All About the Authors

Helping edit, publish, and market your book.

Category: Editing (page 1 of 2)

Stuck in Book Publishing Limbo

by Betsy Thorpe

Are you stuck in limbo? Book publishing limbo can happen at any time during the writing process. Currently, I’ve got three friends who are waiting…

  • One, under contract with a major publisher, is waiting to hear whether the head of her publishing house likes the book enough to give it a major investment with hardcover, publicity, and marketing dollars.
  • One friend is waiting to hear back from her agent about whether the changes she made for a specific publisher will be enough to get her a deal.
  • One friend is just resubmitting her book to agents after massive re-writes.

I’m in limbo too. My agent currently has a draft of the new opening to a book she’d already submitted to editors. It got nice rejections (yes, there are such things as “nice rejections”), but a few critiqued that it took me too long to get the story moving. So my super sharp agent and I had a story meeting, and we came up with (hopefully) a fun new beginning that will get the reader into the story far more quickly than the novel’s previous incarnation. But I’m in limbo until I hear from her whether I should proceed with what I’ve done, change some elements, or scrap it and try something else. So I wait until she has time in her schedule to look at my schedule.

Still others wait for edits from their editor, like me. Sometimes they have to wait a little while if their editor has a waiting list. Other times I have to wait to get a hold of their book, because clients need to budget their edit, and save up for it.

If we go further back into the process, some are in limbo waiting for the TIME to write their books. One client of mine knew she was having foot surgery later this year and is convinced that that time lying around will force her to spend time on her book. My friend Holly and I, who also angie-pisel-21-c-robin-parish-photographyrecently had foot surgeries, think she will be so sleepy on her pain medication that she will not be able to concentrate enough to get her work done. However, one of the authors we met at Bibliofeast, Angela Pisel, author of With Love from the Inside, actually did write her debut novel when she was recuperating from breaking her ankle, so she has proved us wrong.

cover150x250Others are waiting for the big idea to strike. They know they want to write a book, but what should it be? For those who are in this part of limbo, I highly recommend a book called Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is all about inspiration. (Spoiler alert – big ideas don’t come 99% of the time unless you’re sitting at the desk, already writing.)

How do you best get out of limbo? In all cases: Write. I’m writing this blog. My friends in the scenarios above are thinking and writing their next books while their current books are under submission. The authors who are waiting for their edits should be writing their next book. Stephen King wrote in On Writing, my favorite book of writing advice that you should send out your book to agents and editors (and I’m paraphrasing here, since I can’t find the exact quote) only when you are so invested in your new book idea that you think it’s the most exciting and best thing you’ve ever done, and so you could care less whether or not the old book sells because you’re so convinced of this new book’s merits.
[Update: As I finish up this piece, I got good news. My agent likes my new start. Full steam ahead on the rewrite. Limbo no more – at least, until the next time I turn something in.]

 

7 Essential Tech Tools That All Writers Need To Have

Laptop on deskIt’s now easier than ever for writers to take their work from an idea to a published manuscript. The advances in technology and rise of the Internet offer a platform for authors that’s creating a self-publishing revolution. Additionally, websites like www.AllAbouttheAuthors.com help guide you through the process.

There is also a vast array of wonderful apps and tech tools that support writers during all stages of their writing. These seven are essential for modern authors and will help you make your book into something that will take the world by storm.

Scrivener 

By far the most comprehensive tool on the market, Scrivener is a word processing app on steroids. It allows you to set up a personalized writing studio that includes a virtual cork board and summary tags. You can easily organize research, write documents, and edit them individually or as a group. 

The outliner tool allows you to create synopses and metadata for each piece of work so they can be easily navigated. This is perfect for those writing books because you can divide the manuscript into smaller sections while keeping a detailed overview of the whole project. It’s also great for freelancers who are working with multiple clients at once.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a fantastically useful online to-do list. Each point opens up an individual card where you can add additional comments, files, due dates and reminders. It also allows you to network with teams for collaborative projects and easily assign different tasks to members. 

Any author knows that the actual writing of your book is only a miniscule part of the process, so having a tool that can help you organize all of your marketing, liaising, planning and formatting as well is infinitely useful.

ExpressVPN

 For writers, your computer is the most precious piece of equipment you own. Due to this, keeping it safe and secure is an essential pursuit. One of the greatest dangers to a writer’s online security comes from the necessary evil of relying on public WiFi. Whether it’s having an intensive writing session in your local coffee shop or checking emails on the train, these notoriously insecure networks are hard to avoid.

Using a VPN such as ExpressVPN is a great way to secure yourself when out-and-about because it encrypts all of your data and allows you to browse without any risk. It also lets you bypass geo-blocking restrictions, which can be an added bonus when performing research.

 F.lux

 For authors, a large amount of the day is spent staring at a computer screen.  While this is when the magic happens, it also takes a nasty toll on your eyes. F.lux is a truly handy tool that, once installed, adjusts the tones and brightness of your screen based on time of day to help reduce the damaging affect.

It’s also great for those of us who find ourselves writing into the early hours of the morning. It does so by naturally dimming the lights. It encourages you to adhere to your circadian rhythms and sleep better. 

Hemingway

The Hemingway readability software is a wonderful tool that helps you clean up your manuscript after the first draft. Providing a user-friendly system that highlights words and phrases in different colors, you can get an objective view of how well your work reads.

Yellow highlights overly complex sentences. Red means it’s too long and meandering to understand. Other colors represent other areas of your writing that demand your attention. I’d never recommend you rely on this completely but it does provide a useful alternative perspective.

Cold Turkey

One of the greatest pitfalls for authors is distraction. We live in a world of constant connection to our friends, colleagues, and unlimited entertainment. This is why Cold Turkey is perhaps ones of the most useful tools in a writer’s arsenal.

Its bulletproof format allows you to schedule blocks on specific websites or even your work email. It is very difficult to stop, edit or uninstall the program once the timer has begun. This means you can easily get into an intensive writing session without anything drawing your attention away.

Writer’s App

 Creativity is something that can’t be scheduled; often you can find yourself in the most inconvenient situations when a moment of brilliance comes to you. Writer’s App is an easy-to-use planning software for novelists, which lets you jot down ideas for books in an organized and easily-navigable manner.

The user interface was presented as a work desk. Books are organized by title and, once opened, have sub-sections for plot, characters and others, or can be viewed by chapters. As simple as this app is, it truly is one of the most useful tools available for brainstorming ideas.

Do you know of any other tools that deserve a place on this list? Have you used any of the tools listed above and want to share your thoughts? Be sure to leave a comment below, as I’d love to hear your ideas!

About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment blogger for Culture Coverage. She’s written all throughout her life and is probably working on some project right now. She loves how technology has revolutionized the way we write!

Want to write a guest post for All About the Authors? We welcome guest posts from authors and those who are experts in the book industry. What is your writing process? Where are you in your publishing journey and what advice do you have? Have you successfully marketed your book and do you have tips to share? All About the Authors wants to hear from you! If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to All About the Authors, please send your information and topic idea to allabouttheauthors@gmail.com with the subject line “Guest Post” or comment here.

 

Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult?

Recently, I had a client come to me with the first draft of his novel. He’d told me it was a Middle Grade novel, meaning one written for readers from 8-12 years old, in grades running form 3rd– 7th or 8th grade.

As soon as I read past the second chapter, though, I knew this book couldn’t be a middle grade book. The book had multiple narrators, many of them adult, although two main ones were in their early to mid teens. There were violent war scenes. There was a threat of rape. There was swearing.

I had to write a very tough editorial letter, outlining the reasons why the book could not be a middle grade book, and giving direction in how to make significant content changes in order to make the book middle grade, or how to expand the word count and turn the book into an adult book. He took my advice very graciously, and is now lengthening the book so that it meets the requirements for an adult novel.

The author had thought he was very close to being able to submit to publishers, and now has a lot of work ahead of him. It would have been easier if he’d done a little research about what the parameters are for different age groups. Here’s a little help to those who are looking for guidance:

Middle 41ZC4ElC6wL._AC_US160_Grade Novels, written for those 8-12, word count from 30,000 – 50,000 words. Usually one to two protagonists in that age range, although can be a year or two older, usually in third person but can be first. No sex, no graphic violence, no swear words. Usually a coming of age book, focused on friends and family. Examples: Percy Jackson books (author Rick Riordan), Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Harry Potter books (J.K. Rowling), When You Reach 51VlKD1aucL._AC_US160_Me (Rebecca Stead)

Young Adult (aka YA) novels, written for those 13-99 (these books have many adult readers), word count from 50,000 – 80,000. Usually one to two protagonists, aged from 13-18. Voice third or first, but usually first. Limited profanity, there can be sexual content but not graphic details, no horrific violence. Usually YA books are about finding your place in the world – where do I fit in? The Fault is in Our Stars by John Green, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbowsky, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

New Adult (NA) – written for those 18-99, this is a new genre, not entirely fully endorsed by the reading and publishing world, wherein the protagonist is in college or just graduating and in the new world of work, with her first apartment and job. Length – 60,000 – 80,000 words. First or third person, usually single narrator. I don’t yet have a stand-out, easily identifiable New Adult book to reference for you, but would welcome any suggestions from NA readers, as judging by the books on Goodreads for this genre, there’s a lot of romance overlap.

The bottom line is to do your research, read a lot of books in the age range that you are writing for, and hire a professional editor to assist you. Just as you would not attempt to play baseball without a coach, you should not attempt to write without an experienced coach as well. Find an editor who can be honest, encouraging, and insightful.

 

 

 

Learning from the Books We Read

My book group just finished reading and discussing A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman. It was loved by everyone in the group. This is a feat not normally pulled off by most of the books we read; usually the split is 60/40 enjoyed the book to not. We laughed about Ove’s misadventures, and all but one of us cried for the last sixty pages of the book (a happy cry).

51QnGhuWWSL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_

Every book you read as an aspiring author should be teaching you something. If not, toss it aside and save it for when you’re truly taking a break from thinking too much. I did not know what lesson A Man Called Ove was going to teach me when I started out, but I happily found many. Ove has adorable chapter titles. Great original characters with background stories. Short chapters that keep the story moving. Chapters that alternate between past and present.

At the beginning of the book the author shows us a thoroughly unlikeable character, and it seemed that Backman’s goal was not only to have him change through inciting events, but also to have the reader realize that our first impressions of Ove were shallowly drawn. My goal as both a reader and writer was to figure out how the author accomplished his tasks, and to learn from him. For instance when I’m writing fiction, I have a tendency to rush my main character’s story out all at once, and Ove teaches that you can take the whole book to get to know a character’s backstory.

When I am stuck with a place in my novel, I do two things. 1) I highlight the area where I’m stuck to return to later and keep going with my writing so I don’t get stuck; 2) I pick up another book to help show me the way out of my problem. For instance, I think my weakest muscles as a writer are conveying the feelings of my protagonists as they work their way through their story, and I find descriptions incredibly hard to write. So when it’s my time off writing, I’ll head to my bookshelf to select a few books that I think might help. Flipping through the pages, I’ll see how the writer had her character react to something frightening, or sad, or loving. For descriptions, I’ll generally turn to some classics. Pre-television/movies, these authors had long passages of description to describe the landscape, a house, a person’s clothing. Although I don’t think we should be writing 19th century descriptions anymore, they are inspiring.

“The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.”

—Ernest Gaines

Pick up A Man Called Ove and see if you aren’t inspired. (And set your tissues nearby.)

 

Passive Voice: Why It’s the Worst

Writers should avoid passive voice whenever reasonably possible, mostly because many agents and editors consider it a pet peeve. In case you don’t know, in brief, passive voice is when you use any version of the verb “to be” including are, am, being, was, is, be, become, etc. with a past participle.

passive: The sentences in the paper were all passive.

active: Kate rewrote her paper in an active voice.

active voiceSometimes passive construction is the only real option, but that’s the case a tiny fraction of the time. Generally writers need to be aware of it and get rid of it whenever possible. It’s boring and, well, passive.

  • It slows action down and you want action in your book. Sometimes it can even cause confusion such as: “Dave was slung back against the wall in a hard thud.” It sounds like this happened by magic—like the way Darth Vader can choke someone from across a room. The writer ought to have a person sling him, hence getting rid of the passive voice: “The intruder slung Dave back against the wall.”
  • In certain situations, such as in business when trying to explain to a customer that they did something wrong without placing blame, you’d use the passive voice: “The orders were transmitted with errors” instead of “You sent orders with errors.”

How to Fix It:

  • The easiest solution is to reverse the sentence. Instead of saying “The company was sued by John,” you’d say “John sued the company.” This happens a lot when the acted upon becomes the subject and the actor is the object. If the actor is the subject, then you’ll always have an active situation.
  • Change your verb tense. There’s no good reason to say, “Erin was standing,” when you can say, “Erin stood.”
  • Try to get rid of as many “That was” and “It was” phrasings as possible. (Often in this construction there is a second “that” which also needs deleting for the sentence to make sense.)

passive: That was the solution that presented itself.

active: The solution presented itself.

  • Even when it doesn’t feel like adding action to you—changing “is” to “seems” for example—it still unconsciously registers with readers as less passive. Go through and see how many passive voice constructions you have in your writing. The exercise will make you think more carefully about word choice.

But passive construction is also okay. It’s a part of life. I’ve used passive verbs fifteen times in this article, not including examples. You don’t want to use them when they’re not necessary, particularly if there are good alternatives. But don’t do acrobatics and make your sentence structures convoluted just to avoid them.

A Few Basic Rules of Grammar, Style, and Punctuation

Some of what I’m going to say here might strike you as wrong. You might be more familiar with AP style, which is commonly used in newspapers, magazines, and some websites. However, book publishing uses The Chicago Manual of Style, and that will account for most of the differences between how you think things ought to be written and what is correct for yooxford_comma1ur manuscript.

  • Use the serial (or Oxford) comma. That means using a comma before “and” in a series of things, so you have “apples, pears, and peaches.” That second comma is the serial comma. It’s the norm for books and occasionally helps with clarity. You do not need a comma in a list of two items.
  • Comma splices happen when you join two or more sentences together just by commas and not by conjunctions or semicolons, commas do not join sentences. (That was a comma splice right there.) You can instead rewrite it to make it into one sentence or make them each into their own sentences. And don’t use more than one semicolon to join sentences. If you feel the need, make a new sentence. Trust me, if you’re wondering about this one, your sentence is too long.
  • When someone is cut off or interrupted, a dash is appropriate. That’s when you should use a dash—like this. It should not have spaces on either side of it and it is actually known as an em dash. Word will create it for you if you type two hyphens and keep typing, or it’s easy to find on the Insert tab. Ellipses imply that someone is trailing off, or has just slowly stopped speaking. Use four if it’s the end of a sentence (period plus three ellipses). Be careful not to overuse either dashes or ellipses.
  • Avoid participial phrases as they do not make for sophisticated writing. Participle phrases are the most common modifier to misplace or dangle. So instead of, “Breathing hard through his teeth, he gained control over the pain,” instead you would rephrase to: “As he breathed hard through his teeth, he gained control over the pain.”
  • Always start a new paragraph when changing speakers. In dialogue, the first word needs to be capitalized every time, and there must always be ending punctuation. If the dialogue tag is a lead-in, it must always have a comma, such as: She said, “Yes.”

Content/developmental editors won’t actually fix up many grammar issues (just their own pet peeves mostly) but a clean manuscript shows you have some understanding of how the English language works, in all its bizarreness, and that you pay attention to detail. It helps editors and agents better see the forest for the trees.

Basics of Beta Readers

If you’ve ever encountered a beta website, chances are you’ve run into a kink while using it. The term beta means something is in test mode. In the case of beta readers, it’s your manuscript being tested, not the readers themselves.

Betas: Readers, Not Fish

Betas: Readers, Not Fish

What Is a Beta Reader?

A beta reader is someone who enjoys reading and is willing to give honest feedback on an unpublished manuscript. Beta readers are not book reviewers. While it would be nice if your beta readers left a review for you after you publish, it’s not part of their job description. Beta readers are not professional editors, either.

 

 

Who Makes a Good Beta Reader (and Who Does Not)?

Family members are the worst beta readers. Too often they either offer meaningless feedback (I love it. You’re so talented.) because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, or they cut you to the quick with their jealousy (This was the worst drivel I’ve ever read. What makes you think you’re a writer?).

Critique partners can fall on either side of the fence. Because critique partners are also writers, they understand nuances of story construction or character development that are lost on a casual reader. They can give you meaningful advice that will improve your manuscript. Sometimes, though, writers have a hard time not imposing their writing style and ideas on others’ work. Proceed with caution if asking a critique partner to beta read your full manuscript.

The best betas are readers in your target audience. If you don’t know who your target audience is, figure that out ASAP.

How Do You Find the Best Beta Readers?

Shoot to work with three to five beta readers.

Use networking connections to find content experts if you’re writing nonfiction. If you’re writing a middle grade novel, ask a teacher or a librarian if they can introduce you to students who would read your book and tell you what they think (get parental permission, of course).

Look for people that enjoy reading, know something about writing, and/or won’t be afraid to give you constructive feedback. If you are really struggling to find quality beta readers in your circles, you can hire beta readers.

Best Practices When Working with a Beta Reader?

  • Be clear about your genre, description, and manuscript length.
  • Set a reasonable deadline. Gently nudge the reader if they miss the deadline. (Side note: if they keep putting you off, chances are they couldn’t get into your book and don’t intend to read it. If you suspect this to be the case, asking directly may be your best bet.)
  • Give your beta reader(s) guiding questions to think about while reading. This will help ensure you get feedback that you can use. Explain that you want feedback on content, not on word level edits (spelling mistakes and the like).
  • thank-you-textBe gracious. If you haven’t paid for this service, be sure to send a thank you note. You may even want to include a small gift card or other treat if their feedback was especially helpful.

 

What Do You Do with the Feedback?

Wait until you’ve received feedback from all your beta readers before you make any decisions about revisions. Read through their feedback and then sit with it for a period of time to digest it. Take note of areas that your beta readers agree need revision. But maybe ignore the suggestion that doesn’t resonate. Then get busy incorporating changes.

Beta readers are a valuable part of the publishing process. Take the time to utilize them and improve your manuscript. It’s worth it.

Ten Tips for Self-Editing

To best utilize a professional editor, your manuscript ought to be as perfect as you can get it yourself, first. If you self-edit, you can reduce the cost of editing, as well as allow the editor to see the real heart of your manuscript, when it isn’t obscured by superficial and easily fixable issues. Here are some methods you should try.

1. Use Microsoft Word’s editing options fully

Word has a lot of options to help with your editing. Go to File-> Options-> Proofing-> When correcting spelling and grammar in Word-> Writing Style: Settings-> Style: Sentence length (more than sixty words). Next, run the Spelling & Grammar check and it will give you a blue squiggle underline for every super-long sentence. In the Require section, mark always for the comma before the last item (book publishing uses the serial comma), for punctuation inside quotation marks, and for one space after a period (not two, that style changed about thirty years ago). You can also have Word check for passive verbs, fragments, and clichés. It won’t catch everything by a longshot, but it’s a good starting point.

2. Get rid of time-framing words

If you place one thing after the other in the story, you don’t need to preface it with “then.” Excise these time-framing words such as “all at once,” “began,” “eventually,” “immediately,” “just,” “often,” “proceeded,” “started,” or “suddenly” whenever possible. They are unnecessary, make your writing wordy, and can make your writing feel timid and insecure, like you don’t trust the readers to get from A to B to C.

3. Scrutinize your words

Eyeball every adverb and delete most. Look over nonspecific adjectives like “really,” “super,” and “totally.” Specify or delete any nonspecific words or phrasing like “sort of,” “kind of,” “things,” “something,” and “stuff.” This is when editing online can be helpful as most of these can be addressed using “Find.” Delete every “Being that.” Don’t use complicated words when simple ones will do. Make your verbs active, not passive.Chicago Manual

4. Familiarize yourself with the Chicago Manual of Style

This is the style guide used throughout book publishing. It might be significantly different than what you think are appropriate style choices such as the above mentioned serial comma.

5. Change your font

And do it more than once. Change the font, change the size, change the color. This helps you to be able to see the manuscript in a new context. (But when you are done with editing, change it back to a common serif font su ch as Times New Roman or Garamond and stick to it.)

6. Print the manuscript

While online editing has its advantages, you see things in print that you don’t see on the screen.

7. Read your manuscript out loud

Yes, this will be time-consuming and awkward. However, this exercise will smooth over difficread aloudult phrasing, make dialogue sound more realistic, and highlight errors that the brain fixes for you. Try to read it in a flat voice so you can hear where certain phrasing might be misunderstood without tone. You can also have your computer read it to you which would achieve the same effect.

8. Beginnings and endings

Do read over your beginnings and endings carefully but not just the beginning and end of the book—look at the beginning and end of each chapter. Each chapter should end on a cliffhanger as best you can. Try to keep readers reading. Don’t wrap things up too tightly. And be careful your chapters aren’t too long. Short chapters keep the action moving along.

9. Ask a friend

Ask your most critical, most honest friend for feedback. Assure them of no recriminations. Ask them specific questions, such as, Where did you lose interest? Were you confused at any point? Who was your least favorite character? Did you know why the main character did X? If you had to cut a scene or a character, what would you cut?

10. Put it in a drawer

Forget about the book for a while, as best you can. Put it aside for a monthdrawer or so. Work on other things. Use the time to plow through other responsibilities and your to do list so that when you come back to tackle your manuscript with fresh eyes, you aren’t distracted by other responsibilities.

Write first, edit second. Don’t confuse the creative process with the editing process. And don’t use editing as a way to procrastinate finishing writing. On the other hand, don’t over-edit. Self-editing is a great head start, but even the world’s best writers need a second set of eyes. Learn to know when it’s time to let go.

At that time, we can help.

Should You Hire An Editor Quiz

Are you on the fence about hiring an independent editor? Not sure you need one yet? Don’t want to jump the gun? Understandable, as it’s not an easy or inexpensive step in the process, so here are questions to ask yourself to help you decide:Bird by Bird

  • Have you edited and rewritten your manuscript until your eyes want to fall out of your head and you’re sick of the book?
  • Have you exhausted all of your beta reader options, from your cousin to your college roommate to your elementary school Language Arts teacher?
  • Have you joined a writing group and gotten critiques?
  • Have you taken a writing class or workshop?
  • Have you applied all of the writing/rewriting/editing advice out there (including mine)?
  • Have you read On Writing by Stephen King? Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg?
  • Do you want your book to find a wider readership and be read by people outside of your friends and family?
  • Do you want to pursue traditional publishing and try to get a literary agent?
  • Do you want to self-publish but want to be sure you self-publish a great book you can be proud of?

Some of these questions might sound self-serving, but if you are putting together a family history just for a handful of your immediate family, that doesn’t need an editor. If you haven’t read any books on writing and haven’t asked anyone to read your manuscript, you might need an editor, but you’re not there yet. If you answered YES to five or more of these, you can be pretty sure you are at a good place for hiring an editor where you won’t be wasting your time or money. If you’re at fewer than five, you still have some options before going to a professional editor, which will decrease the cost when you do get to that stage.

When you do get there, check out the videos in our Author Resource Center as Nicole has some tips for how to find the right editor and what the different types of editing are.

Happy New Year! What Will You Do In 2016?

On Being Productive in the New Year

2016 new yearDo you want to get your book written? Finished? Rewritten? Submitted? Are you having trouble putting pen to paper and getting it done? Are you a master procrastinator? Here are some tips for finally buckling down and getting your work done:

  • Kill the procrastination tools.

We know how you procrastinate. The same way we do. Facebook. Twitter. Goodreads. Blogs. Find a program such as Simple Blocker which blocks access to certain domains for a given period of time. You can set it up to work all throughout the business day or just for a two-hour window, whatever works for you.

Find someone you know and trust in your network, ideally someone who at least somewhat understands your work and/or someone in a similar situation who could also use the accountability. Tell them your goals, big and small. Check in regularly.

I believe in this tool so much, I do it myself, along with fellow AAAer Karen. We email each other every Friday with A) what goals we accomplished this week (and what we didn’t), B) what we accomplished this week that we hadn’t planned on and, C) what we plan to do next week. We comment on each others’ weeks and goals, and we meet up quarterly to discuss more in-depth.

  • Tell people your goals, publicly.

This is when Facebook can help instead of hurt. Announce your goal. Give occasional (maybe monthly) updates. You’ll get some cheering from your friends and family, and the pressure of not living up to your public promise can help you get to work and make sure you don’t disappoint.

  • Set manageable goals.

Your goal shouldn’t be: “Write my book.” It should be: “Write 1000 words per day.” Or “Send one submission every week.” Make your goals manageable. Break them down into small chunks so you can get a little accomplished every day, and so you can feel that sense of accomplishment even when progress feels slow.

  • Make it a routine.

That doesn’t mean you’ll do something 2 or 3 days a week. Do it every single day. Something that is routine is brushing your teeth. You never think about whether or not you have time, whether you want to do it. A routine is something you truly don’t think about if you’ll do it. You just do it.

  • Try carrots… and sticks.

I had one client who just couldn’t do her rewrite. She’d put it off for a full year after I’d done her edit. She knew she needed motivation but she just couldn’t convince herself to do it. We devised a carrot and stick plan for her. We picked a reasonable deadline goal. We enlisted her best friend. Then she made a promise that if she completed her rewriting by that date, she got to buy herself two new pairs of shoes. If she did not, she had to buy her best friend THREE new pairs of shoes. You’d better believe her best friend was excited about this plan and would hold her to it! We respond better to punishments than rewards, so be sure you utilize both sides of this equation.

Good luck! And if you need assistance with hitting your goals, we can help.

If you want to know more about what editors do, check out my video this week. It’s about editors at publishing houses, not independent editors, but it can be confusing for authors to know just what editors do and why they’re always busy and why it make take some time for them to call back.

Older posts