Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Stand Up For Indies

Stand Up For Indies

I’ve read a couple of blog posts recently from traditionally published authors venting against Indie publishing, basically viewing it as inferior and too much work for the minimal return. As far as they’re concerned, writers should focus on writing, not on marketing, or anything else that takes time away from producing the goods. They ask why should writers pay through the nose for services provided ‘free of charge’ to prospective authors on the trad’ path?

I’m afraid their argument is ill-informed. For a start, beyond their advance and low-percentage returns, where do they think the money from their sales goes? Their book pays the agent and editors, the designers and marketers, and then there’s the sizable chunk taken by bookshops. Indie authors are well aware of how much stores ask in return for shelf space – up to half for what can be a rarely viewed slot in a distant corner.
Where trad’ published authors may be guaranteed access to the best of bookshops, the balloon often bursts after one month when the book is taken off the ‘Just Published’ shelf and sidelined to the back shelves or, worse, to the discount pile. In the indie world, the author’s novel is always reachable - and not just the most recent work, but all previous publications are there to be accessed at the touch of a button.

And what’s the problem with doing your own marketing? I know many indie authors who are now masters at it, managing to portion off their marketing time without detrimentally affecting their writing time. All right, they may not have the resources for major poster or radio campaigns, but the broad world of social media provides a network that can be far-reaching with the minimum of financing.
They also blathered on about the inferior quality of writing in the Indie world – that there’s a solid reason they’re not traditionally published. I accept that I’ve encountered badly written and badly edited (if at all) indie novels along the way, but such occurrences are in the minority, especially now where authors know that word of mouth dictates that quality wins the day. Which is why indie authors go to so much trouble to exploit the services of beta-readers, professional designers, formatters, and editors, ensuring their product is the best it can be.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s wonderful that we no longer have to suffer the long wait to be accepted by an agent or publisher, and that our stories are making their way to the world at large. We’ve cut out the middle elites and are making our way independently, collaborating to provide so many readers with quality writing they might otherwise not have seen. We write, we edit, we market – constantly pushing against the boundaries, knocking down walls, bringing our work to the people. Long may it continue – it’s high time Indies got the support they deserve.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Getting Out and About - The Healthier Option

I wrote before about the importance of taking time away from the keyboard. When you’re working for yourself as a writer or editor, doing something that you love, the tendency is to lose yourself in the world of story and character, or structure and style. Nobody’s there to ring the bell for lunch, or to let you know that it’s time to go home, especially when your workplace happens to be in your home. But while you may be working hard to meet objectives, hours of isolation and lack of physical activity only serves to draw darkness into your head and sludge into your veins. Getting out into the light and air will not only give your brain a well-deserved break, a nature-heavy walk will help invigorate you holistically.

The important thing for me when I’m out and about is to include water and trees. Nothing placates and stimulates me in equal measure than walking along the river or lakeshore and through ever-changing woodland. I get to witness beautiful swans flirting as they search for a suitable nest site, or I can pause and admire the awe-inspiring vista of the Dartry mountain range to the north of Sligo town.

My powerwalking workout burns the fat while the combined energy of light, trees, and water eradicates stress and leaves me refreshed physically and mentally, more than ready to dive back into whatever project I’m working on. A healthier heart and mind not only gets more work done, but the quality of the work experience is radically enhanced just by that post-walk buzz.

If you’ve read this, I entreat you to make a little plan to take yourself out each day for a nature-heavy walk. Even if you live in a town or city, there are still parks and rivers that you can avail of to lighten your heart and soul. With the exercise you’ll eat and sleep better, but best of all – your work will benefit beyond your expectations. Go on, give it a try and see how right I am.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Always Open to Sample Chapters

While I’m a busy editor, I always make time for sample chapters submitted by writers in the process of searching for a suitable editor for their novel. My sample edits are provided free of charge, which I believe is the way to go, but from what I’ve seen not all editors provide such a service. Maybe that’s because they’re so well established their calendar is more or less always full, most likely with regular clients. That’s a great place to find oneself, and fair play to them because I know from editor friends that it takes several years to reach such a heady height. May their calendars remain full.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to edit sample chapters free of charge. To be honest, it doesn’t take up a whole lot of time, and it goes such a long way to helping writers find the right editor. Personal testimonials help, but you can’t beat the experience of seeing at first hand solid and constructive feedback from a sample of your novel.

It works the other way, too, enabling me to see if the writer’s work is ready to be edited, as well as what level they’re at, which helps determine price. Anyway, I’ve written about that before so I’ll not hit you with it again. All I’ll say is that both sides benefit from the sample edit, so if you’re looking for a reputable freelance editor, submit a sample chapter from your work-in-progress to clearviewediting@gmail.com and I’ll send you back a comprehensive line-edit with no strings attached. All genres are catered for.
You should also visit my website to get a better flavour of my editing approach and background.