Help out a fellow blogger + update on my book!

My friend Matthew Cook contacted me this morning with what he termed a “huge favour”. Now, I’m inclined to give this gentleman whatever he wants, because he is one of my best beta readers/editors/copy-editors/proof-readers. Not to mention he’s just a genuinely good guy. Plus, we used to play D&D in high school, so we go way back to the days of trolls and imps and THAC0 (major cool points if you got that reference).

Anyway, he’s still in university, and he’s taking a journalism course that requires him to make a blog and acquire followers. In a strange twist of academics, his grade depends not on the contents or quality of his blog, but on how many followers he acquires. Weird, right? Anyway, here’s the situation in his words:

Hi, my name’s Matt! I’m a journalism student developing a blog about cartoons – webcomics, political cartoons, and daily comic strips. I also have my own cartoons posted, about whatever seems funny to me at the time. My blog is a part of a big journalism project and I need to get more followers if I want a good grade. So if you’re interested in cartoons, come visit the site and comment if you have the time; either positive or negative comments help (the negative comments let me know what I’m doing wrong!)

Here’s a sample of his cartoons:

I figure we bloggers must stick together, and Matt’s grade depends on how many followers he can get, so let’s give him a hand, shall we? Here’s a link to his blog.

Update on my novel:

So I got my Return Evaluation back. Surprise surprise, they recommended a Copy-Edit. Siiiiiiiigh. Well, at least it’s an appropriate length now. So there’s that.

My plans to chat with my Editorial Consultant about booking the Copy-Edit have thus far failed, in that I emailed her and she hasn’t responded. And now I’m working 9-5 (at least, for the next few weeks), which also happen to be her office hours, so hopefully she’ll be flexible about setting up a meeting with me. Once I actually get into contact with her, I will hypothetically purchase a Copy-Edit, get that done in a few weeks, and then FINALLY get the darn thing published.

It’s going to happen. I swear.

Unrelated gif of the day:

Thanks Jeremy :’)

Unrelated video of the day:

Background info: A professional voice actor reads aloud the review a young man made about an online game. Hilarity ensues.

Note: Funny begins around 0:35.

Categories: Random, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Help out a fellow blogger + update on my book!

  1. Do I get points if my THAC0 is still 20? I only started 2e in September 🙂

  2. So are you publishing with self-publishing with iUniverse or with a traditional publishing house? I assumed you meant the latter, but then I saw the link to their website on your categories bar.

    • Self-publishing with iUniverse. But they sort of run it like a traditional publishing house, in that they have copy-editors, cover design specialists, etc. Except iUniverse makes you pay for everything yourself, whereas traditional publishers do it for free 🙂

      • Cool. Let me know how it works out. I’ve tried Authorhouse and wouldn’t recommend them. And a friend tried Trafford and said they were much the same, possibly because they are co-owned by the same people. Now I just do the self-thing. If you ever want to try your hand at that, I could recommend some programs.

        • I’ll keep you posted 🙂 I will probably try the self-thing next. I just wanted to give iUniverse a try and see what they came up with. They seem fairly competent so far, so I have high hopes.

        • Hi StoriesbyWilliam. Just a quickie clarification here, but Iuniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and Trafford (I believe) are all owned by Author Solutions, which has just recently been purchased by Penguin, who since collaborated with Random House (or so the rumors goes on the latter). I’m not really sure why they do business under different names, but they also charge different prices which is really weird. Anyway, I used Iuniverse and really liked them, but they are expensive. Very very expensive.

          • Oh I know, damn money grubbers! And yes, the rumors are correct. Penguin and Random House have just merged, and made lay offs, which means it is now even harder for new authors to get in with a publishing house. So kudos for doing self-pub, soon it might be the only option!

            • That definitely seems to be the way things are going. And hey, why not self publish, when traditional publishers barely market your book and take most of the royalties? Paying for stuff yourself isn’t the greatest, but no pain, no gain, right?

  3. Well, glad to hear you’re closer to publishing. I hope your job is fun. Working for a few weeks then taking a hiatus sounds like a great way to do it. Also, I did my best to help your friend with his homework.

    • Well, I wouldn’t call my job “fun”, although I do get a lot of satisfaction from sticking sticky notes on the various paperwork. Highlighting is also fun, as is stapling. The actual data entry isn’t so great. And thanks for helping out Matt! I’m sure his grade will thank you 🙂

  4. What sort of copy-edit are you getting for $2,000? Are they just going to tell you how to make your story better, or does that include a proofreading, too? If it’s just basic copy-editing (how to make the plot better, better characters, plot holes, more information, less information, etc.), then $2,000 is steep. I’ve heard of people paying more like $500-$1,000 for that.

    iUniverse does have a lot of complaints against it, so I might be hesitant to fork over that amount of money without a second opinion. (

    • Oh my god… I actually read through all of those, and I really can’t believe all of that. It’s just nuts. I mean, if even a little of that is true, it’s a pretty shady company. I hope it works out better for Michelle, because it sounds like a real Russian Roulette sort of deal. 😦

    • Yeah, I’ve heard the rumours too. But I’ve decided to go the full iUniverse route this time, and then I’ll look at the end result and judge if it was worth it. If it was worth it, then yay! And if not, then I’ll blog and vlog about it, chalk it up to a learning experience, and pursue a different self-publishing path next time 🙂

  5. I tend to agree with Keri about the cost. Do you have the option to hire an editor on your own? I know this far in the game you want to get it done. A bit of advice– Make sure it’s in the contract that after the editing is all done, they will do a final proofread included in the cost. Some charge extra for that. Keep in mind that LinkedIn has a lot of editors and come with recommendations. Word of mouth from friends is also a great way to find an editor. Lots of luck to you, Michelle, and I know this has been a hard decision for you. I’ve always been told, that if a publisher makes more money editing than selling books, then they’re in it for the money, not to sell books. I guess this doesn’t pertain to this place though. In the end, we all have to do what is right for us.

    • I know, I’m wary of them too. But like I told Keri above, I’m going the iUniverse route this time, and I’ll judge them once I see the final product. It definitely is pricey, and I could definitely get it done cheaper elsewhere, but the people I’ve worked with so far seem genuinely interested in helping me succeed, so … yeah 🙂 Thanks for the luck, and thanks for the advice!!!

  6. I want cool points for googling THACO. I went over and harassed Matt a bit. And I hope everything works out for you with iUniverse. Thank you for the random video with the cool voice. 🙂

  7. I just liked Matt’s blog, hope it’s not too late. Either way I love reading the blogs on my app. And Michelle, I had the exact same thinking as you … I went the full route with Iuniverse, including the three part editing. I had no issues with them, but I strongly suggest you do a thorough read through of your manuscript after each editing session because they missed quite a bit on my book. I also read all the bad reviews, but the deeper I searched the more I found bad reviews on every company out there. We just hear less about the good stuff, but it’s out there. I hope you have a positive experience and I can’t wait to read your book. I’m still keeping my eye out for it.

    • Yeah, I actually just received the copy-edit back, and I’ve found a few little things so far that I don’t agree with. I’m just reading from the clean copy — I’m going to have to go back through the marked up copy to make sure that the editor didn’t do anything drastic. But it definitely looks good so far!

      • they tend to miss minor things like, “the book was was really good.” Or, “I went to the a market.” Small stuff, but things other people tend to catch. Do a really good final read through, or have a friend do a read through because they are detached from the story and will pick more things up.

        • I found a really weird instance where I was describing a person’s physical attributes — like “tall, big, blue eyes, long nose” etc. (not the actual description, lol) — and the editor has decided to replace that with “tall; big, blue eyes; long nose”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find many semi-colon lists in YA fiction novels. That seems a bit overly formal for the genre … right? Or am I being too picky?

          • to be honest, it just seems like to much punctuation for a few words. I like yours better, much cleaner and less confusing. I was told by them, there isn’t really much room for semi-colons in literature, so use them sparingly. Guess they took away all mine and gave them to you. Maybe they created a semi-colon shortage? LOL. I didn’t agree with all of their changes and kept many of my own.

            • And when you decided not to accept some changes, was there any problem with getting Editor’s Choice? Because my Editorial Advisor person keeps warning me not to make many changes, or else I’ll be “ineligible for the Editor’s Choice Award”. Do they actually check the manuscript, or is that more of a general warning for authors not to go crazy with changing everything?

              • I had to do a complete rewrite to make the point of view consistent. That was a ton of work. Then it went to editing. I changed about 1% of the punctuation and maybe 25% of the characterization (which the consultant and I did not agree on). But I felt they really didn’t understand how doctors behaved in real life. I do. I stuck to my guns. The final copy of your manuscript will go to an editor and that editor will make the final decision. I don’t know if that editor is the original one or ever had any hand in the editing process. But, I didn’t changed everything and still received the award. My advice, take it all in stride, it’s still your book and your voice. The award really didn’t get me any further ahead, but I know it is a real ego boost that we sometimes need.

          • That’s not overly formal; it’s incorrect. Semi-colons separate complete sentences. Commas separate individual items. (You are definitely in the right here.)

            This is a semi-colon list that I had in my book. You can see that each item on the list is actually a separate sentence:

            “She didn’t have many rights: the Canichmehah weren’t allowed to bite anyone under the age of sixteen—which no longer applied to her; they weren’t allowed to hurt her; they weren’t allowed to bite her if she was pregnant; they couldn’t take her away from her family; when she was ready to move out of her parents’ house, they had to provide her with a place to live; and they couldn’t force her to do physical labor for them—like a slave—or demand sexual favors.”

            That’s the only time I’ve used a semi-colon list in my books. There’s not much call for them.

            • That’s pretty much what I figured. Semi-colon lists tend to come after colons, and the sentences are usually long and complex in order to warrant them. The editor insert approximately a dozen semicolons, so I’m guessing he just has a thing for semicolons, lol.

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