self publishing · Writing

The Bias Against Self-publishing

Once upon a time self-publishing was seen as the option for the uniformed and writers who well, weren’t very good. These days self-publishing has become a much more viable option thanks to the internet, but the bias still lingers and drives writers away from it. Some traditionalists still hold that traditional publishing is the only path that has any merit, while some self-publishers think taking control of your writing is the best way to go. And let’s not forget about the growing numbers of hybrid authors who have published both ways. A lot of people on the traditional side seem to avoid discussing the topic, but I work with clients on both ends of the industry and I’ve personally worked with some great self-published authors.

Self-publishing wasn’t always as easy as it is today. While self-publishing used to be associated with scams in which houses forced authors to pay to be published, these days self-publishing often entails authors handling the publishing of the book themselves. While the publishing landscape has evolved, old biases still linger. With more authors self-publishing than ever before there have been heated debates on the topic of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Continue reading “The Bias Against Self-publishing”

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Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Ivory and Bone

Ivory and Bone is a young adult novel set during the Ice Age. It’s the first of a series with the next book in the series, Obsidian and Stars, already out. Overall I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I’ve been craving books set during the Ice Age and I wish there were more of them, but I admit I had a few hangups with this book while reading. However I still look forward to reading Obsidian and Stars.

Ivory and Bone is about a teenager named Kol who is searching for a bride while finding his clan caught up in a war between two other clans. First off this book does a great job of bringing to light some of the struggles teenagers during the Ice Age would have dealt with, like the main character Kol searching for a bride amongst other clans because there aren’t enough girls in his clan. This book also tackles the issue of the number of mammoths dwindling, making survival a struggle for those who relied on them. The setting of this book is what made the story was the books biggest strength in my opinion. Continue reading “Book Review: Ivory and Bone”

Editing · First Chapters · Reading · Writing

First Chapter Pet Peeves

As an editor and a literary agency reader I read a lot of first chapters. Like A LOT. I’ve blogged about types of openings to avoid before. There are a few openings and issues I spot in first chapters all the time that instantly turn me off a book because I see them so often and they simply don’t grab my attention.  I’m going to tell you some of my first chapter pet peeves and exactly why they don’t work for me.

Starting a story with a character waking up. I see this way, way too often. Usually when I see it the character is waking from a dream or their phone wakes them up in the middle of the night. This opening doesn’t work for me because A) I’ve seen it so often it has become cliche, and B) it doesn’t grab my attention. I want to get to know your characters right away.  Start me with something more unique to them and their story and not something that could be used for any character. Similar to this beginning is starting with a character’s daily routine. It isn’t attention grabbing. Continue reading “First Chapter Pet Peeves”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Semiosis

Recently I’ve gone on a science fiction kick in my reading and can’t get enough of it. Semiosis is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. Sometimes I have a habit of zooming right through books, but every few chapters I found myself putting this book down to turn the story over in my mind. This is very much a character-driven book, and I usually prefer plot driven, but I loved this book and it is high on my list of favorite sci-fi reads and the title is perfect for this book. This one gets five stars from me.

Semiosis is about a group of people aiming to colonize a new planet. The story follows the struggles of the colonists, giving readers a deep look at the growing pains the colony has to get through to survive and how they handle living alongside intelligent plants. Semiosis takes place over seven generations of colonists, with a new narrator for each generation, starting with the very first generation to land. Each generation has a new problem to deal with as the colony grows and makes progress alongside the intelligent plants on the planet. This book focuses more on the relationship between characters and the human aspect instead of the science and technology aspect, although enough science is explored to help the story feel grounded. Continue reading “Book Review: Semiosis”

Food

Gluten Free in the Outer Banks

I’m taking a break from talking about books to talk about another topic dear to my heart: food! Specifically gluten free food due to me being celiac. Recently I took a vacation to the Outer Banks and found a list of gluten free restaurants on places like Tripadvisor, but couldn’t find any personal reviews outside of a quick “The food was good.” I was unsure of where it would be safe for me to eat as a celiac. I was pleasantly surprised by how many places had gluten free options and I’m going to discuss every place I personally ate at. The list is as follows: Donutz on a Stick, Barefoot Bernie’s, The Outer Bean, and Coastal Cravings. None of these places gave me contamination. I wish I would have thought to grab pictures, but I was on vacation and too busy enjoying myself.

Donutz on a Stick:

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Gluten Free Tuxedo Donuts from their Facebook.

Everyone kept going to Duck Donuts who unfortunately do not offer gluten free donuts. The alternative? Donutz on a Stick in Duck. The only caveat is you have to order your gluten free donuts ahead of time, you can’t just walk in and get some. I suggest ordering the day before by phone or in store to make sure you get to try the gluten free donuts. Ours were available at 9:15 the next morning. I had a tuxedo donut, German chocolate, and one with strawberry glaze with sprinkles and they were all delicious. The donuts were on the smaller size like gluten free ones tend to be at bakeries. Continue reading “Gluten Free in the Outer Banks”

history · Reading · Writing

Modern Women in Historical Fiction

Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres right behind fantasy. While I love all kinds of historical fiction, I enjoy reading about the lives of women since their experiences can be so different from my experiences today. However, I’ve noticed historical women being modernized too much in ways that don’t match their time periods. Making a main character relatable without too much modernization can be difficult, but I love seeing historically accurate representations of women.

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Sometimes I pick up a historical and think, “Wow, this main character reads as though she stepped right out of the current day and into history.” Looking at you in particular here historical fantasy novels. It’s true that some women were ahead of their day, but often the modernizing of women in regards to their views and attitudes aren’t always historically accurate. I’ve noticed a trend of historical and historical fantasy gravitating around women who don’t want to get married, usually for reasons that wouldn’t fly in their time period. Views about their own place in society are often modern as well. While I appreciate the women who fight against society to make progress or refuse to accept the double standards placed on them, I also find myself longing for stories about the average woman and how she navigated the social mores cast upon her. While women who were ahead of their time can be easier for a modern author to write about, reading about the average woman helps me appreciate the progress made since their era and how different my life has been from theirs. Continue reading “Modern Women in Historical Fiction”

Editing · Grammar · Publishing Life · Writing

Rates: Content VS. Copy Edits

Content editing and copy edits usually have different rates. In the traditional sphere I often hear about how content edits take longer than copy, but in the indie sphere it’s often the opposite with copy edits costing more. I found myself thinking about this when I saw an agent mention how content edits take longer and cost more, even though most freelance editors I’ve seen have higher copy rates, myself included. So let’s discuss why that is! This is all based on my observations, so keep in mind other editors may have different opinions and views on the topic. There is some harsh truth in this post but fear not because there is advice at the end!

As a reminder for those who might not know, content edits deal with things like plot, pacing, and character development while copy edits deal more with line edits and grammar. Some editors have a knack for grammar while others find grammar frustrating but are great at spotting weak character development and plot holes. It’s not uncommon for editors to focus on one or the other and they often do so in the houses while freelance editors might offer multiple services to bring in more projects. I got my start as a proofreader and copy editor on the traditional side but these days I find I enjoy content editing more. Continue reading “Rates: Content VS. Copy Edits”