Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Website Development

I had put off developing a website thinking a blog would be good enough—until the November 11 CRRL Writer’s Conference. As I listened to the speakers, and participated on the panel on publishing and marketing, I realized it was time to develop a website presence.

We had purchased website software several years ago, so I had the tools at hand. And I’ve found that I enjoy creating websites and Keynote presentations. I worked on my pages, took a break, came back and added more information, took a break, and that was how my day went last Thursday as I put together the information I felt readers might enjoy.

I had a bit of a time getting the site published. That is not a seamless task and after many failed attempts, a live chat finally gave me the critical information I needed for success. But the site is up now, hosted by A2 Hosting, a reputable company – another goal.

In the process of getting the site hosted, I read a great article on Jane Friedman’s blog about what a website should cover. From that article I went back in and made adjustments to my site. Once published, I asked my daughter-in-law to review. She made some good suggestions, like putting my contact information next to where the books can be purchased if someone wants to purchase directly from me for a signed edition.

I will be posting tidbits about how the next Caitlyn Jamison mystery is progressing, and other writing and publishing things I have learned along the way.

Please visit my new website at:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NaNoWriMo Rebels

I recently learned about a group that calls itself NaNoWriMo Rebels. These are folks that don’t fit into the 50,000 words a month criteria. They are poets, bloggers, plotters, and … The Rebels suggest participants set their own goals, like I did this past week. They also suggest that if you meet your particular goal, then log in the 1,167 words for the day. Because you met your goal. However you decide to participate, make it a successful event. The real goal is to have participants form the habit of sitting in their seat and writing every day.

In my last blog I mentioned things were going well for me until about the 20,000 word mark. It was then I had to stop and rework the first chapters. I needed a strong base from which to continue the story, and I hadn’t accomplished that. I have worked the last few days in figuring out what exactly the story is about. I had too many things going on, and the flow was interrupted by switching characters and switching settings. I had to remove several chapters at the beginning because they didn’t feel right. I pasted them at the end, because I still want the characters, but they will come in later and I will be able to show rather than tell.

My day is made when I read a blog that says everything I feel and wish I had said better! Today is that day. One of the blogs I follow is TheKill Zone, and the entry from November 20 by Clare Langley-Hawthorne was why NaNoWriMo wasn’t working for her—for all the same reasons it isn’t working for me.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaNoWriMo – So How’s it Going?

I would answer that question with “good!” Though I would have to clarify –does it mean I am keeping up with the 1,167 words a day, or has the story progressed as I would like? Then the answer is no and yes.

The word count progressed well until about mid-month. It was at that time I realized this isn’t how I write. I can’t just throw words down to meet a daily number. I was getting lost in the story, and as the characters developed, they, too, didn’t like the way things were going.

At that point I decided my NaNoWriMo goal would be 25,000 (instead of 50,000). I was sure I could meet that. Over the last couple of days I rewrote Chapter One. Moved what was Chapter One to the end of the document with the hope I can salvage some of it later. I tweaked the next few chapters for better flow and moved chapters around. I now have a document that flows much better and I can move forward.

And, I wrote the last two chapters. That will help to keep me headed in the right direction.

Although I can’t write in the traditional NaNoWriMo style, I do appreciate their mission to get writers to write and/or work on their writing every day. That is a great habit to form.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers

Today I have the honor of being featured on the Anastasia Pollack’s blog, Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. I was asked to write about my protagonist, Caitlyn Jamison’s craft, or in her case, Caitlyn’s career in graphic design.

Writing that guest blog was a great exercise. I hadn’t thought about how Caitlyn’s skills in graphic design would assist her in solving crimes. But in fact, they do.

When I started to create my characters, I decided that if I wanted my female sleuth to be out and about solving crimes, she couldn’t be tied to a desk, with a controlling boss looking over her shoulder. My protagonist needed a job that would allow her to move about while she earned a living. Being a self-employed (though struggling financially) graphic artist allowed her that freedom – have laptop will travel.

Being computer literate and with laptop close at hand, also helps her with investigations. She’s at ease with Internet research and with the ability to connect with others to get the information she needs.

Read the full blog here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Preparing for NANOWRIMO

I decided to sign up for NANOWRIMO this year. National November Writing Month is when writers are challenged to write 50,000 words in one month. That comes out to 1,667 words a day. A daunting task!

With two books under my belt I have a better feel for how I write. I am not one to blast through just typing anything to get to the 1,667 words a day. I am thoughtful, I edit as I go, and as the characters develop, sometimes they take the story in a different direction, which means I have to go back and adjust the previous writing to fit the new plot line.

With all that in mind, I have been planning my NANOWRIMO experience. Before writing anything, I sketched out my book into three acts. Within those acts I developed scenes that will guide me as the story unfolds.

Character bios are written and it was fun to develop new characters that protagonist Caitlyn Jamison will meet and have to figure out—who done it!

The setting has moved from Upstate New York to the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia. My Virginia readers will appreciate that.

Although I may not make the 1,667 words a day, I am sure going to try to make good progress. It will be fun to be part of this worldwide community of writers.

I continue to wonder . . .why November? With the holidays looming, it is one of the busiest months of the year, especially for women. Why not NAJAWRIMO? Wouldn’t having the writing month in January make more sense?

Stay tuned for reports on how I’m doing. Only 8 more days to plan.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It’s not too late – to register for the CRRL Writers Conference

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library will host its first Writers Conference on Saturday, November 11, 2017 9:15 – 5:00 at the Porter Branch, 2001 Parkway Boulevard, Stafford, Virginia.

The sessions offered are: 9:45 – 10:45 – When Fiction Goes to War: Creating Characters in and after Combat; Writing Believable Characters; Writing a Pitch. The sessions in the 11:00 – 12:00 hour are: Beating the Odds. Using Graphic Novels to Help You Overcome Adversity; Market Your Book Like a Pro! Tips, tools and strategies for selling your book (and have fun doing it!), or Review of first 500 words: Bring 500 words and receive feedback.

The lunch break is 12:00 to 1:30, followed by a Panel Discussion 1:30 – 3:00. This panel will discuss traditional publishing versus self-publishing. I will be on this panel, and look forward to sharing my views on self-publishing.

There will be a local author reception from 3:00 – 5:00.

Call the Porter Branch Research Desk to register for this fun and informative event – 540 659 4909. It’s free!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Caitlyn Jamison Mysteries featured in the Ithaca Journal

Thanks to Ithaca Journal columnist, Gay Huddle, another great article about the Caitlyn Jamison mystery books appeared in that Upstate New York newspaper. Gay wrote:

“Congratulations to Mary Nunn Maki, formerly of Newfield and currently living in Virginia, on the recent publication of her second book, “Fatal Dose,” a mystery featuring Caitlyn Jamison. 
This book, and Mary’s first book, “An Unexpected Death,” are set in the Finger Lakes area, as Mary says her deepest roots are here. She grew up near Taughannock Falls, as her parents and grandparents, Merritt and Maude Agard, operated Taughannock Farms Inn. 
Mary attended the two-room Willow Creek schoolhouse until third grade and finished up at Trumansburg Central School. After graduating from Corning Community College, Mary married Ray Maki, from Newfield, and settled on VanBuskirk Gulf Road with her family for almost 25 years. She worked at Cornell University for Carl Sagan, and then went to the other hill to serve as secretary to Ithaca College President James Whalen
“Through this process, I have learned that what I love about writing is developing the different characters, describing the setting and then bringing it all to life,” Mary says.
Please visit to learn more. Mary’s books are published under the name M.E. Maki. 
Joe Scaglione, of Ithaca, took a great picture of Grove Cemetery in Trumansburg, and Mary received permission from him to use it as the book cover for Fatal Dose.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Making Connections

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to participate in the Culpeper Library’s Local Author Extravaganza. As with many library-sponsored events, patron participation was minimal. A bit disappointing for the twenty-five local authors who made the effort to come out with all their book sale paraphernalia. The library director has sent a thank you email and asks for suggestions on how to draw more people to the event in the future. How could the event be designed differently to garner more interest? I have a few ideas that I will share with her, but if you, my reader, have any ideas, please share!

In my mind the day was successful. I had a great time chatting with patrons and other local authors. Many came by my table, and took my business card. I fully understand that. I am not an impulse buyer. I would take information on the author, and then when I got home, check that person out, and if we connected, then I would purchase their book.

Connection is the key, isn’t it. And that is what I have to work on for future events. One of the authors passed out a two-page information sheet on his books that also included his background information. I had not had a chance to visit his table, but by reading his info sheet, I connected with him on two levels. First, he attended Syracuse University, just an hour away from the Ithaca area where I grew up and lived most of my life, and then I found out that he has written a book about a little boy who lived on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.

I am on the task force to create a visible likeness of the Fielding Lewis Store (1750-1820). Fielding Lewis was the brother-in-law of George Washington, and both George and his mother Mary shopped at the Lewis Store. One of the features of our makeover of the store space is to sell some of the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. publications, and I want to have items for children as well.

Reading over Skip Townsley’s information sheet, I see he wrote a book, The Messenger on Caroline Street, “...a heartwarming story of a little black boy who is hidden away in an alley in a small Virginia town by a mother desperate to save her son from her own life of slavery.”

Taking a page out of Mr. Townsley’s book … I need to develop some sort of flyer, rack card, or similar to introduce myself and my books to readers. In other words, I need to give readers a reason to purchase my book, either in trade format or Kindle.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Culpeper, Virginia Library Author Extravaganza Event

Today I am headed to Culpeper, Virginia, about an hour southwest of Fredericksburg to attend their library’s “Local Author Extravaganza.” There are twenty-six authors registered, and I look forward to meeting other local authors.

I didn’t realize I had been put on a panel until Wednesday afternoon when I received an email listing the panel members and questions. That was a nice surprise, because I have already met two of the panel members, Suzi Weinert and Melinda Crocker.

Below is a sneak peek at the panel questions and my advice to aspiring writers:

"How do you develop characters?" "How do you make your stories feel like they are set in a specific city (or a specific time)?"
I develop bios of each character; I get to know them, their personalities, likes, dislikes, physical features. And don’t be surprised when you do that and start writing that the characters take over and change the story. It happened to me in both my books!

Setting is character – describe the place, think about the senses, what does it look like (colors), smell like (pine forest, ocean, etc.), sound like?

How do you keep your plots unpredictable without sacrificing believability?
Careful plotting, planning/planting subtle red herrings, and my beta readers catch inconsistencies and help keep my stories believable.

Why do you choose to work in this genre? Do you consider yourself a genre writer, or do you want to try other modes
I love puzzles, and always loved reading mysteries. So, yes, I am a genre writer.

What is the question you would most/least like to be asked by the audience, and what is your answer
Question: What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Answer: Decide your ultimate writing goal. Then figure out how to get there. Do your homework – publishing has changed. You have to provide a near perfect manuscript (do you have the skill level for grammar, punctuation, editing, proof reading, or will you have to hire these out?), you have to do your own marketing, what will your royalties be? Bottom line: Research carefully all aspects and decide which option is best for you.

Who is your favorite mystery writer?
I am going to say a lesser-known author, Kate Charles. I love her characters and the way she describes the setting – small English cathedral towns.

I love Elizabeth George’s earlier books, though I feel her more recent books are novels rather than mysteries.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival a Great Success

Not a good photo - too much shade in the early morning.   

Early Saturday morning September 23, 2017 over 125 book vendors gathered at Riverside Park along the Rappahannock River for the second annual Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival. Authors from all over the state participated, which provided a wide variety of genres from which readers could choose. A food truck pulled in to feed the hungry masses, and panel discussions on various genres were held throughout the day.

The book festival was held in conjunction with the city’s annual sidewalk sales, just one block away. These events pulled people into the city and the amount of energy created was amazing. I loved watching the trolley tour pass by, each one full of visitors to the city.

Within the first three hours of the festival, the organizers announced they had already doubled last year’s total attendance. Needless to say they were very happy.

I learned a lot about outside exhibiting and will do a better job next year. Instead of borrowing a 10 x 10 canopy tent, which was a pain to put up, I will purchase a 6 x 6 that will be much easier to handle and assemble. I will get there really early to get a parking spot near the event, and bring only a few books to the table, leaving the rest in the car if needed. I did plan ahead and brought my lunch in an insulated bag, so I didn’t have to leave my table to stand in line at the food truck. Other vendors near me wished they had done the same thing.

It was fun to meet other authors, and talk to readers as they stopped by my table. Even those who were not interested in mystery books, stopped and commented, “I love your cover.” I agree. I do, too.

Until next year.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Are you a Plotter or Pantser?

I’m both. I dutifully outlined my first book, An Unexpected Death, because that was what I thought I should do. But when the characters were developed and decided to take over and change the plot lines, my outline became obsolete, and I became a Pantser.

What’s the difference? A Plotter is someone who outlines the entire book, which provides them with a road map of how the story will flow. A Pantser is someone who hovers their fingers over the keyboard (or has pen and paper at hand), and just starts writing, letting the words, characters and plot lines develop.

For my second book, Fatal Dose, just released, I decided to be a Pantser. When I had a couple of plot ideas and character bios written, I sat down and typed.

It didn’t work. I spent too much time going places with the book that resulted in dead ends. I had to backtrack, cut out a lot of text, and start in another direction. It was very frustrating and cost me a lot of time.

In starting the third Caitlyn Jamison mystery, I am back to being a plotter. The outline is in three acts, with scenes within each act. Each character action is delineated by a bullet point. I am able to move the characters through time and actions in order to get a good flow for the story. As I drill down into the scenes, I’m able to move things around if they no longer fit. If I need more information about something I put that issue in bold font within brackets. At the end of the document I made notes about the plot lines and characters. One issue I need to work on is to give Caitlyn’s mother a stronger personality. She was never fully developed in the first two books.

Every writer has to try different ways to be organized. I’m glad I tried both and sometimes it is a combination of ways that fits. Whichever way you decide to write, enjoy the process.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fatal Dose Featured in Huffington Post

Samantha McGraw who blogs as the Teacottage Mysteries as well as for the Huffington Post has featured my books in her posts today. She will also post on Facebook and Instagram. The blog post is labeled “Tea with M.E. Maki.”

Samantha was easy to work with, provided a list of questions, and was very flexible with my publishing schedule. She is looking to feature authors and their blog posts, even recipes. Check her blog out, and consider sharing a blog with her.

While marketing Fatal Dose, I am developing an outline for my next book with the working title, The Missing Waterman.

Through this process, I have learned that what I love about writing is developing the different characters, describing the setting, and then bringing it all to life.

Fatal Dose and An Unexpected Death can be found on Amazon under author M.E. Maki. And Amazon reviews are always welcome. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fatal Dose: A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery - Now available

Graphic artist Caitlyn Jamison is back in scenic Riverview, New York, working on a winery photo shoot—and hoping to reconnect with Sheriff Ethan Ewing. But the sheriff has a serious situation on his hands: an undercover agent posing as a professor disappears on the same morning a college student is found dead. When Caitlyn learns the missing man is her friend’s uncle, and against Ethan’s wishes, she insists on helping with the investigation.

Meanwhile, Caitlyn’s Aunt Myra hears about a different kind of mystery from her friend, retired teacher Verna Adams. Verna is searching for her long-lost brother, who once lived on the abandoned road where the student’s body was discovered. As Riverview’s town historian uncovers the unsettling truth about Verna’s brother, Caitlyn and Ethan defy the town’s officials and keep their investigation going—with dangerous consequences.

Fatal Dose is the second book in the Caitlyn Jamison Mystery Series. The stories are set in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, and the book covers are by local photographers. The first book, An Unexpected Death, has a cover featuring vineyards on Seneca Lake by photographer Richard Welch. The cover of Fatal Dose is of Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, New York by Ithaca photographer Joseph Scaglione, III.

Both Caitlyn Jamison mysteries have interesting subplots, and current social issues are worked into the plot lines of both books.

Fatal Dose can be ordered through

Good Books are Fueled by Passion

This weekend I attended a University of Mary Washington Great Lives lecture at our branch library. The author, Marc Tyler Nobleman, was a powerful speaker, an accomplished researcher, and with an insatiable curiosity. The passion that fuels him is superheroes. Specifically, Superman and Batman.

In his book, Bill, the Boy Wonder, Mr. Nobleman debunks the story that Bob Kane alone created Batman. In fact, it was Bill Finger who was the creative and writing force behind Batman and the spinoffs. Mr. Nobleman writes:

When Batman was first written, one name was attached to his creation: Bob Kane. Bob's name appeared in every Batman comic, without any other creator noted. However, this is not true. Bill Finger, a Depression-era, New York resident, had a lot to do with it, too. In fact, according to Marc Tyler Nobleman's breakthrough biography Bill the Boy Wonder:The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, Bill was responsible for the majority of the Batman persona we see today.

Through dogged persistence, Mr. Nobleman found Mr. Finger’s one descendant, and together they successfully appealed to DC Comics to add Bill Finger’s name in all future publications, movies, and videos.

Marc Tyler Nobleman started his presentation by saying, “Good Books are fueled by passion,” and I agree!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fatal Dose is almost there

The last few months have been a blur as I put the finishing touches on the second Caitlyn Jamison Mystery series, Fatal Dose.

As an author, whether you are published or self-published, it is your responsibility to put out the best product possible. To accomplish that I paid close attention to what each of my seven beta readers said. I took their comments seriously, and made adjustments to the story in order to address their concerns.

When I was sure the manuscript was as clean as I could get it, I loaded it and the cover into CreateSpace, and ordered three proof copies. I read one, my husband read one, and a colleague who is a grammarian, read the third. We each found things to address, which proves that editing is never done.

Having said that, there comes a time when the author has to decide the book is done. We have to let it go.

I reloaded the corrected manuscript and the tweaked cover into Createspace at eight o’clock Tuesday morning. The book was approved by five o’clock Tuesday afternoon and I ordered one more proof copy. I am a firm believer in “Murphy’s Law.” As soon as this last proof copy arrives, I will not read it again, but instead will check the cover, and make sure no formatting issues have popped up.

Fingers crossed that my second book will be available by mid-next week. Whew!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reader Etiquette

I am getting close to publishing my second Caitlyn Jamison mystery, Fatal Dose, and with that comes an increased level of stress. What if, after all the beta readers, after all my editing, there remains an elusive typo, an extra word, a missing word, or different spellings of the same word, or … you fill in the blank.

I suspect every writer goes through this anxiety period, and maybe it never ends for some. At some point you (or your publisher) has to decide the story is told. Editing and rewriting is done. It is time to close the document and let it go. And that is when high anxiety hits.

I have been thinking about this process lately, and decided to air my feelings about reader etiquette.  I still laugh over a comment I received after publication of An Unexpected Death. The person said she hoped I would have a good editor for my next book because she found a misplaced apostrophe! How do you answer a na├»ve comment like this? As an author, you don’t. You just smile and nod. (And try not to burst out laughing.)

This week I started reading Lisa Unger’s The Red Hunter, published April 2017 by Simon & Schuster, and by a fourth of the way through the book I noticed two editing errors. I will not be emailing or commenting on the author’s Facebook page telling her about these errors. Instead, I will do what I always do, understand that no one is perfect, and what I really want from any book I pick up is a good story.

And that brings me to reader etiquette. When you read my books, I’m sure you will find an editing error or two of some kind. What I wish is that you overlook those and just enjoy the story.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Various Editing Processes

I never thought about it, but it makes sense there are different editing processes for each phase of story development.

A Developmental Editor works with the author on developing the story. They will check the structure and content of your book. You may or may not need this service, depending on your skill level. For a detailed article on how to work with a developmental editor, check Jane Friedman’s website.

A Line Editor looks at the author’s creative content, writing style and language, making sure the use of language is clear and readable. A line editor will point out overused/unneeded words and sentences, where dialogue needs to be tightened, and confusing scenes, just to name a few.

A Copy Editor gets down to the nitty-gritty of finding spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. The copy editor will look for consistency in your use of words and statements. You can’t have someone with blue eyes in the beginning of the story and brown eyes at the end – unless, of course, contact lenses are part of the story!

Thanks to the New YorkBook Editors website for pointing out the differences between line editing and copy editing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Editing – You gotta love it!

I’ve been through my manuscript a number of times. I utilized Prowritingaid software diagnostics, and then addressed the comments/issues my three experienced first readers sent. Before I send the manuscript out to my “second” readers, I need to make sure all the changes I made are correct and the story works.

I’ve learned every time I touch a document, there is the possibility of a typo, leaving a word out, or leaving in an extra word. With that in mind I had a copy run so I could read it from a different point of view – if that makes sense.

In other words, I’ve put aside my “writer” hat and put on my “reader” hat. When writing I tend to be tense, trying too hard to figure out the right way to say something and thinking about consistent formatting. This time I am sitting back, more relaxed, and in that process, with red pen in hand, I am finding all sorts of different ways to phrase what I want to say. I am also deleting sentences that don’t pull their weight, and adding some that will.

Having said that, I learned with the first book that editing can go on forever. There has to be a time when the author says, it’s done, and that is a hard decision to make.

In the meantime, I will continue to color my manuscript red.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Covers

There has been a fair amount of discussion recently on the Self Published Authors Yahoo! Group with regard to book covers. Where do you find cover art? Where do you find a graphic artist who can turn a photo into a nice looking cover? Someone who can lead you through the process of just the right back cover synopsis, author bio, and photo. How much should one expect to pay for a cover?

The responses were all over the lot, though there was a consensus that using stock photos was not the way to go. I, along with a number of other self-published authors find a reputable photographer in the location in which the book is set. One response was from a woman whose book is set out west and she found a wonderful photograph in Wyoming. Or you can hire a talented and reasonably priced graphic artist to get just the right images for you, like Susan Brier of

My first two books are set in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. I was fortunate to find two wonderful, understanding, and supportive photographers that sold me high definition photos for a very reasonable cost.

Remember, you can’t just take photos off the Internet. If you find one that might work for your book, you then have to track down the owner, write to them asking permission, and if granted, get that permission in writing. As I scanned the Internet for photos, before I went any further, I would click on it to see who had ownership. If it wasn’t clear, or some big organization, I kept searching.

And so the option I shared with the Yahoo! Group subscribers was the services of a friend of mine. Susan Brier ( who enjoys working with authors on developing just the right cover for their book. She might have mentioned to me she also does some editing, but don’t quote me on that. If you need help developing your cover art, give Susan a call or email. She’ll be happy to help.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Let’s Talk Marketing

I have to share one of the craziest (and funniest) comments I’ve ever heard. On my way into the first Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Inklings meetings held at the England Run Library, I was right behind an older, overweight gentleman, who was slowly making his way into the library. As he walked, he said with disgust, “When I’m published I’m not going to sit in the library and sell my books. My publisher will do all the marketing.” My immediate thought was, how arrogant.

I thought the comment a bit premature, but later found it very funny, because during the months I hung in with this dysfunctional group (down to 3 before I left), this man produced not one written piece. A writer wannabe.

Real writers, those who actually produce, know that publishers don’t market. If you are fortunate enough to persevere long enough to be accepted by an agent, that agent then “markets” your book to publishers. If you are lucky enough to be accepted by a publisher, then in a year or so, your book may hit the bookstores. In the meantime, you are hard at work marketing your book.

As a new writer it is up to you to get noticed, to build readership. And that means sitting in the lobbies of libraries, talking to people, and selling your book. You have to have a social media presence like Facebook and Twitter, arrange signings with as many bookstores as you can. Give interesting author presentations, go to writing conferences, set up an author page on Goodreads and Amazon, and find bloggers who will interview you. You could hire a marketing firm, but make sure you research them thoroughly first or it will be throwing your money away. These are just a few ideas – there are many more. After all this work/time getting the word out, who has time to write?

Whether you are self-published or mainstream published, once published, switch your writing hat for your marketing one. And therein is the rub. For many of us, marketing is difficult. I, for one, have a hard time putting myself out there. I hide my candle well, as they say.

So I am determined, once Fatal Dose is published, that I will spend time working on my marketing skills. I write because it is my personal challenge. My next big challenge will be to figure out how to market my books without breaking the bank. “They say” it’s easier when you have at least two books to sell – maybe it means you are a serious writer – I don’t have that answer, but I do feel that whether sitting in the library lobby or at a book fair, I will be considered a more professional writer than I am with just one book.

Comments on marketing ideas will be appreciated. Keep writing!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Should you hire a professional editor?

The answer to this question is: It depends.

At the presentation I attended on Saturday, thriller writer Rick Pullen talked at some length about the editing process, developmental editors, copy editors, and line editors. He shared his trials (and money spent) in finding just the right person for his particular work. He also has his daughters, wife, and ex-girlfriend reading and advising on his manuscript.

It was almost like my Sisters-in-Crime were listening in on that presentation, because this week the SinC Self-Published Authors Yahoo! Group was abuzz with questions/opinions/answers on whether or not one should hire a professional editor, and how much should one pay for those services. The consensus so far was anything from $300 to $1,500, but then, again, we get that word “depends.”  And some made the point – you get what you pay for.

It also depends on which kind of editor you want. They each have a different job and should be done in the appropriate order. Before hiring an editor, do your homework. Know exactly what services each editor performs and decide what kind of editing you need.

To decide whether you need to hire professional help, ask these questions: How good are you at typing, spelling, grammar, style, punctuation, formatting, pacing? How good are your editing skills? Can you find those typos, like “sigh,” when you meant “sign?” Can your eyes pick up extra words or missing words – you know, every author has them. It happens when you are cutting, pasting, moving text around. Can you pick out repeated sentence starts and sentences that are too long? If the answer is yes to most of the above, then you probably don’t need to hire an editor. But you still need experienced proofreaders. There is no way any writer can pick up on all those issues.

Besides having experienced proofreaders, I am also utilizing the website to run my chapters through. That software points out where I might have issues. I say, “might have,” because you, the writer, have the final say. It’s software, after all, not human interaction. I found that some issues the software pointed out where not issues at all. But for the most part, it has helped me tremendously in pointing out overused words, long sentences, grammar and style. It allowed me to send a much cleaner manuscript to my First Readers.