A Grateful Thanks to My Reviewers, a Post by R. Clint Peters

I recently posted on this blog that my publisher had sent me an email, telling me The Alberta Connection, a Ryce Dalton novel, had received 82 reviews.  Since I received the email, the number has risen to 87.

Unlike many review sites, my reviews were not limited to only4 stars or above.  I had a bunch of lesser star reviews.  I’d like to extend a grateful thanks to all those who gave me those reviews.

The Alberta Connection was started in 2011.  The final revision is listed as 1-6-2013.  That’s almost a complete lifetime ago.  In book years, it might be five or six lifetimes ago.

As I perused some of the 1 and 2 star reviews, I found myself agreeing with the reviewer.  Yes, you can only say “she said” a few times before we just don’t want to know what “she said”.  And, my happy heroes chuckled a little too much for several of my reviewers.   I even discovered a reviewer who didn’t like detail.

And I agree completely.  The low reviews are the result of bad writing, or maybe just not so good writing.

I’d like to thank those reviewers once more for giving me low reviews.  And, I’d like to thank my friend who told me I just didn’t know how to write.  She was the one who suggested I learn to be an author.  Three of the books I have used include:

Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Jesep Novakovich;  Characters, Viewpoint, and Emotion by Nancy Kress; and The Technique of Fiction Writing by Robert Saunders Dowst.  I am sure there are more, but those are the ones on my Kindle reader.

A day or so ago, I received an email telling me a book with 250 5-star reviews was available on Amazon.  I’m really sorry I trashed that email.  I’m tempted to check out the book and see how many not 5-star reviews it got.  If you’re curious, The Alberta Connection got 26 5-star reviews and 18 4-star reviews.

I could be depressed that only half of the total number of reviews were 4-stars or better.  But, The Alberta Connection was written a year ago, before my friend suggested I learn to write.  My publisher has Pegasus Rising, a Nixon French novel, listed on Amazon, and I have submitted two other books, Operation Second Cousins and The Dakota Connection, for publication.  Hopefully, reviews of these new books will result in fewer problems with “she said” and details.

Again, thanks to all reviewers, mine or anyone elses.  You are the reason most writers take the time to learn the trade, learn how to be an author.  You are helping me become better.  Thanks.

 

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L.M. Cornelison, Author of “Through the Cotton Blooms”, has Joined The Book Reviewers & Authors Club

L.M. Cornelison, Author of “Through the Cotton Blooms”, has joined The Book Reviewers & Authors Club.  Check out her bio at http://thebookreviewersclub.weebly.com.  A short synopsis of Through the Cotton Blooms is available to read.

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A News Flash from Nina Norstrom

News Flash
Well, I’ve discovered the baby (my book) delivery date has been pushed out. And that’s a good thing. I still have quite a bit of work to do with editing, proofreading, copy editing and translating. Expectancy year will be in 2015 versus 2014.

Noticias Flash
Bueno, he descubierto que la fecha de entrega del bebé (mi libro) ha sido empujada hacia fuera. Y eso es algo bueno. Todavía tengo mucho trabajo que hacer con la edición, revisión, corrección y traducción. Esperanza año será en el 2015 frente a 2014.

Email: ninorstrom55@hotmail.com
Website: http://ninorstrom55.wordpress.com

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A Report on How I am Doing, a Post by R. Clint Peters

Several days ago, I contacted my publisher to submit a new novel, Operation Second Cousins.  I was pleasantly surprised with the reply.  I’d like to quote a few lines from the email.

Here’s what my publisher wrote in his email reply:

I recall a meeting a month or two ago where your work was discussed, and the question was raised as to whether or not you were working on sequels to The Alberta Connection as well as Pegasus Rising. I am glad that not only are you continuing to write, but also refining your craft. Recently The Alberta Connection underwent a massive free day promotion that has garnered a wealth of reviews. As you may have noticed, and what may have prompted your revisions, are a series of comments several reviewers have made. Though some authors feel that anything less than a four star review is a bad review, we at WEP believe that it is generally the three star and lower reviews that are the most educational and help our authors to master their craft. 

I immediately checked my account on Amazon.  The Alberta Connection, as of today, 4-6-2014, has received 86 reviews.  If I can read the stars correctly, the average is 4.3.  Wow.  I am amazed.

Let’s take a close look as the email I received.

The first thing I noticed was the question about creating sequels to my books.  As I mentioned in a previous post, sequels are the key to becoming a successful author.  I was a voracious reader of John D. MacDonald because of Travis McGee.  Perhaps a reader in the future will become a voracious reader of R. Clint Peters because of Ryce Dalton, John Pendergast or one of my other main characters.

The second thing I noticed was lower stars on reviews actually help an author become a better writer.  I completely support that concept.  If I had gotten only five star reviews for my early books, I would still be no better than a monkey banging away on a Remington typewriter.

At the moment, I am on page 95 of 213 in the last, final edit of The Dakota Connection, the sequel to the Alberta Connection.  I have a target of 25 pages per day.  Perhaps next Thursday will see me close to page 213, which should be almost 220 (I seem to add a page for every ten I edit).

I am also on page 134 of 218 in Prerogatives, a Pendergast Brothers novel, the first book I wrote two years ago (the first title was The Pendergast Prerogatives).  I have noticed two things while editing Prerogatives:

1) I made a lot of mistakes with Show, Don’t Tell.   At one point, I counted almost fifteen paragraphs that were telling about John Pendergast.  Those fifteen paragraphs covered two pages of single spaced, size 12 Times New Roman characters on 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages.  Wow.  Booooorrriiiinnnng.

2) My characters had no identities.  They were simply flat cardboard cutouts without dimensions.  Yes, I knew what they looked like, how they felt, why they were important to me, but my readers would never know unless I put it on the pages.

It is good to know I am improving.  I think my latest works are better than what I wrote a year or even six months ago.  I am glad to discover someone thinks they are.

If you’d like to review Operation Second Cousins (soon to be available at my publisher and Amazon), The Dakota Connection (soon to be submitted to my publisher), please let me know by sending an email to rclintpeters@gmail.com.

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The Trials and Tribulations of Editing, a Post by R. Clint Peters

I recently stumbled across a post about editing.  I was thrilled.  I am on page 16 of 210 pages of The Dakota Connection, a Ryce Dalton novel, and on page 114 of 218 pages of Prerogatives, a Pendergast Brothers novel.

The first point made in the post was to step away from the book you want to edit.  Take couple weeks off.  If you have another project, focus on it.  Give yourself the opportunity to temporarily erase the book from your mind.

My primary efforts recently were to move Prerogatives closer to publication.  I have been furiously editing the novel, trying to find ways to incorporate the lessons learned in my study of how to write.  There have been some interesting developments.  And some interesting conclusions.

Prerogatives was my first book, originally written under the title of The Pendergast Prerogatives.  I quit counting the mistakes around page ten.  What sort of mistakes?

Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress recommends fleshing out the main characters, create a photograph of words, allow the reader to become friends with the character.  That was the first mistake in Prerogatives — the characters were flat, without color or dimension.  They didn’t have any warts.  The friend that started me on this journey even wanted to know what the main character looked like.  I knew what the hero looked like, but that information was never inserted into the book.

The second point I gleaned from the post was the most interesting.  The final editing  should be a two-part process.  The first time through, look for spelling errors, grammar, punctuation — the basic mistakes we all make when we write.  Count the words in the sentence (less than twenty five is the recommended number).  Insure there is only one thought per sentence.  Look for the mechanical mistakes, such as the same word starting five paragraphs in a row, stilted conversation, word usage (their vs there).

On the second edit, look at the content, and ways to develop the characters.  Does a character walk into a blank room?  Or, does the reader discover there is a large wooden desk in the corner, a worn sofa along one wall, and two cats sleeping on the ends of the sofa? If the character is asked to take a seat on the sofa, how does he interact with the cats?  Or more importantly, how do the cats interact with the character?  The fact the room has two cats adds color to the photograph of the person in the room.  If the reader is a cat lover, the person behind the desk will become a better friend.

My present edit focus in Prerogatives is to develop the characters, allow the reader to become friends.  The first version of the book was strictly tell, there was no showing.

My big problem at this point is I was in the process of editing Prerogatives six months ago, but I don’t know where I stopped when I started a new project for NaNoWriMo.  The pages I have edited to date appear to be better that the first version, but not as good as the version I want to provide my readers with.

Where am I now?  I think I have done most of the mechanical editing in both The Dakota Connection and Prerogatives.  Content editing will be the most difficult because there are more things to look at besides the red squiggles under a misspelled word.

 

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Is it a Good Day or a Bad Day?, a Post by R. Clint Peters

I recently finished editing two of my novels, Operation Second Cousin and The Dakota Connection, a Ryce Dalton novel.   Shortly thereafter, I submitted the manuscript of Operation Second Cousins to my publisher.  After several days, when I didn’t hear anything, I sent my publisher another email.  In it, I informed him I had finished The Dakota Connection, and asked if they were interested.  So far, no response.

Today, I sent the publisher another email.  In it, I covered the fact I had sent the manuscript for Operation Second Cousins, and the inquiry  about publishing The Dakota Connection.  And, I included a note, that if I didn’t hear from them by 3-30-2014, I was going with CreateSpace.

So, is this a good day or a bad day?  If my publisher takes my books, they do the cover design, they assign an editor for my manuscript, they pay for the ISBN.  If I go with CreateSpace, I design the cover, I do all my own editing, and CreateSpace gives me the ISBN.

I can’t designate today as good or bad.  If I had to choose, it is good because I am at page 50 of 213 in the edit of The Pendergast Prerogatives, the first book I wrote over two years ago.

It was also my first exposure to vanity presses.  They are the institutions that do almost nothing for the author.  They do provide the cover design and an ISBN, but that’s where the support stops.  No editing, no marketing, just plain nothing, unless the author pays.  For the first few months, I got a monthly email, telling me they were going to London for a book show, or Paris, or Los Angeles, or New York, and would be happy to take my book with them for $50.00.  I did some quick addition.  I could spend over $250.00 a month.  For my efforts, I could receive 8% royalties for the first 1000 books.  I selected to not pay.  Obviously, I sold no books.  But, the publisher didn’t get a red cent from me.

I can get all that from CreateSpace, and with better royalties.

So, it’s a toss-up.  I will keep plugging away on my edits.  The Pendergast Prerogatives title has changed.  It’s now Prerogatives, a Pendergast Brothers novel.

Both Operation Seconds Cousins and The Dakota Connection are available to review.  If you like to obtain a PDF copy of either or both, send an email to rclintpeters@gmail.com.

 

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Tools Explained, A Post by R. Clint Peters

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light . Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh sh–!’

SKIL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

SON-OF-A-BITCH TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling ‘Son of a BITCH!’ at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

 

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