I’ve been writing for a while (years) and have reached the point where I want to pause and evaluate what I have done. The advantage of self publishing is that you can do this. Amazon permits you to revise and then re-publish at no cost.
For a Tweeker like me, this is a boon.
So, if you have written several books, especially those in a series, you might want to think about how you can refresh your work.
A new cover might be in order. You can retitle too. A few years ago, another author added her book to Amazon under the title Caught in Time. I was furious. That was my title, but titles are not copyrighted. So, too bad for me. You would think she could have done a search on Amazon to see if anyone else had the title, but she didn’t. Then a few weeks ago, the title Cosmic Entanglement came on and popped up ahead of me on the search list. Don’t think I was pleased about that. I thought about a re-title, but that would only confuse my readers. So, check out your title for a duplicate before you publish. Even so, I can re-title if I feel the need.
Back in the day, early writers were eager to get published and some drew their own covers or had an artistic friend put one together. That was good enough for a beginning author. Now, several years later, they have networked with other authors, attended conferences, and realize the advantage of a professional looking cover. I know a few who have revamped the look of their entire series.
Sales bumped up.
Okay, the outside is all spiffed up. What about the inside? If you are writing a series like I am, your earlier books don’t have your most recent books listed in the front matter. You might want to add them. Also, in the back matter, make sure you have a short teaser for each book with a link. Best time to catch a reader is when he has just finished and is interested in reading more of the story. One click and he’s there at your buy button.
Self publishing used to have a bad rap. Authors would read over their works and think it was just fine. We can’t see our own mistakes … trust me on this one.
Commas. And repetition. My downfalls. Try as I could, I didn’t catch them all, even though I have a Masters Degree in English, speech and journalism.
That’s why I’m now going back through my third book, Cosmic Entanglement and making it even better. Yes, it was edited by someone who was not only a science fiction and fantasy writer, but who also edited for several New York publishing houses. I paid a professional level fee, but still, guess what? … There were errors.
This time, I’m not going back in alone either. I use the ProWriting Aid program and Grammarly. It’s an eye opener. Prowriting Aid is reasonably priced at the premium level. ($70 per year) It gives a summary and then breaks down the writing for grammar, style, sentence structure, repeats, over-used words, offers correcting suggestions, and has a thesaurus for your words. Other reports are also available.
Grammarly is widely used. It has a free version, but mentions frequently that you have more errors which a premium version could fix. Unfortunately, it runs thirty dollars per month ($30) or cheaper per month if you pay either quarterly or in a lump sum. Lump sum is $139.95 which averages out to $11.66 per month. But then you are committed if you don’t like it.
I use the free version, however, if you’re writing hot and heavy, the premium might be your choice. It is cheaper than an editor. Or, is a good way to clean up before presenting to an editor, so her time isn’t wasted with minor spelling and grammar errors.
Now you know what I’m currently doing in the writing field. This aspect of the job is important, but it takes a different skill set than creating a story. Perseverance is critical. You must be able to forgive yourself for how many times you used the word just in the manuscript and never noticed. ( or various other words you may be fond of ) Editing again takes time, but it is time well spent.
Another place I’m spending time is in reading. I recently finished Mark Lawrence’s series Book of the Ancestor: Red Sister, Grey Sister, and Holy Sister.
I highly recommend the series.
If you like strong female protagonists, magical abilities and antics in an Abbey, you’ll like this story. I also enjoyed the allusion to a previous race that left behind strange technology, and a past starfaring race that visited the planet and incorporated bits of their genes into the current inhabitants, giving a select few extraordinary abilities.
Also, the world itself was intriguing. Covered in cold and ice, a narrow corridor rings the land, which is kept warm by an artificial moon. Its laser beam heats up this section at night, staving off the ice. Unfortunately, the sun is dying and the world’s getting colder. The corridor is narrowing. The people are getting squeezed for land, causing wars and violence as various nations fight for room and survival.
Into this mix arrives a young, dirty, recently orphaned girl called Nona. Kidnaped by a child trader and sold to the fight arena, she kills the son of the richest lord in the land by defending herself and a friend. She is saved from the noose by Abbess Glass who runs the Convent of Sweet Mercy and recognizes something special in her. But, there’s nothing sweet about the abbey or Abbess Glass who trains certain genetically gifted young girls to kill.
Four alien starships visited this world at one time, each carrying a certain trait now disbursed into the genetic mix. Nona is a rare child that carries three of the four. Speed, envisioning the path, and conjuring magic are her gifts. Size and strength is the fourth combination talent. A prophesy predicts one child will come with all four traits and save the world.
Nona’s abilities gradually unfold as she trains at the Abbey, becoming an instrument of destruction for whoever crosses her path. She finds friends, makes an enemy of the richest lord of the land, his older son, and the deadliest woman of power. Within the girls themselves hide spies and traitors. Be prepared for twists and turns, betrayal and loyalty. Plan to lose sleep if you read at night.
Mark Lawrence writes a powerful book with a powerful storyline that I hope you’ll enjoy.
7 responses to “Upgrading Your Novels and Mark Lawrence”
My books have been through a few updates, Sheron. I think it’s a good thing to do. We get better as writers and applying our new skills makes sense. And thanks for the reading recommendations. I like Lawrence and haven’t read these three. I’ll eventually pick them up. 🙂
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I loved your new covers, Diana. Thanks for the insight on filter words. The longer we write, the better we get.
On Book Titles:-
I’ve been caught out a couple of times. But you can’t plan for what other writers do in the future. (That’s the trouble with the future, it’s so much harder to predict than is the past.)
On grammar/spelling checkers:-
I use (and love) ProWritingAid for my novels (I got a low price lifetime version a while back) as it links directly into Scrivener. I use Grammarly free for most other purposes as it’s quick and generic/ubiquitous.
On updating book lists:-
I update all my books’ “Other Works” pages every time I issue a new book, (yes, it’s tedious) giving the current date as the “Valid at” date and include a link to my blogsite’s Bibliography.
Links to anthology entries that are only on Amazon are not accepted by non-Amazon distributors, so I have to side-step.
I also update my “upcoming” works lists and expected pub dates (early 2020, late 2020, etc). I’ve been bogged-down these past months, so I’ve had to update between releases (sad face)
Hope the above helps your visitors.
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Andy: Thanks for your comments.
I enjoyed your Paradiso series and any authors reading this blog will be helped by your comments. I appreciate the affirmation on Grammarly and Prowriting. I also use Jutoh as a framework for my writing. It works with Windows splits chapters, you can correct within the program, then select which format you want to export: Mobi, ePub, text, etc. One click and it’s ready. That’s what I like the best about it.
I’ve heard Scrivener is good too.
Merely writing a book is only one step in the process. Marketing, updating, financials, there’s lots more to this author business I never realized.
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I love writing.
I hate all the rest of the baggage that goes with it.
I mean, writers write, right?
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you did well on this post and i wanted to stop by and wish you a greater journey ahead…keep striving hard and you will reach bigger goals…..the sky really is the limit and i’m just beginning to realise the potential of wordpress as a great platform to inspire and support one another and grow together…all the best as you continue your adventure.
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