Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (Apr 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

I’m doing Camp NaNo

In this post I introduce my Camp NaNo project and goals.

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart – Chapter 1

I share my first chapter of Sky Heart. This has only been self edited and needs to go through professional edits but I thought it’d be fun to share a little of my work in progress.

Sky Heart – NaNo Update

I shared how I was progressing towards my NaNo goal, what has gone well and what I still need to work on.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 2 of 3

If you missed my previous post – click here for part 1. Or check out the collection for all parts.

So, you’ve drafted your novel, edited it a few times, and now you’re thinking about self publishing it.

STOP!

Every book you publish builds your reputation. If you decide not to get it professionally edited, you risk loosing future readers. Successful authors always talk about the importance of their back list (previous titles). What you want is to create a fan base that will keep coming back for more.

You NEED to get it professionally edited.

Step 2 – Professional Edit

Here is a handy infographic you can add to Pinterest of the steps covered in this post.

There are many professional editors who specialise in different areas. I’ve tried to simplify the process in this graphic, but each editor is unique. Check what they offer as part of their editing service. I will provide links to more info where I can.

Developmental Edit

You can learn so much about your novel and writing from this edit. The editor will highlight what’s working and what’s not, and make some suggestions on how to improve it.

Check out my post on why you need a developmental editor.

Self Edit

When you get your manuscript back you will have a lot of work to do but it’s well worth it. I paid a local printer to print my MS, so I could work through the edits physically and digitally.

Line Edit

Sometimes to save money people choose between a line or copy edit as they have similarities. If you can afford both, do it. The more editing the better. For Ocean Heart, I did skip this but my editor did some line editing within her copy edit.

Self Edit

Read through all the changes made (or recommended) by your editor. These will improve your manuscript. You don’t have to make the changes but I doubt you paid for an editor to ignore them.

Copy Edit

I got a copy edit for Ocean Heart as my final edit. My editor still pointed out areas that needed improving – even by this point, it still wasn’t perfect.

Check out my post on Why you need a Copy Editor.

Self Edit

Got feedback? Use it to to make your manuscript even better. By this point most authors are sick of editing and lost count of the number of drafts – now its ready to publish.

Publish your novel

The next post in my series is about turning your final manuscript into a book and publishing it…

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

The Benefits of Having a Formatter

12 Tips for Self Editing

Tips on Naming your Character

My Best Kept Writing Secret

Why you need a Copy Editor

When I decided to self publish I knew I would need an editor. As much as I love writing and creating stories, English language was never my best subject at school.

I wasn’t the worst but I wasn’t top of the class either. Even if I’d been good at English I’d still need an editor, because people miss their own mistakes.

Once ready for an editor, I was over whelmed by how many different types of editors there are. For Ocean Heart, I used many rounds of Beta Readers, and two rounds of professional edits, and used a professional formatter.

I chose to use Avery McDougall as my copy editor. 

Developmental Editor

Avery McDougall was my Developmental Editor. I wrote a blog post about my experience and included her comments in my Behind the Character series.

Why You Need A Developmental Editor

What is copy/line editing?

The two terms are often used interchangeably as they are similar and it’s important to check what your editor means so you can ensure what you are paying for is what you expect.

Copy Edit: Unsually involves checking SPAG, readability, and clarity. They may highlight where it’s not flowing right.

Line Edit: Usually focuses on the content and use of language. They highlight inconsistent style, where pacing is too fast/slow, if you’ve overused a word (or repeating yourself).

If you can afford both, do it. Traditionally published books will have a copy edit, then a line edit. If you can’t afford both, don’t skip the copy edit. Your spellchecker is not enough.

How I chose my Copy Editor

Avery was at the top of my list as I’d already had such a good experience with her, but I did consider letting another pair of eyes run over my manuscript.

Budget: This was a big deciding factor. I had a limited budget and had to operate within my means.

Recommendation: Connecting with other indie authors gave me a good source of recommendations, many are listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

Expertise: All of them had experience as an editor. One was new, but had already built a portfolio and I’d attended a workshop she did which helped build trust. But, Avery was the only one that specialised in YA.

I went with Avery as she ticked all my boxes and was already familiar with my book. As she does writing workshops with teens, she also has a close relationship with my target audience.

My experience

I paid Avery for a copy edit. But, it definitely over lapped into a line edit. For example, she highlighted a scene where the emotional impact needed work, and another scene where my character came off rude towards her friend.

Through Avery’s comments I learnt a lot about my writing. Once I’d actioned her feedback, my novel was definitely better.

Unofficial Proofreader

I wish I could have afforded a line edit but my budget was maxed out. Avery didn’t get to see it again, as I went ahead with my next step – formatting. Once formatted, I sent it off to my ARC readers.

One of my ARC readers was author Cassidy Reyne. She did an unofficial proofread for me. I didn’t ask her to do it, she’s just sweet like that.

As I’d already paid Ingram to publish Ocean Heart (it was on preorder) there was a fee to amend the files. I paid it because I wanted my book to be as perfect as possible. I’m so thankful to Cassidy for letting me know.

For my next book, I will seek out Cassidy’s eagle eyes – if she has time. If not, I will consider getting a professional proofreader.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

12 Tips For Self Editing

Behind the Character – Mariah

Book Review: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

The Making of the Blurb – Ocean Heart

Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I wanted this book for so long, by the tine I got it, there’s a second edition! The bonus is, the new edition has even more content!

It’s part of the Writer’s Helping Writers series. The series includes a number of thesaurus covering different aspects such as character traits or settings. The aim of the books are to help writers find the words they need to make the impact they want.

Author Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The series is co-written by Angela & Becca.

Writers Helping Writers

The pair run a website together (https://writershelpingwriters.net) to share information to help writers.

One Stop For Writers

They also have developed an impressive web-app (https://onestopforwriters.com) that’s described as a library of resources and tools to support writers.

What is the book about?

The one I got is on character expressions. It’s a thesaurus about different emotional responses and covers internal and external reactions.

How it works?

You look up the emotion your character is feeling, like lust, confusion, envy, fear, betrayal, etc.

There’s a little description so you can check you understand what the emotion is and make sure you picked the right one.

It then has a list of ways a character might behave if experiencing this emotion.

There are also some suggestions for internal sensations, which is useful for 1st person POV.

There are even some suggestions on how the emotion can escalate or deescalate.

How I used it?

Editing (Ocean Heart)

I used this book alongside the developmental feedback from my editor. She highlighted some points in my story where I needed to amp up the emotions and some places where I had skipped along without any reaction at all.

I looked up the emotion in the book and read the suggestions. I reflected on which reaction was most true to my character, then worked it in.

Future use…

This book will get used time and time again. I’m planning to next use it alongside writing Sky Heart. Hopefully it’ll reduce any feedback from my editor about under played or missed emotions.

Final thoughts…

This is a really useful book and has left me wanting the rest of the series.
It’s more of a resource than a thesaurus and I don’t think there is anything out there quite like this. It is designed especially for writers to aid their craft.
I highly recommend this book.
Do you have any writer resources that you swear by?

If you like this, you may enjoy:

Why you need a developmental editor!

Book Review: Save The Cat Writes A Novel

12 Tips For Self Editing

Tips on Naming Your Character

Camp NaNo Progress (mid July 2020)

So, I set three targets and it’s not gone to plan…

Writing Goal: Finish Sky Heart

Originally finishing Sky Heart was my main goal for Camp NaNo. I always struggle with writing endings so I knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Kiely was a 2nd viewpoint in an early draft of book 2. In that draft Mariah was the MC but Kiely’s story took over. Then I cut all Kiely’s parts and made a new book in 2018 called Glide. In 2019, it was renamed Diamond in the Sky and I added to it but never finished it.

I opened the manuscript and had no idea what was going on. It has been too long. I’m lost.

Instead of working on the ending, I’ve had to start at the beginning, reading the whole manuscript and making notes. The good thing is I’ve already identified parts to improve which will help when I come to edit. I’m now up to chapter 10.

This book has always taken a back seat to book 1. As book 1 is with my editor I thought I could finally work on finishing this but I was wrong. As you’ll see below, Book 1 has demanded my attention.

Book 2 has been renamed Sky Heart and promptly put back in the back seat… maybe next month Kiely.

Publishing: Ocean Heart

I thought sending my novel off to my editor meant my job was done…

No!

Very quickly I realised how much work I have to do to launch my book. As this is a priority, I adjusted my goals to continue working on Ocean Heart.

So far I have:

  • Written a dedication.
  • Researched & written my copyright statement.
  • Researched covers in my genre to identify what I like or don’t and gather the details my cover designer needs.
  • Planning for a Giveaway.
  • Researching how to provide ARC copies.
  • Attend my first ever meeting with my editor (this Thursday).
  • Got feedback on my Blurb

Still to do:

  • Finish the instructions for my cover designer so she can start work on my covers (eBook & Paperback). For this, I still need to finalise my blurb and decide on book sizing like trim, etc.
  • Use the feedback to improve my blurb.
  • Create a space for my Street Team to access exclusive content and be the first to know my news.
  • Researching meta data
  • So much more…

Reading Goal: Agent Undone (eBook)

I’ve now reached chapter 9. My little girl is demanding more attention from me now so I get less time to read on my phone during the day, which is when I read eBooks.

Reading Goal: Sea Witch (paperback)

After work I’ve felt too frazzled to do anything but watch rubbish on YouTube – I’m not proud of the time wasted on this.

When I have had energy, I’ve worked on my writing and got so into it that I had to go to bed after, with no time to read.

But, I have made some progress. I’m now up to chapter 19 (I was at chapter 4 at the start of July).

Learning Goal: Storyseller Academy

I’ve not even logged in. I’m desperate to make progress on this course but struggling to fit everything in.

I have done some learning as I’ve been researching things like Trim Size and Copyright statements.

But, this course is about successfully publishing your novel and I know it’s full of info that would be useful to me.

So, the next half of the month I’m going to make this a priority (after anything Ocean Heart related) and let go of Sky Heart for now.

If you enjoyed this, you will enjoy:

Camp NaNo July 2020

Why you need a developmental editor!

Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Why you need a developmental editor!

I never thought I needed one. But now I have used one, I wish I’d got one sooner.

There are lots of different types of editors and each type has a purpose. When I first read the definition of a developmental editor, I dismissed them.

What a Developmental Editor does:

Always check what the editor does before paying them but usually a developmental edit includes:

  • Refine your ideas
  • Improve narrative
  • Fix plot holes and character arcs
  • How to tell your story
  • Chapter length and order
  • What to delete/expand

Why I thought I didn’t need one:

I have so many story ideas that creating a story has never been an issue. And, I enjoy solving plot holes so why’d I want to pay someone to do that for me.

I was sure I could figure out how to tell my story my way and what was needed and when. I was worried an editor would lose my voice and it wouldn’t be the story I wanted to tell.

But, I was wrong:

A good editor works with an author to support them in enhancing their story. They give you the critique you’ve always needed.

What I got:

I hired Avery McDougal after meeting author J D Groom and seeing what she had down for her with Sorceress of Truth.

Avery edited my manuscript with inline comments. She didn’t just point out what needed fixing, she also told me where I’d got it right. Her feedback helped me grow as an author, learning by studying my own writing, guided by her feedback.

She, also provided a chapter report. This was an overview of the chapter and made me aware of any issues like grammar switches.

She provided a character analysis. These gave insight into how my characters were seen and their arcs. She linked this to character arc types which helped me learn about this too.

Avery also pointed out my bad habits. Once she pointed them out I became aware and able to correct them. For example, the overuse of a particular word.

Finally, Avery included helpful guides to help me in areas she identified that I struggle.

Editors are unique

All editors are unique. Some editors might not provide the support material Avery sent me. Before parting with your money, find out exactly what the service includes. Ask other authors for recommendations.

Check out the editors listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

The reasons I chose Avery were:

  • I liked what she’d done for Jodie. I still checked what I’d get to make sure I was choosing the right service for my needs.
  • Avery does writing workshops for teens. My novel is YA fiction. Knowing she has current experience with my intended audience was a bonus. And, it certainly showed in her feedback.
  • I got quotes and the cost was something I was able to afford.
  • Avery is approachable and easy to talk to. She made herself available post edits should I have any questions about her feedback.

Working with Avery was an amazing experience. She supported me to make necessary changes to improve my novel. But, she didn’t just develop my novel, she developed me as an author.

Ocean Heart is stronger thanks to her feedback, and I’m a more confident writer.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

12 tips for self editing

Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Writing Progress: May

My Books

Camp NaNo Progress

This is an update is on how day 21 to 30 has gone.

It hasn’t been great. I wasted two evenings watching Extraction, another watching Last Kingdom and baking breakfast muffins.

On top of that I had some connection issues with Virgin Media (and I use Google Docs), and one evening I even forgot to charge my laptop so it was dead.

And, when I have gotten down to writing, I’ve procrastinated. Working from home on my laptop during the day, then editing on my laptop in the evening has felt never ending and it’s taken its toll.

Carry on reading to discover how my Camp NaNo April 2020 ended. I promise it wasn’t pointless.

#CampNaNoWIW

I am in the World Indie Warriors cabin (now called groups). On Instagram they’ve set a photo challenge:

I haven’t had time to keep up on IG but my team spirit won’t let me let it go. So, I decided to post my pics every 10 days on my blog.

#SnippetTuesday

Favourite part of the writing process

My favourite part is definitely the creating. I love coming up with story ideas and characters.

#Worldbook Day – Shelfie time!

Best writing advice you’ve ever been given

Successful authors are writers that never gave up.

Publishing is not easy and I easily could have quit my dream long ago.

A lot of time has been spent on my manuscripts, on creating queries, synopsis, blurbs and pitches. Only to be rejected. I’ve developed a thick skin and learned to use feedback to help me grow rather than take it personally.

Sometimes the task feels too big, never ending. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I wrestle with my self doubt and imposter syndrome. And, I’m becoming a stronger writer all the time.

I will publish. I know I will. I’m never going to quit.

Campfire audience: who do you write for?

Me. Initially, I write for myself, for fun. This is super important as novel writing is a marathon. Can you imagine spending that long working on something you don’t even like?

My target audience is anyone that enjoys YA Contemporary Fantasy. I’d especially like teen girls to enjoy it and be able to relate to my MC, despite her being a mermaid.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I work at a college but most of my free time is spent with my kids. I wanted to be a mum for a long time. They’re hard work and wear me out but I love them so much.

We love by the sea, nearby woodland walks and lots of farms within driving distance. When this lockdown is over, I will be taking my kids out to enjoy the great outdoors.

Favourite out of genre book

My favourite GCSE book was An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestly. It’s a period play. I wouldn’t choose to read it but had to and ended up loving it.

It was about how a family had caused a woman’s death. Independently their actions were small but collectively they had a massive impact on her life. I also enjoyed the twist at the end.

#TeaserTuesday

Cliffhangers: yay or nay?

Last day of camp – how did you do?

Jodie taught me how adjust my goal to make it more realistic. I lowered it to editing 25k words.

I started day 21 with my editing up to chapter 7. I finish Camp Nano on day 30 by editing chapter 10. That’s a total of 27,403 words edited this month. That makes me a winner!

It definitely could have gone better but I have developed a realistic editing goal. May, I’ll try to edit another 15 chapters, and June, I’ll edit the final 12. That’s rough 30k words a month.

Yesterday, I started Furlough for 3 weeks. Hopefully this will help my motivation as I won’t be staring at my laptop all day and it’ll alleviates some pressure so I won’t be as tired.

I would love to see your answers to the above. Let me know if you are taking part on IG or posting somewhere else.

If you enjoyed this post you will like:

Camp NaNo Progress (days 11 to 20)

Camp NaNo Progress (days 1 to 10)

My Books

My To Be Read Pile

Are you taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2020)?

About Me

Anyone else find it hard to write about themselves? It’s crazy considering nobody knows me as well as I do.

My author card from World Indie Warriors brochure

I’ve written lots of my own author bios but they feel prescriptive and miss that raw personal depth of a genuine connection. But, here I go:

Felixstowe is a small coastal town where friendships forged are forever. My girls from high school are now my girls on Whatsapp. After my parents divorce I was reluctant to commit to anyone. Rob was my friend and I didn’t notice I was falling in love with him until I was head over heels. A friends to lovers romance is complicated but we did it. Now we’re married with two beautiful children.

My Camp NaNo Project

IG Pic to share my Twitter PitMad pitch

I’ve been working on this novel for ten years and since deciding to self publish life has seriously got in the way.

First, my car managed to get three fines for ridiculous parking rules. These unexpected costs meant money was tight. I questioned if I could afford to invest in my dream? But, Pagan Malcom’s motivational talks on her Facebook group, Paperback Kingdom, challenged me to think, “Could I afford NOT to invest in my dream?”

I started the year with a bad cold, then I got a sick bug. Then I heard about C-19 and been dodging it like it’s the plague. Now we are in lockdown.

I’ve always been an advocate for home-working but this is not how I pictured it. I’m not going to lie, juggling home schooling, caring for a one year old and working from home is exhausting!

Is the universe testing me to see how badly I want this? Well universe, I may have slowed down but I have not stopped. This April, I am going to do Camp NaNo!

Camp NaNo Goal

I’ve set my goal to edit Ocean Heart in full (85k words). I doubt I can achieve that in a month but I’m going to try my damn hardest. Anything I can do to get back on track with my goal to publish by this summer is vital.

You can read more about Ocean Heart on my home page.

You can find me on NaNoWriMo as Redfae, but for this challenge I am team World Indie Warriors. They are supporting ‘campers’ on their Facebook page and have an IG chat group. Already they are getting me hyped to take on this challenge and I can’t wait to see what we achieve.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Boost My Bio

About Me

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

Camp NaNo July 2019

Writing Progress: February 2020

This a summary of the highs and lows of my writing this month.

Sick

Eugh! February did not start out good. I felt incredibly tired for three days and then felt better for two days. Then I was very sick. Followed by my son being very sick. Followed by my husband being very sick. And, I literally mean sick! Luckily, my daughter did not get sick and she kept our spirits up.

Sadly, her turn came later in the month when she caught a bad cold and couldn’t breathe due to a blocked nose. It was the worst night ever. I sat up cuddling her and couldn’t sleep for worrying. Then, the next day she cried over every little thing because she was tired. Even though I wasn’t ill, it took its toll on me.

Story Seller Academy

The end of last month I won a place on this content rich course by Pagan Malcolm. So far I have done Module 1 which is about mindset. I thought I had a good mindset but she called me out on some fears I had been ignoring but are definitely there and holding me back.

I need to figure out a way to fit this course into my life as I can tell it is full of information I am going to need in the coming months.

Website New Look

When I bought my site last month I discovered the theme I use is no longer supported. So, this month I updated to a new theme.

This also prompted me to review my site pages. My home page is now ‘my books’ instead of my blog. My home page also features my three most recent book reviews!

I recently learnt that Instagram doesn’t like Link Tree and shadow banned a friend for using a Link Tree link in their profile. I use Link Tree too but thankfully not been shadow banned. To be cautious the link is now to my website.

World Indie Warrior’s Brochure

I have been raising awareness to remind people that if they are an indie creative then they can be included.

I also wrote my first blog post for World Indie Warriors with more details about submissions for the brochure.

My Newsletter

I have been putting together the final touches to my newsletter and sent it on Tuesday, 25 Feb.

Be sure to sign up to make sure you don’t miss out on future emails. A form should pop up on the site to enable this but if you don’t see it, click my link tree at the end of this post and you’ll see a link to sign up.

20 years together

We didn’t get to celebrate as we were ill but we are so happy together. We have our family home, cats, kids and so much love.

Half Term

Tye month included February half term. The week started with Noah having his best friends over to play. And, the week ended in tears due to freezing cold weather at a farm.

In addition, Aria is not sleeping well at night. And, my husband and I juggled childcare around our work commitments. Those that usually help us out couldn’t.

Some days, I felt so exhausted it was an effort to get through the day. Some times I felt I was failing my kids as we didn’t do enough. But, when I asked Noah his thoughts, he told me about cuddling a bunny and bottle feeding a lamb. And, he loved having his friends over so much, he kept his room tidy. I taught him to play cards and, even though he lost, he’s determined to beat me.

Coronavirus

I was starting to feel safe again. I began to convince myself that it is under control and the cases in China were slowing down. But, with the sudden rapid rise in numbers for South Korea and Italy, I am back to worrying.

It saddens me to see how cruel some people are towards those that are suffering. It looks truly terrifying to have an invisible enemy that causes so much heartbreak. My heart goes out to all those affected.

On a positive note though, I am thinking of using all my research to write a Dystopian novel about the after mass of a deadly virus. To stop myself running away with the idea, I will lock the plot bunny in the vault. I must not allow it to distract me from publishing the Soul Heart series.

If you have enjoyed this post, you would like:

My Writing Progress – January 2020

How to make sure you don’t miss out…

Creating a catchy novel title

Do you need Beta or ARC readers?


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect: