Woooo! Woooohoo!

BiaAtlas Update.

It’s been two years and tonnes of work. After toiling and revising for a final time with all the ‘trouble’ words highlighted in different colours, I’m done.

I Started the final revision 5000 words over the maximum allowable limit. I was able to get the final word count down to 118,876, which is 1125 words below the max of 120,000.  Over 1000 words below what I though I would be able to manage. I can’t believe I was able to trim over 6000 words without compromising the story.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and renewal as I start again with the querying portion of my journey. Now I can start querying Literary Agents again with gusto and start the countdown all over again. I revised my Synopsis, Updated my Query letter and first 50 pages and I’m ready to get to it.

As I query I keep a spreadsheet. For each query I track the Agency, the agent queried, the date queried, their website, their email and if they have an expected time for response on receiving the query and when the query expires. The reason for this is so I don’t accidentally query the same agency twice, they have strict rules about it.

Each agency has their own rules and requests, within the agencies each agent can have their own rules and requests on top of the agencies. Sounds like a lot, but hey they need to weed out the authors who are not serious and potentially wasting their time.

So here I go again. Patience and persistence will pay off I know it.

My advice about writing goals.
If you have a goal anything is possible. Even if you think you’ve hit the wall, look up and find a way over it. 

-Sheryl

Three fun posts I wrote:

What a view I have!

What do you see?

That’s what she saw

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Renewal

Advertisements

Time to take out the trash

Today I received an email asking for advice. I have been blogging and sharing my experiences and all that I’ve learned and am still learning about publishing my book. My posts have come about from; research, advice, instinct, common sense and a whole lot of hard work. Getting a book published traditionally is a daunting task and a lofty objective. It is however, the path that I know is the one for me. I have and will face many rejections from Literary Agents, I edited and revised my book to a point a professional said it was clean and well written. It may require some additional tweaking but I was told this could be done after a publisher takes me on that it is minor.

The temptation to get quick/instant results and venture into the world of self-publishing or vanity press is strong. However after a lot of research, and I mean a lot, I will take this route as my absolute last resort. Does that mean self or vanity press publishing is bad? No, but it is the last resort for me. Vanity press and self-publishing companies don’t actually call themselves that, but they do ask for money upfront for their “services”. Research the company and see what reviews they have before you decide anything.

Many great authors faced and still face rejection. One of my all-time favorites just recently had a book rejected and was devastated. She has had her books published since 1977. Thankfully, she is seeking alternate routes and publisher to get her book published. I can’t imagine how this felt for her to be so accomplished and then told “I don’t like it enough to publish.” Yiikes.

Scary? Sure. However, nothing in life comes easy; the best things are fought for. The harder I work the better I feel about my book. I have spent countless hours working on it and polishing it up. I can’t just give up on it and I won’t. I have my mind set on traditional publishing and my heart, instinct and common sense all agree.

Believe it or not, this is a level of tenacity your protagonist should have, even the antagonist. They should be driven and focused. If the protagonist ever gets to a point where they want to give up, give in, or even take the easy way out, have someone or something inspire them back into action and back on course.

It was near impossible to focus on work. It was true her designs have been edgier lately. Darker, mysterious and full of danger. The clients were eating it up. Sasha generally kept her office door open, and could hear the laughter of Amber and Scott. Her mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were laughing at her.
“Wow.” Sasha rubbed her temples. “I must really be letting them get to me to think that.” She stood and went to find Rachel to see if she was done proofing.
It meant passing the attention whore Amber who was milking a small head wound as if her head were severed and re attached.

“Hey Rachel.”
The young woman looked up at Sasha, relief instant in her eyes. “Oh Sasha.” She smiled. “I’m glad it’s you. That last advert was perfect. I couldn’t find any errors or anything missing.”
“Thanks.” Sasha narrowed her eyes at Dale who was in earshot. He made a show to roll his eyes. Rachel glanced his way then back at Sasha, her tension back. Sasha leaned closer to Rachel.
“Why were you glad it was me?”
“Um.” Rachel’s eyes flicked to Dale again. “No reason. I just wanted… Um to tell you in person that I found no error in your design.”
Sasha stood straight. “Okay thanks Rachel, my office is always open.” She nodded and turned toward Amber who artfully touched her head to draw attention to her bandage. A snarl set on Amber’s lips.
“Nice try. FYI Karma is a bitter medicine.” Sasha smiled brightly and nodded as she passed the malevolent woman.
Sasha had changed all of her passwords and put a security program on her work computer to record any attempts to log in. Sasha needed a plan. It was time to take out the trash. She needed a way to rid the office of Amber and Dale. Scott could stay or go, without Amber and Dale’s influence she suspected Scott would settle down. His recent bout of crazy was completely out of character for him
.

While a small moment of renewed determination from seeing others affected by her workplace-adversaries and Sasha might just be starting out on the right path… Maybe.

My advice about determination.
Don’t let the easy path tempt you. Take the time to figure out which way is best for you as an author. Regarding your characters, give them the same obstacles you face in life with a little more drama and flair and let them flourish or fall.

-Sheryl

Related posts on the path to publishing.

The not-so-direct path to publishing.

The rejection letter

The blurry lines of opinion and advice

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Lofty

Something different, something fun

I thought I would do something a little different today. Something just for fun.

I am still working through the information from my consultation and making the revisions and changes necessary to my Query letter and Synopsis.

I have been working on a few designs for logos and header pictures.

So I am asking your opinions on which you like best. Please comment below which you like best of the A B C images, 1 2 3 and which you like best of the X Y Z.

Let explain the reason for my choice of images. The man in the suit represents the large powerful corporation in the book that controls BiaAtlas. The earth symbolizes Atlas the Titan of strength (Titan Atlas is typically symbolized holding or holding up the earth). The elemental background is as close as I can get to the female goddess Bia. She is the goddess of force, such as gravity and resistance. The few representations of her in art show a whimsical strong being, so I represent her with powerful images of things that can’t necessarily be touched. There is also a significant amount of danger in the book thus my choice of fire.

From classic, whimsical to elegant these are my top favorites, I seem to lean toward the purples, I’m not sure why. Please note all images have been purchased or permissions granted for my personal use.

The first four are sans human. More of a ‘logo’ style.

biaatlas-logo-abcd

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

The next three are the close-ups with less background. These symbolize the background to the story.

biaatlas-logo-123-pubCopyright © 2016 All rights reserved

The last three have more of the background image visable.

biaatlas-logo-xyz

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

I hope you liked at least one of them and are willing to let me know. I also welcome constructive criticism. Thanks.

-Sheryl

PS I’ll be getting back to my norm soon.  😉

 

Tulips in July

Silliness and seriousness

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Elegant

Solicited advice.

Twinkle – The word prompt of the day.

There are all kinds of things associated with the word twinkle. It’s a word that conjures the image of light and joy. Twinkle toes, the twinkle of tinsel on a Christmas tree, the moonlight twinkling on the midnight water, a child’s lullaby about stars. For me today the idea of publishing my book has put a twinkle in my eye.

I’m not a fool, I know when I’ve reached my limit and need to solicit professional advice. So I did. Yesterday I had a very motivating consultation. I was told that I am off to a good start and with a little polishing and a lot of work there is potential for my book to be published. I intend to put in whatever effort is necessary to accomplish this task.

My query.  It needs work. I was glad to hear this, because not only did I find out what was wrong, but what to do to fix it. It really was dismal and now it’s showing real promise.

My synopsis. Believe it or not, had a lot of tell, not show. Oops. Well that’s fixable. I also shied away from putting it all out there, laying the full story on the line ending and all. That will be corrected. It is harder to spill the beans when your story contains mystery that was carefully worked in. Keeping it in two pages 12pt double spaced is not an easy task.

My first 50 pages. This is what set me up on cloud nine. While not perfect, I was told my writing is clean, suspenseful and it has good flow, action and dialog. This matches up with what a few others have said, and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to know that it’s not problematic.

My overall word count is still high. I will do what I can to address that. I’m sure if I go over the manuscript carefully I can clean up some sentences.

So armed with the information I need to proceed, the path to publishing is not indirect as it used to be. I am much closer to querying agents in earnest and that is very exciting.

My advice about getting professional help.
Research the professional. What do they have to offer and how professional are they about it? Check many reviews and critiques. Take the time to make sure, if you are paying for a service, that you are getting your value from it. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice out. If you want others to take you and your writing seriously, then do so yourself.

-Sheryl

PS I’ve been playing with new logo designs. What do you think of the one I used for this post?

Other posts related directly to this one.

The not-so-direct path to publishing.

The first 50 pages.

Query letter “creativity drought”.

The prickly process of writing a Synopsis.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Twinkle

The ‘been there, done that’ people

I have no illusions to the fact that I need sometimes need an expert’s advice and help.  Why? Because I am not a professional writer nor editor and there are always going to be someone that knows more or has more experience than I do. I would be a fool to pass it up for ego’s sake.

That advice and information that I’ve found has been instrumental to me getting where I am today with my book. I have seen some people shun the advice of experts for a few reasons. Ego, laziness, and even fear. Yes fear. Taking advice from someone ‘better’ than I am, can be intimidating. What if they say my work is crap? But, what if they don’t? Even if they did, I would hope that they would advise me on what is needed to un-crappify it.

Without advice I would never have turned this:

The seats were all full at the coffee shop. Abigale liked routine and needed to sit. Even though the other occupant at the table was that annoying guy she approached him.
“May I sit here?” She asked.
“I don’t think so.” He replied and put his foot on the chair.
“Jerk.” She said and walked away.

Into this:

The café was unusually busy with the patrons from the busker’s carnival outside. Abigale needed her routine, sit, drink her coffee and read blogs before work. There was only one seat at a small table; and that unpleasant lowlife was seated at it.

She hastily glanced around and swallowed her pride. “Excuse me. May I sit?”
Billy looked up from his book. “I don’t think so.” He put his sneaker-clad foot on the vacant seat.
Her mouth fell open and she furrowed her brow with a hard exhale.

A young couple nearby surveyed the area and made eye contact with Billy.
He smiled at them. “I’m done here if you two want these seats.”
“Oh thank you so much.” The young woman sat when Billy moved his foot and stood.
“You’re a first class jerk.” Abigale lowered her chin with a sneer.
Billy dunked his finger in her coffee. “You have no idea.” He stuck his finger in his mouth and left her staring after him in shock.

With some simple rules from those that have ‘been there and done that’, I was able to learn to turn a simple encounter into an annoying one.

My advice about experts.
Seek them out, take what advice you need and learn from them. You don’t have to do every single thing they say, but be open minded. Don’t forget some ‘experts’ are merely know-it-all’s with nothing constructive to say. I don’t pay them much attention.

-Sheryl

 

Related posts:

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Tag! You’re it.

Copyediting. Why I didn’t pay someone to destroy my fragile confidence.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Expert

“How could you?”

Me and my first.
“Are you cheating on me?” That question was a long time coming.
I cast my eyes away. “Yes, yes I am.”
“How long has this been going on?”
I swallowed hard. “Half way through revision I took a break.”
“A break!”
I need to be honest, to come clean. “Yeah, I started another book.”
“How could you? I thought I was your one and only!”
“You are my first, and I love you, but I need to move on. I need more.”
“So it’s over?”
I smiled and tilted my head. “Oh no, it’s far from over. You and I have a big future ahead of us. I’m sorry if you don’t understand, but I’m not a one book kinda gal.”

Moving on from working on one book to another is strangely emotional experience. I’ve spent so much time with my first book, reading, revising, and editing that it feels as if I’m being unfaithful. Which is funny because it’s a continuation of the story and characters. Even so, as I sit and read through my very, very rough draft of my second book, I feel as if I should be working on the first one.

I shake my head in amusement at all the typo’s, taglines, grammar errors, filter words and so on. I have a lot of work to do and it’s not at all daunting for me. I love editing my own work, because its mine. The satisfaction of seeing it go from simple raw ingredients to a beautifully decorated cake, is unbelievably rewarding. Unless it turns out to be a nut filled fruitcake, then something went horribly wrong.

With first book is finished and in sort of limbo. I have an appointment in a week and a half with a consultant to work on my first 50 pages, synopsis and query letter. Once they are perfected, I will begin the hunt for a Literary Agent. I’m so excited.

My advice (that has nothing to do with this post).
Go ahead and let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Then prove them wrong in a spectacular way.

-Sheryl

 

Other posts related to editing.

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Show and tell

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Cheat

That sounds complicated

A simple thing can be complicated until you understand it.

For me the entire writing through to publication process was a complicated and daunting process to approach. There is a lot to do, consider and understand. When I first started researching  the different ways to publish and what was needed I thought ‘That sounds complicated.’ and it is. After time, more research and asking others questions (A lot of questions) it became clearer.

There were times when I felt overwhelmed with what needed to be done or how to even approach publishing. So much that I would question the worth of my choice. It was in those moments that I would take a second and remind myself that giving up is not an option. That something worth having is worth the effort. I wanted to write a book. I did that. Now I want to see it published. That is where I am now. Getting ready to take the next step. That step is having my first 50 pages, synopsis and Query letter reviewed by a professional as well as some friends. I’m looking forward to their feedback. Good or bad doesn’t matter as long as it’s honest.

I suppose my blog is about making something complicated less so for others. A few blurbs about my experience as a novice writer, and about what found out along the way. I am curious and excited about what’s to come. Will I glide or stumble through the process? I can’t wait to find out.

My advice about complicated things.
Find out why they are complicated and what you can do to un-complicate them. If you’re curious about what I’m up to (enter shameless plug) visit and read my other blogs and follow along with me. Don’t worry I don’t often gripe or complain. I will make fun of myself and be honest about my mistakes as well as accomplishments.

-Sheryl

 

via Daily Prompt: Complicated

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Copyediting. Why I didn’t pay someone to destroy my fragile confidence.

Blog Copy editors

My book is my baby. I love it, I created it and I’ve nurtured it. Now it needs to be cleaned up and ready to present. At first, I thought about hiring someone to edit my book for me. I wasn’t in a confidence place yet to open up and ask anyone I knew to do this. I was well aware that my manuscript needed a lot of tender loving care. A lot.

It seemed a daunting task so I began the arduous search on-line for copy editors.

What is a copy editor? They will read my manuscript, check for spelling and grammar errors. They will check my sentence structure for filter words and for flow, for continuity and plot holes (They might not call it that.) They don’t do this for free. I also found out after contacting a bunch that they will rip apart my manuscript. Tear it to shreds. So much that looks like they massacred a red pen or ten and hid the evidence on the pages.
I wasn’t ready to have someone apply their opinion and style to my work, I may never be.

For 136,000 words approx. (Keep in mind this is way over the max allowable word count, and before I revised it even once.) I received quotes from $2000 to $3500 Canadian for a basic copyedit. I even had one say unless I’m a master Russian author there was no way my book was good at that word count. How rude! That was a great criticism. Really it was because he pointed me in the right direction of word count reduction, which leads me down the right path of editing for me.

So I thought about this cost and what they do long and hard. I thought about it as I read through and spell/grammar checked my messy work. If I got a copy editor to revise my manuscript, it would no doubt be torn to shreds with a red pen. Then what? I fix it and have to have them revise again? That just got twice as expensive. I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw around. Nor was I comfortable with the idea of becoming dependent on someone’s idea of how my book should be. Mostly it was a cost issue.

I made two decisions. The first to take all of my spare time, and edit it myself. I do not have a degree in English so this was a slow and careful task. (Still in progress FYI)
The second. When I’m done editing as far as I can go and I don’t get any bites from Literary Agents in one year, I will revisit the option of hiring a copy editor. (I will write about my experiences surrounding Literary Agents in future blogs don’t worry.)

With every revision, I became more excited. It is shaping up and reading well. I can’t express how rewarding it is to work so hard on something that means so much. It wasn’t as scary or daunting as I first thought, and to be perfectly honest it allowed me to hone the story and make it more streamline. There are sequels to this, my first book, so I was able to go back and plant little foreshadow nuggets. I am glad the sticker shock forced me to re-evaluate my thinking.

My advice about Copy Editors.

If you need them and can afford it, it is your choice. I know they are very helpful.
In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t. I feel pride in all the work I’ve put into my manuscript. I could not justify paying someone thousands of dollars to tear apart my manuscript. Just remember nobody can tell you paying for help is right or wrong, if you need help get it. Free or paid is nobody else’s business. Just be careful and check their references first, check to see if they are legit or a swindler. You are hiring them to read and revise your work. Make sure they are the right person/s to do that.

-Sheryl

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved