Tips 'N Treats: Week 8

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My Tip

I’m back again with another book recommendation. This one is for self-publishers (and, really, all writers). It’s a new release from editor Richard Bradburn that hits all the major points of self-editing.

~Self-Editing for Self-Publishers

Self-editing is a vital stage of the production of a book. It's usually either ignored by "how-to-write" books, or treated as part of the creative writing process. Both of these approaches are wrong, which goes part way to explain why many self-published books never achieve the success they might.

This book explains how to master self-editing. It suggests a clear and easy-to-follow three-stage process that mirrors the editing process that a traditionally published book undergoes. Broken down into structural, sentence level and proofreading stages, each section is copiously illustrated with before-and-after edited exam-ples.

Organised methodically, the book gives the answers to many common questions that authors without the support of a publisher often ask. How long should a chapter be? Should I have a prologue? How do I punctuate dialogue properly? How many characters are too many characters? It covers common problem areas like point of view, show don't tell and passive voice in depth, shows authors how to create a stylesheet, explains why you may be stumbling over a particular sentence or find a particular character uninteresting.

The appendices cover other common issues that an author with a nearly finished book might need help with. How do I write a synopsis? What is a beta reader? Do you need an editor and what happens when you hire one? Is editing software any use?

Written by a professional editor, this book gives away dozens of tricks of the trade, and will give invaluable help to indie authors looking to self-publish. It will also help authors looking to polish their manuscript for submission to traditional agents and publishers, and might just prove the decisive factor between securing a publishing deal and languishing in the dreaded slush pile.

Good luck, and happy self-editing!

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This week’s posts

-Monday: THE EVERY STONE by E.A. Sandrose
-Tuesday: THE EDGE OF ALL WORLDS by Matt Betts
-Thursday: Featuring Obelia Akanke

Guest Tip

This week, I’m pleased to welcome Mia Hoddell to Tips ‘N Treats. Mia is a freelance editor at Aim Editing, where she specializes in line editing, copyediting, and proofreading for YA, NA, adult, romance (all sub-genres and heat levels), contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, fantasy, dystopian, and thrillers. She’s here today to discuss something very important that’s so easy to forget. Here we go…

My tip for the day applies to editing, but it is also relevant throughout all stages of the writing process. It is one of the most important tips I could think of to give you, since I have seen authors come undone countless times by not remembering to follow it.

What am I talking about?

Backing up your work in multiple places.

I hear stories about authors losing work all too often because they haven’t backed it up frequently enough. Sometimes they get lucky and only lose a small section of writing, at other times they lose entire manuscripts. Despite the obvious stress, frustration, and extra work this causes, it also has a knock-on effect with other plans. For example, I’ve experienced authors needing to rearrange editing start dates or push back releases because they’ve had technological malfunctions and lost work.

Therefore, my advice to you is to develop a habit of clicking ‘save’ or using the Ctrl + S shortcut regularly. Don’t rely on AutoSave all of the time.

You should also back up your work in multiple locations every time you finish making changes to it for the day. There are numerous places you can do this nowadays. Here are just a few:
- Save it on your main device (laptop, phone, desktop, tablet).
- Use an external hard drive or a USB stick.
- Email it to yourself.
- Save it to a cloud server like OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Although you can pay for these services, most offer free plans too. For example, OneDrive gives you 5GB free, Google Drive gives you 15GB free, and Dropbox gives you 2GB free.

Personally, I like having my work saved in three locations. First, I save all of my work on my main device. Second, I back it up to a cloud server because I like the benefit of being able to access my files in any location and on any device. Finally, I use an external hard drive so I have an extra back up.

Some of you might be thinking this is overkill. However, technology can go wrong, and probably will at the most inconvenient moment. Laptops and computers can break or malfunction, emails and cloud servers can go down, and external devices can get lost or broken. Spending the extra couple of minutes backing up your work in multiple locations can save you hours or days of stress and worry about whether you can recover documents if the worst does happen.

You don’t have to use all of the methods I’ve noted here. I’d suggest trying out a variety to see what systems work best for you. Nevertheless, no matter what methods you choose, the important thing to remember is to put in the effort to create a habit.

So, if you haven’t backed up your work recently, what are you waiting for? If you already do, take this as a friendly reminder and hit save one extra time. It never hurts to double check everything to give yourself peace of mind.

Mia is a freelance editor at Aim Editing with over ten years of experience in publishing, an eye for detail, and a passion for helping authors improve their craft. She has worked with traditionally and independently published authors, international bestsellers, award winners, and first-time authors. Her main goal is to work alongside authors to develop their vision and voice so their manuscripts can shine and present the best version of themselves.

Find her online:


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