Hard Truths About Self Publishing: You Didn’t Edit Enough

There’s a switch that turns on when people are reviewing self published books. If they see even one grammatical or formatting mistake they will make sure they mention it in the review. “Good book. Could have used a good thorough edit.” It is assumed by almost everyone that self published books aren’t well edited. I have a theory about this.

Books are really difficult to edit.

It’s an entirely different monster compared to writing a book. There are so many stages to it. Substantive edits, copy editing, proofreading, formatting. You end up reading your book so many times that you don’t know what you’re even reading anymore. The level of complications only increases when you thrown in other books that reference each and are part of a series. There’s continuity between multiple books that needs to be looked after.

I self published Catalyst a few years ago. Before publishing it I  paid a professional editor to proof read and copy edit it. She did a good job. Catalyst is so much better than it would have been without her. I have no regrets using her as an editor but—and remember I love her work and would recommend her to anyone—I still get those silly “could use another edit” comments.

I’m doing a second edition of Catalyst and Beacon and I had a different editor go over both books to clean up all those little mistakes we missed the first time. This new editor also did a good job and made the book even better. I would also recommend her to any of my writing friends. I printed off the second edition of Catalyst and then read through it one more time to catch all the small stuff we missed.

Every time I found a mistake I wanted to fix I put a little post-it note. Here’s a picture.

Photo on 2016-02-06 at 8.46 AM

There are 25 little things I want to change about Catalyst and it’s been professionally edited by two more than qualified editors.

Some of it are grammar mistakes missed by all of us. Some of them are formatting errors on my part. Some of them are simply things I want to change after having not read it through all the way for several years. But for sure they are all things that would have garnered a “this book needs more editing” review  on Amazon.

Remember, this is not a slam against my editors or any other editors out there. This a wake up call to writers. Especially self published writers. Don’t you dare try to put your book out there without hiring an editor. Have some respect for your audience. Your crappy non edited self published books make the rest of us look bad.

Wow, that was kind of negative. Just go hire an editor. That’s all I’m trying to say. If you need help finding one I know of two good ones. I can give you their contact information.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

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30 Day Challenge: Work Out Every Day—Week One

As stated before, I strongly dislike working out.

But I still did it.

Me and my wife worked out every day this week except Sunday which is our rest day. Here is what I learned in the first week of exercising daily. All day long I think about how I don’t want to do it. While I’m doing it I think about other things I could be doing with my time, like reading, writing, eating, working, seeing how many chocolate orange slices I can fit into my mouth at one time, really anything other than working out. Even after I’m done working out I don’t feel awesome or proud. I feel tired and sore.

The good feeling that comes from working out doesn’t happen for me until the next day when I wake up. I feel different when I wake up the day after working out. That’s when I feel like I’ve accomplished something. My previous day was a success! I did that thing I didn’t want to do but knew I should! My sore body serves as a reminder of what I accomplished yesterday.

And then I spend the rest of the day trying to talk myself out of doing it again. Well I worked out yesterday so I don’t need to work out today. I’m too busy to work out again. I’m too tired to work out again. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, I did it.

Before the week started we defined what a workout would mean for us. We are doing two different programs. We started doing P90X 3 and then we also have some apps we follow to try to help us do more push-ups and sit-ups.

On Monday we did P90X 3 and the apps. On Tuesday we did only P90x 3. Wednesday we were wiped so we only did the apps but it was still a work out for us. Thursday and Friday we did P90X 3 and on Saturday we did both. That’s the most I’ve worked out since my first year of university.

This 30 Day Challenge is much more difficult than last months.

One week down. Three more to go.

I need some ideas for the next challenge. Leave a comment and let me know what I should do next. If I can work out every day then I’m pretty sure I can do anything.

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Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenges

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“The Force Awakens” Review: Full Spoilers

First off, lets just get it out-of-the-way.

Han dies.

There. That’s the big one. That’s the one you tell that annoying guy at work to ruin the movie for him. That’ll show him for not telling you the password on the building changed and you had to stand outside like a fool and freeze your butt off (that never actually happened to me).

This is a good movie. Not sure yet where I would rank it in terms of the other Star Wars movies (I’ll post on that later). Yes, it’s a lot like A New Hope. Technically so is Return of the Jedi so this is the third time we’ve seen this movie and yet I still loved it. Some would say I have Star Wars blinders on but whatever. I say what I want. That’s what the internet is for.

The new characters are what made this movie awesome. I mean, yeah it’s great to see Harrison back but the new guys are so entertaining and breathe a lot of life into the franchise. There is no Anakin or Jar Jar. The new guys are all good. I love that one of the good guys is a stormtrooper. I love that the marketing led us to believe that Fin was force sensitive even though he’s not. I love that they didn’t show a single frame of Ray with the lightsaber. I love that they didn’t kill off Poe Dameron like they had originally planned; although he is the weakest of the new characters because he doesn’t have a lot to do after he doesn’t die.

BB-8 is amazing. I love that little guy and at the same time I want to kick him.

Kylo Ren, you douche bag. Yet, I’m excited to see him come back to the light side. That’s what’s going to happen right? I mean I know that’s the story of Darth Vader but Star Wars isn’t above repeating itself (there have been 3 Death Stars). Kylo Ren has sunk low. He killed his own dad for seemingly no reason and everyone loved his dad. Fans are going to love to hate Kylo.

The other two don’t do that much and I didn’t really care that they existed.

Snoke is Plagueis.

Luke wasn’t really in it that much and didn’t even have one line—but he still got paid $600,000 so good for him. I was fine with that but he has a lot of explaining to do in the next film. Why was he hiding? Why did he let the First Order rise up? Why did he leave a map so someone could find him? Why did he break it up into pieces? Who was he waiting for to come find him?

AND WHY ON EARTH DID R2 WAIT?

R2 was the biggest disappointment of the whole movie. Really confusing behaviour coming from that little guy. He leads to more questions than answers even though he kind of saves the day for some reason.

Finally I want to say one thing on the record. I want it posted on the internet so that you all know that I said it before anyone else.

People say Ray is Luke’s daughter. She isn’t.

People say Ray is a Kenobi. She isn’t.

I think she is Poe Dameron’s sister and that he is force sensitive.

That’s all I got.

Posted in Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

30 day Challenge: Work Out Every Day

I lied twice in the title of this post. I’m not going to work out every day and this isn’t going to last for 30 days. When I decided that I was going to do 12 30-day challenges I knew that one of those would be working out every day. I strongly dislike working out.

Quick side note: when I was a child, my mother would tell me and my siblings that we weren’t allowed to use the word hate because it was too negative. So when I say that I strongly dislike working out it means I really really really hate working out.

Saying that I want to do 12 30 day challenges doesn’t add up to a complete year. To make it easier to keep track of I’m doing it month to month. I guess that makes it more of a monthly challenge but I’ve already written two blog posts calling it a 30 day challenge so that’s they way it’s staying. Since February is the shortest month, of course it’s going to be the one I don’t actually want to do.

When I said I wasn’t going to work out every day I meant that I would be taking rest days every Sunday. The rest of the week I’ll be doing that thing I don’t really want to do.

I’ll keep you updated on how this goes. Guess I should get off the computer and go do some push-ups or something.

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Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenge

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

30 Day Challenge: First Challenge Complete

It’s the end of January and I’ve finished my first 30 day challenge. Since you are sitting there on the edge of your seat I’ll let you know how it went.

Reading three chapters of scripture a day wasn’t too bad. I usually found time to get it done during the day. I downloaded the Gospel Library app on my phone so whenever I found myself sitting doing nothing I opened it up and started reading. Sometimes I wouldn’t remember to do my reading until the end of the day so I would have to stay up for a couple more minutes while I finished. Having the scriptures on my phone makes this challenge so much easier.

One of the biggest changes I noticed was that instead of opening Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter I was opening the scriptures and reading. This challenge helped me realize how much time I spend on social media when I could be doing more important things. Of course I still used social media this month but I definitely used it less.

Reading the scriptures more and using social media less leads to thinking more about the gospel. During the day I would think more often about my relationship with Heavenly Father and the Saviour and less about internet memes and movie news which often dominate my phone use time.

This was an easy and rewarding challenge and as I started it to make a permanent change I am going to keep doing it for as long as I can. Reading the scriptures daily is highly recommended for anyone reading this. Click here and start downloading.

I already know what the next challenge is (check back here on Monday to see what it is—I’m not really looking forward to this one) but I still need ideas to fill in the rest of the year. Let me know what you guys want me to try.

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Catch up on the rest of the 30 day Challenge

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge, Religion | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

30 Day Challenge: Scripture Reading

Klout is pretty silly. I know this. It tells me an expert on writing and books even though in two years I’ve sold less than 2000 books (sell is a pretty loose term, most of that was free poorly formatted ebooks so that unimpressive stat is even less impressive). My klout number is steadily going up since I made the decision to build my online audience but it’s just me talking to my friends online so nothing is really changing. Klout numbers are pretty meaningless.

But they have some cool links.

In an effort to help me come up with cool content it posts suggestions on articles I should tweet about. That’s how I found out about the 30 day challenge. The challenge boils down to this: try something new for a month. Do something everyday for a month. The article (link above) throws around suggestions like NaNoWriMo (which I’ve done several times and it’s awesome), watching a new documentary every month, ditching a bad habit for a month, go for a walk everyday, or do something that scares you everyday.

I’ve decided to try doing the 30 day challenge 12 times this year (I’m not good at math either). That was decided as soon as I read the article. The trouble is I read it halfway through January. I am already missing the first go around of the challenge.

Lucky for me I set some new years resolutions that I’m still keeping. One of those is to read three chapters of scripture a day. I started with the Old Testament because it’s the hardest one for me to read. I’ve started many times and always flame out. Some scripture is easier to read than others.

I’m half way through Exodus now and it makes me want to watch that old Charlton Heston movie. Lots of it is a struggle to read and understand. Luckily I bought a study guide for my wife when she was reading the Old Testament last year.

It’s almost the end of the month and this challenge is pretty much over. The first month was pretty easy. The trick for this one is that I want to keep doing it for the rest of the year. I want this to become a part of my daily habits.

I have a few ideas for what I want to do for the rest of the year but I definitely don’t have 12. Feel free to comment your suggestions.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in 30 Day Challenge, Religion | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Writing Goals 2016

I have two writing goals this year.

  1. Make a profit on The Ronos Trilogy.
  2. Finish the next book and get it ready to shop around.

Easy enough. It’s only two things. I have all year to do only two things. No big deal. One of those things is going to be very easy to do. I’ve finished a book or three and got it to the point where I could shop it around (I didn’t shop it around but I could have). That task does not intimidate me. In fact I’m looking forward to it because it’s been inside my head for far too long and I’ll be glad to get it out.

Because I’ve done it before it’s easy for me to break down the steps to completion.

  1. First draft.
  2. Reread.
  3. Rewrite.
  4. Repeat as needed.
  5. Compile list of publishers and agents.
  6. Send out to everyone.
  7. Write sequel while waiting for rejection letters.
  8. End up self publishing it anyway but at least we tried.

My first yearly goal is far more intimidating. When I started The Ronos Trilogy I wasn’t thinking money or the business side of things. I foolishly thought that I could write a book that was so good that people would feel obligated to give it good word of mouth and it would become a phenomenon. I tried my best but it turned out to be just a book. Lots of people like it but I’m not going to be able to quit my day job anytime soon.

Now I see the money I’m spending and seeing how many books I’m going to have to sell to make that money back. It’s intimidating to me. So I’m switching gears and spending as little money as possible without compromising quality.

I’m switching POD companies. Booklocker was nickel-and-diming me too much.I had to pay to upload the book. I had to pay to change any little detail inside the book. I had to pay separately for the ebook. I had to pay a yearly fee to keep it in the system—for three books that yearly fee was $45 which feels like a lot for me.

Right now I’m looking at Createspace because I can do all the things listed above for free. Which means I have to sell less books to make a profit this year.

I also switched editors. Not because my previous editor did anything wrong or wasn’t very good—she’s awesome and I would recommend her to anyone—but I found someone else for half the price. Because I’m self publishing these books it doesn’t matter who edits them or if a thousand people edit them, I will still get reviews saying the grammar is still a little off. It’s a reviewers default setting for self published books. Life goes on.

I’ll need to get out there and sell more books face to face. My previous success came with selling books at a book fair in Sherwood Park. I need to do more of that which I’m not excited about because it already makes me feel awkward. Expect more blog posts about book signings and such. I don’t want to do it but I have to if I want to meet my goal.

I’m thinking of doing a big book launch party for when Eviscerate comes out. Sell a bunch of books at that thing. I’ll have to figure out exactly what happens at a book launch party (it sound like I’m supposed to tape a book to a rocket and launch it into space) and where to do it where it can happen for free. Expect more details on that soon and if you have any ideas leave a comment or throw it on Facebook or Twitter.

Anyways, those are my goals for the new year. One I’m excited about. One I’m anxious about but excited for the results. Stay tuned for more news.

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20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

“.Skinz”
Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments