I’ll keep writing anyway!

I'll also keep taking pictures!

I’ll also keep taking pictures!

I can’t quit my day job because I have student loans to repay. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I have one friend who thinks I’m going to sell millions of copies of my books (unrealistic) but basically everyone else just says “meh” when I say I’ve already published one book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

The attitude today seems to be that anyone can write a novel. Oh well. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I’ve only reached a handful of people with my blog, and even fewer with my book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I might not be the next big hit, or even a hidden gem among writers. I might just be average. I’ll keep writing anyway.

My books aren’t some literary explosion of genius, they’re just meant to entertain. I’ll keep writing anyway!

There’s no daily reward for my work. I don’t save lives or change people’s outlook on life. Each word can sometimes be a struggle, and I don’t see the fruits of my labor until months after I write that first word. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I don’t have a writing nook. I don’t have scheduled writing hours that I can write. I don’t have a ritual, I don’t have time to write some days, and sometimes I feel like the real world has sucked out all of my writing energy. I’ll keep writing anyway!

My professors are not amused. Too biased. Too personal. Try to be serious. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I can’t write everything I want without giving up my real life. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I need to keep my apartment clean and make time for my boyfriend. I can’t skip showering to write, and I need to eat at some point. Sleep, too. I’ll keep writing anyway!

Life will go on. I’ll keep writing anyway!

 

A reaction to this post (check it out!)

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Oh my Word

whut

Alright, I realize that this is like my forth post of the day, and I’m sorry about that, but this just popped up in my notifications. I can literally not comprehend what this means. I’ve had this blog only since March, which means I’ve been averaging 2.4 likes per day and 3.3 likes per post, some of which were talking about nothing. This was my first post. How have 500 people (the current tally is actually 501) decided to hit that like button? I know that my blog is approaching 20,000 views, but that’s because my posts about Alex Day have been getting crazy hits on Google.

So, for those of you who’ve read, commented, liked, or even glanced at my blog, I thank you. I have no idea how I reached 500 likes.

Are you a blogger who cares about your readers?

This post is going to be short and to the point. Do you write so that others can read what you’ve done? Do you write so that you can share advice, art, or funny anecdotes with the world?

If so, you need to be able to communicate with your readers. This is imperative. WordPress doesn’t have a private messaging feature unless you use a plug-in (at least, not that I’m aware of, but I’ve only been on here for a few months). To talk to you, someone has to use a comment. However, what if they want to start a real conversation? What if they want to talk about something personal, or correct a matter without embarrassing you?

I know y’all have email, because you can’t make a WordPress blog without one. One option is just putting your email in your “About” section, but that’s opening it up to robots who scan pages looking for emails to send spam to. Instead, put in a contact form. This is super convenient for anyone who is signed into WordPress, because they don’t even have to fill anything out other than the comment. It’s super easy. Go add one now. Right now. In another tab. I’ll give you exactly three minutes, so don’t get sidetracked.

Alright, all done? I made one for myself as well. Bam. That took 30 seconds.

The best place for these is to put on your “About” page, but if you do book reviews it might be better to put it on that page instead. I’ve been going around trying to find people to review my book and I’ve seen a lot of blogs with no contact information. Someone had their Facebook up but no email or contact form, so I went to Facebook and awkwardly messaged them there. This forces people to comment when they would much rather email people. I don’t want people thinking that I’m spamming their profile, and in my opinion an email is a much better option for the people who want to ignore me.

Granted, this does mean that you’re going to have to check your email often. If you use your email for WordPress only and never check it, I suggest changing the email address for your account to the one you use most often and switching off all the notifications so that “Beanybabies21 liked your post” isn’t clogging up your inbox.

Alright, so that wasn’t as short as I originally intended it to be, so here’s a zucchini wearing a hat.

I wrote that before actually looking for the picture, but Google never disappoints.

I wrote that before actually looking for the picture, but Google never disappoints.

 

 

How To Self-Publish Your Novel Professionally – Step One: Editing

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I posted something similar to this before, but I want to go more in depth now, so we’re going to start with the first part of the story. The content. This is the simplest part, but it’s the easiest to get wrong. Technically step one is to write the novel, but we’ll pretend editing is the first step. (If you haven’t written a novel I don’t know why you’d be here in the first place.)

What you really need for this part is an editor. Freelance editors are easy to find if you have internet access, and if you’ve been blogging about writing or reading for long enough you’ve probably come across some editors in your time here. Pick someone you trust who has good reviews/recommendations that’s within your price range. If you’re not sure about them, ask if they can do a smaller chuck of your work to see if you can work together alright.

Another option is to obviously get an editor that works with an agency, but that will be more expensive and those editors are bound to be more selective. Some won’t take submissions unless you have an agent. However, once you decide to hire an editor, your life is relatively easy. You just need to work with the suggestions they make and correct highlighted mistakes. Bam, you’re done.

Note: Do NOT try to haggle down the price unless it’s $10,000 or something ridiculous. These people are trying to make a living. You wouldn’t like it if someone said, “Oh, you’re self-published, that means your book isn’t worth more than X amount” so why would you do that to an editor?

However, I know that a lot of people who are just starting out don’t have money for an editor, and you know what? That’s fine. We can’t let money stop us from being in the publishing game, so here’s how I prepared my novel.

First off, I finished writing. Then I let it stew for a while before going back and making changes on my computer. For the second draft, I printed it out and looked through for mistakes. I also rearranged scenes, cut out parts that didn’t fit well with the story, and worked on my characterizations. I typed it all up and then read through it another time, again fixing any mistakes I found. By then, it was looking pretty polished. I printed out a proof copy and gave it to my mother to look for mistakes (she’s not really the best or most observant of beta readers, but hey, I didn’t have anyone else). Finally, I printed out another proof copy for myself and am going through fixing all errors that I find, including extra spaces after hyphens, quotes that face the wrong way, saying her instead of his…. all the fun little things that can easily slip by. It will be my last run through the novel. There were other drafts with minor changes in between, but that’s the gist of it.

If you noticed, I wasn’t nitpicking things for my second draft. Or my third. The first thing you look for should NOT be grammar and spelling, though you can fix that too if you pick up on it. You HAVE to look at the content of your novel. Does the plot make sense? Are your characters consistent throughout the story? Are there things that your readers wouldn’t understand? Basically, is it a good story? Does it make you want to keep reading? Are there things you have in there that sounded good while writing, but don’t really fit anymore? It can be hard to cut out scenes and characters that you’ve grown fond of, but it’s for the best in the end.

A beta reader would be useful at this time, but they won’t always want to look at it if the grammar is a hot holy mess. Finding people to read your novel might be hard. You have to make them want to read it, otherwise how will you convince people to buy it once it’s published?

Now, if you don’t know a lot of grammar rules, Google is going to be your friend for these steps. Look up common mistakes or buy a grammar for dummies book. Ask a friend who is English-smart to look over your work (even if you can only convince them to read two chapters at most). If you’re no good at grammar, do NOT say “Oh, it’s okay, it’s just grammar, my story will still be okay.” It won’t. It really won’t.

I read a wonderful story that had little to no editing and it was absolutely terrible. I couldn’t give it a good review because I will not recommend a book that is hard to read. Bad grammar makes a book hard to get through. If on your first page you use the word “alot”, no one is picking up that book. I cannot stress enough how important editing is. If you can’t do it yourself, wait to publish. Either learn about grammar or find someone to help you out (assuming you don’t have money for an editor).

Here are some tips for editing your novel:

  • While reading through the first few chapters in your first draft, make a note of which mistakes you make and how often you make them. If you always forget to use a comma after a dialogue instead of a period, that’s something you know you have to focus on when reading the rest of the story. If you mess up affect/effect a lot, search your document for every instance of those words to ensure you didn’t miss them.
  • Don’t read it through all at once for a grammar run through. For plot/characterization this is fine, but you don’t want to get caught up in the story when looking for errors. Read one or two chapters, take a break, then come back. Each chapter should be fresh. Also, avoid editing while sleepy or drunk. You will not do a good job.
  • Don’t write in all caps, overuse/underuse dialogue, have character react unrealistically to things for the sake of the plot, use words that would be found in the verbal section of the SATs, or write a series for the sake of writing a series (as in, not because the plot calls for it, but because you want to stretch it out).
  • If you don’t have a deadline, set your novel aside for a while. Months, weeks, however long you want. Come back to it and read it again as if it was entirely new. Try to see it like a reader would.
  • Read more. Especially novels in your genre, but any reading will help (assuming it’s news articles and blog posts rather than tweets and craigslist ads). Reading improves your skill in the English language overall.
  • If you have gone through less than three drafts of your novel, it’s not enough. I don’t care if you think it’s the next Harry Potter/50 Shades/(Insert popular novel here), edit it again.
  • Do not treat beta readers as slaves. Beta readers are those people who agree to help you look over your novel. If you’re not paying them, they have no obligation to get back to you. They don’t have to catch every mistake or even read the whole thing. Many beta readers will mysteriously disappear, either because they weren’t that into your story or you were abusing them. Remember that beta readers are an asset. Cherish them.
  • Finally, only send your novel to people that you know you can trust. I’ve personally had my novel stolen (more info here) just from having it on FictionPress. The easiest way to prevent this is to only send it to those you know, but to also only send bits and pieces of it. I put it in a PDF file to make it a bit harder to just copy and paste everything. The best way to ensure that no one can steal your work is to register with the U.S. Copyright Office. To register online is like $35. It will be more once you factor in paper and ink to send in the physical copy of your work, but you have to do this anyways. Get a copyright for your work. Do it. Do it do it do it. Seriously. I’m sending mine in later this week. It’s important. Seriously. (Have I stressed enough that you should do this?)

Next up: Step Two: Cover Image.

Getting closer!

I’m super excited to be getting closer to the release of Kiss of The Fey! I’m reading over the book for some last minute tweaks just to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. I’m really happy with how the book turned out. It’s been a long process, almost four years from the first form of the story until now, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It was worth it.

I’m also working on my second book, and I’m about halfway done with the first draft. I want to get it written as soon as possible. After getting Kiss of The Fey ready for publishing, I realized how much I enjoy all the work! I’m glad I’m publishing right as school starts. All the homework should distract me from the big gaping hole that the editing and formatting previously filled.

I hope you’re all having a great summer!

-Charlotte Cyprus

Thank you all so much!

woo

I’ve reached 200 followers on this blog! I was amazed when I hit ten followers, so I’m blown away that I have 200 people who clicked that follow button!

I wish I had something to give away in thanks, but I don’t have anything you all would want. Instead, here is a link to a pointless interview I did with my school paper (Hint: it’s about sex).

Seriously though, you guys are great. Pug kisses to all of you!

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It’s a thing now

I’m just going to post all the bizzare search terms that people use to find my blog. According to Google translate, the highlighted item is in Russian. No, there is not Russian in my blog. I myself thought it was Greek, but in Russian it translates roughly to what I am assuming to be some weird Russian Googling for nephew/aunt incest porn.

whys

 

On an unrelated note, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a fucking ridiculous movie. Seriously. Granted, the earlier ones were also silly, but this is beyond what I expected.

What the hell?

CaptureThis is part of the list of terms that people used to find my blog. If you Google that, my blog is the first hit. It is not a sexual post, I promise you.

Has anyone else found super weird search terms that led people to their blog?