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Indie-Pendence Week Giveaway (US/Int): Toupée, Or Not To Pay? (Hairpieces, Head-Hopping, and How To Head Off Literary Hara-kiri)
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Indie-Pendence Week Giveaway (US/Int): Toupée, Or Not To Pay? (Hairpieces, Head-Hopping, and How To Head Off Literary Hara-kiri)

by davincikittieJuly 4, 2012

Let’s give a warm welcome to Vaempires: Revolution author Thomas Winship!

Hello everyone. I’m so excited to be part of this wonderful Indie-Pendence Week Blog Hop!

I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new, ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

Today, however, we’re going to explore a different question.

Toupée, or not to pay?

That is the question … whether referring to hairpieces for the bald … or editorial services for the writer.

Of course, while I would argue that the former is purely a matter of preference, the latter is a matter of life or death—an author’s professional life or death.

Now, this may seem melodramatic. Extreme, even. But it’s true. The quality of an author’s work can be diminished—to the point of insignificance, even—by an inferior finished product. Horrible covers aside, few things turn a reader off quicker than typos, grammatical errors, and shoddy formatting.

That’s why it is especially important that indie and self-pubbed authors have an editor. (For expediency’s sake, I’m going to refer to both as “indie authors” for the remainder of this piece.)

Can you imagine a traditionally published author releasing a novel that isn’t professionally edited? Of course not.

Now, I realize that there are myriad reasons why an individual might be an indie author. Perhaps he/she grew tired of the stream of rejections … or is a control freak … or is into instant gratification. When push comes to shove (and I mean that in the figurative sense only—I would never condone violence, even upon those who send form rejection letters), the rationale behind being an indie author doesn’t matter.

Having an editor does.

The good news is that finding an editor is easier than ever! Any author that doesn’t know one simply needs to ask for recommendations via trusted social media connections. I guarantee it will lead to more than satisfactory results.

Authors, please, do not fall prey to the hubris of believing you can edit your own work.

I don’t care if you edit the work of others. I don’t care who gave you a +K about editing on Klout. I don’t care what your related Elance scores are. Hell, I don’t care if you hold an MFA from NYU.

Do you cut your own hair? Do men perform their own prostate exams? Do ladies … well, never mind.

You. Don’t. Edit. Your. Own. Work.

Get an editor. A professional editor. Not a friend, relative, or significant other.

Why not friends, relatives, or lovers?

Because they don’t possess the requisite skills. Because they can’t be objective … and that means you can’t be objective.

Granted, these people can certainly be used to assess non-technical things like overall readability, flow, and feel, or even to—in a pinch—review early manuscript drafts, but before you publish any work, hire an editor.

It’ll be the best money you ever spend.

Wait a minute … what’s that? What if an author can’t afford an editor?

Hogwash!

No, not Hogwarts—The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, created by the awesome JK Rowling—hogwash, which is slang for nonsense!

And it is nonsense to make excuses for not having an editor. After all, doesn’t an author pour his/her blood, sweat, and tears into a story?

Well, the time comes when money must be poured into it, as well.

The bottom line is this: if an author doesn’t spend money on editing, readers will probably be upset to find that they spent their money on that author. And they’ll tell others about it—in scathing reviews on Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, and other online communities.

The author might as well walk down a busy street with a “kick me” sign taped to his/her back.

Now, before I’m accused of beating a dead horse—which, I believe, ranks just ahead of sending automatic Twitter DM’s, but a distant second to responding to negative book reviews (on the Hierarchy of Unforgivable Offenses, of course)—I’m going to shift gears and talk about editing.

Editing is a multi-faceted endeavor. And—as is the case with many professions—there are more job titles and areas of specialization than I can shake a stick at (LOL a tribute to GraveTells’ own DVK).

Honestly, the labels are endless. Whether due to an actual need, an overblown sense of collective self-importance, or a desperate cry for validation, I don’t know. For instance, this article at about.com lists twenty-one types of editors/editing roles!

Twenty-frakkin’-one!

It seems like the only ones missing are WTF and EILF.

Anyway, I’m going to delete those twenty- …

Oh, for Pete’s sake (and the rest of the neophytes out there)!

WTF stands for Writer’s Technical Friend and EILF stands for Editor I’d Like To Friend.

Save that cussin’ for the erotica crowd.

Moving along. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to delete those twenty-one labels in favor of a simpler approach. I’ve seen it in a bunch of places, but for our purposes I’m giving credit to writer and editor Lillie Ammann. Lillie grouped an author’s editing process into three areas: content editing, copyediting, and proofreading.

Let’s take a brief look at all three…

1. According to Lillie, content editing (including developmental editing and substantive editing) involves revising or moving entire paragraphs or sentences, adding new material to fill in gaps and deleting original material that doesn’t work, and/or re-organizing and restructuring content to improve flow and clarity.

Here’s an example of content editing at work:

Væmpires: Revolution includes two types of vampires. The first type, a vampire, is similar to the traditional vampire—a creature that feeds on human blood and possesses enhanced abilities. The second type, a væmpire, is a vampire that has mutated into a warm-blooded creature that feeds on cold vampire blood.

My original notes, compiled over the past decade or so, included a semi-developed concept in which the væmpire mutation was the result of exposure to two different vaccinations or some other type of genetic manipulation.

In May 2010— when Væmpires: Revolution was only a first draft—Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) released the first installment of her amazing “Newsflesh” trilogy, Feed. In Grant’s world, a zombie apocalypse is triggered by human exposure to a cure for the common cold and a cure for cancer.

My editor’s comment: Obviously, your væmpire origins will no longer work, Tom. Come up with a new concept/angle.

 

2. According to Wikipedia, copyediting (including line editing) is work that improves the formatting, style, and accuracy of text. The “five Cs” summarize the copy editor’s job: make the copy clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent. Typically, copyediting involves correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.

Here’s an example of copyediting at work:

Væmpires: Revolution draft: The figures were a study in opposites. The girl’s presence failed to register in Daniel’s infrared vision while the væmpire radiated heat like a small furnace.  The creature’s hulking form dwarfed the girl’s diminutive frame. The væmpire’s heartbeat was strong and steady while the girl’s was weak and flighty, reminding Daniel of a frightened bird. She was even dressed in an ill-fitting white dress of some type while her attacker wore the form-fitting black suit Daniel had grown tired of seeing.

My editor’s comment: Be aware that “while” is used three times as a connector in this paragraph.

Væmpires: Revolution: The figures were a study in opposites. The girl’s presence failed to register in Daniel’s infrared vision. The væmpire radiated heat like a small furnace. The creature’s hulking form dwarfed the girl’s diminutive frame. The væmpire’s heartbeat was strong and steady, but the girl’s was weak and flighty, reminding Daniel of a frightened bird. She was even dressed in an ill-fitting white dress of some type, while her attacker wore the formfitting black suit Daniel had grown tired of seeing.

 

3. Proofreading involves word-by-word and line-by-line checking of manuscript versions to verify that all corrections have been made and even to catch misspellings, grammatical errors, and other mistakes that slipped through the cracks.

I won’t bore you to tears with an example here, as it’s a pretty straightforward concept. Instead, I’ll move on to a final appeal.

Avoid head-hopping. Please.

Now, head-hopping shouldn’t be confused with head-chopping (which is distasteful, certainly, but quite necessary in some genres) or bed-hopping (which is distasteful, in some circles, but really just a matter of preference … like wearing a toupée). Head-hopping—which is distasteful in its own right—typically accomplishes little beyond confusing a reader, who doesn’t realize if the head-hopping is indicative of a writer’s lack of skill or representative of a writer’s fear of commitment.

Both of which, of course, represent forms of literary suicide.

In essence, hiring an editor can save your life. So, hire away.

Live long, prosper, and publish!

I’d like to thank all of you for stopping in and supporting the Indie-Pendence Week Blog Hop! I also want to offer a very special “thank you” to GraveTells’ DVK for inviting me to contribute.

My awesome, life-saving, editor is Neal Hock of Hock’s Editing Services. Neal can be found at www.hockseditingservices.com.

Take care,

Thomas Winship

About the author

Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY (USA) and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.

Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December. 

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.

He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

Giveaway (US/Int)

This is our giveaway for the entire event week.  You’ll have a chance to enter on each day’s post, so be sure to visit often!  We’re giving away the following prizes: a $10 Amazon Gift Card and 4 swag packs filled with as much Indie loot as we can find (and maybe stuffed with a few extra goodies).  All prizes are open to US and International readers! All you need to do to enter to win, is follow the instructions on each daily post. You guys know the drill.  =)

Leave a comment telling us what editing blunders you most appreciate authors avoiding, then fill out the Rafflecopter!

Be sure to leave your comment in the Comments area of this post, NOT in the Rafflecopter widget!  If you are viewing this from our main Feed page, you will be unable to see the Comments area, so click the title of the post, then scroll down to the bottom. Good luck!

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
21 Comments
  • Carin W
    July 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

    typos drive me insane as well as when an author has used symbols that don’t translate and you end up with boxes in the work where they should be.
    That being said I love the chance to find an author that is new, that is fresh, that I can say “I read the first work they put out” I am amazed how much talent is out there. Happy 4th of July

  • Mel Bourn
    July 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Great post!! One of the things that drive me CRAZY is typos, mispellings. I ask if the editor really read the work. Another thing that irritates me is when the words to and too are mixed up. Not to mention their, there, and they’re. These are difficult, I know. But isn’t that the editor’s job to find these types of mistakes? Just wondering.
    Mel

  • Diane
    July 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I still find a lot of typos in the books I read and wonder should I email the author to let them know? Is it their mistake or a printing mistake? Thanks for the interview!

  • bn100
    July 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Nice post. I like when a book doesn’t have any typos or grammatical errors.

  • Trix
    July 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Good to see the different types of editing delineated. I’ve heard the phrase “head-hopping” a few times lately, but no one ever really defines it…

  • July 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you for the credit and link to my blog. You did an excellent job of pointing out the importance of indie authors hiring professional editors.

  • books4me
    July 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I just finished reading a book that had great ideas but had typos…really silly ones and it drove. me. nuts!!!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  • Shannon
    July 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I hate the ones that are simple and that usually are missed with spell check because they are spelled correctly but are incorrect in tense or what-have-you: learn vs. learns; your/you’re; etc. Really need a proofreader to catch them not just rely on technology.

  • Sophia Rose
    July 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    This was a great article and I really appreciate Tom’s points. Fun post writing style too.

    Thanks!

  • July 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Spelling errors and repetative word use. My pet grumble. I know how easy it eay for things to slip under the rador, two or three times I can forgive, but throught it truely frustrating.

    Also, the incorrect use of semi-colons; seriously, how difficult is it to use one! lol

  • Linda Thum
    July 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Typos, spelling and grammatical errors. Doesn’t everyone use a spellchecker?

  • Mary Preston
    July 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Typos should be avoided, especially when you hit two or three in the one sentence.

  • July 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented. I really appreciate it.

  • Phoenix Carvelli
    July 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    The typo. It is amazing how many typos can be found in mass distributed best sellers.

  • Stacy
    July 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Yes, at the very least every author needs a copy editor and a proofreader, even it is not a professional! As a teacher, I am amazed at how many students make the simplest errors because they rely on auto-correct too much. Just having one more set of eyes on the work can usually catch most of the errors.

  • Suz Reads
    July 6, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Spelling, grammer and typos are kind of annoying when trying to read a book. I agree with Stacy that relying on the automated spell checkers will not catch the errors. You need a person or two reading it to catch them!

  • July 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    What an awesome post! I bookmarked this. Thank you Tom for this. You did a great job and really opened my eyes. I never thought of it that way. Relying on programs to do it for you is not the best idea. I have used some that will truly give me the wrong thing to say, but I know I am right. Using a professional is the best way to go. Great post again, thank you 🙂

    [email protected]

    (I typed my email wrong before in earlier comments. Fail of the day LOL!)

  • July 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Hey I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your blog. You have good views, Keep up the good informative info.

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