Morning Coffee: Small World

SummerA writer’s world is a small one . . . with a strong magnetic core that seeks out all other writers. As soon as you write a book, you learn just how many people in your town have done the same. Especially now with so many self-publishing options.

This past week I learned just how small it is. A friend posted a picture of two locally written books on her Facebook page. One was mine, the other I didn’t recognize the author’s name, but the title made me stop. I remembered a contest entry I judged several years ago. It was anonymous, so I didn’t know the author’s name, and I couldn’t remember the title, but it sounded like the same plot. I went to the Amazon link and read the blurb. The contest was for the first 1500 words of an unpublished book and I knew it was, indeed, that same book.

And to think, she lives in my town!

I contacted her and we arranged for her to stop at my house with a copy when she was out and about later in the day. We got to talking and, to add to my small world line of thought, she learned about the contest from this blog.

So, to recap: She reads my blog and learns about the contest. She enters the contest and I end up being one of her randomly selected judges. She lives in my town. And, it turns out she was my niece and nephew’s school teacher; as well as a mutual friend of so many of my friends.

While I don’t remember all my judging comments, and I didn’t keep them once the contest ended, I do remember I liked what I read and wished at the time I could have read more. I bought a copy of her book that day and will begin reading it as soon as I finish the current novel I’m reading. I can’t wait. She’s already reading mine.

The book is “Brenda’s Motel”, and the author’s name is Barbara Trombley. Even though I haven’t read the entire book yet, I feel confident recommending it.

You can find her on Amazon.

Morning Coffee: The Importance of a Good Editor

blessing journalI enjoy reading debut authors, especially indie authors. I’m an indie author. There are a lot of good ones just waiting to be discovered, but there are also not so good ones. Some of the latter need to work on their overall writing skills. But sadly, many of the latter only need a good editor.

When an author publishes the traditional route, they’re assigned an in-house editor to help clean-up the manuscript before it goes to print. If an agent is involved, that person will often make editing comments, as well. Indie authors, however, need to find our own editor, and they come at a range of prices. The right one is worth his or her weight in gold . . .or, should I say, weight in sales.

I thought “Mary Bishop” was ready to go numerous times. I edited . . . submitted . . . edited . . .  submitted . . . and then edited some more. I believed it was almost perfect. An editor would be assigned to me and we’d just file down a couple rough edges before it hit the shelves and became a New York Times bestseller. As you know, that did not happen. When I decided to change course and self-publish, I made certain to find myself a good editor. Two rounds of her edits later and I was amazed. Not that the book was bad to begin with, it wasn’t, but there was still so much room for improvement.

I recently finished reading an indie book that could have used a good editor. Sad thing is, it’s not his first book. The story was good, the characters intriguing, so I did finish reading it. (Sometimes I don’t.) I had to know how it ended. But with every typo I cringed and sighed. It’s easy to miss a couple, even after multiple rounds of edits, but the closer I got to the end of the book, the more typos I found. Clearly the first half of the book had undergone more rounds of editing than the end. Very disappointing. And it didn’t have to be that way.

A good editor makes us look like the professionals we ought to be. So, if you’re thinking of writing a book, or maybe you already have and you’re chomping at the bit to get it out there, STOP. Stop and think and find yourself a knowledgeable editor you can trust to help you polish your baby until it shines. Your readers will be left begging for your next great read.