Category Archives: Editing

Komenagen (and general book) question

A quick couple of questions:

How much more likely are you to listen to an audio book than read an ebook or paper book? That is, how much demand is there really? In a recent conversation with a publisher he said that he saw several times more audio book sales for a title than ebook, and physical was nearly nonexistent. I don’t do audio books beyond lectures from The Learning Company’s “Great Courses” series, and am interested to know if I need to pursue that hard, or not, for my particular readership.

Secondly: How important would illustrations for a YA title like Komenagen: Slog be? Illustrations are expensive, but they definitely add to the charm of a physical book, particularly ones aimed at a younger market segment. Would it be enough to chip in a few bucks ahead of time to get it done?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Which next?

My original story, The Stars Came Back, was in modified screenplay format, and it’s available on the kindle that way. I also rewrote it in prose format,but because of the size of it it was broken into two halves and the first half was released in both print and Kindle as “back from the dead.” For reasons I won’t go into, the rewritten prose second half was not released in either print or kindle. I have the sequel to the whole TSCB story written, titled Insanity’s Children, just working on cover art. (Planning on eventually getting some interior illustrations for Komenagen for the print version. Not full on graphic novel by a long shot, but enough to give it a bit more visual flavor))

So, would folks prefer the prose second half of TSCB next, or Insanity’s Children, be released next?

Related note: for those who have read the whole screenplay TSCB story, what would you title the second half? (my thought was “One Day War”)

Cover art

Working on getting cover art for the next book, “Komenagen: Slog” done. Initial sketches look good, and have been accepted. Moving forward on it. The art will include enough “generic” background on the left that it will make for good wrap-around art for the paper-printed book, giving the spine and back a distinctive appearance, too. Should be done and published before the end of October. Once final copy is done, I’ll post an example here.

Editing

Not completed, but done enough to have an editor give it a first pass read-through to look at inconsistencies, plot holes, places that need fleshing out or alterations, etc. Roughly 122k words. There are a few places I’m not really happy with, but not sure exactly what to do about them. Paul thinks it’s fine, but then he doesn’t know what all has been rolling around in my brain (likely a good thing).  So, for the moment, it’s >95% done, and I’m letting someone that hasn’t a clue where it’s going or what I’ve cut or how I’ve switched it around thinks about it. No idea how soon I’ll hear back, but some people are very fast readers. Might be a day or two, might be a month. Then I can talk it over, see what I need to tweak, then we can do the serious nitty-gritty editing.

In unrelated but significant news, I got a long-term subbing job at a local middle school, teaching math and science. That is GREAT for income (I made about as much from TSCB, in total net, as I make from two months teaching), but it also means less time to write. So I’ll be rather busy, and not making huge leaps of progress. But I also plan to keep picking away at “Komenagen: Slog” for a while, and it might be finished by the end of summer.

A thought regarding style versus content

Over at Vox’s blog he had a post about Amazon’s editor’s pick for books. Among other things he said “a novel consists of four elements, Style, Story, Characters, and Ideas.”

I worked a long time on TSCB, and I thought it had some great characters, a solid story, and some interesting ideas, and the writing style was what I like to call “serviceable,” that is, clear and easily read and understood. Not particularly flashy or eloquent, more Hemingway than highbrow.

I knew it needed polish, so I hired an editor, and I think I got a good one. She worked hard on it, and she definitely improved it, but it was a process that definitely raised my blood pressure whenever I received an email from her. She made a lot of very good criticisms, and my writing absolutely improved. But when she started making a second pass to polish it up a bit, I suddenly realized after struggling mightily with a massively rewritten paragraph that I liked my original version (well, slightly modified by the first pass) much better. And, more importantly, I was able to put my finger on what exactly the problem was. I like simple, clear, easy to read and understand prose that means exactly what it said, and the heavily rewritten version was what I saw as being much more “literary.” It didn’t sound like me, or my characters, at all. I said “I’m done.” I finished up by rejecting many of the most recent edits, asked her what I owed her, made sure the formatting looked good, and hit the big PUBLISH button.

I like clean, simple, easy-to-understand sentences. I like having likable characters. Occasional poetic passages to capture a mood are fine, but an unending series of bad things happening to bad people in a depressing story? No, I’ll take a pass on that. I don’t care how great the style is, if I don’t like the characters, I can’t learn anything useful from them, and there is no significance or value or cool ideas in the story, then it’s a waste of my time.

Too long

It’s been too long since my last update. Life proceeds. Earning a paycheck, kids, and ordinary home life take a lot of time.

I’d like to take a moment to respond to reviews of The Stars Came Back that people have posted.  It may be the start of a series.

I’d like to address all the one star Amazon reviews first. There are eight of them at this time. Every one of them mentioned the screenplay-esque format as being a major problem for the reviewer.  I trust it was not a surprise, given the 30 pages+ of free preview. Sorry if it didn’t float your boat, but that’s how it started out. If you are willing to give the story another shot, I’ve finished the normal prose version and handed it off to an editor to work over, and I’m expecting it to be done any day. Castalia House, my publisher, will be releasing a military fiction / essay anthology soon, and because I have a short story that takes place in TSCB’s universe included, I’m assuming they’d like to release both at the same time. Then you can see if you can find out why the five-star folks liked it. I know no story will appeal to everyone *shrug* C’est la vie. Considering this oddly-formatted book has 116 reviews and only 8 are one-star, I’ll live with it, and while I won’t enjoy it, I do value honest feedback. Continue reading Too long

Flinging format

I uploaded it to Amazon, put in all my information, and am now working on tweaking the formatting of things while awaiting  final replies from a couple of proof-readers before I go live. Getting graphics right, bullet points, all the rest, will be interesting. Once I get these replies, and the formatting looks OK on their previewer (which, no surprise, doesn’t quite look exactly like it does on my discontinued model Kindle after going through a Calibre conversion into a MOBI file), I’ll let people know. Continue reading Flinging format