This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
I want to thank Artsy Ally for pointing out a typo on page 15 in my new release East Van Saturday Night - Four Short Stories and a Novella (EVSN). It has since been corrected on all digital platforms and in paperback. Unfortunately, if you purchased the book in either form before September 28, 2018, you’ve got one with the error in it and maybe a few others that have yet to be discovered.
Artsy Ally, a.k.a. Ally Robertson, is content producer and social media director of Access Television, a non-profit organization that airs “community stories from Vancouver, BC, with a focus on marginalized voices. Produced by volunteers and neighbours.”
I reached out to her to see if she’d be interested in reviewing the above mentioned new release.
The response was interesting.
Robertson asked for a digital copy and said she would “hand it off to someone who may read and review it. If they decide to do a review, we will have you come into the studio for a short interview.”
That sounded encouraging, and I sent an e-pub version immediately. The following day I received her response.
She began by saying “Your stories have merit and I enjoyed the memories they stirred in me. I really enjoyed the chapters with Chris’s attempt at crossing Canada. ... I found East Van Saturday Night to be more like a one story novella with chapters, as the stories are of the same character.”
Robertson then proceeded to tell me she too was a self-published author “at the moment,” and she would “highly recommend you have people proofread your work before you publish. I am trying not to be highly critical, but as a former book publisher who published over 60 authors, I have some experienced suggestions for you. I found there were some issues with the book I just couldn’t overlook.”
Robertson said the book contained “plenty of grammatical errors” as well as “simple spelling mistakes.” Other issues she “just couldn’t overlook” included “un-announced dialogue switching” and “proper scene changes” which the book “desperately needs.”
Her suggestion was to have “a good proofreader go over it and you re-edit.”
I have an incredibly thick skin. I look at constructive criticism as a way to improve my writing. Accordingly, I sent the following response to Artsy.
No offence taken, in fact, thank you for your suggestions.
Scene changes can also be indicated by adding an additional blank line space, which I prefer over asterisks. However, I realize this style works better in print than in digital as the formatting may diminish it or eliminate the space altogether. I plan to take your suggestion and revise the manuscript inserting asterisks to indicate scene changes.
When errors are pointed out, I fix them and upload the corrected manuscript to all my digital and print publishing platforms. New readers will find one less mistake, though unfortunately, that doesn’t help those who have purchased my book with the typo.
When I write, I have two computer programs (Grammarly and ProWritingAid) filter the work. After a minimum of three revisions, I send the manuscript to three beta readers. Despite this rather thorough process errors are still overlooked.
Excuses and expenses aside, I will endeavour to do better.
Robertson replied saying I might be able to “find a student willing to do it (proofread) for $1.00 per page.” She was lucky enough to have her novel, Epic Crazy Love “go through 3 editors and a proofreader long before I re-published it myself.”
So now that you’ve got context let’s draw some conclusions.
Apparently, Robertson doesn’t think three beta readers, two computer editing/grammar programs and the author have the editing prowess of a student paid a dollar a page. Maybe she’s right.
More importantly, though, I’m interested in how well her novel is doing considering it went “through 3 editors and a proofreader” before it was self-published.
Epic Crazy Love was published in April 2017. Here’s the blurb accompanying the book.
Can two reunited soul mates conquer deceit, begrudged malice, extortion, multiple mental and physical traumas and maintain an intense, lasting, abiding love?
To date, Epic Crazy Love has one, five-star review. Here are its rankings on Amazon.
“I did love the story (East Van Saturday Night) itself,” Robertson writes, “but reading it, it was difficult to overlook all of the little things that threw me off as a reader. Paying someone to proofread will really kick it up a notch and make your work great.”
Or maybe not.
But here’s the kicker, Artsy Ally, didn’t pass along my book to the reviewer saying, “Due to the adult content I don’t think it’s a good match for us to review for you, I don’t think it would be something Susan would enjoy reading so I won’t pass it along.”
Add censor to Robertson’s list of accomplishments.
Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs.
Access Television https://www.facebook.com/ACCESSCOMMUNITYTV/
Epic Crazy Love
Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU