Book 4 is Now ‘Proofread’

For those of you following along in this series of posts on ‘how to be an author’ (or maybe it should be called ‘All the Annoying Things That Come Between An Author and Writing’), you won’t be surprised to learn I’m now at the stage where I’ve received my book back from the Proofreader. The good news about this stage is it is much quicker than trying to fix all the faults the Copyeditor found. The Proofreader simply corrects your grammar, spelling and punctuation — you know, like the English teacher at High School. The difference is your school essay was 1,000 words and you didn’t even have to look at the corrections, unless you were one of ‘those kids’. A book, however, is 50,000 words or more and you’re supposed to go through it and Accept or Reject every single suggestion the Proofreader made.

The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes is 54,000 words and full of dodgy punctuation, apparently. What can I say, I’m working on it! The good news is, when I’m done, there’s only the formatting to do and then it’s ready to publish. The cover is being developed, even as I write this. Mid-May is looking good. Meanwhile, don’t forget to visit my Amazon Author Page for all my other books while I treat myself to a nice cup of tea.

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The diligent author (that’s me, btw) works hard to ensure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed and there are no plot gaps or loose ends, before sending his or her precious work off to the copyeditor. The copyeditor, not understanding the care and attention lavished on this particular manuscript sits down to find many of all of those things. That is to say, I have book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes back from the editor and I’ve worked most of today fixing up everything the editor spotted and I didn’t. I’ll be lucky to finish before tomorrow night.

After today, I’ve decided the only part of writing I actually like is the first three chapters of a brand new book. Everything after that is hard work or, like marketing, just plain dull. Still, the important part is I have my masterpiece back and I’m working on the changes. The schedule is still not ‘broken’. Bent, perhaps, but not broken. Mid-May is still the publishing date, provided all the other people in the process are available and deliver on time — as they have done in the past. For those of you waiting, I hope that gives you hope. For those who haven’t yet done so, you can check out all my books on my Amazon Author Page.

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The Frustrating Part

The most frustrating part of writing a book is when you hand it over to others to do their ‘thing’ and you’re forced to wait for them to return it with their ‘thing’ done. No matter that you, the author, have procrastinated for days over the weeks of writing, somehow their time is longer than you feel it should be. In my case, it maybe because I fear they procrastinate as much as I do and I don’t approve. My slowness is the ‘working out of the author’s vision’. Their slowness is just laziness.

All of the above is just to say, I haven’t yet received back from the editor my precious manuscript — The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes. They aren’t actually late. In fact, it’s highly likely the edits will be received on time. It’s just frustrating they aren’t early.

However, my time is being well filled by researching and planning my next book. The plans are coming along nicely. I suspect, the book will be my usual slow production when I do start writing. I’m quicker at planning than writing. Meanwhile, as always, visit my Amazon Author Page and check out all my other books.

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Researching the Next Book

As I wait for my manuscript, The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes, to return with editorial comments, I’ve been researching for the next book. Researching is a just long word for ‘reading books’.  I’d like a change of pace from a series’s least a series that requires maintaining the characters and story through four sequential books. If I do another series it will be of the kind where there’s a central character that stays the same but the stories are all different.

That said, I’m thinking of a ‘cozy mystery’. I’ve always liked murder mystery stories, Miss Marple is a particular favourite. She reminds me of many of my aunts when I was a kid. They were all nurses and some of that old-fashioned nursing attitude was built right into them. I think it was no accident that Agatha Christie had Miss Marple doing nursing in WW1. My research is supposed to be helping me narrow down the time and place, as well as who my amateur sleuth will be. Maybe, it will. Anything is possible:-)

Meanwhile, while you’re waiting for War of the Institutes to arrive, check out my other books at Paul James’s Amazon Author Page.


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Self-Editing Complete

Still moving forward on The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes to the extent I’ve now sent the manuscript to a real editor. If you don’t write books you may wonder why I’m claiming this as a great milestone:-) If you do, you’ll know we authors are never sure enough about what we’ve written to send it out to anyone, let alone an actually editor. I’m expecting the edited manuscript back for final corrections around the 14th.

After I make the final corrections or rewrites, the book will go for final proofreading, and final corrections on my part, before publication in early to mid-May. For those of you keeping track, this is pretty well on the schedule I set earlier in the year. If it happens, it will be a modern miracle!

After this book, I’m taking a rest from young adult science fiction and trying my hand at a cozy mystery. I’m hoping it will be a kind of vacation. Only time will tell:-) Meanwhile, for those of you who haven’t already, there’s still time to read books 1 -3, which you can buy at my Amazon Author Page.

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Editing Complete-ish

Thanks to the virus keeping us all indoors, I’ve had plenty of time for editing. (For those of you writing a first book, don’t let my grumpiness about editing put you off.) I’ve now gone through the book twice and it’s almost there. It just isn’t dramatic enough at the high points yet. Or is that just me being too close to the story to see?  The life of an author is one of eternal self-doubt, as you can see from this weekly blog.

The next few days will see final re-writes and then off to a real editor; i.e. someone who does this stuff for a living. (I can’t imagine who would want to!) That takes about three weeks, there are two types of editing going on in that time, and then the manuscript goes to the formatter. The formatter creates the three different electronic files needed for Amazon (Kindle), the opposition (Nook, Kobo, etc), and also for the paperback copy.  That’s another 1 – 2 weeks. Then I publish. Those of you who are schedulers will see that means a publishing date somewhere in mid-May, if all goes well. Not quite per my 2020 Business Plan but close enough.

Meanwhile, while you wait, don’t forget to visit my Amazon Author Page for the books I already have published.

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Spring Delayed (Again!)

After a brief warm spell that may have been spring, only time will tell, we’re back to freezing here in Canada’s sunny south. Zero degrees C is our ‘high’ today with 100% chance of snow overnight. Having just returned from a walk in the woods with my trusty camera, I can verify the lack of heat. I’ve been warmer on the same walk in January before sunrise. We are not amused.

My lack of amusement extends also to the editing of book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes, which is not reaching the summery heights of being complete. Throughout the past week of consistent reading and revising, I’ve found many gaps and duplications. I’m not sure I even wrote this book! Today, however, I hope to find the work I did yesterday has solved the last problem and it will be smooth reading to the end — I hope.

One bonus of all this editing is, I haven’t had to wonder what I can do while self-isolating myself from the rest of mankind. Authors are generally self-isolated most of the time anyhow and, for me, the past week has been another successful example of that. Maybe the many problems of book four are an example of the amazing workings of fate. I’ll choose to think so. That way I won’t throw the laptop and book out of the window, which is what I’ve wanted to do all week. Meanwhile, please visit my Amazon Author Page for the books I have actually written and published. Book 4 will join them there soon.

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Editing! Ugh!

I finished my first draft of The Modest Proposal Institute, Book 4: War of the Institutes with a flourish during the week. It was exciting. Now, however, I’m in the editing phase. Preparing a second draft that could go to an actual editor. Writing may be painful but editing is numbing. I’m beginning to agree with all those writers down the centuries who’ve commented along those lines. Dr. Johnson, for example, said ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.’ I’m sure he started out writing for pleasure, like all of us, and then finding it difficult work.

For me, doing a series is what’s changing my outlook to one along the lines of Dr. Johnson. Series are harder than standalone books, as I’ve discovered. If you’re reading this and just setting out on your author career, here’s my advice — single books first, then a series, if you must.

The good news is, of course, I’m now editing the first draft; a point in time I had doubts about ever reaching only a few weeks ago. For those of you saying to yourselves, ‘I wish he’d stop talking and just finish the book’, it means I’m closing in on that great event. The month of May is still looking good for a publishing day.  Meanwhile, as always, checkout my Amazon Author Page for one of my other fine books:-)

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Spring is Here! (I Think)

Our local groundhog guessed correctly this year on Groundhog Day. We do seem to be having an early spring or it could be I’m just in a sunny mood because I’m still writing lots of words. I’m hoping it’s both.

The Modest Proposal Institute book 4: War of the Institutes is progressing like a spring lamb — in leaps and bounds. At least so far as words are concerned. Whether there’s a story there when I run out of words or if it’s a different story to the one I was supposed to be telling, only the editing will show. My plan was to have this book published by the end of April and, in theory, that’s still possible.  So those of you waiting for this latest instalment, keep primed and ready to read.

Meanwhile, as always, check out my existing books on my Amazon Author Page for a book to tide you over until the big day arrives.

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Another Week of Progress

After my long period of doubt and despair some months ago, I’m now practically flying on Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute, tentatively titled War of the Institutes. Part of the reason for my newly found energy is that my deadline is approaching, which is always a motivator for me. The other major part of my renewed optimism is my re-planning of two weeks ago. Resetting the story in my mind, and focusing on the high points of the story, has boosted my writing production enormously. That’s a tip for all you authors out there who are struggling — step back, revisit the story plan and then focus on the high points.

Having said all that, here’s hoping it continues to work for me:-) Meanwhile, don’t forget, you can find all my books to date on my Amazon Author Page.

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