Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Formatting, Proofreading and Editing

As an indie author I'm not loaded with cash. I can't afford these vast fees charged by people who are constantly approaching me trying to get me to buy into their services for this and that, the list would be endless if you went along with everything, besides which, firstly I object to unsolicited emails and DMs, secondly I'm a bit precious when it comes to my work. I don't want somebody else tampering with it, telling me what would sound better this way or that. I write it the way I want it to be written. I use which words I choose. I don't want or need someone who thinks they know better changing the premise of my stories. I also like to be the one to decide which services I want to use if any, not have them shoved down my throat, that puts me right off and I wouldn't use that person on principle for their temerity at approaching me. Plus if they think they know better why aren't they writing the book?!

Added to all of this there seem to be so many people who set themselves up as editors or proofreaders and I wonder how many have any form of qualification to do so? I have read books which have been proofread and still found errors and quite frankly I can do a better job myself. I don't agree with the theory that fresh eyes will spot mistakes that I as the author will miss because I know what's coming. I couldn't proofread someone else's work as well as I can read my own because I don't necessarily know how they want something to sound and therefore whilst taking that into account an error might escape me so I'd never claim to be a proofreader. However, as I know my own work and have gained experience my errors jump out at me in my edits. I hold my hands up and admit to errors in my earlier books and due to my health condition it would be too much of a mammoth task to go back and re edit them all but with experience has come a better editing technique which I'm happy with and seems to have worked in my more recent books. I'd be furious if I'd paid for the services of an editor or proofreader and still found errors. Having said that it is extremely difficult to find every last tiny typo and if I'm reading someone else's book and the content is good it doesn't detract from the story for me.

That brings me onto formatting. This is one thing that completely baffles me. I've tried every which way and nothing comes out right. I don't like the computer to beat me but I'm not particularly technically minded and I was despairing of ever having that perfect ebook until I came across The Book Khaleesi.

Again I'm not in the position to shell out silly amounts of money and their fee for formatting is very reasonable so I thought I'd give them a try with Whisper to Me.

I'm so glad I did. Eeva, @eevalancaster  Twitter, and her team have made a wonderful job of it and I've since had Over A Spitfire done too.
My plan is to work my way through my books until they are all done, something I wouldn't and couldn't have done with someone charging a large fee.
The Book Khaleesi do a fabulous job for a great price. I can't speak highly enough of them and would definitely recommend them. They do offer other services which I feel sure will be of the same high standard so if I ever decide on anything else they would be my first choice although for my covers I use The Cover Collection, @DebbieTCC Twitter, and am really happy with them.
As with anything in life we are always learning and it has taken me a long time to get to this stage where I'm happy with the services I use. Now, I'd better go back and edit this piece, don't want it to be full of typos!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Inspirations and Dedications

A few months ago I wrote about my slumbering inspiration. Well happily it woke up and came out to play and I thoroughly enjoyed completing Whisper To Me and getting to know my characters, so much so that I couldn't bear to leave them so they'll be coming with me into my next novel.
That brings me onto the inspiration for the story. Whisper To Me is the story of a jealous, vengeful ghost who is not at all happy that her beloved husband has replaced her with a slovenly, unhygienic new wife after her death.
The idea came from my mum's words to my dad, 'If I died you wouldn't remarry would you?'
I never heard her say them it was my dad who told me but none of us like to think about death or parting and I think his reply was something blunt like, 'Don't be bloody stupid.'
Well she did die young, aged 43 from breast cancer when I was 12. No-one else ever matched up to her in Dad's eyes but he was lonely and ten years later remarried. My mum's spirit wouldn't have been pleased. The new wife was a stranger to cleanliness where my mum had been clean almost to a fault. As the saying turning in their grave goes she must have been incredibly restless in hers to observe the state of her home that she'd taken such a pride in and always kept so well fall into the hands of this woman and become a stinking midden. Wife two brought along with her an unhousetrained toy poodle who weed everywhere and the house stank.
This scenario had played in my mind over the years and so Theo, Letitia and Sheena were born for Whisper To Me. They aren't my parents and stepmother but are just in the same situation. The true stories are in my two memoirs Shadow Across the Sun and Better or Dead.
Now onto the dedication in the book. Who else could I dedicate it to but my late parents?
Fellow authors what have been your more notable inspirations and how do you choose who you'll dedicate each particular book to? It will probably be easier to reply on Twitter and Facebook than on the blog.