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Monday, June 2, 2014

Guest at Sara Walter Ellwood

Today I'm guest blogging with Sara Walter Ellwood:

All about our deepest fears.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cover reveal and...whoa. What is this blog thing? Really, I used to do this all the time?

It's long-lost me.
A lot, and I mean a LOT has changed since my last post here.

My relationship with a longtime publisher dissolved, I left my job as an editor with said publisher and went 100% freelance (and will never look back, lol. Freelancing is the bomb!), and sadly, a friendship went up in smoke. That part was a painful bummer.

But, like the phoenix rising from the ashes...

Some of my books are getting a home with Hearts Desire Press, where the talent is amazing and the owner is the best.

And I'm going to self-publish my other books. Which is a whole new frontier of "stuff I gotta master". And I've let myself get a little off-track, by trying to research and learn Every Thing an Indie Author Must Do. Which is beyond overwhelming. But what I figured out last night was, instead of trying to make lists and not forget and keep track to make sure I do "everything" to promote, I can do some things. And later do the other things.

One of those "things" I'm doing is setting up a newsletter. Over the years, I've culled so many email addresses from people who've asked to be added. And, well...I've still never sent out a dang newsletter!

I'm ready to begin formatting my Fantasies, Inc books for Amazon. Here's a peek at the cover for Book 1 (formerly known as Fantasy Mountain).

Isn't she lovely? On a referral from two of the lovely authors I've worked with in both contracted and freelance capacity (Jennifer Lowery and Jessi Gage), I had Kim Killion of The Killion Group design my covers. The new cover for Victoria's Secret Wish should be ready later this week.

And that's all I've got for now.

Have a lovely Thursday.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Publisher pitch sessions?

So, I've been seriously considering attending RNCon this summer.
It's a totally new convention, it's in Las Vegas, and it'll be a nice excuse for hubby and I to get away.

So I started thinking about whether I should advertise there, and maybe put some swag in the bags...

And in reading their promotional opportunities, I came across an interesting theory.
Not only do publishers have to pay to have a table/pitch session scheduled, but they must pitch their company to three authors at a time. Likewise for editors, cover artists, reviewers, web designers, etc. Now, I read the text provided and I "get" where the owner (a cover model) is coming from. His stance is, without authors, the romance industry would come to a halt. He thinks they are the only people in the industry who could continue on without anyone else. (seriously an author I can attest, if every writer decided to eschew editing from here on out, the romance industry would DIE. Readers could only stand it for so long. lol But back to the topic...) Okay. I can see how a web designer, promoter, or cover artist might promote their business to authors--self pubbers, for the most part.

But editors and publishers? I'd say only an ed or pub who is desperately hard up (probably one an author should be wary of) would be willing to "pitch" their company or editing skills to a bunch of authors whose work they have not previously reviewed. Because let's be honest: For every good author, there are at least 20 more who--I'm not mincing words--suck. People who rush out some crazy story with no thought to story arc, character growth, or resolution. People who think their "life story" would be of great interest to everyone in the free world. People who spell and punctuate at or below a 3rd grade level but think because they can put 95,000 words' worth of that poor spelling and grammar (quantity being paramount over quality, naturally), they should be published. Just because somebody can type in a word processing program does not mean they can write. Just because it's a story, does not mean it's worthy of publication.

I'm going to be even more honest now. I've got loads of better things to do with my time than to spend it working on a subpar book. So am I going to "sell" myself or Lyrical Press to a bunch of unknowns? Heck no. If they send me a book and it looks ready for editing and publication, then we'll talk--about the good things Lyrical Press does for their authors, or about positive referrals from authors I've edited.

An author should always check out any publisher or agent before signing contracts. But she'd be a fool to simply go by what a person tells her in a "pitch" session and she should research more--online--about that entity anyway.

Quite frankly, many of those authors who'd feel they need pitched to are divas who are completely clueless about the publishing industry and what marketing and promotion are really about. They've got another think coming, but I'm not about to be the one to spend months explaining that "think" to them.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A.M. in the life?

Blogging has been on my to-do list for 4 days now. 4. And that's since I determined I absolutely positively would blog this week. LOL.

I have accomplished quite a bit, playing catch-up. Authors on my roster know my projects often get pulled forward. Which is great for them...and for me, sometimes. But it also kinda means every time I get caught up, I turn around and realize I'm chasing newer, different deadlines.

And since I'm feeling awfully schizo this week, and cannot come up with anything better, here's a morning in the life of an EIC:

  • 5:30 AM. Wake to an idea about adding another round of author edits to our process to solve a little problem we've been having with galley review becoming Author Tinker Time
  • 6:00 AM Get up, feed cats, let cats out. Wake daughter.
  • 6:15 Amble back upstairs after (hopefully) rousing daughter. Let cats in. Read emails.
  • 6:30 Compose email to other management at LPI about possible new idea. Let cats out. (see a pattern here?)
  • 7:00 Inhabit bathroom to do makeup and hair, since hubs has vacated premises. Make bed, straighten room. Cry like baby over niece's piccolo recital on YouTube/Facebook. Don't ask. It's just a waterworks kinda day. And she's graduating. And she's lovely. Lovely graduates are supposed to make one bawl like a soap star, no?
  • 7:30 Bid kids adieu, certain I won't miss the banshee screaming. Hate all breakfast choices. Settle on chocolate milk and last night's TMZ.
  • 7:50 Begin 2nd round of content edits on a file. Then get up to start laundry. Return to file. Start dishwasher. Still hate all breakfast choices. Reply to mgmt discussion about possible new round idea. Let cats in. I made the donuts!!!
  • Answer some title and scheduling questions for roster author.
  • Check out RNCon after receiving invite to judge their novel contest. Get excited and wonder in what universe I can talk hubs into letting me go to Vegas for 5 days
  • 9:00 Continue CE3. Have hair appt today. This file must go out today. Reply to a grammar question on FB, as well as 20 more replies/questions. It's all good. I've helped some folks with adjectives and nouns. Hopefully.
  • 10:00 break for hot topics segment of The View. Text Renee and Sutton about RNCon. Dream. Eat...alas, a Jimmy Dean breakfast croissant. Byebye low cal day.
  • 10:20 Return to content edits.
  • 11:00 Complete content edits (God, this was an easy round. Wish they were all like this!) Email to author.
  • Reply to another author question re: scheduling and vacation.
  • 11:10 Open 2nd round file from Sutton. Review new edits, fix a formatting glitch/question. Email file back. (also wish all edits were THIS easy)
  • 12:20 Search for blog ideas...
Yeah. Got a hair appointment 45 minutes from now (My inner Betty White--or shall we say Betty Silver is pushing her way out via my hair roots), which will get out about an hour before I have to pick up the banshee, who hopefully will howl no more today. It's Friday for the kidlets, so tomorrow will be much less productive.

But I blogged, dadnabit.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reviewers are not editors.

Forgive me. I'm feeling a bit soap-boxy today.

You see, I've noticed a trend in book reviews, particularly those done by upstart review sites and bloggers(many of whom are obviously trying to gain a following by being snarky): Book reviewers seem to think they are editors.

Now, I firmly believe an avid reader is capable of spotting typos, wrong word usage, poor grammar, bad spelling, and the like. And even the cleanest, most edited book will have an error or two. A 63,000 word book, which is rather at the short end of novels, has nearly 350,000 characters. That's a lot of opportunities for oopsies. Are errors okay? Not in my book (pun intended). But I've edited enough books--heck, I've written enough of my own and pored over them at the galley stage, only to crack them open a couple years later and see some blatant error--and I've read enough bestsellers with blips, to know perfection is elusive. And probably the average reader doesn't pick up on most of these mistakes.

So forgive me if I find it a tough pill to swallow, when a reviewer (who has at least one error in every review she's posted on her blog) makes some off-the-cuff comment about poor editing or "grammar challenges"--whatever the heck that means--in her book review. Or when a reviewer gives a book high praise, but says she was disappointed in the editing because none of the dialogue was punctuated (and it turns out she messed up by trying to read a PDF file on her Nook, which doesn't process formatting from PDFs correctly). Really? An author who is fantastic, and the editor of this otherwise wonderful book, both failed to punctuate any dialogue? No warning bells chiming? And yet the reviewer posts this opinion, without considering the consequences...

Consequences such as: the author is trying to make a living with her books. Saying this one is poorly edited will most likely turn off readers. Which affects the editor and also the publisher, who are also making a career of selling books. Which I'm finding in the majority of these cases, have been edited properly, but the reviewer (minus editing experience, knowledge, and the obvious IT skills needed to upload a digital book to a reading device) wants to convince others (and probably herself) that she's smart. That she could do a better job. When in fact, we can all see from her own errors in a 300-word blog post, is not the case.

Reviews are opinions. So reviewers should state their opinion about the book--the story, the characters, the pacing.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules are cold, hard facts. Not up for debate. So unless the book is absolutely riddled with errors, reviewers should avoid commenting on editing. Clean mechanics should be a given, and if the editing is so poor that it detracts from the reading experience, then it merits a mention.

Just as publishing a poorly-edited book says "unprofessional," so does spouting off unfounded accusations about poor editing in a book review. I'd laugh if I saw the accused editor or author post a comment on the review citing all the typos the reviewer had made. But we all know how that would go over. Authors are supposed to sit on their hands when a reviewer steps out of line. No defending allowed...likewise, I'm sure, with the editors.

I'd like to stress, the "good" review sites know not to go there--they recognize the publishers they work with employ competent editors, so they review a book based on its content. In the end, I think that's what we're all looking for in a book review. Right?

Editors know they'll always find errors in books. Always. And the rest of the world (the non-editors) seldom notice the errors. So why would we need a book reviewer telling us a book has them?

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!