10 Tips for re-reading your novel after publication #indieauthor #amediting

A few weeks ago I re-read The Lost Sentinel (Book One in the Silent Sea Chronicles). I loved the experience of reading my own book in paperback, and I had the brilliant idea to use post-it notes to highlight things as I went along. These may have been facts I wanted to check in book 2, reminders for planning book 3 and the prequel, spelling or grammar niggles, places where the Astral Plane was mentioned etc.

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I loved the blue post-its matching the cover, but I soon discovered the disadvantages of this method. I didn’t write on every note exactly what I was supposed to be checking. Going through it afterwards, not all the highlights made sense and I couldn’t find any problems with the text. Having suffered this problem, I thought it would be a good idea to share my top tips…

10 TIPS FOR RE-READING YOUR WORK AFTER PUBLICATION

  1. First decide why you are re-reading and what you want to get out of the experience.
  2. Don’t be scared! If, like me, your book has been read and reviewed you have those reviews to fall back on. Perhaps they have flagged up issues you need to address, or maybe you can just read them as a confidence boost.
  3. You have to let go when you re-read. So you’re suddenly not happy with the placement of a comma, or you think a sentence could be rewritten a little better. Ask yourself is it really that big a deal? I’m never satisfied with my writing, so I decided that I had to overlook some of the little niggles or I’d end up rewriting the whole thing! I did make a couple of changes, but this wasn’t an exercise in making The Lost Sentinel better, I wanted to read the sequel straight after to ensure the books worked as a series. (Thankfully they do.)
  4. Have a notebook handy to jot down any facts that need to be checked, or issues to work through.
  5. Post-it notes are great as they allow you to mark a section you have an issue with and let you get on with reading without breaking the flow. BUT make a note of the point you’re highlighting! It saves time later on.
  6. Colour coding the post-its is a quick and easy shortcut. I went back and did this afterwards. I used different colours to represent book 2, 3 and the prequel. A different colour for the scenes that featured the Astral Plane, and finally any changes that needed working through were transcribed into my notebook to work through later.
  7. Be prepared to love and hate your own writing. I had ups and downs re-reading The Lost Sentinel. When I was feeling down, I looked back over those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s always good to be reminded that others have enjoyed the book and loved your characters.
  8. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievement. Publishing a book is amazing. Enjoy holding it, reading it and savour the whole experience.
  9. Once the re-read is done you have to decide what changes are really necessary. Then you’ll need to update the e-book and paperback files before re-submitting them to your chosen platforms, in my case Amazon and Createspace.
  10. Finally, double-check everything you’ve changed is correct once it has been published. It’s worth taking your time and making sure the book is the best you can make it. Then hopefully future re-reads won’t result in more changes.

 

I will probably go through the above process when I’ve finished writing book 3, and for any future books in the Silent Sea Chronicles. Hopefully next time around it will go more smoothly. And I hope you can take something helpful from this as well.

Have you any tips to share when re-reading your published work?

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Silent Sea Chronicles is a heroic fantasy series set on the magical island of Kalaya.

Book 1 – The Lost Sentinel is available now at Amazon.

Book 2 – The Sentinel’s Reign will soon be sent off to my second wave of Beta readers. And then after a final edit and proof read, I will hopefully be ready to publish by May. Closer to the date I will have a cover reveal – I can’t wait to share the amazing cover with you.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will continue you follow my journey as an indie author.

 

#tuesdaybookblog The Writer’s Lexicon by @KathySteinemann #bookreview

The Writer’s Lexicon should be on every writer’s desk! Read on to find out why.

Blurb

You’re a writer. You just read your manuscript and discovered your characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter. When they’re not nodding, they’re rolling their eyes.

Oops.

Time to slash the Pinocchio strings and turn them into real live people. Award-winning author Kathy Steinemann will provide the tools. She cuts through the so-called rules and offers simple solutions.

Too many repetitions of “little”? There’s a cure for that. Do you rely on “very” too often? There’s a cure for that too. You’ll find the remedies in this book’s dispensary.

Should you ever use anything other than “said” to attribute dialogue? Are exclamation points taboo? The answers might surprise you.

Learn how to harness body language, cut hackneyed adjectives, and draw on the environment for ambience. No more wooden characters. You’ll transform them into believable personalities your readers will learn to love. Or hate.

Get in the driver’s seat, relax, and enjoy your journey—with Kathy Steinemann’s book as your GPS.

My Review

The author contacted me about reviewing her book and I’m so pleased she did. When I read the line ‘…characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter’, I knew this was a writing resource book I had to read.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in the process of fine-tuning the second book in my series Silent Sea Chronicles. I know I’m guilty of creating nodding, grinning character who laugh and cry far too much. There are plenty of other examples of words that you may not even realise you are overusing (that being one!), and a multitude of alternatives to try.

Kathy Steinemann uses imaginative examples of how not to write sentences, along with examples of how to improve your work. There are A-Z lists of alternative words, and story prompts throughout. The book gets you thinking about why you have chosen particular words, and she helps you think of ways a few well placed words can bring your story to life. There are also chapters on punctuation, how to include the senses in your writing, and a list of 400 redundant words.

I think it’s a brilliant book for every writer to have on their desk. Unfortunately, I’ve only read The Writer’s Lexicon on kindle (I highly recommend a paperback). I can imagine my paperback copy would have post-it notes stuck all over my favourite chapters. It has certainly got me thinking, and I will be using this as a guide to help me tighten the writing in my books.

5 well deserved stars.

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

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#AtoZChallenge P – Proofreading Top 10 checklist

Proofreading is one of the hardest stages of writing for me. I love drafting and editing, but to read each word and sentence and analyse it’s components is difficult. It’s too scientific for my creative brain, but an important process that needs to be done before considering publication.

Back in August last year, I devised a checklist to tackle the final proofread of Visions of Zarua. My original post was here.

Looking back, I’m quite pleased with it as a ‘how to’ guide. It worked brilliantly for me, but I do have to warn you that a couple of tiny errors still slipped past this stage (slap wrist). Luckily with KDP & Createspace it’s a simple matter of updating the corrected file and within 24 hours the revised book is on sale. However, we should all aim to produce the best book we possibly can from the start and there really is no excuse for letting those errors slip past. My biggest advice is don’t skim at this stage. Focus and stay alert to stop those pesky mistakes from ruining a readers experience.

Proof reading Top 10 Checklist

  1. Use a hard copy – it’s too easy to skip over errors on the computer.
  2. Read aloud – but make sure the neighbours can’t hear you.
  3. Read it slowly, word by word – at reading pace your brain skips over words it expects to see and doesn’t pick up the errors.
  4. Use a ruler or blank page to highlight the line you’re reading – this ensures you don’t get ahead of yourself.
  5. Keep focused and hydrated by drinking lots of water – this helps keep you awake, and the trips to the toilet provide plenty of short breaks.
  6. Use a colourful pen to highlight the error, mark the sentence in the margin and fold the corner of the page over – triple insurance against the error being missed when updating on the computer.
  7. Avoid all distractions – escape from the phone and the internet.
  8. Keep a notebook handy – it’s great to make notes of any last minute niggles you need to sort out.
  9. The main edit should already have been done at this point so focus on errors with grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and spacing.
  10. And finally, there’s no harm in resetting the computer spell checker and giving it one last go.

 

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Used with my Editing Search & Destroy Checklist posted during the E challenge, you should catch most of the errors.

Have you got any proofreading tips to share?

Good luck!

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Quality close ups I want to share.

Check out previous a-z posts here