Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ken's Writing Tips: Editing

Hey there, everyone!

A quick note before we get started: From now on, I will be regularly updating this blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays I will talk about writer-type things, (my process, tips that you are free to ignore, other misc.) and Thursdays I will be posting this week's Flipped Book Review videos. Thanks for sticking with me as I work all this new craziness out! 

Now for my own thoughts on editing for indie authors :)

Finish your manuscript! Feel free to edit as you go, if that's your thing, (it's how I roll) but know in advance that you are still going to need to edit half a dozen times once you are all "finished" writing.

It's a sad thought, but one that you need to be comfortable with so that you don't make the mistake of publishing too early.

Once you've finished up your writing, and your manuscript is shiny and new oh so exciting, get ready to tear it a new one. That's right, that baby's going to need a facelift and some lipo before she's ready to share with the world.

"But she's so pretty! I mean, I know that all authors say that about their manuscripts, but in our case it's true. I've been working on this for so long and so hard and I know that every word and every sentence is relevant and pertinent to the story. She's beautiful, and I know the world is gonna love her just the way she is."


A good first step that I've found is reading the story out loud to yourself. No mumbling or inner-monologue, read it out for you and all your super cool manga posters to hear. Every time you stumble over a word or phrase, it needs work. Cut it, change it, whatever you have to do. Just make it smooth. If you hear yourself say the same word three times in under two minutes, do something about it. Anything that sounds awkward to you, is going to read awkward for the folks that are kind enough to spend money on your book. Fix it.

Now you've read through the entire manuscript and it all flows so well that it practically rolls off of your tongue, so you're done, right?


The next step I take is to find all of the common issues that writers run into. Heavy adverbs, too much use of passive voice, saying seems thirteen million times... ok, that one was mine, but you get the point. Luckily for all of us, there are tools out there that can help you identify these issues. I use Edit Minion. I can't tell you how much it has helped me with my writing.

Next, read it aloud again. You cut and changed things, now you need to be sure that your baby is still smooth.

Then, find some folks to read it for you. Not your mom. Or your wife. No one that is related to you, and no one that would fly across country to go to your funeral, if you died. These people are untrustworthy. They don't want to hurt you. Find strangers. There are forums and blog circles and whole websites dedicated to just this thing. I use Critters.org. Most of the folks there are writers, looking for the same kind of help that you need. You'll have to read for others, critique their work, but they will be doing the same for you. Be honest with them, but don't be a jerk.

Take what they say with a grain of salt. If they touch on something you noticed, or if more than one person mentions an issue, it probably needs to be addressed. But if someone says that calling a character beautiful makes her seem like a b*tch, you have every right to ignore their advice.

Take notes from your critique-ers.

Do more edits.

Read it aloud again. Fix as necessary.

"Then I'm done, right? My baby and I are ready for the world, ready to make a million dollars!"


Walk away. Leave your baby in a file drawer or on a flash drive, and walk away. For at least two months.

"But she's delicate and she needs my love! And food... or something!"

No she doesn't.

Walk away. Write other things, blog about food or monkeys or your own writing process (wink). But walk away. When you come back to her, you are going to find that she's a teenager now. She's rebellious and not as pink and shiny as you remember her being. She has adverbs in all the wrong places and her dialogue is stiff and ridiculous at points.

Make more edits.

Read aloud a lot.

Make more edits. Now you can ask your mom to read it. She's still untrustworthy, but with your baby growing away from you, you're going to need some encouragement.

Get an awesome cover. Pay for it if you have to. No matter how many times we've been told not to judge a book by its cover, we still do.

Read aloud again.

Set up a blog tour. Your baby's been through a lot, but she's so close. She deserves to be sent off in style.

Read aloud one more time. Edit as you see fit.

Is she perfect?


Is she ever gonna be perfect?


If you're ready, and you think she's ready for the big world out there, it's time to send her off.

Publish in as many formats as you can. Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Createspace are just a few places that can help you with this.

Alright, this one was long.
Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, April 16, 2012

Everything is Changing! Ahhh!

It's really not all that terrible. Things aren't changing for the worse, I'm not giving up blogging or writing or breathing. I'm just changing a few things (like the look of the blog, please let me know what you think!) in an attempt to streamline all of the new projects I have going on.

This process would be faster if I were better at HTML and Javascript, or if I knew all of the best ways to consolidate the oh so many social networking tools that are now available. I'll get there. I'm learning.

Just a quick list of some new stuff: (some things have already been mentioned here, like Flipped Book Reviews)

Flipped Book Reviews! This has been a ton of fun so far, and I only see it getting better. I get to joke around and have fun, and I can't wait to see how people take to it.

Book Covers! As my design skills improve I will be building a portfolio, mostly here on the blog. There will be a page for covers that I've sold (when that happens) and there is already a page for cheap covers just up there on the tab thingy. :)

Short Films! This is the youngest and least developed of my new ventures, but one that I am crazy excited about. Not a lot to say just yet, but there will be plenty of awesomeness to come.

Consolidation! Very soon, I will be bringing all of these things together (with lots of help from friends, both old and new).

So there you are, just a little update and explanation as to the changes you will be seeing around here as time goes by.

Thanks so much for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flipped Book Reviews! (calling authors!)

Hey! Here are the first two videos for Flipped Book Reviews!

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed on Flipped Book Reviews, comment below or send me a message at: FlippedBookReviews@gmail.com

You can check out the Youtube page here: FlippedBookReviews

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Reviews! (and other stuff)

This is not a book review. Sorry if you got suckered in, but keep reading. The title is still pertinent.

I love writing. I have loved writing for as long as I can remember, and I will do it until it is no longer possible (death... or pirates take my hands and leave me on a deserted island and I have no voice-to-text enabled technology available and no matter how hard I try I just can't get my new loyal monkey sidekick to take the notes I need for the rough draft because he is far too busy typing hamlet and throwing poo at the birds that keep coming in and trying to eat my eyes since I have no hands of my own to slap them away). One of the best things that has happened through my writing in the last couple of years is finding that there are other things I enjoy as well.

I have recently become obsessed with graphic design. I am making new covers everyday, though I have no books to put them on. I also really enjoy doing book reviews. I love the chance to read new books, learn about new authors, and take new adventures in the worlds they create.

So, I have decided that I am going to branch out. With the help of some old friends and new friends, I am creating a new book review channel on Youtube, called Flipped Book Reviews. The channel is going to be lots of fun, with animation and humor and of course, book reviews. I would like to be able to focus mostly on indie authors and their books still, but I am also going to do some main stream reviews of books that I love to talk about. I don't know the exact launch date yet, but it will be soon. :)

So, the point of this blog: If you or someone you know would like to have a book reviewed, let me know. I am not promising that I will be able to do it, time will be limited with all the work I will be doing on each review, but I will do my best. I will not be accepting any forms of compensation for my reviews (as always) and I will continue to be honest. However, I don't want to look like a jerk. If I can't give a book at least 3 stars in my review, there will be no review.

I will still be writing!

Also, I am now building a portfolio of book cover art. As I am just getting started, I am keeping prices as low as possible ($50 as of today). I will post my own covers here in the next couple of weeks so people can see my work. If anyone wants to know more, just contact me!

Ok, that was a lot of info for one blog. Sorry :)

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then