Mistakes, I’ve made a few… Are the few worth mentioning? Yes, if mentioning reinforces the lesson and helps other writers.
Recently, one of my novels was launched into the world with editing errors. The reason for this? My contract with an editor fell through (these things happen). In an attempt to meet my self-imposed deadline and in the absence of a ready-made alternative, I decided to save money by self-editing. Warning: Don’t do that!
Please note that I am not speaking of content editing here; my content editor was fantastic. I’m talking about proof-reading. I am an avid reader. I am schooled in grammar. Still I messed up. Why? Perhaps because, knowing the intent of my own words, I just I slid right over the typos toward the expected outcome.
When, in an aftermarket read, I noted a couple of errors, I sat with them for a while. Do I edit or not? Self-publishing is expensive; authors don’t make a lot of money per book. It was not until the book was purchased by the library that I jumped in to edit mode.
I edited once. Cost $79 (that’s $100 Canadian.) When I read the revised proof, I noticed that I had omitted a word.
I edited the whole thing again. Another $100. When the proof came back this time, I found one sentence in which I had inadvertently added a word, a tiny, three-letter word.
I asked the lady at Create Space if it would cost me another $100 to remove that word.
“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied.
I said “Stet,” writer speak for let it stand.
When I am about to release Book II of this series, I will go back and give Book I another sweep or, better yet, hire someone to do it for me.
I have ( and am) a Work in Progress. Sigh.
As for my work-in-progress thriller, I’m NOT editing it myself.
Dear Readers, my apologies.
Dear Writers, hire proof-readers.
Dear Everyone, If you notice any mistakes herein, drop a line in the comments. I’ll edit. Guaranteed!
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1. Get Started. Don’t wait until you have the exact area of interest or until you have perfected your style. These will come. Choose a topic and go.
2. Keep it Short. Write enough to cover your topic. Stop. I set time limits for reading blog posts (busy!) and, out of respect for other readers, I set word limits for writing them. My writing goal/post? Fewer than 500 words. More to say? Write a sequel!
3. Keep it Simple. Get to the point. Tell your readers what you are going to write about, write about it, and tell them what you have written.
4. Use White Space (or, in my case, blue. 🙂 White space is simply that, the leftover space around the words. White space around content actually draws readers toward content. To create white space, use short paragraphs. Get rid of unnecessary words. Use Point Form.
5. Include a Question to Encourage Readers to Comment. E.g. What are your best blogging tips?
6. Use a Call to Action. Ask people to subscribe or follow.
7. Share, and Ask Others to Share. Use Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, whatever works for you. Make sharing easy for your readers by including Share Buttons. A blog is a tool. It is useless if people don’t know it is there. Share. Share. Share.
8. Use your Twitter Handle in the Byline of your Post. When I read a good post, I share it via Twitter. I schedule my Tweets using Tweetdeck. If I can find the Twitter handle of the author, I add it to the Tweet. Why? If someone at-mentions you (e.g. @AnnieDaylon) it will show up on your Twitter stream; you can favorite it, retweet it, reply to it. Your post will gain more ground.
9. Always Check your Work. I just checked this post and realized that I had 9 tips, not the promised 10. I added this one. 🙂
10. Invest in a Good Resource about Blogging. Try Blog It by Molly Greene. It contains information on everything from Set Up to SEO. It saved me a lot of time and energy. Highly recommend!
If you are on the verge of blogging, as I was a while back, try the above Ten Tips for Beginners.
If you are already a blogger, what tips do you have for beginners?
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The what’s-in-it-for-me philosophy, WIIFM, applies here, but are we all so self-centered? I much prefer another concept, one which I just recently encountered, the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy, WIIFU. The us being both writers and readers.
So, why read Blogs?
To learn about writing structure, style, grammar
To seek inspiration
To connect with like minds
To learn about the business of writing, aka marketing
What do both lists have in common?Value.
Bloggers give knowledge based on study and experience. Readers take knowledge, apply it, and, hopefully, pass it along. Bloggers promote their products; readers often buy those products. The result is a cycle, a supportive community, a collaboration of bloggers and readers and bloggers and bloggers and… you get the idea.
I write blog posts but I also read them. Tons of them. I return to blogs that are helpful. I keep track of new posts on all my favorite blogs—I use Feedly for this purpose—and I share new posts through Twitter and through my own blog.
Yes, the what’s-in-it-for-me concept—WIIFM— is valuable, but the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy—WIIFU—is priceless.
My legal name is Angela Day. A perfectly good name but, as I discovered in my quest for a domain name, a ubiquitous one. Chefs, writers, real-estate agents, doctoral candidates… so many Angela Days. I even located and angel-a-day website: all angels, all the time. My choice then? A nom de plume. I opted for the surname Daylon (a combination of my maiden name and married name) and chose Annie in lieu of Angela/Angie. Why Annie? My middle name is Ann, the middle of my surname contains the name Ann, and, years ago, I was influenced by three extraordinary women named Annie:
Annie Sullivan,Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher, a.k.a. The Miracle Worker. I admired her dedication and perseverance.
“Keep on beginning and failing… you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose.” ~Annie Sullivan
Annie Oakley, sharpshooter, star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, egalitarian. I admired her confidence, her belief in the equality of women, and above all, her persistence.
“Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.” ~ Annie Oakley
Annie Murphy, my eighth-grade teacher, lover of poetry and prose. I admired her dogged determination and over-the-top optimism.
Today we are starting ‘The Rime of the ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and… you will memorize it. ~ Annie Murphy (paraphrased)
All of the above quotes relate to setting high goals and hammering away at them. I’m working on mine. Did I ever memorize Coleridge’s classic? Not a chance. My teen-rebellion years kicked in as soon as I realized that The Rime of the Ancient Mariner contained more than one hundred verses. However, I did memorize a lot of poetry in grade eight; to this day, I can recite Magee’s High Flight and McCrae’s Flanders Fields. And I will be forever grateful to Annie Murphy because it is she who taught me to love literature.
So, there it is. The Annie Daylon story. I have had no second thoughts about the choice of surname but I have, on occasion, questioned the choice of the first name simply because there are instances when people are at odds over whether to call me Angie or Annie. (Annie will do just fine, by the way.) Other than that, no regrets: the use of a pen name works well for me. With regard to submissions, I sign Annie Daylon (ndp) and beneath that Angela Day (legal name). As for copyright? Legal name only.
Do you have a pen name? If so, what’s your story?
I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.
I’m a native of Newfoundland and now live in the British Columbia Fraser Valley with my husband David and our dog CoCo. The best thing about my coast-to-coast life, in this, Canada’s 150th anniversary year, is that I get to write stories set on either Canada’s Pacific coast (modern-day suspense) or Canada’s Atlantic coast (historical suspense.) I am a member of both the Federation of BritishColumbia Writers and the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland &Labrador. SEE MORE HERE
How Did I Choose MY Business Name?
The name came from all the wonderful dogs that share(d) their lives with us: Muffin, Cindy, Rocky, Angus, and CoCo!
To learn more, click HERE.