Tag Archives: indie pub

Don’t, Don’t, Don’t Edit Your Book! It’ll Dilute the Genius!

Sunday morning I jammed my index finger into a TV stand, drawing blood and tearing the nail.

Indexing for the next couple of weeks will be unbearably uncomfortable.

Indexing isn’t a job for me. It’s a way of life.

This is so unfair.

Ever Since The New Leap Year Rules, I Don't Remember What Time It's Supposed To Be

Midnight and the sun is up? If you live in the Lower Forty-Eight, that means my plan was enacted!

I blame this incident on Daylight Savings Time.

Oh sure, every time the time changes, it’s time for some time-sensitive yahoos to come out of the woodwork and repeat themselves repetitively about how much they hate changing the time for Daylight Savings Time. Again.

Where are these whiners when we gain an hour, I ask you? Sleeping in, that’s what!


I can sympathize. I had to work Sunday, so I was up an hour earlier than usual, normally the crack of dawn, but this Sunday an hour before the crack of dawn. As such, I was suffering from the sort of exhaustion that kind of lack of sleep causes.

This makes Daylight Savings Time 50% responsible for my injury.

The other 50%? Not enough slack on the charge cord for my phone, which was resting on the TV stand. I pulled too hard, it didn’t give, and rather than send the phone flying off the stand, I instinctively thrust my hand forward to prevent said flight and the inevitable crash landing-induced damage that my phone would have incurred.

I have bad instincts and, even worse, a brand new, expensive phone.

But this whole incident reminded me (and continues to remind me while the fingertip is bruised and scabbed, and the fingernail rent) about my brilliant leap year idea.

Which led directly to my discovery that editors are killjoys. They just don’t get my brilliance.

Here’s what I mean. As I mentioned three paragraphs earlier, I had a brilliant idea about leap year. The following is an actual transcript of a conversation between myself (brilliant idea haver) and my wife (proxy for editor for purposes of this argument and all-around killjoy):

Brilliant me: I had this brilliant idea for a new way to deal with leap years.

Reluctant to get dragged into another one of these conversations missus: Yeah?

Brilliant me: Instead of getting one whole day every four years, they should give us six hours every February 28th. At midnight, roll the clock back six hours and let us do whatever we want.

RTGDIAOOTC missus: Um..?

Brilliant me: Every four years, that adds up to one day! But we gain six hours to bum around, or relax, or cook up a huge list of even more brilliant ideas to improve the world. People are going to be so thrilled, I could get elected President of Canada based on this idea alone!

RTGDIAOOTC missus: Honey, Canada doesn’t have a President. They have a Prime Minister.

Brilliant, politically ambitious me: OK, then, Prime Minister.

RTGDIAOOTC missus: You aren’t Canadian.

Brilliant me: Fine. I’ll settle for President of the United States.

RTGDIAOOTC missus: This idea isn’t going to get you elected President. Maybe Governor. Of Colorado. But don’t hold your breath.

Brilliant me: I don’t want to move to Colorado.

RTGDIAOOTC missus: Let’s put aside your political ambitions, just for a moment. You seem to be overlooking an important fact.

Brilliant me: Not possible! [pause while face screwed up in thought] What fact?

RTGDIAOOTC missus: An astronomical fact. The sun is still going to come up at the same time, no matter what our clocks say. If you add six hours to the day, our schedules will fall out of sync with sunrise and sunset.

Brilliant, but now nonplussed me: Say that again?

RTGDIAOOTC missus: [rolls eyes] Say you roll the clock back six hours. At the new midnight, it’s six AM old time, and the sun is up. So now the sun is up at midnight.

Brilliant and misunderstood me: I hate you.

And this is why editors are killjoys. They read our manuscripts and then gleefully direct our attention to typos, plot holes, and characters whose names change several times over the course of the book. Then they smugly point out how finding these trivial issues will prevent a lot of angry, humiliating reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble about how stupid your book is.

Never mind that it’s the story that matters. The overarching, brilliant story that will suck the reader in and blind them to any alleged errors.

And maybe, just maybe, that apparently random name changing was intentional and actually a metaphor for the fluidity of life and friendships and our connections to other people! Huh? Did you ever think of that, Mrs. WifeyEditor???

Like I said, editors just don’t get brilliance.

And don’t forget that in pointing these alleged problems out, editors invariably foist a huge amount of ‘extra’ work on the poor, hapless authors who now, in addition to dealing with the crushing depression of having the my-novel-is-finally-done! rug pulled out from under them, must also fix all these supposed issues.

We don’t want to hurt the cursed editor’s feelings, because who knows what they’d complain about in your next book if they’re mad at you!

Bad enough when the editiing is done for free by friends or family. Even worse, though, are those cases where you’ve paid a ‘professional’ for the ‘pleasure’ of this editing.

It’s like paying extra for the privilege of staying late at work or to come in on the weekends for the day job (or, if my leap year plan is ever enacted, sometimes night job).

I can’t tell you how angry all this extra work makes my.*

And I won’t even go into the drama I’m currently experiencing with my critique groups. Bunch a killjoys!

* I am proud to say that this post has been, and always will be, editor-gfree!

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My book, (the edited) Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to learn more or order a copy!

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Posted by on 13 March 2012 in Other Blogs


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Writing a novel is like writing a book (or a novella, only longer)

People are always coming up to me on the street and asking, “How do you write a novel?”

I don’t know why they approach me. I guess I just have that ‘successful novelist’ look.

(It’s all about personal grooming. And tweed jackets with elbow patches. Wear one of those to a writing conference and you’ll be beating off the agents. And the ladies. And the lady agents.)

((Then they finish reading my manuscripts and quietly slip away in the pre-dawn hours, unsatiated and bitterly disappointed, before I wake up and can say goodbye. It’s very depressing. One of these days I’ll write a book about it.))

Because I’m tired of total strangers harassing me about the secrets to writing greatness, I’m going to put it all out right here for you.

(OK, I’m not tired of it. But the missus is sick of dinners interrupted, evening walks detoured, child-births missed as I’m chatting up a desperate wannabe writer in the waiting room.)

Writing a novel is a lot like writing a book. It’s also remarkably similar to writing a novella, only longer.

Much longer.

There are a few key things you need to remember when it comes to writing a successful novel:

You have to use letters. Preferably strung together into words. Words of a language that, again preferably, you know. Or at least a language your readers will know.

(Readers are funny that way, not willing to learn a new language just to experience an amazing novel. Lazy bastards. Most of them will download a pirated copy of your e-book too, cause they’re lazy AND cheap. Makes me wonder why I even try.)

A catchy title is also important. No one will bother to look at the letters strung together inside your book if the title is, “Mmm, Cupcakes.” No matter how perfect that title might be for your book about sentient cupcakes hell-bent on domination of the bovine artificial insemination industry, that title sucks ass and will pull the rug out from under your sales.

(Try “Miniaturized Death Cakes of Sexy, Sexy Doom, Coming For You!” instead. As a starter.)

Which brings me to the third thing you need for a successful book. Awesome cover art. Because if your book IS called “Mmm, Cupcakes” but has a photo-realistic picture of a large-breasted woman cupping her bare bosom, head tilted up and eyes rolled back in ecstasy, then “Mmm, Cupcakes” is gonna be a blockbuster.

(At least amongst the 15-23 year old male market demographic.)

The last, and most important item you need, after the letters smooshed together in a familiar language, a catchy title, and awesome cover art, is marketing.

A book is dead in the water if you don’t have marketing. You could write the next War and Peace, but if you don’t market it effectively, your sales will be so bad you’ll actually lose money.

But if you have awesome, kick-ass, spam-all-your-followers-on-twitter-every-ten-seconds marketing, well…with that, you don’t even need a book!

(Also, please, if you write the next War and Peace, keep it brief. Nothing sinks a book faster than the dead weight of too many pages, too many letters. Bleech.)

((You should shoot for novella-length.))


Posted by on 15 September 2011 in Other Blogs


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