WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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GIVING YOUR REVISIONS THE 1-2-3 PUNCH OF SUCCESS!!

by Donna L Martin

 

In November 2015 I challenged myself to write a novel in one month and LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND was born. In December 2018 I challenged myself to create an early reader chapter book series based on historical events and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams was born. In May 2019 I challenged myself to write book two in the series and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck was born. Now I’m researching my historical facts for book three, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris. As writers, some of us may think we can create the perfect masterpiece the first time we lay fingers to keyboard, but for the rest of us, we know where there’s writing there’s revisions.

You can either play it safe and do a quick once-over before you say revisions are done or you can give your manuscript the actual 1-2-3 punch it needs to give it the best chance to attract the attention of an agent or publisher.

 

PUNCH ONE…STANDING ON YOUR HEAD

 

One way to revise your story is by changing how you view things. You don’t really have to stand on your head to look at things in a new way. Change the setting. Pick an alternate point of view. Even write a new beginning. Lying on the floor will give you another view of the world so why not stand your manuscript on it’s head and see what you can see differently from down there?

 

PUNCH TWO…PLAYING WELL WITH OTHERS

 

Solitaire may be a game best played alone but when it comes to writing, it’s not as solitary an endeavor as one might think…or at least it shouldn’t be. If you have taken the time to become friends with other writerly types you have access to potential critique partners. Two sets of eyes can catch a lot of things going wrong with a story but twelve sets of eyes might even be better. Taking the time to cultivate CP relationships gives your manuscript its best chance of becoming polished perfection.

 

PUNCH THREE…BECOMING EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

 

Don’t you love it when Edward Scissorhands takes the time to create those beautiful ice sculptures? He’s not afraid someone might laugh at him. He’s not worried about the outcome because he’s confident the end result justifies what it takes to get there. Don’t be afraid to leave unnecessary words on the cutting room floor. Don’t hesitate to kill one of your darlings or even rewrite the entire first chapter of your manuscript if that’s what it takes to make that baby shine!

No one ever said writing would be easy. No one ever said the path to publication was lined with simple solutions to achieve that coveted book contract. But then, again, no one’s ever said we writers aren’t fabulous WORD WARRIORS capable of executing perfect prose if we put our minds to it, so grab your story and treat it to a 1-2-3 punch of success!

 

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books

They make great stocking stuffers!

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams
HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck

 

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Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

 

An Indie Author’s Journey: Editing & Accounting

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

I’ve finished all the first level revisions of LUNADAR so now it’s time for…

 

STEP FOUR: EDITING AND ACCOUNTING

 

After finishing the first draft, I set my manuscript aside for a few weeks before starting any revisions. I needed time and distance away from LUNADAR so I could look at it with fresh eyes and a new perspective. But after revising my story as far as I could go, there still comes a point when someone with more editing experience needs to look at it.

Professional editing services vary depending on what type of editing is needed. Basic proofreading averages $1,200 or more for a 100,000 word manuscript, with copyediting averaging over $2,000, and developmental editing costing up to $9,000 or more.

What’s a poor gal to do?

I started out running my manuscript through the basic editing algorithm for Word and then ran the story again through Grammerly’s free program (www.grammarly.com). I then requested the help of beta readers to work on the developmental editing arena. Finally, I received the special help of a friend of mine who offered to line edit my manuscript for free. I’ve known Steve for over ten years and with him having a background of reading and editing numerous fantasy novels, I felt confident he would be able to point any plot holes needing filling.

End result, LUNADAR went through an advance edit for FREE. For this poor gal’s budget, FREE allows me to focus my limited finances on other areas while still focusing on providing the strongest story line I can.

I also set up my basic accounting for Story Catcher Publishing to keep track of any business expenses related to my writing and publishing work. Again, I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a bookkeeper familiar with small buisness requirements so she was able to provide information on setting up my EIN as well as what I should be tracking for end of year taxes. Here are the areas I track:

  1. Contract Labor…fees I’m paying for book cover design and illustrations.
  2. Office Supplies…paper, pens, ink, toner, tape, folders, envelopes, etc.
  3. Advertising…business cards, flyers, postcards, banners, etc.
  4. P O Box fees…I use a post office box for my business mail.
  5. Utilities…I have a separate office as well as a secondary desk in my livingroom so a portion of my utilities can be written off.
  6. Office Equipment…my new computer, printer, filing cabinet, etc.
  7. Interest…any interest on my credit cards where I make business purchases, or a portion of mortgage interest can be written off.
  8. Event Expense…any entrance fees or rentals to attend community festivals, book fairs, book signings, etc.
  9. Professional Fees…my fees for SCBWI, CBI, industry magazines, seminars, workshops, etc.
  10. A T & T…internet fees.
  11. Repairs…a portion of home repairs when in relation to my business office.
  12. Book Donations…costs of books donated to school or public libraries, book fair giveaways, and donations to community groups.
  13. Car Repairs…portion of repairs due to traveling to events, meetings, etc.
  14. Mailing Fees…stamps, money order fees, shipping expenses, etc.
  15. Car Insurance…portion of car insurance in relation to business travel.
  16. Car Tags…portion of car tag expense in relation to business travel.
  17. Tax License…any business tax fees.
  18. Mortgage…portion of mortgage in relation to business office.
  19. Software…all formatting, editing, book design, or other publishing software program costs.
  20. Other…anything business related not covered under any of the other areas like mileage, gas, travel expenses, etc. that I haven’t generated enough yet to warrant setting up a separate file.

At the end of the year my friend has also offered to look over my taxes to make sure I’ve filled out all business forms like Schedule C correctly. This will greatly reduce or even eliminate tax preparation fees which puts a smile on this gal’s face!

Next week I’ll share how I went about choosing a quality book cover on a poor gal’s budget!

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International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is schedule to be released in the fall of 2018.