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Posts Tagged ‘editing’

URGENT: Update on Separation of Faith/Newly Designed Blog/Etc.

Hi, everybody! Sorry I’ve been a little awol, but I had an unexpected stay in the hospital last week for three days preceded by the infection and fever that had me out of commission for five days prior to being admitted. I’m fine now–just a little bump in the reconstruction process.

Meanwhile, lots of things started happening ahead of schedule and have sort of launched Separation of Faith a smidge prematurely. (But at least you’re all getting to see the cover now … 🙂 …) The social media group at the publisher developed the new blog site, which is supposed to be secondary to my standard “Journey from Publishing Obscurity” site. I’ll be straightening that out on Monday.

Also, since we had to pull the book back briefly (see blog post #57), Separation of Faith is not actually available yet–and consequently, this new blog site should have been held back as well. I’ll also be straightening that out on Monday.

In short, we’re almost there–and I’m deeply grateful for the excitement I saw from several of you once this new site hit the air waves. I do apologize, however, for your need to put the horse back in the gate for just a little while longer. The updated galley for Separation of Faith should be in my hands this coming week, I hope, and assuming all is well, the title should go live again shortly thereafter. I’ll post at least a sentence or two daily to keep you current.

Last November I promised to share everything that happens on this Journey–the good, bad, and the ugly–and this little situation is sort of a real-time issue that I will be unwinding before your very eyes. 🙂

Meanwhile, since there’s lots of information available on this new site now about Separation of Faith, I welcome any comments and input regarding your first impressions, the cover, etc.

Hurray! The Truth About Cinnamon Reduction Edit Is Complete–At Last!

Those of you who’ve been following this Journey will know how monumental these words are: Last night at 10:30 I emailed the edited Cinnamon manuscript along with cover updates to the publisher! Honestly, I was beginning to think that this part of the Plan was never going to be finished. Last week while I was in the hospital, I worked many hours on the edit, simply because there wasn’t much else I could do there while lying there on IV antibiotics. All I can say now is, “Thank God that part is over!” (The edit as well as the antibiotics.)

Once the new version of Cinnamon goes into production, the original version will become a First Edition and will no longer be available on Amazon, etc. Hopefully the Second Edition will become available by the official (the way it’s supposed to happen) launch of Separation of Faith in September.

I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’d like to secure a First Edition copy, you can still do so through Amazon, etc., or directly through the bookstore on my Web site (www.cherilaser.com) where you can also request a customized autograph.

Sorry Again for Any Mixups/Confusion about Separation of Faith

This was one moment in time when dealing with breast cancer and trying to bring out a new book didn’t gel very smoothly. Hopefully, order will be re-established early this coming week.

Thanks so much again for hanging in there and for being excited. You’re going to love the video book trailer, which will be ready very shortly and then linked into everything as soon as the title becomes live again (I will post when that happens).

Here Are a Couple of Interesting Links I Found While in the Hospital. Hope There’s Something of Value/Inspiration for You!

Take Care & Have a Terrific Weekend!

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Separation of Faith Is Back in the Proof Process–A Great Big Yikes!

Fortunately, the panic is over, because every single person I’ve communicated with at iUniverse in the last three days (counting today) has been phenomenal! Unbeknown to me, they have a 24/7/365 customer support operation, and when I called (mildly hysterical) to leave a voice mail at nine o’clock on Saturday night, a real person actually answered the phone! So my heart rate dropped, and I was actually able to sleep that night.

Here’s what happened. On Friday, I received the printer copies (one copy each of the hard and soft covers) of Separation of Faith. There was an issue with the way the dust jacket was folded on the hard cover, but I figured that was relatively minor. The panic began setting in as I was forcing myself to read through the printed book one more time. (Keep in mind that 325 books–my entire promotional launch supply–were, I thought, in the printing process.)

And (no surprise here) that whole subject of editing suddenly began rising up to claim my sanity. As I was reading, I intermittently came across little things (mostly minor punctuation issues) that had been missed in one edit or another. But then, as I moved deeper into the book, I came across two major errors that were my fault that arose in the final revision process after I received the last proofreader’s input. As we all know as writers, every time we write something new, we run the risk of adding new errors to the mix. And that’s precisely what I did.

The recommendation had been made to me at some point in the editorial process that I should put the book through two proofreading cycles, which would have, in hindsight, most likely have prevented this current situation from unfolding. (Traditional publishing houses put their titles through two or three or more.) But I thought I’d be okay with one–and I’ll never forget that I was wrong. Fortunately, thanks to the fact that I made myself read the book right away, and then that the iUniverse folks responded so quickly, we avoided a catastrophe.

Otherwise, here are two of the errors that would have been in the book:

  • Right in the middle of a sentence there was “Eight-foot-deep” instead of “eight-foot-deep.” I know that seems small, but it’s so obvious that it means someone (in this case me) wasn’t paying attention.
  • The worst: I had Zoie looking over Isaiah’s shoulder when it should have been Ava looking over his shoulder. This is called a content error–something hugely major that would make a reader stop and say, “How could they have missed something like this?” And some of those readers would have been judges in the many contests I’m planning to enter. A content error like that would have most likely resulted in the book’s being disqualified from the contest.

 When added to the list (a short list, but still a list) of punctuation issues, those errors would have seriously downgraded the quality of the book I’ve been working so hard to elevate above the pack. And it’s all about that editing thing again. Thank God I read that book as soon as UPS brought it to me! But if I had only put the book through that second proofreading … If only … If only …

I’m sharing this with you because I’m hoping the timing will hit someone out there who could use a little timing help/wake-up call.

All of the necessary changes have now been submitted, and the title has been pulled from print. So 325 books that would have put me in the hospital are not, in fact, on their way to me. This slight setback will only mean a delay of a week or ten days probably. And I did have to pay a redo fee. But that is many thousands of dollars less than what it would have cost to have me committed … 🙂

I’ll let you know when I get the new proofed copy back for my review.

The Video Book Trailer

This magic little one-minute, forty-five second wonder is almost complete. We’ve been tweaking things after seeking input from objective viewers, and I’m at the point where I can’t even imagine what’s involved with full-length feature films that we see in theaters! The link for the video will be included with every piece of promotional material sent out, as soon as Separation of Faith is fully available everywhere online and through bookstores. And as we now know, that will be a couple of weeks later that originally planned …

The Truth About Cinnamon

The re-edited manuscript will be submitted to iUniverse by the end of this week. The goal is to have the 2nd Edition of Cinnamon available as close as possible to the full release of Separation of Faith. (I absolutely cannot believe how long I’ve been working on this!)

The iUniverse Avenue

Each of us is writing with different motivations and objectives, and if we want to see our books in print, we each have dfferent reasons for that as well. Some of us just want to share things with family and friends. Some of us just want to write and publish for ourselves. But if we want to write and publish so that lots of other people will want to pay their money to read our work, we either have to keep plugging away trying to get the attention of someone in the traditional publishing world, or we need to opt for an alternate route.

If you’re looking at the alternate avenues, I highly recommend exploring iUniverse. Yes, this is a big company. And yes, they take a piece of each book. But they honestly do value their authors, and the way they’re running their operation speaks to that point. They also do most of the work that full DIY authors have to learn how to do (and then do) themselves. There are trade-offs with each choice. For me, iUniverse is the best way at the moment for me to get where I want to go (see November 4 Blog Launch Posting).

Once again, however, if you’re really serious about being taken seriously as an author–no matter which avenue you select–you absolutely must put your work through an extensive editing process, either through the professional services available through a company like iUniverse or through professional editors that you find on your own. But as I’ve just learned again this past weekend–even though I’ve talked about the editing thing a million times in this blogwe all avoid/dodge/decide against a comprehensive editing process (or even a single step of that process) at our own peril.

Hope You All Have a Great Week Ahead!

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The Editing, Opening-the-Kimono Thing Again

Following yesterday’s post, I was having a conversation with someone about the importance of having our work edited and the various reasons why writers remain hesitant to seek input. For me, that hesitation existed in spades years ago, before I grew my sea legs as a writer. That’s when I was still trying to make myself believe that I had somehow been miraculously born with everything I needed to know about writing novels already embedded in the creative side of my brain.

I remember one editor I’d queried directly (at a major New York publishing house, something you could still do in those days), who actually asked to see the entire manuscript of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon. I believe there was a dust cloud behind my car as I raced directly to the closest Federal Express office. After spending all that money to overnight the manuscript, I waited a couple of months to hear back from her. Then she called me (!), giving me a valuable few minutes of her time over the phone, a gesture I absolutely did not appreciate as I should have. (I’d be groveling all over the floor if something like that happened today!)

At any rate, during that call, she said something like, “Your first draft of The Truth About Cinnamon isn’t a bad outline for starters.” And then she proceeded to give me a list of things that she thought needed to be changed/added/deleted/thrown into oblivion, if I wanted her to consider taking on the book. She was truly offering me a gift of immeasurable proportions. But, of course, I thought the manuscript was completely finished and ready for a multi-million dollar distribution–and, of course, I thought the editor was nuts, out of touch, off base, and you know the rest of the litany. Ah, the lament! If I had only listened to her, I would have certainly saved myself years of wasted time and effort. And hers is only one example of advice I foolishly turned away in those early days.

Instead of having the effect she’d intended, however, that editor’s input only caused me to pull inward for a long time, avoiding any further possibilities of having someone else tell me that what I’d written wasn’t very good. (Never mind the fact that she never said my work wasn’t good. On the contrary, she was trying to tell me that I might have a shot. But I wasn’t paying attention or hearing her at all.)

Hey! What if I’d let a professional editor into my writing world before I’d even begun queryingespecially before I’d begun querying? Who knows what would have happened, because here’s one unavoidable truth we all need to keep in mind: No matter what we attempt to do in life, we learn how to inprove ourselves and our craft/sport/art/business by playing with people who are better and more accomplished than we are. And no matter how good we become, there will always be people who are better than we are. For aspiring authors, those “people” are editors.

Believe me when I say that I remain fearful to this day of hearing anyone tell me that something I’ve labored to write needs a lot of work. But now the years have instilled in me the confidence that I can actually fix problems, once I’ve given people permission to point issues out to me. That entire process is intended to make the writing/story better, not to make me (or any writer) feel bad.

The person with whom I was speaking yesterday after my post was published said that, in addition to the editing thing, a lot of writers are also fearful of sharing their work because they think their idea(s) might be stolen. That particular reason hadn’t occurred to me, but my conversation with him was freshly on my mind this morning when Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest posted this link in her “Best Of Tweets for Writers” list from last week: http://jasonlbaptiste.com/startups/they-will-steal-your-idea-they-cannot-steal-what-really-matters/. The article centers more on techical writing and development than on fiction, although the concept is still totally applicable. Aside from the fact that legitimate editors are not in the business of stealing writers’ work, even if they did decide to co-opt an idea for a novel, there’s no way anyone could steal the author’s planned implementation for that novel, the essence of all the characters, the plot twists that exist only in the author’s head, and so forth.

Basically, in the end, there isn’t any legitimate reason for avoiding a professional edit of our workor for releasing our work into the hands of beta readers–and there are plenty of reasons for submitting our work to such scrutiny. Removing all the excuses for not having our work placed under a microscope is the goalmy goal–and hopefully the link and the additional thoughts shared in this post will be further steps in that direction.

We need to believe in ourselves, but not exclusively in ourselves! So let “the people” in. 🙂

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Separation of Faith Is Almost Here!

Last week Separation of Faith, the novel that’s been tracked through this blog since the launch posting last November 4 (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/, went into post-production where all the formatting is finalized and the printer files are established. By the end of this week, I should have in my hands the “printer copy” for the hard cover and the soft cover for one final review. These will be actual copies of the book, covers and all, and their receipt will be a hugely monumental moment! I’ll take pictures and post them for all to see!

Once I approve everything, the book will “go live,” marking the official publishing date, and the title will begin feeding into all of the online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets. That process will take another couple of weeks, and I’m not going to do any promotion until I know that the book is available everywhere. Needless to say, the next two or three weeks will be unbelievably busy as I pull what feels like millions of marketing pieces together.

The one date that I do have confirmed is my book launch party, which will be at the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, on Thursday, September 23, from 4-7 pm. That’s when all stops will be pulled out and the Journey’s next phase will officially begin. A Calendar of Events will be added to the Web site very shortly (www.SeparationOfFaith.com), and the last quarter of the year promises to be extremely full of stuff (much of which I probably can’t even imagine yet). My second surgery (search my blog for “breast cancer” to find relevant headings in posts) will be on September 2, and that operation (part of the reconstruction process) is supposed to make me a lot more comfortable than I’ve been since the big surgery on May 4. So I should be in great shape and kicking at the gate by September 23. A high energy level will definitely be crucial.

As we’ve discussed, one of the key elements in this plan is the video book trailer, which is going to be an amazing little thriller running 90 seconds. On Tuesday July 27, I’ll be spending the better part of the day with the fellow who’s putting the thing together for me. We are very close to having a finished product, and I absolutely cannot wait to share the end result with you! In preparation, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about using video book trailers effectively, and I’ve learned that there are at least 14 different sites, in addition to YouTube, where our masterpiece will need to be loaded. As I’ve said many times since I started trying to get my arms around this octopus–Yikes!

The Focus of My Reading Lately 

Now that there is really nothing left to do to the internals of Separation of Faith, my editing focus has been on the reduction of The Truth About Cinnamon (which seems to have been going on for a millenium at this point). Right now I’m entering the changes from the last edit. When finished with that, I’ll do one more read-through on the computer–and then–YAY!–the updated manuscript will go to the publisher–hopefully by the end of July!

Since this will be a re-do agreed to by the publisher when I elected to publish Separation of Faith with them, the book will basically go directly into production. At that point, the original version (which will then become an official 1st Edition) will no longer be available for purchase anywhere. The new 2nd Edition will probably take about six weeks to go live. So, by the time I’m launching the promotion for Separation of Faith, the new Cinnamon should be available. At least, that’s the plan.

Meanwhile, in addition to thoughts about my third novel, which are beginning to gel in the spare recesses of my mind, my attention has been drawn to every blog and article I can find relative to book promotion. I thought my list of avenues to attack was fairly comprehensive as a result of the Rising Star Application (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/). But there is actually a seemingly endless list, I’m discovering, of things I need to try. Looking at the whole picture is always a little overwhelming for me, so I’ll take a topic or two at a time, as they develop, and share them here like I’ve been doing with the video book trailer. The concentration on the promotional elements will begin in earnest the moment the Cinnamon edit is complete.

Some Additional Information for You

Along with things I need to learn and do for my own Journey, I continue to be on the lookout for information that I think will be helpful to you on your Journeys as well. This week I found several articles that touch on topics we’ve addressed before, but that I continue to believe are extremely important for all of us:

  • Alan Rinzler, Consulting Editor at Jossey-Bass Publishing in San Francisco, wrote a post titled The Author Background Check: Cautionary Notes (http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/). This subject was one of the huge revelations that launched my blog and Journey last fall after attending the Writer’s Digest Conference in September in Manhattan. The fact that our queries of agents or editors in traditional publishing houses immediately triggers a Google search of us blew me away. Well, there are apparently lots of other checks performed as well, and since everything ever posted online about any of us remains there forever, that could be highly problematic. Decisions that affect our Journeys are frequently made based on what’s being discovered. Rinzler’s article could be very sobering for some of us who are trying to break into the traditional publishing arena. (In March, I referenced another of Rinzler’s posts on his view of self-publishing, which you might find of interest if you missed it the first time: https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/30-journey-from-publishing-obscurity/.)
  • We’ve talked a whole lot about the importance of having our work edited by professionals (something I did not do, much to my regret, with my first novel). Here are three more perspectives on that subject, which has become a major hot button for me: 1) The Myth of the Evil Editor by Victoria Strauss (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/07/myth-of-evil-editor.html); 2) A Fourth of July Lesson in the Value of Editors by writingfordigital (http://writingfordigital.com/2010/07/04/a-fourth-of-july-lesson-in-the-value-of-editors/); 3) A Good Edit Would’ve Fixed That by April L. Hamilton (http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2010/06/good-edit-wouldve-fixed-that.html). The point abundantly made by all three of these is that the quality of editing in our work is as important, if not more so, than our writing, our stories, and our characters combined. And this is true whether we’re pursuing our Journeys via a mainstream route or an alternate path.
  • Since I’m beginning my focus on the development of my third novel, I was drawn to Janet Fitch’s 10 Rules for Writers (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/07/janet-fitchs-10-rules-for-writers.html), which I found very useful and thought you might as well. I especially enjoyed her point #10: “Torture Your Protagonist. The writer is both a sadist and a masochist. We create people we love, and then we torture them. The more we love them, and the more cleverly we torture them along the lines of their greatest vulnerablity and fear, the better the story. Sometimes we try to protect them from getting booboos that are too big. Don’t. This is your protagonist, not your kid.” After reading wonderful pieces like this, I begin to think that I should have my head examined for trying to compete in this business … 🙂
  • Here’s another interesting take on self-publishing–My Novel: There’s An App for That! by David Carnoy (http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=17935).
  • Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest posted about “New Tools for Entrepreneurial Writers” that consolidate social media input into a daily newspaper: (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/CommentView.aspx?guid=f0aa3c49-14df-4391-82a7-a77bc90d93d4).
  • And finally–and probably my favorite–Victoria Mixon, Editor, posted 6 Personality Types Who Will Succeed as Writers (http://victoriamixon.com/2010/07/13/6-personality-types-who-will-succeed-as-writers/). I encourage you to read the entire post. But I was particularly struck by her “#5. THE PATIENT: those who take their time, realizing life is long and a career in the arts takes the whole of it and even the greats never lived long enough to learn it all.”  What she goes on to write is so beautiful and so applicable to all of us that I want to end this post with her words:

“Somerset Maughm lamented it. Flannery O’Connor lamented it. You can lament it too: you will never live long enough. You can devote all the decades of your life to the craft you love and be ecstatic you did, but you will still die, like Albert Einstein, leaning out of bed with the last frail ounce of strength, grasping for a reproducable theorum of the divine.

“And you will know, as you lean, that you gave it your all, every day of your life: your passion and curiosity and love and devotion to this craft that means so much to so many but, especially, to you. And you will die grateful you had the chance, thanking heaven you stumbled on it while there was all that time to luxuriate in it … even if you became a writer only days before you died.

“It came to you–this extraordinary craft–as a free and unfettered gift, and you got to own it, for just a little while.”

Have A Great Week, Everybody!

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First …

Please forgive the distance between this post and my last one. I have been popping in through comments and tag surfing. But otherwise I’ve been so consumed with everything that’s going on, and with everything I’ve been learning, that the time hasn’t been available until this Saturday morning to sit down and write a post about what’s been going on and what I’ve been learning. I’m uncomfortable with this much space in between posts, and I’ll do my best not to go this long in the future.

So …

What’s Been Going on with Separation of Faith?

We’re still in the final proofing/revision stage, which is where we’ve been for about a month and a half now. The other editing stages moved along at a nice clip, but things have really slowed down to a frustrating pace at the moment. The change in momentum started when the proofreader at the publisher took a month instead of the quoted 2-3 weeks. I then had to review the proofreader’s recommendations and then accept or decline each one. In a book that will print at 300 pages, there were only 39 notations, almost half of which were formatting errors that happened when the manuscript was changed from a Word document into the publishing design. I declined five of the remaining issues, which were all semi-colon situations.

After completing that process, I had to go through the entire manuscript again because I was allowed up to 50 additional revisions/corrections, which could be as small as a punctuation mark or as large as adding a paragraph. I ended up with 48 changes, 99% of which were tiny-to-small issues, and there was only one big change where I added a paragraph to the Acknowledgments. In three cases, I added clarifying words to a sentence or reworked the wording. That entire process ate up several days.

Then I returned to the publisher the proofreader’s changes, my changes, and the required changes to the cover all in one email on June 28. The cover changes were done almost immediately, except for one error that’s currently being fixed. Yesterday (July 9, almost two weeks later) I was notified that the proofreader’s revisions had been implemented. But my 48 changes haven’t even been started yet.

There’s a big promotion through the publisher that lasts until July 30, which will enable me to purchase a large supply of my books (for submission to reviewers, contests, etc) with free shipping, a free extra 10% copies, plus substantial author discounts. But in order to take advantage of that promotion, Separation of Faith has to be live.

The editorial staff and everyone else at iUniverse as well has been unbelievably fabulous to this point, and I have every expectation that this little log jam will be unplugged come Monday. But I do admit to some frustration. This is amplified, I’m sure, by the fact that I’m going through breast reconstruction at the same time, so my patience is somewhat altered by the cement bowling balls currently attached to my chest wall … 🙂 … At least I’m getting a shape back, though. The only problem at the moment is that “they” don’t move, and if someone hugs me too hard, they get broken ribs. This situation will be rectified by my next surgery, hopefully in early September.

This sort of production issue (I’m referring to the novel again now … 🙂 …) happens all the time when a book is coming out, regardless of the publishing method. So no matter which path you’re considering (or that you’ve already selected) for your own publishing Journey, be prepared to be patient. Setting expectations levels in advance for a long gestation period is a good idea.

That said, my cover is absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait for you to see the gem. And reading through the beautiful proofed PDF, which is already in the book design format, does turn on the light at the end of the tunnel, even if the train has temporarily slowed to a crawl.

If all goes well this coming Monday and things get back on track, I could be holding my first copies of Separation of Faith in my hands by the end of this month. Considering how long we’ve been talking about that event in this blog, that is going to be one heck of a day! I will take pictures and post them here. 🙂

Once Again, Let Me Emphasize the Importance of Editing!

This sounds like a broken record, I know, but seeing the quality of my novel now, as compared to six months ago, I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that I was good enough to edit the book myself (or that any of my relatives were good enough). Professional editing makes more difference than you can imagine!

Separation of Faith has been through two editorial reviews, a copyedit, and a proofreading, each of those followed by at least one and usually two revisions cycles in which I incorporated recommendations from those edits. Yes, the steps have added months to the publishing process. And yes there was a financial investment involved along with the additional time. But when the novel is released, I will challenge any person in the traditional publishing world to tell me that this book would have been more beautifully edited coming out of a traditional house.

And because the do-it-yourself/self-publishing/print-on-demand world is so flooded with every level of book imaginable, a major key to rising about the pack and having a shot at getting noticed resides in the quality of both the writing and the editing. And some will say that the latter is more critical than the former. So even if you’re still pursuing the traditional route on your Journey, invest in having your manuscript edited before you ever start querying. The odds of getting anyone’s serious attention become slimmer by the minute without that investment.  

The Video Book Trailer for Separation of Faith

The more I study the importance of video book trailers, the more I wonder how anyone could consider publishing a book these days without a video as part of the promotion. If you’re at the stage where you’re trying to decide if one is necessary, the answer is yes. Again, this business is so competitive that trying to get attention for the book you’ve slaved over for months/years/decades is a batlle under the best of circumstances. So we all need to be automatically adding a video book trailer to our plans.

The video for Separation of Faith is about half finished. The fellow who’s helping me is a technical/video genius–but he also has a real job plus a wife and three children (ages 5, 3, and six months). So even though the video is only going to be 60-90 seconds long, we’re still only halfway there after three multiple hour sessions together and I-have-no-idea-how-many hours of individual time for both of us. I know I spent about six hours hunting down appropriate royalty free pictures to use along with others I’d already taken and collected during my initial research for the book.

The music on my video will be an original song by my tech genius, and the “script” (words across the screen) is something we’ve designed together (and is very much a work in progress still). But as this thing comes together, I literally get goosebumps on my arms thinking about this film promoting Separation of Faith being on YouTube and every other conceivable site.

There is a ton of information online to help you if you’re at the point where you need to start thinking about a video book trailer. Everyone seems to have a different formula, and the best one for you will undoubtedly be a combination of what you read, who you know, and what you can contribute yourself. But here are a few links to get you going:

Yes, there’s a lot of work involved–but boy is this part fun!

The Press Release Preparation

The actual publishing date of Separation of Faith will be the day my author copies are ready to send to me. But I will need to wait several weeks after that before officially launching my promotional campaign. That’s because of the time required for the novel to go live on all the online and traditional distribution sites.

Sending out press releases to get people excited about the book would not be a good idea if the book isn’t yet available for ordering everywhere. Even though this novel won’t actually be stocked on the shelves of book stores yet, once the title is live you’ll be able to go into any Barnes & Noble, and any other brick-and-mortar bookseller, and order a copy. And, of course, the title will be available on the major as well as minor online sites as well (not to mention my own book store on my Web site: www.SeparationOfFaith.com).

So I have some time to get all of my ducks in a row. And I’ve been studying up on press releases. Over and over again I’ve been reading that sending out a blanket press release–something identical that goes to bazillions of people–is a bad idea. Press releases need to be tailored and individualized. And since I do have a lot of categories of people/organizations to contact (see my blog post on June 18 https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/), I’ve begun the process of creating different versions. There are core pieces that will remain the same from one to another, but I really do see the importance of tailoring.

The press release that will go to my little local county newspapers, where I can be billed as a “local author” and already have some publicity history through my community service work, will be vastly different from a press release I’ll send to a potential reviewer. I’m not sure how many versions I’ll end up with. As many as it takes, I suppose.

Update on the Rising Star Application (also discussed in my June 18 post: https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/)

When I launched this blog last November 4, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly involved with this Journey. Well, I was not accepted into the Rising Star Program–yet. I’ve asked for more detail regarding what was missing from my marketing and promotion plans, and hopefully that information will be forthcoming. But the important point to note is that I will automatically be reconsidered for the program as soon as 250 retail copies of Separation of Faith have been sold.

I know that doesn’t sound like very many copies, if you haven’t been “out there” trying to sell your book yet. But keep this statistic in mind: More than 90% of all books published (whether they’re published via traditional or alternate paths) sell fewer than 1000 copies total throughout the life of the book!

So, as we all hear all the time, if we’re writing because we want to make money, we’re probably in the wrong business. A tiny group of us amidst the tens of millions reaching for the dream will end up earning a few dollars–and a handful of those will eventually earn enough to make a modest living–and a handful of those will do very well–and a couple of those will become celebrities.

Now, as I say to myself almost every day, after hours of all the stuff I’m summarizing in this post, I absolutely cannot believe I’m doing this voluntarily!

At any rate, once I sell 250 copies of the new novel through retail outlets, the Rising Star option will again become available. Getting into that group would raise the realm of possibilities up a bit within the tens of millions of other dreamers on the Journey.

What’s Been Going on with the Reduction Edit for The Truth About Cinnamon?

Substantial progress is finally being made on this element of the Journey’s Plan. For those who are here for the first time, The Truth About Cinnamon was my first novel. And in preparation for the release of Separation of Faith, I’m re-editing Cinnamon, cleaning things up a bit (because I didn’t have someone hammering the editing advice into my head seven years ago) and shortening the length (all without my many Cinnamon fans knowing that anything is missiing … 🙂 …).

But this is a long novel (as first novels often are), and the effort has been huge. Plus, this part of the Plan has been secondary to getting Separation of Faith as perfect as possible. (And things were set back even further through April and May after my breast cancer diagnosis … I’m doing great, by the way). However, I’m now in the midst of a hard copy edit, and as soon as I’m finished with that effort, I’ll key in the changes, do another proofreading, and then I’ll be finished at last! Yay!

The hope is that the 2nd Edition printing of Cinnamon will somewhat coiincide with the launch of Separation of Faith’s promotion.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out a free serialization of Cinnamon‘s original (1st Edition) ten chapters, you’ll find them at: http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/documents/24081497/

What’s Been Going on with My Other Writing (Articles, Short Stories …)

A new book is taking shape that chronicles my surgery and reconstruction. Obviously, until the physical process is complete, the book won’t be either. But I think this one might be a new slant on what’s become an epidemic event among women in this country. I’ll keep you posted.

If you’d like to check out the free reads on my other stuff, I recommend that you start with the short story Life at Bat, which is hundreds of times more popular than any of the other pieces, for some reason. You’ll find the story and all my other offerings at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32280899/Life-at-Bat.

Interesting Reading Links that I’ve Been Collecting to Share with You

Stats

  • This blog: 2809 (last posting 2669)
  • My Web site (www.cherilaser.com): 38,515 (last posting 38,017
  • Scribd: 1291 (This is the first time I’ve posted this stat, but it’s been a lot of fun to watch, so I’ll start tracking it here now.) Click on this link to get to my page–http://www.scribd.com/claser–and then click on Documents up at the top.)

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I’ll look forward to hearing from you, as always.

All the best–Cheri

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Editing Our Work–And Getting Carried Away

Good morning! Late yesterday afternoon I finished editing a manuscript for the 12-year-old girl I mentioned in an earlier post this week. (I think it was this week. Maybe last week.) Anyway, her father has hired me as his editor on five of his books (four of which are published and one in-process). So when his precocious daughter wrote her first lengthy piece of fiction, I was honored to be called last August for that edit as well.

A full developmental edit was conducted on her “novel” at that time. Her word count is 13,000, which isn’t really a novel. (Needs to be 40,000-50,000 words at a minimum to officially be a novel.) But I’m sure for a 12-year-old, her book feels like Gone with the Wind to her. And rightly so. I cannot believe the tenacity of this kid–and her writing is unbelievably well-developed.

Following the edit last fall, she went back to work and began her revision/self-editing process, and then I received the updated manuscript a short while ago. What I discovered during the editing process was something I wanted to share with you.

As she began looking at her words and the input from her edit, she started to second-guess herself. And suddenly, a whole bunch of terrific writing, character development, and fabulous dialogue from the original manuscript was eliminated. As I was reading along, I found myself saying, “Hey, I remember a lot of other stuff being in here that was really good.” And every time that happened, I went back to my copy of the original edit and found passages that were brilliant (and had been labeled as such in the edit) that had, for some reason, been taken out of the new version. And the holes left in the story were dramatic as a result.

So I pulled a lot of those passages back into the manuscript, creating the necessary linkage between her new writing and the original section(s). The combination of the new things she’d written and the old parts pulled back in resulted in a balanced and enjoyable kids’ spy story (the first of three in a series … 🙂 …)

After a few of those sequences, I began thinking about the edit of Separation of Faith that followed my beta readers’ input. I had been so concerned about word count, that I was taking shortcuts to my storytelling instead of letting the strengths of my writing flow. Those dipping points in the novel were so noticeable that there was almost a “what were you thinking?” tone to the beta input (and to my own thoughts once those issues were brought to my attention). And I found myself saying the same thing as I was editing the manuscript of my young, blossoming client.

The message to be shared here is: Go with your initial gut instinct, and don’t get too scissor-happy. Sort of like that old advice we’ve all received with respect to test-taking: Always stick with your first answer, and don’t start erasing things.

Naturally, editing and cutting are essential skills that we need to hone. But there needs to also be another instinct at work–knowing the difference between what’s really amazing about what we’ve written and what’s not so great. Second-guessing ourselves to the point where brilliant sections are replaced by sub-standard revisions only sets us back.

So, whenever you receive input from anyone–a friend, a professional editor, a beta reader, etc.–where something has been marked as really terrific, have some faith in yourself, believe that input, and don’t change those parts!

Hope your day is beautiful and productive!

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