When is writing classified as published?

The publishing industry has changed in a big way, thanks to the Internet, social media and self-publishing. While some aspects have opened doors to so many writers who would have struggled in a big way to become a published author, there are some aspects that have actually closed the doors to traditional publication paths.

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the self-publication path. There are some brilliant novels that have been self-published and some extremely successful writers that have taken that particular road. As long as you’re prepare to put in the hard work, self-publication can be a rewarding experience.

Regardless of whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will need to get your head around marketing within today’s industry. It really is a self-promotion game, hence, one of the reasons that many have turned to self-publication. You put in all that effort and energy. You should reap the benefits.

However, there might be other reasons that you have your heart set on the traditional publication path. Perhaps there is a particular publishing house that you have dreamed of for as long as you can remember. Maybe your local bookstores refuse to consider stocking books that are self-published. Maybe there’s another reason altogether. Regardless of what your reasons might be, if you are heading down the road toward traditional publication, you need to be strategic in your release of sample writing. If you release the wrong bit in the wrong location, you may have inadvertently published your work without realizing it, killing your chances at traditional publication.

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Trick from the Editor’s Hat: Use Paper or an Ebook Reader

You spend hours/days/weeks editing and you’re struggling to get through it. Here is just one of the many tricks that I employ when editing both my own and clients’ writing.

Use Paper or an eBook Reader

I never do all my editing directly on the computer. The back-lit screen is too much on my eyes. The smooth reflective surface will catch the overhead lighting, adding to the eye strain. This is why I don’t use a tablet for editing either. They too are back-lit and reflective. No, when I can, when the size of a document permits me, I will print out the manuscript and pull out my trusty red pen, writing all over that printed document. In those instances where the manuscript is too large, say 100k words, then out comes my Kindle and I’ll read the document on that, adding comments and notes to the file as I go. (Yes, you can do that on a Kindle.)Read More

Trick from the Editor's Hat

Trick from the Editor’s Hat: The “Was” Edit

When editing a manuscript, one should always be looking at ways to tighten the writing and language used. There are many tricks that one can employ. Here is one that I often pull out of my hat when editing.

The “Was” Edit

This editing technique is incredibly simple: search for every instance of is/are/was/were and ask yourself if can you reword that sentence to removed that instance of was-type words.Read More

Trick from the Editor's Hat

Trick from the Editor’s Hat: Read Aloud

You’re staring at a manuscript that you have spent countless hours, days, weeks, preparing for publication or submission. It’s as stellar as you can make it. Or is it?

Here is just one of the tricks that I occasionally pull out of my hat when editing. This technique is the best method of making dialogue sound natural and will pick up the awkward sentences faster than any other method. There are times when I use this technique while writing too. It is one of the best tricks one can have stashed under their hat.

Read Aloud

You can read a line over and over again, but you still don’t see the mistake. It’s something incredibly simple, like a missing “the”, but you still don’t see it. Our eyes filter what our minds see. The eyes make the corrections needed and hence our brains don’t register anything different. However, when we read something out, vocalize the line, our brains work differently. And guess what… That missing “the” becomes obvious.Read More

Trick from the Editor's Hat

Trick from the Editor’s Hat: The Backwards Edit

You’re staring at a manuscript that you have spent countless hours, days, weeks, preparing for publication or submission. It’s as stellar as you can make it. Or is it?

Here is just one of the tricks that I occasionally pull out of my hat when editing. It can be slow going, but it can help you isolate those awkward, sticky sentences and eliminate those beasts.

The Backwards Edit

During a backwards edit, you read a manuscript from the last sentence backwards to the first. When you do this, you’re unable to focus on the story; sentences lose their contextual meaning. As a consequence you focus entirely on the words.Read More

By all means, rush the process.

Writing a manuscript takes time; editing it takes even longer. However, rushing the process is the biggest mistake that any new writer can make. One spends months, if not years, pouring everything, including their heart and soul, into this body of work. It’s only natural to want to see it published — they have dreams. But dreams that are worthwhile require time and effort.

Editing a manuscript into something worth reading is not something that happens overnight. There are steps that every manuscript must go through before it finds itself as a book on the selves of your local bookstore. Rushing the process will produce shoddy work that will result in very bad reviews, and not just from those that hate your story.

There are several different flavours to this Rush-The-Process dish.Read More