The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Cover Inspiration

“Hi Jim,

I was just wondering, Divinity’s cover looks really cool! May I ask where you get the ideas for yours? Like what makes you choose one scene in your writings over another? I want to create an awesome cover for my story and was hoping that you could point me in the right direction.”
-Abby

Hi Abby,

I’m afraid that you caught me…

The truth of the matter is that I actually put very little thought into my covers. Put it this way, take a look at my first cover, Magnifica: The Last Enchanter. Then compare it to the next one and the one after that. See how things start to change and improve?
Now this isn’t a strike against my cover artist, so please don’t take it as such. When I first started out, I told my artists exactly what I wanted and how I wanted things. I left virtually no room for creativity on their part… that was a mistake. The artists I went with did exactly what I asked of them and did a very beautiful job, by the way, I’d rehire either of them in a heartbeat.
However, when we got to Magnifica: Gravestalker, a friend recommended an artist to me who had done many of his band’s posters.
When I approached him about doing the cover and told him what the book was about, he started coming up with ideas before I had a chance to lay down any real guidelines. I did get to tell him what I wanted, but in addition to that, he showed me a few other ideas he’d had on the side. Before I knew what was happening, my original idea was all but gone. I’m not complaining, mind you, he taught me a lesson that day.
From then on, whenever I hire an artist, be it for comic art, or the a fore mentioned cover artist I give them free reign. All my cover artist asks me to do is give him a few chapters with key plot points to work with. He does the rest.

This is perhaps the best advice I can give you; hire an artist, tell him what your book is about, let him read segments of it to get an idea for himself, but other than that LET THE MAN OR WOMAN DO HIS WORK! That’s what they’re being paid for. Creativity is a big part of being an artist and the more creative freedom you give them, the better the results. Divinity is a perfect example of this. I let Brett do whatever he wanted. We’d worked together, I knew and trusted him, and frankly, I was thrilled with the results.

I hope this helps.
Readers, do you have other experiences with artists that you would like to share to help Abby? (Good or bad) or any hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Please leave a comment below.

Abby- If you’re looking for a good artist, any of the ones who did my covers are awesome and any would probably love to take on your project. You can find more info about them here.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Private Life. Professional Appearance. #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Hi Jim,

Since starting writing both my books and my blog, I’ve been getting a lot of friend requests to my primary social media accounts. Part of me doesn’t want these people to have access to my personal information and the things I talk about with my friends… I’ve heard of being doxxed for their opinions, stalked, etc. However I really don’t want to insult any of my fans. I’ve already made my account private, however a lot of them still want to connect on social media platforms. You seem to have quite a following on social media, how do you handle it?

Thanks,
Juan


Hi Juan,

Keeping your private life and public image separate is something that personalities have had to contend with for many years. You’re not alone in your concerns. Honestly, I would sincerely discourage adding your fans/followers to your personal accounts. You don’t know these people and while most of them are probably benign and just being friendly, one person with ill-intent is too many.

My advice is to completely lock down your private social media accounts. Make them unsearchable and unviewable to the general public. There are ways around it, but first people have to figure out that you have private accounts and know where to find them. The next thing I would do is create social media sites for yourself using separate emails and contact info. Make these ones public where people can join for news about what you’re doing and anything else that you want to share with them. Next, I would not link your private accounts with your public ones in any way. Keep them separate.  Make sure to link all of your public accounts together and provide links to each of them for people to go to, as I have both on the sidebar and below.

As for the people who have already tried to add you, simply reject the request, you’re not obligated to add anyone and any follower should understand if you simply want to keep your page private.

In summation, do as you should be doing with your work-life and your home life, keep them separate. I can speak from experience that mixing the two does not end well. Anyway, I hope this helps. If you run into any troubles, please feel free to reach out to me again.

Readers, how do you handle scenarios like this? Is it necessary to create two different accounts and can you effectively mix your two images together? Let me know in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing Modern People in Fiction #Writing #Author #Advice

Hello, Jim–

I was wondering if you had any insight to offer on a dilemma I’m facing in a current novella draft:
The story is a blend of Alternate History and general scifi, set in a world where a much more aggressive Space Race and Cold War has led to the establishment of a joint USA-USSR colony on the Moon by the late 1990s, ostensibly as a neutral site for lunar and space experiments, as well as helium-three mining. Most of my characters are fictional, but many of the secondary ones are public figures, including real astronauts or other personnel involved in flight engineering and other aspects of space travel; some are deceased, while at least one is himself a published author. I am concerned about using such figures due to possible legal issues (which I am still unclear on, despite diligent searching and questions elsewhere), but I don’t want to go back and redesign the characters, which might involve scrapping the whole draft (something I’ve already done once before with this one). Do you have any suggestions on how to sort this out?
Sincerely,
Mark Ciccone

Hi Mark,

This is a tough one. On the surface, you can argue that they are real people being exposed to fictional situations, but that still won’t cover you. In the past, I’ve had people ask me about historical figures or past political ones. However, those people have always been deceased and you can’t libel a dead person. Now even then, you’re not free from legal challenge or public scrutiny, especially if that person has an estate and living relatives.
This is a complicated problem, especially if you’re going to to through the self-publishing realm. Again it would be easier if a publisher were involved because then a lot of the legalese is sorted out by them. However if you do self-pubish and even if you don’t, you could be getting yourself into trouble. This is ten-fold with self publishing as you PERSONALLY are responsible for any legal woes.
I have two suggestions for you and neither one is really going to be easy…
1. First, contact an attorney, let them guide you through the legalities here (I am not an expert, so I will tip my hat to their knowledge). I would also reach out to the people in question. Try to speak to them personally, let them know what you’re doing, and what you’re planning on using them for. Finally, get written authorization from these people. Again, this won’t be fool-proof protection, but in the case of a cease and desist or lawsuit, it will help your defense.
2. Change the characters. I’m afraid this is my recommendation.  Keep your characters as they are, but change the names and make them slightly less recognizable. I know it’s not what you want to do, but believe me, it is the easiest way to save yourself a headache down the line.
Like it or not, if you go with option one, no matter how much you insulate yourself, no matter how much you follow the letter of the law, there is virtually nothing preventing the people you write about from contacting their attorneys and issuing a cease and desist letter demanding that you cease production, destroy whatever copies you have, and send them whatever money you have made off of your book. You can fight this, but legal battles are not cheap and for authors who don’t make much money off of their books, it’s hardly worth the effort or risk. This is arguably the more lenient possibility.
The other could be a lawsuit for libel, which will be far more costly.
Now what are the chances that any of the people you write about ever reading your book or deciding to take legal action against you? Arguably, that’s very slim. The cost of legal action is often not worth whatever damages they get paid out, but you never know. Some might file the suit based on principle alone.
So in the end… I’m sorry, but I’m afraid my advice is to simply alter your characters enough that they aren’t exactly the people you’re trying to write about. It won’t be easy, but you’ll be better off in the long run when it comes to having to worry about losing your hard work or earned money.
However, as with always, that’s just my opinion. I’ve got a lot of other knowledgeable people amongst my followers, so let’s open it up to them as well.
Readers- what do you think Mark should do? Should he chance it, or should he simply go through the process of altering those characters?
Just a quick reminder, I am not a lawyer, not am I any sort of legal expert. I give out advice on writing based on my own experiences. When it comes to any legality, my advice is as it always has been; CONTACT A LAWYER!!!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Being Preachy Doesn’t Sell. #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim!

I’m hoping you can help me here as a lot of your posts have been about political ideologies making bad stories.

I want to write a fictional story with a moral and a political message, but upon rereading what I’ve already written, I’m worried about it being too preachy.  Do you have any advice for me?

Thanks!
Leah


Hi Leah,
Good question. Well to be honest, you’re already half way home. That you re-read your work and recognized this problem means that you’ve already got the tools to fix it.
First of all, this is just advice. Don’t think that you’re under obligation to heed any of the pointers I give you. This is YOUR story and if you like it the way it is, then you don’t owe anyone an explanation… you just have to worry about how it sells. That said, since you yourself are saying that it sounds too preachy, my guess is that you’re not entirely satisfied with it.
This is something that has been plaguing writers a lot recently, not only in books, but in movies, comics, as well as other mediums. Too often, they fall into the same trap, chasing the proverbial tail in the pursuit of the holy grail of diversity. They either hire politically motivated people who… aren’t always the best writers, or they pressure the good writers they have to the point where the focus is on political agenda over telling a good story. The entertainment aspect, which is what the industry they’re in is supposed to be about, takes a back seat. Audiences notice this, which is why so many of the movies that have gotten critical acclaim have suffered so badly at the box office.
This is especially damaging when you factor in political fatigue and a greater desire among audiences for escapism. When their favorite books, movies, sporting events, and even commercials are becoming sacrificial lambs on the alter of political narrative, they tend to clench their wallets even tighter, hoping for something that will allow them to get away from it all… even if the narrative is something they agree with.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a political agenda in your work, but if you’re in an industry where the expectation is that you’re supposed to entertain, than the message has to come secondary.
In my opinion, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about putting a political message in an entertainment piece. Let’s look at both, shall we?
The Wrong Way:
Presenting a character with a problem either similar to or identical to the one you want to present. Naming exact people in political office, etc. Presenting one side of the argument, put into context who’s right and who is wrong. The writer is basically spoon-feeding how a reader is supposed to think and paints everyone who doesn’t view things that way as evil.
The Right Way:
Create a hypothetical situation that is very similar to the one you want to address, or use fictional characters that are similar in nature. Show the good and the bad, but give the reasons for both. A good example of this would be the old comics that Stan Lee wrote. The original X-Men were supposed to be a narrative on the Holocaust and racism. However, he didn’t paint the people who wanted mutants to have to register and be persecuted necessarily as evil. He presented their argument as well; mutants could be dangerous, we see it. There is a reason to fear many of them.
So the moral here is to not try to control how your reader thinks. Present both arguments, as well as their context. Let the reader decide for themselves who is the moral right.
A good analogy would be a college classroom. The more engaging classes are when a professor presents a topic for debate and allows the students to weigh out both sides to come to a final moral decision.
The less engaging classes are when the professor puts everything into context, and essentially shuts down any chance of debate by saying that one side is right, while the other is not. The people on the ‘wrong’ side are understandably either going to shut down or get extremely defensive, and nothing is gained. Nothing positive is likely to be gained from that class and the students won’t remember it fondly.
So Leah, what to do with your story… I think that the best thing might be to scrap your first draft and start over. It might be easier than trying to go back and change everything wrong with the first draft if it’s that bad. When you start re-writing or editing remember, tell you story first, and make the political narrative secondary. You have to be able to tell a coherent, enjoyable story before you start worrying about a political message. Otherwise you’re going to disenfranchise your readers. Flesh out all the characters, including the ones you don’t agree with. Put yourself in their shoes and think about why they may have arrived at their conclusions of what is ‘right’.
Let your narrative flow through the story and trust your readers to have the intelligence to get the message you’re trying to convey. If you write a good story, there should be no need to come out and specifically tell them which side is right and which is wrong.
Anyway, I hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you need more help.
Readers, what do you think? Do you have any additional advice for Leah? Let her know in the comments!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Expert Consulting on Fantasy? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I have a question maybe you can help with. I’m trying to write a fantasy novel dealing with biological warfare, but I don’t have a lot of scientific or medical knowledge. I don’t want it to sound like I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I want to try to explain the mechanics of how certain things work in the book.
Example: I want to explain how a biological disease could, in theory, transform a person’s cells.  I’m not sure what to do here short of getting a degree in biology.
Thanks,
Mason

Hi Mason,
Thanks for reaching out. I believe what you’re trying to practice is a little something called ‘psuedo science’. It’s not always super important that it actually makes perfect sense, as most readers won’t care.
That being said, if you’re hoping to cater to an audience that is more knowledgeable on the subject,  I would say that you may want to reach out to an outside source. When I wrote Drakin, I wanted to explain how a Raiya’s biological makeup was physically possible… or at least make it sound like it could be possible under the right set of circumstances. How could someone exist with discolored hair, horns, scales, and reptilian eyes in our world:
Drakin-Cover-Poster-Final (1)
Fortunately, my network includes people in the healthcare industry, including a couple of microbiologists. I was able to give them a couple of hypotheticals surrounding my ideas and see if it at least sounded feasible. They gave me their feedback and I worked around it.
So the best advice I can give you here is to try and locate someone with an expertise in the field. If you can’t find the answers you need through your own personal research, then reaching out to an expert in the field would be the next move.
Readers, what do you think? Do you know of any other options Mason has? Let him know in the comments!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Is Spellcheck Enough? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’m sure you’ve answered this before, but I can’t find it in any of your recent posts. I finished my book and just finished running spell check. Everything looks good and the only things it says I still have to fix are grammar errors that are part of the dialogue. Is that sufficient for submitting it to publishers?
Thanks,
Michel


Hi Michel,
NO!!! Spell check is by no means good enough. It will fix some of the more glaring errors, so it is a great tool to use, but being 100% reliant on it is extremely ill-advised. Spell check won’t catch some of the more nuanced or complex grammatical errors.

Let me give you an example… This is something that I’ve run into.

Say you’re writing a paragraph in the past tense, but one sentence you just accidentally switched.

What you wrote:
The little boy wants the candy.

What you meant to write:
The little boy wanted the candy.Now, the first sentence isn’t going to make that much sense in context with the rest of the paragraph, but Spell check doesn’t look at context. It’ll look at the rest of the sentence, but that’s it. Because of this, it won’t catch the problem in that sentence.

That’s just one minor example… there are worse.

So what should you do? Re-read it three, maybe four times, and have other people take a critical eye to it. Find at least two unbiased sources to pick it apart and try to help you. Let them read it, critique it, and find the errors.

I hope this helps, please do yourself a favor and do not submit this until it’s ready.
Readers, what do you think? Is spell check good enough or do you agree? Do you have any advice for Michel? Let me know in the comments.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Endings: Memorable is More Important Than Happy or Sad. #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’m getting ready to publish my first novel. I’ve finished the rough draft and have given it to an editor. They came back with a critique and it honestly got me thinking. He said that my ending may shut readers off because of how sad it is. I will admit that my story doesn’t end on a high note, but now I’m worried. Do you think I should re-write the story with a happy ending instead?
Thanks,
Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Let me first congratulate you. What an amazing accomplishment! Publishing your first book is no easy task. You’ve overcome so many hurdles and will soon join the ranks of many master storytellers who came before you! It’s both a rewarding and ominous feeling, putting your first book out there. I wish you nothing but the best from it.

Okay… now onto your specific question.

Lacking context, I can’t say that the editor is necessarily wrong. He may have thought it was a little too sad or dark? Perhaps his issue isn’t with the fact that it is sad, but maybe too sad for his liking?

I honestly can’t say as I don’t know him and I don’t know your story. So my advice is going to be somewhat generic. I think you should write what you want to write. I don’t know what your relationship is with your editor, but in most cases, you’re not required to take their advice. If he is the gateway to you getting published, then you may need to take a closer look at what he’s asking.

That being said, in my opinion, I don’t think you should rewrite your book with a happy ending. If your book was meant to have a sad ending and you’re satisfied with that, then you shouldn’t now change that. I honestly think fans reacting negatively to a sad ending is really a non-issue. Some of the best stories ever written ended on downers.

A good ending can make or break a story and the best endings aren’t always the happy ending. In the past, I’ve had the same problem. Think about it, which ending is more powerful…

  1. A character that has made all the wrong decisions throughout their life, finally, at the end, realizes the error of their ways, and makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the people he cares about.
  2. A character that has made all the wrong decisions throughout their life, finally makes a good one, and get’s to live out the rest of their lives in peace.

I would say honestly, the first one has a lot more weight and power to it. The reason for this is because of the sense of permanence pertaining to the sacrifice that character made. It’s also the importance of what the character did in this case.

These are very important factors to consider because an ending can make or break your story. You can have a happy ending that gives people a sense of satisfaction and leaves them with a good warm feeling, but then you can also have one that feels fairly like a run-of-the-mill ‘happily ever after’ tale.

On the other side of the coin, you can have a story that plays with your audience’s expectations. Imagine the emotional roller coaster if they aren’t expecting a character to die or for the story to end on a low note. If you do it right, that could easily be the most memorable thing you could do for your story. However you can also run the risk of upsetting audiences that are invested in the characters. It’s a big risk, but one that’s worth taking in my mind.

When I write my endings, I always remember one rule; make it memorable. It doesn’t matter if it’s happy or sad, it just has to be something that leaves an impact. Whenever I write, if I think my ending is turning into a generic ‘happily ever after’ one, I tear it up and start over.

So in the end, mind what your editor says, look at what he’s talking about, and consider his words. However, write what you want. If you think your sad ending is going to leave the most impact, then keep it as it is. Audiences are rarely turned off by an ending that is sad, as long as it’s a good ending.

So that’s my advice, but I’m going to turn it over to my readers. What does everyone else think? Do you have advice for Lisa here? Let her know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim