KeepCalmProofingThere’s so much going on in the writing world. So many different types of books, trends, writers trying new things, new names, and reinventing themselves. I’m slowly embracing this and learning and loving it. I’m frustrated, but still loving it.

Along with all the new opportunities for writers, there are also new opportunities for other professionals…and those who… aren’t.

Be careful when you hire people to do your cover art. Be careful when you hire people to edit your books. Be careful when you hire people as assistants and give them access to your social media and email accounts. Ask questions, ask other authors, do your homework.

There are many great editors and great graphic artists who have been in this business for years. There are many great ones who haven’t, who bring fresh ideas and fresh looks into the business. But, there are also those who don’t know shit about editing, who don’t know shit about book covers, who don’t know shit about social media, who are hanging out their own shingles and charging money for these services they really don’t know shit about.

It’s a booming industry, after all.

editsjudgeThe other thing I’d tell authors is to get a few grammar books, a style book, a thesaurus, a self-editing book, and to download a proofreading program that can catch some of these things. Get a good grip on basic flow, something that sounds natural and normal. Read it out loud, talk to yourself

I’m no expert, but once upon a time I was an editor for Samhain. Once upon a time I had been edited by Samhain, by Loose Id, and Ellora’s Cave (they used to employ awesome editors like Kelli Collins, Mary Moran, JoSelle Vanderhooft). Each of the publishers have their own style guides, have their own proofing lists and pre-edit guidelines. I learned A LOT. And I keep all this in my head, in files, etc… And yes, my head is a jumbled and tangled mess. I still ask questions. I still learn something new with every new book I write.

I can also admit that I know nothing about graphics, that I can’t design my own covers, or website, or memes (Yet. I’m working on learning the memes.) But I do know some incredibly talented and reputable artists that I willingly hire and pay (EDH Graphics, Kendra Egert, Mina Carter, TEZ Graphics, Dar Albert, BlackRaven’s Designs…some of these ladies I’ve used, some I haven’t but know authors who have). And when I look for new artists, I always look at their full portfolio of work, because one cover or one website alone does not convince me.

What works for your covers, for your style, for your brand isn’t going to work for me and mine and what works for me isn’t going to work for you or someone else. Take hints and tips, check out the bestseller lists, but be original. There are too many copycat book covers, too many copycat plots, character profiles, etc… Be original, people. We’re artists. Yes, I know follow the trends, follow the money, follow the glitz and glam, but you can still be original…in your voice, but there are samples I read that sound just like another sample I read that sounds exactly like yet another sample. Be original. Be simple.

Then again, being part of the crowd might be the better way to go… I’ve never been one who does that. I read a comment today on a Facebook post that said basically, ‘follow the money, but find joy in it or it’s just labor’… Maybe that’s something I should take into consideration.

See? Learning…

These are all just my opinions, my thoughts, things that I see and feel. I’ll say it again…I’m no expert. I’m just another writer trying to figure it all out.

~lissa