Thursday, March 10, 2011

Promo is NOT optional!

Being a writer means editing is a part of life. It boggles my mind when I hear newbie writers who haven't even been published, or who have only published one or two small articles or short-stories, whine about the editing process. Since I'm currently working on edits for two of my publishers, I thought it a prime time to address the issue of working on edits.

Let me write you a reality check: I have over twenty published titles to my credit thus far, most of them full-length novels. I am the FIRST person to welcome editorial input, even when my editors usually tell my my copy is fairly clean to start with. (That is the result of twenty-five years of work on my career, and lots of experience writing non-fiction on tight deadlines.)

No, it's usually not possible for a writer to catch ALL typos and mistakes in their manuscript. I am the first to admit I need more than one set of eyes going over my work. You will never catch me standing on a hill and screaming that no one should touch a word of my stuff, because that would mean I'm delusional. (If that ever happens, catch me and make sure I take my meds.)

But when someone gives you feedback, don't get all huffy and outraged. Even if some of the feedback can later be discounted, LOOK at it. The sign of a PROFESSIONAL writer is they approach edits...well, professionally. No, not all comments can or should be used. But if you have several people telling you something needs fixing, FIX IT!

I've had editors who were fantastic, and some not so much. And everywhere in between. No matter what, I put myself into professional writer mode when approaching edits. You have to.

No writer is perfect, and I am the Queen of Imperfection. Any writer who looks down their nose at critiques/edits without actually considering what's been said is doomed to fail in their career.

Yes, sometimes I've had editors tell me things that I stood my ground on, and I was proven right later. But there are plenty of times I've taken their advice, or used their advice as a starting point to make revisions. Use edits as a learning experience, not an adversarial encounter. I learn something from every edit.

For a newbie writer to start out slamming an editor without giving serious weight to their comments (I've heard this gripe too many times to count) is to be a writer not serious about their career. You don't get to be a diva until you put the time, effort, sweat, and sales figures into it. If you can draw in the readers and make your publisher money, only then can you even think about the diva card. (And even then, I STRONGLY recommend not going there. It's just plain tacky.)

Remember my earlier post: You are NOT a special snowflake, sunshine. Now shut up, go take your meds, and read your editor's comments instead of thinking you're the universe's gift to readers. Those of us who label ourselves professional writers won't show you a bit of sympathy.

Writing the book is the EASY part. Once you turn that puppy in, that's when the hard work--including editing--starts.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author Tools: Amazon

Okay, a quick blog post for today. Did you know you can take advantage of the author pages on

You can set up your bio, link multiple pen names into one account, edit book info (great if your back copy blurb is one mashed paragraph as sometimes happens), add pictures, and link your blog RSS feed so it shows up on your author page automagically. You can also easily access customer reviews, see your sales rankings, and more.

And don't forget product tagging. You should be tagging ALL your books with the appropriate (key word there, no pun intended) tags. For example, if your book is a steamy menage about cowboys, then you definitely want to tag with your pen name(s), erotica, erotic romance, cowboy erotica, things like that.

Do NOT tag with generic tags trying to get more hits. It won't work. The more specific the tags, the better. The more people who agree with a tag, the higher up in the ranks it will travel.

And play with tags -- you can have discussions set up by topic. For example, click on your pen name tag and voila, you'll see where you can start discussions. (Or, hopefully, fans will.)

Remember, do NOT spam Amazon discussion forums with pleas to buy and review your book. That will get you boycotted by people (NOT what you want to happen). Participate as a fellow reader and recommend books that aren't yours. If a discussion is applicable to your book, then by all means (if that forum doesn't frown on self-promotion) mention your book.

Do NOT under any circumstances mention your book if it has little to do with the discussion! I cannot emphasize that enough!

This free set of tools is invaluable. Don't overlook it!