Tag Archives: published

Editing Tips

15 Apr

My publications picture has been updated:

All of my publications. :D

All of my publications. :D

Thank you for your support. I am looking forward to adding to the collection as time continues forward. I also want to take a moment to thank Taking on a World of Words for uploading the picture below to Instagram. They received Minutes Before Sunset in the mail, and she shared the moment with me. These pictures mean a lot to me, so please check out her website.

instambs

As of right now, I am working on editing my next manuscript. (It’s not Death Before Daylight, but that is coming.) I am looking forward to revealing more details about my next manuscript in the future. However, that day is not today. It is tomorrow. (If that sentence seemed strange, there’s a reason for that. You just read my first hint, and that hint reveals a lot if you’ve been with me for a while…or are willing to search through some posts.)

Aside from that, working on this manuscript has reminded me of some editing techniques I have never shared before. Today, I’m sharing my methods that I consider to be unique. However, I will not be talking about the stereotypical ways to edit: read out loud, read backward, and read it again. Okay. We get it. Read it many times and read it in different ways. Having a beta reader and hiring an editor is obvious. I want to discuss editing beyond this because we neglect the unique methods writers use to rewrite and edit. We always talk about how writers all write differently, but we never talk about how writers edit differently. I will also be sharing comments from my Facebook author page.

So we are starting with a completed manuscript. It is written, and “The End” appears at the bottom. But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a new process. Depending on the writer and the story, this can be a place where someone completely rewrites a story or where someone just starts an editing job. I am going to write about editing as if we aren’t doing a complete rewrite. The first piece isn’t unique necessarily, but I need to explain it for the other pieces.

1. Create “Final” Notes

I call it “final” because it means you can’t change it after this. Writers have to make a decision, and they have to stick with it. Personally, I make dozens of “final” pages which I actually keep separate from one another so I don’t mix them up. These pages include a final background page for the characters history, a description page that includes physical, emotional, and habitual uses, and finalized maps, so I can make sure that all of my facts are lined up. On my description pages, I even include things like common speech patterns (like if they call a certain character by a nickname only when they are annoyed.) These pages are pages, not one page or one paragraph. I normally have these before I start writing, but – let’s be honest – things change while we write, so it’s often important to go back and make a clear decision on how old that side character was when she met the protagonist (and I check it every time it is brought up in the story, even if I’m pretty sure I’m right.) In my most recent manuscript, I actually kept numerous description pages, because their descriptions changed halfway through the story, but it’s completely up to you how detailed you want to be. I’m sort of a perfectionist, but I will share a story below that explains why I am that way and how these pages saved me.

2. Shoebox Method

I shared this on my author Facebook page, and that’s where I got the idea to write this blog post. I am not a writer who edits on my laptop. I can’t. I need the physical pages in front of me because I think it makes it easier to see everything. Because of this, I have a stack of papers that I must lug around. Most would suggest a three-hole-punch notebook or a folder. I slam my hand on my desk and scream, “Enough.” (For those who watched my poetry reading on YouTube, you might find that statement humorous.) This is what I use:

edittt

I use a sliding shoebox. I never have to punch holes, number pages, or worry about dropping my folder and causing a paper explosion of a disaster. The shoebox also fits other notes, like a dictionary or my “final” notes I was just talking about. Believe it or not, this is also a fantastic excuse to start a conversation in public with potential readers. Someone is bound to ask you why you have a shoebox with you. Take that minute to share your elevator speech and grab a business card out of your back pocket. You just meet a reader.

3. Love Your Office Supplies: Colored pens, sticky notes, etc.

Now that you have the manuscript in front of you (and hopefully a cup of coffee), you are staring at the black and white words with nervous excitement. I used to just grab a pen and go at it, but that turned out to be a mistake when I went back to see what I changed, moved, or corrected. I never use a black pen to edit. The black pen eventually becomes something my eyes skip over. I use red for grammatical errors I come across, but everything else gets its’ own color, too. For instance, I might assign a blue pen to mistakes in the characters – like if I got their history wrong or even if I want to check it later on – but I used purple when I want to move an entire paragraph or scene somewhere else. When I’m moving something, I use sticky notes to mark the place so I don’t forget. We, as writers, never know when we’ll have to take a break, so it’s best to have all the relevant notes in place for when we return. We can’t tell ourselves we will remember because we won’t always remember. Think of all those great ideas we had when we were away from our computers that we later cursed ourselves for because we didn’t write it down. You don’t want this to happen while you’re editing, so write away and write a lot. When I am moving a scene, I even put a check box next to it, so I can check it once I move it.

4. Act Your Scenes Out

Now, if you read my Facebook author page, author, Ryan Attard, said, “Read out loud. Act it out. If it FEELS right, then you’re set. Then, it’s just rereading to correct content.” I love that he said this because I participate in this in many ways. If you want to read more about it, I wrote Writing Tips: Method Acting a while back. I scream my dialogue at myself in the car. I jump around my room and pretend to be different characters. I use place-holders to see if the scenes work, meaning if the characters are facing in the correct directions. (This is where my maps come in handy.) I wouldn’t want my character to storm away to the kitchen by turning to the left when the kitchen should be to his right. Little things like this can matter. For instance, I had a reader realize that the kitchen in the Welborn house is on the second floor during the second novel, Seconds Before Sunrise. She actually went back to the first book, Minutes Before Sunset, to check it and found out that she had read over the information but it was there. If I had changed it, she would’ve caught it, and that would’ve looked like the world wasn’t real.

5. Here are some other answers from authors on my Facebook Author Page:

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

Join me on FB, and your website might be shared next!

I asked, “Do you have any unique ways of editing? What makes it unique? How do you approach editing? This can be a content edit or a grammatical edit.” And here are some responses:

Anthony Stevens: After one or two content edits, where I try to assure a logical flow to the tale, I give it at least two days (sometimes a week) to simmer. When I’m ready, I take my time and slowly read it outloud to myself. Anytime I find myself stuttering or it just doesn’t sound right, I drop back a few paragraphs and try to sort out the problem. It has to sound right out loud before I’ll continue.

Nadia Skye NolanI have an editing checklist. It reminds me to eliminate passive voice and taglines as well as “Lazy descriptors.” I go through my writing and just cut away all the fluff, then I turn it over to my friends and family.

Alexis Danielle Allinson: I do the first couple of edits to weed out errors in my story line, add detail and such. Then I hand it to an editor who doesn’t balk about giving me his 2 cents worth so that the story can be better. We sometimes have lengthy discussions about things I have not written yet because he points out that even though each novel I write is its own story they are all interconnected and if I don’t have it plotted just right I will create a paradox that fan will never forgive me for.

Do you have any methods that stand out? Any advice? Be sure to share below. You might even win a chance to become a guest blogger.

~SAT

Anthology & Announcements

27 Oct

I have A LOT of announcements to make, but I don’t want to overwhelm any one with a post simply filled with a checklist of things I need to say (I do have this checklist by the way…in a notebook…on a pink post-it note…ripping slightly in half as I read off of it.) So, for today, I’m going to focus on what happened during my week of guest posts (Weren’t they great? I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.)

Midterms decided to take place during a very exciting week for me (of course.) But now they’re over, and I can share all of the news I’ve been wanting to talk about on here!

ShannonAThompson.com was Freshly Pressed. Basically, Censorship of Self-Published Authors or Something Else freshlypressedbecame one of the hand-picked articles on the WordPress homepage. And I got a badge–how neat. It’s now beneath my name. This meant a lot to me for numerous reasons, but the most important one is how the information is spreading. I was so delighted to know that the discussion was put in the hands (or on the computer screens) of other readers who might not have come across the piece otherwise. Special thanks to the WordPress editors for featuring it!

On top of this, I got to experience one of those moments an author never forgets: my first published short story arrived in the mail, and I am now able to hold the anthology, 2013: A Stellar Collection, in my hands!

"Sean's Bullet"

“Sean’s Bullet”

My story, Sean’s Bullet, is military fiction, and it’s dedicated to every man and woman who has served, but there is almost every genre you could think of in this collection. There’s thriller, fantasy, contemporary fiction, and science-fiction. We have hilarious reads, like “Big Wolf on Campus” by Ryan Attard, and serious reads, like “Edge of Disaster” by Val Vogel, who recounts Katrina. I was so excited to finally read them all (because I was only able to read two of them before the release, and they were great!) The best part? 2013: A Stellar Collection is available for FREE on Smashwords. Here’s the link. I hope you download it to your library and enjoy these stories. I know I did.

Click Here!

Click Here!

It wasn’t shortly after I read these stories that my Facebook Author Page hit 1,000 likes, another exciting moment for me. I truly feel like I’m reaching out to more people and connecting with authors and readers alike. It’s safe to say this has been a crazy week–a crazy good week–and I am delighted to share everything with everyone.

Now that  I completed midterms, I can continue doing my regular posts. I know midterms doesn’t have anything to do with writing, but I feel really accomplished, and I can put more time into those pesky edits. You might ask, “What edits?” Well, I’m working on Seconds Before Sunrise! And I’ll be announcing the release date soon. So look out for that.

Untitled67

~SAT

Guest Post: Ryan Attard: The Fleeting Muse

21 Oct

Shannon here, just to introduce this upcoming author. Ryan Attard is the author of Firstborn, the first book of the Legacy series, coming out December 13th. You can follow him at his website or check out his novel on Goodreads. It’s also on Amazon. I’m also giving away pre-releases of his highly anticipated novel in exchange for a review, so feel free to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.  Now, onto his hilarity:

This one is a question I get a lot.

Where do you get your inspiration? What inspires you? What makes you want to write?

I’ve exchanged banter and jokes about the so called muse – usually with regards to a ‘writer’s block’ (which by the way does not exist).

But before I go into a tirade about what floats my metaphorical boat, here’s some history. Muses were Greek goddesses of inspiration. They’re usually in a cluster (as most ideas are) and hovering around some poor bloke trying to sew together the pieces of his mind. I may have added the last part. Two reasons I like using the word ‘muse’.

1. Only a naked dancing woman has enough power to torture me as much as my ideas do. (Too much info into your personal life there, Ryan.)

2. I’m a hunter x  hunter fan and ‘Terpsichore’ is an special ability of a cat-humanoid mass murderer. And one of the bdedebgfcreepiest abilities in the series.

Also, no one can pronounce the name Terpsichore – which represents the muse of dance. See above for reference about dancing naked lady.

My sources on this are on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse). Because I am both lazy and supportive of questionable resources. Also, I like fiction.

My muse is a bitch. She doesn’t transmit ideas, so much as carpet bombs them. I find myself lying awake at 4am writing entire pages of notes and spider webs, giggling like a villain from the Ghostbusters (the cartoon. Cos I roll old-school). I used to sleep with a note pad near the pillow so that when ideas struck, I would just reach over and scribble notes down, without having to roll over, or even open my eyes. Perhaps not the cleanest of ideas but I decided I like my sleep whenever I can get it. An idea is just like a baby: sucks all your time, gives you mood swings and you’re not sleeping. Ever.

I decided to start writing once I caught up to my favourite series, and did not want to wait for those lazy authors to write the next book. I thought ‘Sure I could write a really long essay and divide it in chapters.’

Then I spent the next 2 years figuring out exactly how to write a book and how long it takes to get a GOOD piece of work done. My apologies to the authors – now I feel your pain.

Oddly enough Literature is not my main source of inspiration. I still read, of course, but I found myself unable to properly enjoy books. The inner editor catches errors and proofreading passes like its his job (Well, it is) and I find that I study novels rather than read them. So it largely depends on the author and genre with me. I’m extremely picky.

Anime, manga and movies are my main source. I think in flashes of movement or panels most of the time – then I go about describing those flashes in detail for your literacy pleasures. And I always need music. I listen to a variety of weird crap by artists which are mostly underground, far away from corporate clutches. I was actually thinking of putting up a soundtrack or playlist in my wordpress site, so if anyone knows how to do that, please help me out.

In fact, the title Firstborn comes from a Celldweller song ‘The Last Firstborn.’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qn5PXWBxEA). This is the first ever track I’ve heard from the artist and the dark melodic and upbeat theme just gave me the perfect imagery in my head. Suddenly I was Erik, killing demons and monsters- saving the world, one sarcastic remark at a time. Over the years I may have ripped off a name from the artist. The main character from the Pandora Chronicles, Professor Nick Solomon, is a huge fan of the EDM group Krewella (as am I).

Like Ryan Attard on Facebook

Like Ryan Attard on Facebook

TV shows have also played a huge role in what I write. I grew up on sitcoms, so my sense on humor is pretty tailored for a specific situation. I love it when I come across shows like ‘Lost Girl’ or ‘Supernatural’ which have a dark humor vibe and despite the blood are still family-friendly. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a classic that shaped my formative years, and I couldn’t help but model the Legacy heroine after the blonde ass kicking vamp slayer. Although mine’s a redheaded succubus hybrid.

Always a twist.

Ironically I’m also a huge fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (Very manly I know. Stop judging.) I first caught an episode when I was 7 years old and the image of a cheap animatronic black cat telling jokes mesmerized me forever. Years later I too invented a black talking cat named Amaymon. But instead of being a cursed warlock (who has no use in the show other than comedic relief) mine is a demon who has a penchant for frat boy level of partying and complete annihilation. Sometimes in the same night. Also he’s a pervert (of course). I did a character interview a few years ago. Check it out if you can handle it: http://cloeyk.blogspot.com/2013/02/ryan-attard.html

what else. . . Oh right, the martial arts. I use heavy Asian influences and mythologies, because of my love of that culture. My martial arts practice helped me understand concepts such as Yin and Yang and Chi – which in turn I have mutated into the magical system found in the Legacy books.

My muse is also a pot head. I know this because a) she always appears with a puff of smoke and b) she is always funny.

I have list upon list of one liners which I had written down when I first plotted the Legacy books. Over the years I’ve learnt to be a little smarter and divide them up into arcs or books – that way my choice is no more than 5 per arc. I suppose I am guilty of falling in love with lines that are funny but not applicable to the story. I once made the mistake of creating a scene just to put the joke in – which resulted in a giant clusterfuck and sent my entire book down the toilet. So here’s a lesson boys and girls – story first. Character traits, jokes, and other little stuff has to come second. Give the choice always do what’s best for your story, not just the scene. Big picture, people.

I suppose that’s my influence spectrum in a very tight nutshell. I tend to think of various ways to torture characters, like making them babysit a bunch of kids and fight a deranged teen on Halloween. (Now do you get why my muse is high?) This is the plot of Dread Night my Halloween special. Release schedule TBA on my blog.

Here’s the secret to making those muse visits regular – keep going at it. I am always writing, always thinking of new stories. Shannon A Thompson has a great post about highs and lows (http://shannonathompson.com/2013/10/12/one-of-my-lows-as-an-author/) and I couldn’t agree more. Lows after finishing a story are common (she does a better job at explaining it, using nice words and great literature as opposed to me, who tramples of the metaphorical flower bed, stumbling and cursing every ten seconds).

The most important part is not to let the lows get to you. That’s why I don’t believe in writer’s block. My muse is my bitch – she works for me. Sure, most days its an effort to get into it and gradually the flow gets better as you progress, but a true artist never stops just because they don’t feel like it, or just because they don’t know what to write. Here’s what I do when I don’t have the inkling to work: I look at my bank account. That always makes me crack my knuckles and work harder. Poverty is a great motivator.

I’ll leave y’all (Why do I say that? I’m not even American) with a quote from the author who inspired me to write: Jim Butcher.

“I don’t get Writer’s Block – I have a mortgage.”

Stay tuned and till next time,

Ryan (and his muse – who just left)

Censorship of Self-Published Authors or Something Else?

16 Oct

Many of you are probably aware of the major rule changes happening in novel companies, but, perhaps, some of you aren’t, so I’m writing about the rule changes in the hopes of both informing authors (especially self-published) and opening a forum where authors and readers can have a healthy debate over the issue.

So what’s happening?

As of a few days ago, companies like Amazon, KOBO, and WHSmith are deleting self-published books that are deemed inappropriate or simply deleting all self-published novels altogether. Here are a few articles:

WHSmith removing all self-published titles: to summarize what’s happening here, WHSmith has received many complaints of titles that are “inappropriate.” According to the summary on their webpage, it started with uncomfortable or taboo erotica, incest, and rape themed novels. Then it moved into all self-published titles shortly afterwards, promising to keep self-published novels once they’ve gone through a screening process that has yet to be fully defined. 

Upon doing more research, I found an interesting article by The Self-Publishing Revolution who talks both about WHSmith’s censorship and Amazon. Yes, Amazon is also removing titles. In short, this article discusses books that have simply been removed because they were flagged inappropriate while also asking, “What is inappropriate?” and pointing out that what might be offensive to some, could be completely acceptable to another, not to mention that some of these taboo topics, such as incest and rape, happen in real life. One author even goes on to say how his novel was removed simply because it had an orgy in his novel, which, again, happens in real life and isn’t considered inappropriate by many readers.

So I went to my Author Facebook Page, and I asked what you think of this censorship. Here were some of the answers:

Simone Lisbon: I guess that would depend on who gets to decide what constitutes ‘inappropriate content’. I smell 1st amendment issues all over this…

Zach Hitt: First of all, the U.S.’s concept of what “inappropriate” is seems quite…er, funny. I hate to do this, but to quote/paraphrase Miley Cyrus, “America is funny in what we think is wrong. Just last night, I was watching Breaking Bad. They were essentially teaching viewers how to make meth. Then, they soaked a dead body in acid and wheeled the pieces into the woods. Then, they blanked out “fuck” and “molly,” during my VMA performance.” I can’t say I am a fan of her music, but Cyrus has a point. At what point will the line be drawn?

Yvonne Cline Simpkins: The United States is supposed to be Land Of The Free, but nothing is free anyore not even our RIGHTS!!!!

What do I think? 

I’m not entirely sure. Although I don’t advocate incest or rape in novels, I have to admit that I FEEL like this is a violation of freedom of speech, which I do have a problem with, but it isn’t. It’s the company’s right to say they don’t want to advocate such topics. It becomes very unclear on what these companies will do when we discuss taboo topics, especially when they happen in real life. What if it’s a story like Speak? This famous novel shows how rape can affect an individual. Would self-published stories like this now be censored? Or will they allow novels with such topics if they are only written in a serious manner instead of an entertaining manner? What about taboo, self-published novels that have been very successful, like the dinosaur erotica that erupted? There’s also a question of different laws and cultures between countries. For instance, age of consent and drinking age is different in the US than the UK. Will novels that don’t follow rules for one country be unavailable in another? This is a very thin line these companies are walking on. 

I will be watching how these companies change as they release more information on their screening process and their expectations for novels.

Please comment below. Have you experienced any backlash because of these changes? What do you think? Do you think other companies will follow their lead? How do you think this will change the self-publishing industry and/or readers?

If you’re interested, there is a petition. But I’d suggest sending a letter to the CEO of these companies instead (or both.)

AEC Stellar's FB cover photo

AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. FB cover photo

~SAT

Publishing News: The Scriptlings & When Stars Die

23 Sep

Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers on the 19th! That means a HUGE giveaway is coming soon. If you’d like your book to be a part of it, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. Other than that, THANK YOU for all of your dedicated support and heartfelt encouragement. 

Yesterday was an exciting days for geeks and mortals alike. The Scriptlings by Sorin Suciu was released, and I 51e13knFodL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_knew I just had to share it with everyone!

The Scriptlings is the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas.
In short, it follows the story of Merkin and Buggeroff, two magician apprentices in a world where magicians are capitalists, computers are quasi-magical, and goats are sometimes invisible – all under the watchful eye of a wandering tribe of monosyllabic demigods.

Available on Amazon as paperback only. But you can receive a free ebook in exchange for review at The Scriptlings Facebook Page. It also has a Goodreads page. But don’t forget to check out the author, Sorin Suciu, at his blog. (He’s hilarious. You’ll never finish his blog before laughing.)

In other news, upcoming author, Amber Skye Forbes, released a book trailer for her debut novel, When Stars Die. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 11.49.40 PM

Check it out here

~SAT

 

Why Are Authors “Hating” On One Another?

21 Sep

Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers on the 19th! That means a HUGE giveaway is coming soon. If you’d like your book to be a part of it, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. Other than that, THANK YOU for all of your dedicated support and heartfelt encouragement. 

There are many authors and writers out there, sharing their works with the world, whether it be through books, blogging, or another form of communication. But I’ve come across many who astound me—and these people are preaching hate at one another. This post is my attempt to bring light to why this needs to stop.

Although there are many kinds of publishing, I’m focusing on the three main ones I often see verbally assaulted. 

  1. Traditional
  2. Small Press
  3. Self-Publishing

Unfortunately, I’ve seen hate from all sides, and I’m sure most authors have. 

I’ve seen hate from traditionally published authors, generally saying anyone else is not “good enough” for bigger publishers. Ironically, a lot of these authors have admitted to previously knowing someone in the industry. Even worse, they don’t seem to consider many authors aren’t comfortable with traditional publishing houses monopolizing the market. I’ve seen hate from small press published authors, saying almost the exact same thing about self-published authors. But I also see hate from self-published authors, saying they don’t like traditional publishing houses for the reasons above but also hating on small-press published authors, because they aren’t “capable” at marketing themselves and, therefore, have to rely on someone else by means of payment.

This is ridiculous, and it needs to stop now.

It seems to me that many of these authors have forgotten why we’re all authors in the first place (and, YES, we are ALL authors.) We share the same love of expressing ourselves through words. We love writing, whether it stems from fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or something else entirely. We love words. So why do some use their words to preach words of hate about others who love the same thing?

The most honest explanation I can come up with is insecurity (although I want to clarify that this isn’t the only reason I’ve seen.) Either way, who cares how another author is sharing and publishing their works? Just be happy that they are living their dream and/or chasing after it. Support their decision to bravely share their works of art with the world. It is not your responsibility to decide who is “ready” or “good enough.” Let the reader decide, because, after all, they are the people who are reading our works. You don’t have to support every author out there, but you shouldn’t put down every author out there that isn’t like you. It’s the basic rule to respecting others. You may not respect their work, but you should respect the fact that they are a human being, working hard to follow their dreams—just as you are, no matter what kind of publishing you are in.

 … 

Some comments from my Author Facebook page about this topic:

Scott Collins: Anyone willing to spend that much time and energy to put their book to paper deserves support and encouragement.

Nicole Castro: This is why I use the #writingfamily hashtag on Twitter.

Quinten Rhea: Part of our job is to encourage, support, and help promote each other.

Kyle Garret:  I think the book market is perceived as so crowded, especially these days with ebook “shelves” constantly getting more full and fewer lucrative traditional deals going out, that it naturally conditions authors to turn on each other because there’s this perceived idea that only one can “make it”. I don’t agree with it – and think it’s downright odd given how people in similar markets like music, gaming or film treat each other – but it’s my take.

Feel free to discuss your opinion and/or your experiences below, especially if it includes ways we, as a writing community, can prevent this “hate” from continuing any further.

~SAT

Publishing News: Anthology

19 Sep

Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers today! Thank you :D

Really fast:

Giveaway opportunity: ShannonAThompson.com is only 8 followers away from hitting 9,000, and I want to celebrate! Once we hit the mark, I’ll be hosting a giveaway, and, so far, I have 18 books, but I need as many authors to participate as possible. Please send me an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com or message me on my FB Author Page for more details. Thank you for your support!

Even faster:

AEC Stellar is releasing an anthology, a collection of short stories from numerous authors, next month! I’ve added a page for it under novels, which you can look at by going to my tool bar or clicking hereBelow you’ll see the cover of this upcoming collection. I am REALLY excited for this publication, and I feel very lucky to be a part of this. It’s always an exciting moment to see another work of yours being shared with the world. My story, Sean’s Bullet, is a military-fiction piece I originally wrote in my Fiction Writing I class during my freshman year in college. Another reason I am excited for this short story stems from the genre. It isn’t a genre people have seen me write from before, so I can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say. I’ll announce when it’s released, so look out for it! In the meantime, check out what’s coming your way:

2013: A Stellar Collection~SAT 

Editing Tips: Word Count

7 Jul

Word count matters. As writers,we’ve all heard this. Although there are exceptions, this rule is especially true for beginning writers applying to publishers. Because of this, I thought I’d talk about it today since I know many of my readers are looking at publications opportunities.

1. Target Audience: This is a big one, because it often decides what the word count will be in a publisher. The numbers are decided based on average reading ability and popular novels. These numbers are considered the target range for that specific audience. I’ll get in more detail later on, but here are the main three I’ve come across in discussion with publishers:

  • Children: Chapter Books: under 20,000
  • Young-Adult: under 80,000
  • Adult: 80,000+ (This genre is interesting, because it differs extremely within publishers and the genre you’re writing. A lot of publishers still encourage under 80,000 for first time, but they are often more willing to expand, especially for science-fiction and mystery.)

2. Publisher: Every publisher is different. That being said, you can search among publishers that are willing to publish new authors with larger and/or shorter novels, including series. If you haven’t started writing a novel yet, I’d highly encourage checking out numerous publishers in your genre and looking up their word count preference. This is an easy way to set a clear goal for your novel, and it will help move you forward to the next steps. I once attended a writing conference with Rosemary Clement Moore, author of Prom Dates from Hell, and she hosted a word count workshop. She talked about figuring out your word count before using math to split up the basic plot line graph to figure out where you should be on your word count during certain events. For example: if your novel is 80,000 words, your climax should be anywhere between 60,000 and 70,000 words (depending on how quickly you’d like the resolution to happen.)

3. Consider Cutting and/or Adding: This is a big one. Once you finish a novel, you’re attached to it.

Correction: once you’ve retained an idea or seriously began it, you’re attached to it. Changing it, especially after the product is completed, is a scary thought. It’s tedious work–often more tedious than actually writing it. But I like to think of editing as another writing process, because editing seems to be a “dirty” word; it holds negativity–like everything before wasn’t good enough. That’s why I think of it as writing. It’s still creating. It’s fun, and things that change are often wonderful.

Click here to check out Minutes Before Sunset's Facebook page!

Click here to check out Minutes Before Sunset’s Facebook page!

To be perfectly honest, I write really large novels. Minutes Before Sunset was originally 136,000+ words. The final product, however, is right below 80,000. All three novels of my trilogy have gone this way, and I love it. Minutes Before Sunset is more fast-paced, and I even added more information than the first. I did lose a few scenes, but I’m not saddened by this. I’ve kept all of them, and maybe one day I can share them as an extra! In fact, many authors are doing this now, especially young-adult authors. Examples include Cassandra Clare and Lauren Oliver. Side stories have even been mass produced. (Stories that aren’t even told from main characters.) I think this is a great sign, because it shows how much readers want MORE, even after the books have been completed. However, it’s often safer–as a beginning writer–to keep in mind that keeping these stories and scenes can be risky when applying to publishers who are looking for smaller books. Look at Lauren Oliver. Her first novel, Before I Fall, was much shorter than her Delirium trilogy. This happens a lot in the publishing industry. They want a “first” book that’s smaller and not as risky. They can see if your work is good in the industry, and then they can release longer books or even series (which is another risky move when applying.)

One last piece: this advice is advice. What I mean is this: I am not saying to give up on your longer novels or series. I’m only clarifying what many publishers have deemed risky when considering first-time authors. But I would suggest, which most artists do already, to keep an open mind. If a publisher loves your long novel but wants it shortened, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy condensing the art. You might even like the final series being one book.

I am planning on writing about series in general or I would expand further on that topic.

I’ve also created a list of questions to consider about word count:

How long are your novel/s? Is there an average length? Consider trying to write something outside of your range. Ex/ write a short story if you write novels.

Did you have a word count goal set out when you started? Did you go over or under your goal?

What about your chapters? Are some longer than others? Considering splitting the sizes. This creates a shift in rhythm readers often enjoy. Ex/ one short chapter among numerous long ones can be a bit of a breather and speed things up.

Feel free to answer below. Sharing your experiences within our community can help other authors and writers. 

I am excited to announce Minutes Before Sunset climbed 150,000 ranks in two days. AEC Stellar Publishing is still giving away free ebooks, and it’s also available for $3.89 to celebrate being awarded Goodreads Book of the Month! Comment, message, or send me an email to shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested 

~SAT

Paperback Published & Spotlight Interview

14 Jun

WEBSITE UPDATE: If you all recall, Minutes Before Sunset needed nominations for “Book of the Month” on Goodreads, and you all succeeded! But I need votes. PLEASE VOTE BY CLICKING THE LINK. I need all of the support I can get :D

Thank you for voting: Gregory S. Lamb, Christina Channelle, Amber ForbesBob Williams, Marie Bailey, Laura B., Raymond, Silver Wolf, Christie, and Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie.  (I’ll add your site here when you vote too!)

Minutes Before Sunset is officially available as a paperback through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s been available as a pre-order, but now it will ship to your house when you order it! I’m really excited, because this is a day I’ve been waiting on for a long time! If you click on the picture below, you’ll be taken directly to Amazon, which has the cheapest prices and the most reviews. I’m always excited to share my stories, but I’m even more excited to share your thoughts. If you do a review, let me know, and I will link your websites on this very page! Thank you for all of your support.

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

I wanted to share one of my most supportive followers, Ky Grabowski. A fellow writer and reader, you all may recognize Ky Grabowski. She hosts The Inner Workings Of My Mind, and she’s reviewed Minutes Before Sunset already. She also won a signed paperback. It’s a treat to connect with my readers like this. But she made my day when she sent me a tweet including a picture of her with Minutes Before Sunset

Ky Grabowski with "Minutes Before Sunset."

Ky Grabowski with “Minutes Before Sunset.”

I also mention Ky Grabowski for another reason.  Ky Grabowski is also doing a “Spotlight” feature on her blog, and I’m excited to announce I was featured on this yesterday. She interviews authors and other artists, and her questions include focus on Minutes Before Sunset, inspiration, advice for new writers, and fun questions. Here’s a preview

“What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ?

My ultimate goal when writing a novel is to help young adults understand decision-making and moral values. I also encourage teens to think outside the stereotype box. For instance, “Minutes Before Sunset” includes a character named Crystal Hutchins. She may dress like a “punk,” but she’s an aspiring journalist, and she loves events, so she’s very excited about prom. This character was created carefully, because I wanted to show there is more to a person than just their dress or their actions. She may contradict herself, but that’s simply an action created by her trying to figure out who she wants to be.”

Read the rest of this interview by clicking this link

Ky has graciously given me three spots for the Spotlight Feature to fill, so you can be showcased on her website! Comment below, and let me know if you’re interested.

And help me celebrate today’s release by checking out Minutes Before Sunset! Available as paperback and ebook on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.

~SAT

June 16, 2013: Why I Won’t Give Up

Publishing News: Paperback Contest

25 May

Website Update: You can now pre-order Minutes Before Sunset‘s paperback via Barnes & Noble by clicking here. I’m so excited!  

On May 23, I received the first printed copy of Minutes Before Sunset

As I said on my Facebook Author Page, these moments are unforgettable, and I am grateful I got to spend this time with my father.

As I said on my Facebook Author Page, these moments are unforgettable, and I am grateful I shared this moment with my father.

Within the next 3-4 weeks, the book will be appearing for sale, which I will announce as it happens. But I am here to offer more than that! 

I announce events and contests on my Facebook page immediately! Click here to join.

I announce events and contests on my Facebook page immediately! Click here to join.

AEC Stellar Publishing is giving away five SIGNED copies of Minutes Before Sunset. You can enter the contest by commenting below. If you’ve already read and reviewed this novel, post your name with the link, and your name will be entered twice as a special thank you for the extra support!

Speaking of reviews: I want to thank two wonderful ladies for their insightful reviews.

Thank you to Ky Grabowski (Welcome to the Inner Workings of My Mind) 

5 Stars: May Contain Spoilers

“…Shannon’s ability to reveal answers that many authors often leave till the end is a great strength. I think it was also a risk that paid off. We know so much about the characters, the history, and the future before we’re even half way in. Shannon touches on everything readers want and gives the illusion that the knowledge we’ve given is all we need. It’s far from that though – there’s a rich, capturing story following and don’t for one second assume you have all the answers…”

Read the rest here

Thank you to Sarah Ray (She has three blogs: click her name, Ray of Light, or Heart of Flight) Her novel, Sorcerer’s Vendetta, can be found by clicking the link. 

5 Stars: Shade is good

“…It’s a very engaging read, enjoyable for me even though it’s geared for the YA audience and I’m hardly that. Eric (Shoman) and Jessica are believable characters, easy to empathize with, and the other characters are interesting and colorful also…”

Read the rest here via Amazon.

Both of these ladies are extremely talented writers, and I definitely recommend checking them out at their blogs and/or other websites. I really appreciate their guided honesty and tremendous support.

If you want to do a review, you can receive a free ebook from my publisher. Just email ShannonAThompson@aol.com expressing interest.

I’m very excited to see who wins the free paperbacks, joining L. Marie, who is being upgraded to a free signed copy as well. She took place in a previous competition, and she’ll be receiving her paperback along with five others as soon as they arrive in the mail (perhaps even sooner than when the paperback will be available for purchasing!)

I’m looking forward to the future! The second book in A Timely Death trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, is already in the editing process, and it’s expected to be available this Fall. So I’ll be working hard to upgrade this website in the near future to support more book pages and extras.

Goodreads Quote of the Day: “His resonating stare fluttered through my memory, and I shivered. I hadn’t seen kindness in his pupils. I only saw intensity, and I hated to admit it, but he was beyond intimidating. He was overwhelming.” (Jessica, Minutes Before Sunset.)

~SAT

P.S. Have a great weekend everyone!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: