Tag Archives: self-editing

Six Months Out: Working the Promotion Plan

Release date for Waterspell Book 4 is March 18, 2022. Which means I’m now officially in the six-month pre-release window. I’ve got a plan and I’m working it.

Today I made Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock free at every bookseller that will let me: B&N, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords. Amazon is resisting going lower than 99 cents, and I can’t figure out how to “tell them about a lower price.” I thought there would be a button or something to click on the book’s Amazon page, but I’m not seeing it. Maybe Amazon’s zealousness about not being undersold will soon work to drop the Kindle price to free. Google Books also seems slow to respond to my price drop; I’ll keep checking back until the Google page shows it for free.*

*9/21/21 Update: Amazon and Google have caught up. The Book 1 ebook is now free in ALL ebook formats. Price-matching triumphs again. 😀

Most of the rest of today, I’ve spent making Instagram posts to get the word out about a free ebook. I’m not quite ready to post either of these yet, preferring to feature a few more Reader Reviews first, but these graphics are ready to go when the time seems right:

I’ve also reached out to some book reviewers with whom I’ve connected on Instagram. I have review copies (print and ebook) ready to send out in exchange for honest reviews. (Fantasy fans, you need merely ask, and you shall receive.)

Waterspell trilogyThe Book 4 manuscript has gone out to a trusted beta reader who is herself an author. I know that I (and the book) will greatly benefit from her feedback. She’s showing me the great kindness of reading the entire original trilogy to refresh her memory of the backstory before diving into Book 4.

Now it’s quitting time for today, and my neck is stiff from too many hours at the computer. I’ll need to learn to pace myself as the clock counts down to December 18, 2021, the first day of pre-orders, and then to March 18, 2022, the Book 4 release day. I’m trying to figure out when and how to do a Cover Reveal in there somewhere.

Which reminds me: I must also see to a new paperback cover for Book 4. To do that, I’ll need to determine how many pages the book will occupy in print. No point doing that, though, until I hear from my beta reader. Almost certainly her comments will lead to a final round of edits.

It’s going to be a busy Fall and Spring. I’m ready. I have a plan and I’m working it.

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Those Pesky Dangling Participles

An indie author sent me her book in hopes that I’d review it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past the first two pages. The prose was marred by a series of dangling participles. To wit: “Turning the faucet, hot water filled the tub.” Huh? I’m not convinced that hot water has the necessary dexterity to perform such a maneuver. And: “Lighting the candles, the fragrance reminded me of perfume.” It’s an even greater stretch to picture a fragrance striking a match.

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My 99-cent ebook on Self-Editing offers advice for identifying and correcting common errors involving “-ing” words (my nickname for participles). Here’s an excerpt, re-posted from my old blog:

Self-Editing: Part 4

(This series begins with Part 1.)

IV. -ing Words

After using your computer to search for “ly” adverbs, then search for “-ing” words. This can be tedious — you’ll find “thing,” “ring,” “string” and other perfectly innocent words when what you’re hunting for are verb-like words that end in -ing. These “ing” words often cause trouble. You may find you’re using them to “back into” too many sentences:

Flipping her hair off her shoulder, Alice turned to go. Reaching the door, she paused. Turning to face him again, she started to speak. Thinking better of it, she stormed out.

A long string of sentences like these will drive a reader nuts. Rewrite to eliminate at least three-fourths of these sorts of “ing” opening phrases.

Also check for “danglers” that don’t quite say what you meant:

Being late to work, the boss fired her. [The boss wasn’t late. She was.]

Lying in the hammock, it struck her that Bob was OK. [A hammock with a temper?]

While walking his dog, the fire alarm sounded. [Talented fire alarm!]

Every time you find yourself using an “-ing” word to back into a sentence, consider rewriting it in solid subject-verb-object form. The result is usually clearer and crisper:

Running to the stable, he mounted his horse. He mounted while he was running? While the horse was running? It’s muddy. Simpler to say: He ran to the stable and mounted his horse.

Reaching for his gun, he fired several shots into the air. Try switching those two phrases and you’ll immediately see the problem: Firing several shots into the air, he reached for his gun. Just keep it simple and direct: He drew his gun and fired.

Crossing the stream, she tripped. Problem 1: It’s unclear. Did she trip while crossing the stream, or after crossing? Problem 2: It’s telling, not showing. This is a weak sentence that describes action that would be better shown: She waded into the freezing water. The current caught her midstream, slamming her off her feet.

Use the Find feature to locate your -ing words, and study each carefully. Recast any sentences you’re backing into, any sentences that are unclear. I don’t mean that you should eliminate all -ing words. But you should consider the value of each one, and choose carefully which to keep, which to rewrite.

Here’s a brief “-ing” opening that works:
Turning, he lifted the blackjack from the low shelf and slammed it on the counter.

With the emphasis moved to the “-ing” words, however, the sentence becomes weak and far less effective:
He turned his head, lifting the blackjack from the low shelf and slamming it on the counter.

[For more about Dangling Participles, see “Quick and Dirty Tips” from Grammar Girl.]

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