Dreams Deferred by June Foster

june-foster-LR-1Today we’d like to welcome multi-published author, June Foster, to the Inspired Prompt blog.

Glad you could join us, June! Tell us a little about yourself.

June:  I am a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. When God called me to write Christian romance, I asked Him, “Are you sure, Lord? You know how old I am.” But He confirmed my calling many times. I enjoy traveling in our RV with my husband and visiting kids and grandkids. When I’m not writing, I love to read my Bible, workout, and act like a tourist in the various destinations where we travel.

What do you love most about the writing process?

June:  Though I consider myself a plotter rather than a pantster, I love it when my characters tell me things about themselves I hadn’t imagined. I love the way ideas tend to flow at times and help fill my pages more creatively than what I’d first thought.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

June:  None. It surprises me every time I think about it. God knew I needed to be on the fast track to publication. I started writing in 2010, and I now have nineteen published novels as well as a devotional. That doesn’t count a few short stories that are also published.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

June:  Trust God more. Don’t take it personally when you receive rejections from publishers and agents. Don’t compare yourself with others.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

June: The answer relates to question 4. It is so easy to take rejections personally causing you to doubt your calling or your ability to write. The publishing market is fierce. It is next to impossible to become another Jerry Jenkins or Karen Kingsbury, and there are many, many talented authors out there. Just because you don’t get the contract you wanted, it’s easy to say I quit. Avoid the temptation to give up.

What does literary success look like to you?

June: Success of any kind is finishing what God asks of you in His strength. At the end of the day, if you can say I followed the Lord’s leading in accomplishing His purpose, then that’s success.

 

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Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

June: I have a contract for another book to be published around Christmas time. I plan to write a light hearted story about a veterinarian who works for his father’s chain of clinics that cater to pets of wealthy owners. He’s fed up and leaves the practice to take a job as a veterinarian tech in a clinic in the northern part of the state. My heroine, nicknamed Cookie, owns a bakery but is struggling financially. When she brings her beloved lab into the animal clinic, the vet is gone, but somehow the tech knows exactly what to do and saves her poor pooche who ate macadamia nuts.

Thanks, June, for stopping by and sharing with us today!


Dreams Deferred

Dreams DeferredFrances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.

Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she’s free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.

Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author’s great grandfather and great grandmother’s story.


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June Foster

June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June’s characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date June has seen publication of 19 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at junefoster.com.

 

 

The Importance of Return on Investment (ROI) for Writers

‎By Fay Lamb

I’m about to give you some cold, hard truth. Rick Castle is a fictional character. The number of authors who support themselves on royalties, let alone live in a condo in the middle of New York City or any other high-priced locale, are few and far between.

Oh, they do exist. I can name three of them without giving much thought to it.

However, in today’s world where, let’s face it, the market is saturated with people who believe they can write and readers who have been taken too many times, it is so much harder to support oneself on writing alone.

This is why every dollar invested in a writer’s career should be scrutinized. This careful examination of a writer’s budget should begin before the first word is written. For example, as a new author, how valuable is coaching to your career? When the first draft is written or the second or the third, what would be the reasonable cost of an edit? Then, glory hallelujah, a contract is written or a writer is skilled enough in the elements of their craft to publish a book. That’s when the cost of marketing must be considered. Make no mistake about it: even traditionally published authors must shell out payment for marketing. Facebook and Twitter are definitely not going to get the job done.

The mistake that most writers make is paying heavy fees on the front end without considering the return on investment they are likely to receive. They seek an editor or a coach, and they may find good ones, or they might find predators—individuals who have no idea what must go into a novel or a book of non-fiction to make it publishable. As an acquisition editor, a freelance editor, and an occasional writing coach, I have read many submissions in which I’ve commented that a freelance edit would benefit a writer only to learn that the work has already been edited, and I use that term loosely. Then I shudder at the price the person has paid for the edit or the coaching, knowing that the writer is likely never to recoup the money spent.

A key to hiring an editor is to ask for and review their resume. Ask them for author references and for titles that they’ve edited. Follow up on these references and ask the authors if they feel as if they received a good return for their investment. Then read what the editor has edited. Is it the type of editing you require?

Also, spell out for the editor what you require. A good fiction editor understands the elements that go into each genre of fiction. They’ll look for plot holes, for areas of inconsistency, and places where the elements are not strong. An editor of non-fiction understands the framework that publishers desire and will work to put the manuscript into that format.

Oh, and anyone who knows the industry is aware of the importance of return on investment. They will not charge you the same going rate they would charge a J.K. Rowling, or a James Patterson or a John Grisham. See, I told you I could name three authors who can live the Rick Castle lifestyle.

While those three authors have names that sell, you and I most likely do not. So, our only remedy is to get out there into the marketplace and make our names familiar. I’ve already said that Facebook and Twitter are not going to get the job done. We’re marketing to our own people group—mostly authors, and Facebook and Twitter are saturated. The return on investment is good, if you want nothing for nothing or a little for something. There are ways to make them work, but a savvy author needs to reach outside his or her comfort zone, to find traditional ads and marketing that costs them something. In the same way that they carefully examine the cost of an editor or a coach, they should ask questions of other authors who have tried different types of marketing. Authors are usually very kind to tell each other what works and doesn’t work. Authors should price various size ads on websites or in magazines or any venue they plan to work in and research the traffic for those venues.

Click to tweet: Return on Investment or ROI. A savvy author need to reach outside his or her comfort zone. Why? #amediting #IndieAuthors

Another suggestion to lower the individual cost for advertisement is to work in groups, either with authors who write the same genre for a publisher or who self-publish in the same genre. A caution, though: be sure that that the authors promoting with you write to the same standard whether it be social, morals, or in talent.

Start slow. You’ll have to pull from your own pocket at first. Always reinvest your earnings, seeking for a return on investment and eventually striving to put the money you invested back into your own pocket.

Writing Prompt: Jane stared at the returned manuscript proposal in front of her. The story is good. But have you thought about having it edited? The problem was…

 

Traditional vs. Indie Publishing

I am a multi-published author. I am under contract with a small, traditional press, Pix-N-Pens, the nonfiction arm of Write Integrity Press. I currently have one book I have authored, three I have co-authored, and am contracted to co-write four more under this line. I also have one indie published book and another that barely missed getting a contract with a large traditional publisher, but in the end, it too is in the process of being published independently. So, I have some first-hand knowledge and experience with both types of publishing which I will share.

Differences Between the Two: 

Traditional publishing means that the author does not pay for any of the costs of publishing his or her book. She has a contract with a publishing company allowing them to publish the book as she agrees to split royalties with that company. It is more difficult to get a book traditionally published because the publishing company is pretty selective in the books /authors they choose. They must believe that the book they agree to publish will sell enough for them to at least recoup the money they spent on the publishing process.

There are several types of traditional publishing companies: large press, small press, and boutique presses. Large press are companies like Thomas Nelson, Harper Collins, and such. Boutique presses are usually medium-sized presses that cater to a specific niche audience. Small presses are just that—small, but traditional in that they do not require any payment of any kind from the authors they publish. These also vary in types of publishing with small press most often using print-on-demand (POD) technology.

The most important thing about traditional presses is the wording of the contract an author is asked to sign. Read your contract carefully! They all differ in many ways, including how, when, and what percentage of the royalties they will pay their authors. But even more important than the royalties in my opinion, are the rights you as the author will keep or give up to the publisher.

The book I co-wrote that was a near miss for a large traditional publisher, got picked up by a Boutique publisher but their contract stated that they would own all rights to the book. This differed from what they had told us on the phone and had we not read the contract carefully, we might have signed our rights of ownership over to this company believing the contract was what they said it would be when we spoke with them. As it turned out, it was not a contract we could sign, and we walked away from that offer. By that time, we were tired of dealing with publishers and decided to move ahead with indie publishing of that book.

With Indie publishing, the author assumes all of the responsibility and costs of publishing her book. Because of this, any person can indie publish a book, but the quality of that book will vary greatly depending on how carefully the book has been written, edited, and packaged. If you choose the indie route, I have a few suggestions.

1) Write the best book you can and make it consistent in its word count with traditional books in the same genre. (For instance, my small press requires that nonfiction books be at least 40,000 words. When I see a nonfiction half that size, I almost instantly assume it was indie published by someone who did not know the market standards.)

2) Pay for a professional editor.

3) Pay for a professional cover.

Pros and Cons of Each: The pros of indie publishing are that the author has complete control of the writing and publishing project and he or she will also receive all royalties. The cons are that usually having more than one set of eyes on a book during the publishing process makes the finished product a better book, especially when some of the people working on it are professionals.

The pros of traditional publishing are that the book is usually a high-quality product because of the many people who worked on it and usually the market reach is larger. This is true even for small presses since most small presses do make marketing efforts and the book will reach a larger number of readers than if it’s all up to just the author. The cons are that the author makes less per book and has less control over the publishing process.

So, which do I recommend? It really differs from book to book. I am extremely happy with the small press for whom I write. But I am signed under its nonfiction arm so when I wrote my first novel, I decided to go the indie route and have been happy with that too.

In the case of my other indie book, I think it would have been nice if that large traditional publisher had not decided against publishing it after six months of considering it extensively, but I really don’t know since we didn’t go that route. It may not have been a good experience after all. What I do know, is that walking away from the faulty contract offered to us by the boutique publisher was absolutely the right thing for that book.

Why didn’t I just pitch it to my small press? Again, the reason for that lay in the book itself. It is different from the other nonfiction I write for that small press and I did not think it was a good fit for them. So, yeah, there really isn’t one “right” way to publish. Much depends on the circumstances you as an author are facing and even the content of the book itself.

Click to Tweet: Interested in becoming a published writer? Know your choices up front. Here’s a look at the different types of publishing by author, Harriet Michael via @InspiredPrompt.

Writing Prompt: Story Starter! Using the above picture for inspiration, start a story. Maybe it’s going to be a short story, flash fiction, or an epic novel. We want the first sentence. 🙂

Editing: You Lose to Gain

By Jennifer Hallmark

Editing. Such an important part of writing. It might seem counter-productive to write 10,000 words, then take out several hundred while editing. Remember, you lose wordiness to gain clarity.

Have you been able to read all our articles this month? If not, I’ll share the links so you can go back and check them out.

How to Choose the Right Editor

Choosing a Freelance Editor

Pros and Cons of Self-Editing

Which Editor Will You Choose?

Do You Need Help Editing Fiction? Try These Books

Meet Jennifer Uhlarik—Managing and Acquisitions Editor for Trailblazer Western Fiction

So How Do You Find an Editor?

Why Do I Need an Editor?

Editing. So very important. But let’s remember to first tell the story, and then edit. Too much editing at the beginning, unless you’re very experienced, will dilute the essence of what you’re creating. And that would be a great loss…

Join us in May to learn about the publishing market in 2019. We’re going to look at many phases of publishing with articles, interviews, and first-hand experiences. You won’t want to miss it.

Click to tweet: Editing. @InspiredPrompt Editing helps you lose wordiness to gain clarity. #editing #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Edit this short paragraph in the comments. Get creative…

John realized their relationship was over. He saw April with the other guy. He decided it had to be a date or why were they standing so close? His hand slammed the book he’d been reading. Wait. He could hear footsteps. Could it be April coming back to apologize or something?

Why Do I Need an Editor?

By Gail Johnson

Good morning, dear reader. I’m excited to have Dawn Kinzer with me this morning explaining why we need editors. Be sure to leave any question you have in the comments. Take it away, Dawn!

Gail: Why do I need an editor?

editingIf you’re a writer who has a great critique group, you may feel that you’ve already been given helpful feedback on your book. If you’ve been traditionally published, or hope to be, you’re aware that the publishing house will provide some editing for you.

Both are tremendous and very helpful. But, what if you’re a new author trying to impress an agent or a traditional publisher? With the rise of self-publishing and the competition it’s brought for sales, traditional publishers are more likely to choose “known” authors over unknowns—unless your book is pretty amazing. Even if you have a great story or concept, not all traditional publishers are willing or able to spend time and money cleaning up numerous errors. It’s much more efficient to select a book close to being publishable.

Traditionally published authors wanting more control on covers and content are turning to self-publishing. Even though they have experience, they may also need another pair of eyes on their manuscripts to make sure they’re putting out the best product feasible.

A freelance editor can point out holes in your story, suggest ways to improve the character arcs, clean up technical errors, fine-tune sentences, remove redundancies, bring clarity to information shared, and much more.

Why not give yourself the best chance you can to gain attention from the professionals—and even more importantly—readers? After all, don’t we want to give them the best experience possible?

Gail: What type of editing do I need?

checklist-2077019_1920The type of editing needed will depend on how rough the manuscript is at the time. Is it only in the developmental stage? Or is the book close to being polished and ready for a final proofreading? Your editor will be able assist you in that decision. Sometimes writers—especially those new to publishing—think all they need is a proofread when the book might require a complete overhaul.

Gail: Please share the different levels of editing.

Descriptions of editing services may vary slightly between people, so it’s important that you get clarification from any editors you’re considering hiring.

My definitions:

Developmental Editing

This type of editing is more “big-picture” focused. A developmental editor works closely with the author on a specific project from the initial concept, outline, or draft (or some combination of the three) through any number of subsequent drafts.

Critique

A critique will provide an assessment/review of your manuscript, noting its strengths and weaknesses. I point out specific problem areas and give general suggestions for improvement. A critique doesn’t include detailed advice on grammatical and technical issues.

Substantive (Content)

A substantive edit focuses on the content being presented in a logical, engaging, and professional fashion. I check for flow, structure, clarity of subject, and readability. In fiction, this edit also focuses on character development, dialogue, tags, beats, plot, subplot(s), theme, pacing, tension, voice, point of view, setting, the five senses, passive writing, showing vs. telling, and a satisfying story resolution.

Copyedit (line by line)

A copyedit includes the elements of a proofread, but it also focuses on style, continuity, word choice, clarity, redundancies, and clichés. I don’t change the meaning, but I look for ways to improve the writing. In nonfiction, I check to see if sources are cited for statistics and quotations. In fiction, I look for inconsistencies in point of view and tense.

Proofreading

A proofread will catch errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, basic grammar, inconsistent format, typos, and word usage (such as further vs. farther).

Gail: How can I find a reputable editor?

  1. Choose an editor who is knowledgeable about your genre and industry guidelines.

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Just as different techniques are used in writing each genre, different skills are needed for editing each one. In some ways, nonfiction is very different from working on fiction. If you’ve written a novel, please don’t hire an editor who strictly reads and edits nonfiction.

  1. Make sure the editor uses professional style guides.

The industry uses the following books as guidelines/rules when it comes to grammar, spelling, capitalization, hyphenating, punctuation, formatting, and almost anything else associated with publishing.

The Chicago Manual of Style

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style

AP Stylebook (used in journalism)

The Merriam Webster Dictionary

  1. Visit the editor’s website.

You’ll get a feel for the editor’s personality, background, affiliations, and be able to read any endorsements from clients.

  1. Ask for referrals.

You may ask other authors for referrals, and you may also ask the editor if you can contact the editor’s clients.

  1. Contact professional organizations for writers.

If you belong to local groups for writers, ask other members if they’ve hired a freelance editor or if they know of someone who edits professionally.

I’m a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Both organizations include a list of freelance editors on their websites.

  1. Contact the Christian Editor Connection (CEC)

A great way to find an editor is to contact the Christian Editor Connection (CEC). I’m a member of this national organization of freelance editors and proofreaders. In order to be accepted into this group, editors must pass a series of proficiency tests.

By visiting this organization online (https://christianeditor.com/), you have the opportunity to connect with qualified editors.

You fill out a form and provide information on your project, your contact information, your preferred timeline, and how many editors you’d like to hear from (2-5 seems to be the average). That information is sent out to editors interested in working on that type of genre in fiction or nonfiction. They contact you through e-mail, and if you decide to hire someone, you and that editor work directly with each other. There’s no fee for submitting a request, and there’s no obligation to hire anyone.

Gail: What is the going rate for an editor?

Fees vary depending on the type of work requested and the editor’s experience.

Some editors charge by the word, some by the page, and others by the hour. Some also charge for time spent answering e-mails and phone calls.

But, the average rate can be anywhere from $25-$45 per hour.

However you’re charged, prepare to possibly spend $1,000 to over $2,000 to have a book edited (depending on the type of service and manuscript length).

You can check out the national average wages charged for various services by visiting the website for the National Freelancer’s Association (https://www.the-efa.org/rates/).

Gail: Dawn, thank you for joining us and answering our questions!

Click to Tweet: A freelance editor can point out holes in your story, suggest ways to improve the character arcs, clean up technical errors, fine-tune sentences, remove redundancies, bring clarity to information shared, and much more. #amwriting @InspiredPrompt

Meet author and editor, Dawn Kinzer

Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and she launched Faithfully Write Editing in 2010. Experienced in fiction and nonfiction, she edits books, articles, devotions, and short stories—and her own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. With a desire to encourage other Christian writers, she co-hosts and writes for the blog, Seriously Write. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, Hope’s Design is the second, and Rebecca’s Song completes the trilogy.

A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre. You can connect and learn more about Dawn and her work by visiting: Author WebsiteDawn’s BlogGoodreadsFacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

Rebecca’s Song

The Daughters of Riverton Series, Book 3

A small-town school teacher who lost hope of having her own family.

A big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister’s killer.

And three young orphans who need them both.

Rebecca Hoyt’s one constant was her dedication to her beloved students. Now, a rebellious child could cost her the job she loves. Without her teaching position, what would she do?

Detective Jesse Rand prides himself in protecting the people who ride the railroads. But, when his own sister and brother-in-law are killed by train robbers, the detective blames himself. Yet, another duty calls—he must venture to Riverton where his niece and nephews were left in the care of their beautiful and stubborn teacher, Rebecca Hoyt. They need to mourn and heal, but Jesse is determined to find his sister’s killers. Rebecca is willing to help care for the children, but she also fears getting too close to them—or their handsome uncle—knowing the day will come when he’ll take them back to Chicago.

Will Jesse and Rebecca find a way to open their hearts and work together? Or will they, along with the children, lose out on love?