Working with the Industry: Editor Interview with Karin Beery

This month’s “Working with the Industry” posts are a real eye opener for me. I just love to learn. And when the lesson has anything to do with improving my writing skills, I’m all ears.

All of us need a helping hand every once in a while. Your critique partners and Beta readers may think your story is the next best thing to hit the market. However, once you expose it to someone who is working in the writing industry it may still need work.

For my editor interview, I asked a few questions of my editor friend Karin Beery. I first met Karin while we commiserated in the same critique group for about a year. She is a champion of helping others achieve a quality product they can be proud to present for publication.

Be teachable. If you’re unwilling to take an editor’s advice, there’s no point in hiring an editor.

What is the best advice you can give to an established writer and newbie alike on the writing craft?
Be teachable. Even if you’ve been in the industry for a while, things change. Editors should be aware of those changes. If you’re unwilling to take an editor’s advice, there’s no point in hiring an editor.

What book have you read that you would have loved to edit, and how would you have changed it to your liking?
I don’t necessarily want to name the book because I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but several years ago I read a fantasy book that “everyone” was talking about. It was simultaneously the most interesting and most boring book I’ve ever read! Since then I’ve ready many books with the same three common issues:

  • stereotypical characters
  • spending too much time describing unnecessary details (such as exactly what each character is wearing in every scene) while failing to describe necessary components (like establishing scene setting)
  • not enough conflict.

How does an author know when the time is right to engage an editor before publication?
Ask! Almost every editor I know will provide a free sample edit/review of at least the first few pages. I’ve told several authors that they aren’t ready for editing yet, then offered suggestions for how they can strengthen their writing. If you’re afraid to ask an editor, then find someone in the publishing industry for their honest input (and be ready for honesty!).

What should a writer expect when entering into a contract with an editor?
 Regardless of what kind of an edit a writer needs, there are a few things they should expect from any competent, professional editor:

  • Edits/Comments – if you get a clean manuscript back, that’s not actually a good sign. No one’s perfect (even published books have typos!). If your editor can’t find anything wrong with your story, he/she might not know what to be looking for.
  • Proper Edits/Comments – proofreads are the last step in the editorial process. If your proofread includes rewrites and restructuring, that’s not really a proofread. Make sure you know the difference between the services so you’re getting the right edit.
  • Industry Standards – an editor’s job is to help you clean up your manuscript, not to rewrite it to his/her personal beliefs or preferences.
About Karin Beery

Editor. Teacher. Novelist.

A passionate lover of fiction, Karin doesn’t just write novels, she helps others write their best stories! A certified substantive editor with the Christian Editor Connection, her goal is to help authors to put her out of business by equipping them with the tools they need to become better writers.

Want to know more about Karin?

Connect with her at: KarinBerry.com, FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Resources for Indie Publishing

This month’s topic of Indie Publishing is great! I have really enjoyed learning more. I don’t know about you, but I love to think outside the box to find different ways to learn about the writing craft.

YouTube is my go-to lately. I sit at a desk when I’m at work and do repetitious data processing while answering a switchboard that is less busy during the night hours. During those hours I use one ear bud in my I-Phone to listen to videos on a variety of topics.

I didn’t realize until just a few months ago that there are a great many videos on the craft of writing. Some of the authors I have listened to do not write the same genre as I do, but basic story structure, outlining, marketing tips, and encouragement are basically the same for all genres. Who doesn’t need another author who has been there giving great advice on getting out of a slump during the process of getting your book done?

There are videos that are specific to a certain genre, but I tend to like to glean from all types of teaching. There is something called “Skill Share” you can access through YouTube. These videos are made by folks who want to “share” their expertise or lessons they have learned on a virtual plethora of topics. Of course, I have only sampled the topics that have to do with writing, marketing, or using social media as a marketing tool. One of the young ladies I like to follow and listen to is Vivien Reis. She posts very regularly in her own YouTube channel, and contributes to Skill Share.

There is even a video that gives you step by step instructions on how to self-publish your book for free or very minimal out of pocket cost. I will link this video below.

Another source for Indie Publishing is Google. There are many websites available to the techie smart novelist who is cautious in their quest for tools to self-publish. I found a website with called “48 Publishing Resources You Should Know About” by Diana Urban. She includes a great many topics that I didn’t even think about before writing this blog.

Pinterest is another resource for gleaning information on writing topics. I have my own board for saving pins I find of interest, related to the writing process. It can also be a good marketing tool for your book once it is in print. I also have boards used for saving pictures I like that relate to my current work in progress, like hero and heroine templates, places they might live, other characters in the story, and fashions of the historical period in which I am writing.

Last, but certainly not least: Good old fashion networking with other authors. Sometimes the writer sitting next to you has just the answers you need. Join a writing organization like the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), who can walk you through the in’s and out’s of publishing, and help you find like-minded individuals who can give you a helping hand while you craft your story. Many local chapters get together on a regular basis for continuing education, support, and friendship.

https://youtu.be/ZkoltFuljlE to learn about how to self-publish your book step by step. By Gillian Perkins

https://youtu.be/Isobf02R3fk to learn about Skill Share with my favorite writing channel. By Vivian Reis.

https://insights.bookbub.com/publishing-resources/ “48 Publishing Resources You Should Know About” by Diana Urban.
https://pin.it/yt2jg6wtnexxv3 This is a link to my Pinterest board for my book, “Patriot Hearts.”

CLICK TO TWEET: Need another author who has been there, giving great advice on getting out of a slump during the process of getting your book done? Resources for Indie Publishing from @trail_j via @InspiredPrompt #writinglife #IndiePublish

 

Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard

I find Pinterest an ideal place to goof off when I have some extra time on my hands. I found through some research that it’s also a great place to promote as an author.

Now that I have a novella finished I need to start building a platform to showcase my work. I’m not comfortable with the idea that I might make a big, hairy deal out of myself. However, I want people to get to know me and my writing, so I will need to learn how to entice folks to read my story.

One way I used Pinterest was to create a storyboard of my novella, Patriot Hearts. In fact, I used the same title of my novella for that Pinterest  board. I selected pictures from the internet of my hero, Major John Tennant, and my heroine, Miss Elaine Henderson, to represent them as my characters.  I also have elements of the story pinned to that board as well, such as images of a primitive church that may have existed during the American Revolution, or  colonial homes, fashion, and kites.

Pinterest can also be used as a marketing tool. I plan to create a new board to promote my book using the cover,  and a link where it can be found. I would also like to compare it to other published books during the same time period, and subject. I can also link a Twitter account or a Facebook author page to that promotion.There is still a lot of work to do even with a finished book. That book has now become a product. I am now the main promoter of that product, and need to find consumers who want to be entertained by a good story. Hopefully, after they are engaged with my work, a consumer will tell others about how much they enjoyed it.  I don’t know if my Mother counts, but she likes my story. On my Pinterest page you can also find boards for Colonial Trivia, Logos Sisters; which are writer helps. Books worth reading (of course I do need to add mine there), and Words that inspire.

In my spare time I also like to make jewelry and I have found wonderful examples through Pinterest to pin to my Jewelry board. With the popularity of Pinterest for recipe searches, and consumer goods, I see an opportunity to use it to promote my book also. It’s my hope that it will be a great tool to showcase my story.

Writing Prompt: Have you used Pinterest to showcase your work? If so, share your experience using Pinterest as a social media tool.

Click to Tweet: #Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard via #InspiredPrompt –#how-to of self-promo and book marketing.

The Mystery of the Inspiring Author

by Tammy Trail

I am sitting in my office deciding which author I should choose to focus on for this month’s blog post. Too many to list. Do I pick a current favorite, or chose one from childhood?

We moved around a lot while I was growing up in the 70’s. I think being the new kid is the worst thing, ever. After spending a week or two in a new classroom you realized most of the kids sitting around you lived in the same neighborhoods, attended the same church together and shared the same classrooms from preschool to middle school. I absolutely hated middle school. You could not pay me enough money to relive those years.

Instead of being Miss Popularity (never even got close), I was the bookworm. I had a book with me everywhere I went (I still do). While my classmates were visiting before class, I would pull out my book and read. Once in awhile a teacher had to physically remove a book from my hands  to get my attention. I heard a familiar phrase during those years,  that while they appreciated my love of reading, I had to learn other skills too. So, in honor of that geeky, scrawny, metal mouth pre-teen I am going to choose Carolyn Keene, author of the beloved Nancy Drew mystery series. My favorite Nancy Drew book was “The Secret of Shadow Ranch.”  I imagined myself right there with Nancy as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition and prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can, or maybe even better sometimes.

While doing a bit of research I found that the name Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym for several authors. No one person came up with all of those page-turning stories, but several writers authored the Nancy Drew books. One was Mildred Wirt Benson who wrote under the pen name from 1929 to 1947. She wrote the first twenty-three books of the original thirty book series. I also was amazed to find that her second marriage to George A. Benson, an editor for the Toledo Blade, landed her in my home town of Toledo, Ohio. Mildred was a bit of an adventurer herself, and a fearless like Nancy Drew. She made trips to Central America, traveling through the jungles in a jeep and canoed down rivers, to scout out cultural sites. In 2001 Mildred Benson received a special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the Nancy Drew series.

Click to Tweet: I imagined myself right there with Nancy (Drew) as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition, prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can… from @trail_j via @InspiredPrompt #mystery #amreading


I still like a good suspense or mystery story to read. If you are so inclined, feel free to indulge in my story. I wrote a historical romance, with a bit of intrigue for a compilation with three other authors. I hope you will find enjoyment from all the stories.Tammy Trail, Mary Vee, Pamela Thibodeaux

Major John Tennant has recently returned from his post on the frontier to find his home razed to the ground and his children in the care of strangers. He struggles to bring the man responsible for the murder of his family to  justice while providing for his children.

After her fiance is impressed into the Royal Navy, Elaine Henderson is willing to do anything to help her brothers fight against British oppression. For years she has carried a bitterness in her heart until Providence replaces it with two motherless children.

Get Star Spangled Suspense at Amazon

Where is Your Tribe?

 

By Tammy Trail

For the purpose of this article, I chose to research Facebook as a marketing tool. One source called Facebook obsolete, an unreliable venue to reach readers. Unless you have a fan base that likes and shares your post to garner interest, the news feeds in Facebook algorithms will not promote your posts unless you pay for it. Therefore, you must continuously engage your community to be noticed.

I have seen many author friends use Facebook to have virtual parties to promote new releases of their just-published work. Some parties are hosted by one author; other parties are hosted by several authors coming together to promote their work and to reach a new community of followers.

I polled a few of my author friends and asked the following questions.

  1. Were your expectations met by the number of participants who attended your Facebook party?
  2. Did it help with the sale of your book?
  3. Were you able to gather names for an email list or obtain more followers interested in your work?

Most authors felt that it was well worth the time to host a Facebook party. The authors who choose to join a group effort had more people attend their parties. Therefore, they had more folks to participate in the fun. These authors were able to reach new prospects by introducing themselves to an audience that may not have sought out their work simply because the author was unknown to the individual.

I was surprised to learn from my author poll that the purpose of having the Facebook party was not to sell books. Say what? I thought your main focus once you are published is to sell books. I realized that most of these well-loved authors care about their readers and choose to create a community or a tribe if you will. They enjoy the connection with those who love to read their books. Facebook parties can include raffles, giveaways, or teasers for the next book in a series. Some authors ask for input from their readers. For example, naming a character in their new work in progress. Others like giving a spoiler and letting the reader provide the rest of the plot for a scene in a new story.

The authors I polled didn’t gather names during their Facebook parties, they told me they have an author website for that purpose. Most felt they did garner more followers either on Facebook or their websites from participating in Facebook parties. The primary mission for the Facebook parties is for an author to introduce themselves to a possible readership, and to have fun! One author told me that after a book is published, it’s all about the reader. As an author, your job is to build a relationship with your reader, not to focus on yourself.

I also learned that I have my work cut out for me. I don’t have an author website or an author page on Facebook. I love to have fun. I love meeting people who are as passionate about history as I am and reading the same kind of books that I do. I guess without those folks, we would be the only one to read our beloved works of art. So, the next time you get an invite to a Facebook party, join in, have fun, meet new people. You already have something in common: the love of reading.

Click to Tweet: You already have something in common: the love of reading. @InspiredPrompt #marketing #writetip

Writing Prompt: Which famous author would you love to have stop by your Facebook party to launch your new book?