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Pet Peeves of an Author

28 Dec

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Louise Lyons posted https://louiselyonsauthor.com/2016/12/28/pet-peeves-of-an-author/ and tagged any of her writer friends to join in. I’d been considering posting about some of this for a while, so here goes! And go and read Louise’s post first!

As Louise said, time to write is a pet peeve. Although I’m retired and therefore theoretically as free as air, real life will insist on intruding. And somewhere in the back of my brain is a kind of demon that says that unless I’m earning as much as JK Rowling I really don’t have the right to stick to the writing and let real life go hang. I allow myself to get involved with family, friends, voluntary work, and neighbours – all part of the richness of life that then underpins writing, of course, but a writer does need time to get it all down!

I don’t mind the editing part. I have some wonderful beta readers/editors who keep me grounded, organised and thankful for their existence. It’s fascinating, sometimes, to read what you think you wrote and then find out from your editors that no, actually, you missed/inserted/twisted this, that or the other. My main editor could almost be cited as a co-author. If I leave the editing long enough I can treat my work as if it was written by someone else and am often surprised by the contents although with my detective stories I don’t usually forget who ‘dunnit’. However, a minor peeve is that minor characters will insist on getting into the wrong place at the wrong time and have to be very firmly dealt with to get everything back on track.

I do have a pet peeve concerning the typo gremlins that live in my computer or in cyberspace and invade while my back is turned/a paragraph is edited/the work flies to and fro between me and my editors. We catch most of them – the typos, not the gremlins – but I would love to banish them completely! Their favourite ways to trick/upset me are to leave extra spaces between words, miss out punctuation marks that I know I inserted, and mess about with hyphens.

My major hate/peeve is formatting. Self publishing has a number of things going for it but formatting isn’t one of them, and no, I have no intention of paying someone else to do that part for me. Well, unless I get to the JKR stage, I suppose, but that’s not likely. And even then, I’d want to control the process so I’d need to check everything myself. The Smashwords Style Guide is a haven of common sense and clear explanations. But what works for Smashwords doesn’t work for Amazon and I have recently been tearing my hair out over their rules.

A final peeve is pricing. I simply can’t work out what to charge for novels or novellas. Everything I try seems to end up with the wrong marketing position – too expensive (so browsers pass by), too cheap (so people think it’s probably not worth reading) or too free, at which point there are lots of downloads which never translate into purchases. I know as a reader that I avoid expensive e-books. Print paperbacks should be dearer than e-books. After all, e-books don’t come with all the in-between stuff like printing, storage, shipping, shelving, etc. And yes, editing comes with a cost for books published by mainstream publishers, but not for writers like myself who are self-published. Or at least, not at such a high cost. And yet do we need to factor it in? I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles on this subject but am no nearer any decisions.

So – five things that exercise my brain at the expense of writing time!! Pet peeves indeed!

I’d love some of my writer friends to join us – consider yourselves tagged!

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3 Comments

Posted by on December 28, 2016 in publishing, writing

 

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3 responses to “Pet Peeves of an Author

  1. Kat Soini

    December 30, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Right. Tagged, your say? Well alright then… This was an interesting read, though nothing surprising as I’ve heard you rant, erm talk, about all of these peeves at some point or another šŸ˜€ I’ll do this from poetry writing pov I think! It will be my first post for the new year. And if nothing happens by mid Jan, feel free to poke me with a sharp stick!

     
  2. jaymountney

    January 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Standing by with stick, sharpened!

     

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