. EVERYONE!

I tell my kids every day that they are special to me. Then, in the next breath, I tell them that if they want to be special to the world, they have to DO something special. None of us are special by the grace of our births. I don’t care what your Momma tells you, Pumpkin. Just wanting something is not enough. I would love to be able to sing, but just because I whip out a microphone and wail into it, then ask you to pay to hear it, does not make me a musician. I’m just a freak wailing in a microphone. Decades of “participation ribbons” have led to a country where too many think they have a right to be whatever they want to be, without working to achieve it. Winning is nothing anymore. God forbid someone who is truly good at something, someone who has struggled to hone their sport or craft, feel special. That would hurt the self-esteem of those who didn’t succeed.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you want to self-pub, make sure that what you are writing is good (Don’t ask your Momma-she will lie to save your little feelings) and for God’s sake, hire an editor. Really ask yourself if you have talent? Do you actually have a story to tell? If you do, and it’s not just a case of you wanting to be an author, rather than being one in your heart and soul, then good luck to you. If you are just one of these schmucks who are flooding the market with sub-standard shit, well have I got something for you! I can carve a roast and I’m pretty decent at stitching socks. I guess that makes me a surgeon-come see me if that appendix acts up!

THE END. is only the beginning! Part 2

Hello Friends! Last week I talked a bit about what it takes to get my stories ready for the upcoming anthology. When finished, it should include around twelve to fifteen. To date we have five, with only one, Sister Alice’s Suitor, completely edited and ready for print. I have multiple works in process, and every thing to be edited and revised for print. All this must be done by August. I’m starting to feel like I may have sold my soul to the devil, or at least my Summer! Okay, enough whining you! So let’s leap ahead and pretend all this work is done. I wish! You might think it would now be time to kick back, put my feet up, and smile as the bucks start pouring in. 🙂 Wrong again. One of the biggest parts of being an author any more is self-promotion. It is also one of the hardest. As authors, we are mostly shy people used to working on our own. If we were outgoing, we would be actors! I will admit that, as a bartender, I am not terribly shy, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with shameless self-promotion. I love talking about my writing. I also hate it. Blogs are fun, pushing my writing in people’s faces is not. This is something we have to get used to, we won’t sell books if we don’t. No promotion=No sales=No money=No food! I like to eat.

Let’s start with the things that I already have in place before the book is written. I have a facebook fanpage. Now that was kind of fun. This morning I counted 120 fans. I have 250 some friends-HINT-HINT! Facebook is fun, but it takes a little longer to build your fans unless you pay for advertising. I’m not in a position to do that just yet. Next was my Twitter page. In less than a month, I have 323 followers! Not too shabby! Twitter definitely grows faster. Yesterday I opened an account at Goodreads. I am still working on that, so I don’t have much to say on that subject just yet. And the most obvious endeavor of the last couple of months-my website here. This website has caused me much anxiety, but it has been a growing experience as well. With the help of my dear friend, Jeana, I think it is looking pretty sharp, but I probably need to spend more time working on it. TIME who the hell has any of THAT!

Okay now, fast forward to Fall when the book is scheduled to be out. Even before you can order it on Amazon or find it in a bookstore, I have to have my platform in place. I am already doing research on which sites might be willing to do reviews, Come On Cemetery Dance! I am also looking into what my budget might be for advertising on the horror sites and in magazines, and which will do it for free. I will be calling the newspaper (always good for free press, especially in smaller towns) and putting together a combination book signing and launch. This is where I will shamelessly invite everyone I know to spend an evening with me and buy a book for me to sign. I will also have to speak publicly. Please excuse me while I go throw up. Since I won’t see any money at all from this book until some time next YEAR, I will have to arrange book signings that don’t cost too much, preferably in bigger cities I can drive to AND where I know someone who will put me up. Fortunately, I have family or friends in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, SD. Minneapolis, Minn. Omaha, Nebraska, and a few other places. I also have family in New York, Denver, and Atlanta to name a few, but plane tickets will be out of the question just now.

I am in contact with a publicist who fortunately offers lesser services for smaller fees. The point I am trying to make is this, if I spend more money than I have, promote myself shamelessly and build a fan-base for things such as this blog, maybe, just maybe, I might sell enough books to break even on the deal. But my next book, that’s where I will start raking in the big bucks! HaHa! That’s all I have for today, I really should start chipping away at all that work I have in the months to come. I’m trying really hard not to let it scare me!

P.S. Just getting this blog done isn’t THE END. I now have to post it 4 places on Facebook, and 1 place on both Twitter and Goodreads! *le sigh* Back into the vault with me!

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