Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pitfalls of Publishing

New writers and amateur writers often fail to see the pitfalls ahead that will keep their book from being the best it can be. They don't understand why booksellers don't want to sell their books. Why aren't their books selling?

They spend months, years sometimes, writing the story they felt compelled to put on paper. They share these stories with family and friends. Mothers, sisters, sons and daughters say all the things they know the author wants to hear. The family encourages the author, and well they should. But few of the author's family have the expertise to help him polish and make the manuscript he has poured over all those months into a finished product that readers can't wait to share with their friends; that book store owners recommend to their customers.


A novice writer often becomes frustrated when he self-publishes his story after it has been rejected a few times by traditional publishers or by a couple of agents. After all everyone he knows has claimed he should publish the book. But only his friends and family buy the book. He can't understand what has gone wrong.

A short time ago I attended a reading by a delightful woman who had written the story of her life. She did not read so much as she told us, the audience, about her exciting accomplishments. As Patricia Fry says, Personality sells books, and everyone in that room lined up to buy the book. A few weeks later when I had time to delve into the memoir, I was stunned and saddened by how poorly it had been put together. 

The punctuation was correct. Grammar was good. Anecdotes were amusing, but within the first three chapters, she had repeated one scene two or three times. A good editor would have caught this and made sure those repetitions were removed. 

It isn't uncommon for a writer to repeat himself when he is writing his first draft. Pat Conroy, author of Prince of Tides, says that is one of his worst traits, but his proof readers find those places for him and they are removed. A good editor will catch mistakes such as calling the neighbor boy Ed in the first chapter, but calling him Ted in the eighth chapter. 

I talked with a man who is in process of writing a historical novel set in our local area. He is excited about the book and his story seems like it will be a page turner, but I hope he will invest in his writing by having a number of proof readers and then hiring a professional editor if he plans to self-publish as many are doing today. A content editor knows when material is redundant, when it should be moved into another chapter or left out entirely. That is what they do.

All writers do not know how to punctuate dialogue. Where do the quotation marks go? Writing convincing dialogue is not easy. The reader must hear the character speaking and not be bogged down by trying to decipher what is going on in a conversation. 

If the author wants to publish in the traditional manner, hires an agent and then gets a publisher, his manuscript should be polished and in good form to impress first the agent and then the publisher. Publishers will edit a manuscript before it is printed and put out for public consumption, but even Pat Conroy wants his book at its best before he mails it to his publisher. Luckily for Pat, his wife is a successful author and she helps edit his books. 

We don't all live with successful writers and we must depend on our writer friends or writing teachers who can help us with the proofing. We still need to invest in a professional editor, or a book doctor, who can take the book out of the amateur stage and make it into the polished gem we want to present to the world.

On October 19, 2:30 p.m. at Moss Library in Hayesville, NC Writers Circle is sponsoring a panel discussion on Prepare to Publish. On this panel will be Kathryn Magendie, author of a number of books published by Belle Books. Also on this panel will be Maren O. Mitchell, author of a non-fiction book, Beat Chronic Pain; An Insider's Guide. Nadine Justice is the author of I'm a Coal Miner's Daughter But I Cain't Sang, a memoir that takes us from the coal mines of her youth to her success as an Interior Designer in Atlanta. 

My experience in publishing books began with a family history book in 1998 and a poetry chapbook published by Finishing Line Press in 2009. None of us are experts in the field of publishing, but we can tell what we learned along the way - what we should have done and what we would do better next time. We will have a question and answer session and hope our audience will come ready to take notes. 
There is no charge for this event. Much appreciation to Moss Library and Mary Fonda, librarian. Refreshments will be served during break.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scott Owens, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Writing and More

Scott Owens, Saturday, May 12, 10 AM - 1:00 PM

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Writing and More

Poet, editor, critic, and teacher, Scott Owens, will lead students through an exploration of a variety of topics and issues regarding the writing process including strategies for invention, revision, and publication. Participants are asked to submit a poem to asowens1@yahoo.com by May 4 for possible use in the revision workshop.

Recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, Scott Owens is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including his latest For One Who Knows How to Own Land from FutureCycle Press and over 1000 published poems in journals including Georgia Review, North American Review, Chattahoochee Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Poetry East among others. He is the founder of Poetry Hickory, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, and vice president of the Poetry Council of NC. Born and raised in Greenwood, SC, he teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC.

Registrations are already coming in for this class. Fees: $30

Send Check to Writers Circle, 581 Chatuge Lane, NC 28904

Include contact info: name, email address, telephone number and Mailing address.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia

MARK THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR RIGHT NOW!
You don't want to miss the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in its fourteenth year.

The Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference is back for its 14th year, featuring literary agent Sally McMillan as keynote and speakers Robert Brewer, editor of Writers’ Market, Scott Owens, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Jennifer Jabaley, 2010 Georgia Author of the Year in the YA category, and Hope Clark, editor of Funds for Writers website.

April 1 and 2, 2011. Please note a location change – this year the conference will be at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia. For more information call 706-632-2144.

For anyone who hasn't attended this conference in the past, April 1 is the Friday night event, and Saturday, April 2, is the all day conference with workshops, etc. If you want to learn about publishing, this conference should be on your list of events for 2011.

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