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text 2018-10-09 05:17
The case for not having your manuscript professionally edited
East Van Saturday Night - Rod Raglin

I want to thank Artsy Ally for pointing out a typo on page 15 in my new release East Van Saturday Night - Four Short Stories and a Novella (EVSN). It has since been corrected on all digital platforms and in paperback. Unfortunately, if you purchased the book in either form before September 28, 2018, you’ve got one with the error in it and maybe a few others that have yet to be discovered.

 

 Artsy Ally, a.k.a. Ally Robertson, is content producer and social media director of Access Television, a non-profit organization that airs “community stories from Vancouver, BC, with a focus on marginalized voices. Produced by volunteers and neighbours.”

 

 I reached out to her to see if she’d be interested in reviewing the above mentioned new release.

 

 The response was interesting.

 

 Robertson asked for a digital copy and said she would “hand it off to someone who may read and review it. If they decide to do a review, we will have you come into the studio for a short interview.”

 

That sounded encouraging, and I sent an e-pub version immediately. The following day I received her response.

 

She began by saying “Your stories have merit and I enjoyed the memories they stirred in me. I really enjoyed the chapters with Chris’s attempt at crossing Canada. ... I found East Van Saturday Night to be more like a one story novella with chapters, as the stories are of the same character.”

 

Robertson then proceeded to tell me she too was a self-published author “at the moment,” and she would “highly recommend you have people proofread your work before you publish. I am trying not to be highly critical, but as a former book publisher who published over 60 authors, I have some experienced suggestions for you. I found there were some issues with the book I just couldn’t overlook.”

 

Robertson said the book contained “plenty of grammatical errors” as well as “simple spelling mistakes.” Other issues she “just couldn’t overlook” included “un-announced dialogue switching” and “proper scene changes” which the book “desperately needs.”

Her suggestion was to have “a good proofreader go over it and you re-edit.”

 

I have an incredibly thick skin. I look at constructive criticism as a way to improve my writing. Accordingly, I sent the following response to Artsy.

 

Dear Ally,

 

No offence taken, in fact, thank you for your suggestions.

 

Scene changes can also be indicated by adding an additional blank line space, which I prefer over asterisks. However, I realize this style works better in print than in digital as the formatting may diminish it or eliminate the space altogether. I plan to take your suggestion and revise the manuscript inserting asterisks to indicate scene changes.

 

When errors are pointed out, I fix them and upload the corrected manuscript to all my digital and print publishing platforms. New readers will find one less mistake, though unfortunately, that doesn’t help those who have purchased my book with the typo.

 

When I write, I have two computer programs (Grammarly and ProWritingAid) filter the work. After a minimum of three revisions, I send the manuscript to three beta readers. Despite this rather thorough process errors are still overlooked.

 

Excuses and expenses aside, I will endeavour to do better.

 

Rod

 

Robertson replied saying I might be able to “find a student willing to do it (proofread) for $1.00 per page.” She was lucky enough to have her novel, Epic Crazy Love “go through 3 editors and a proofreader long before I re-published it myself.”

 

So now that you’ve got context let’s draw some conclusions.

 

Apparently, Robertson doesn’t think three beta readers, two computer editing/grammar programs and the author have the editing prowess of a student paid a dollar a page. Maybe she’s right.

 

More importantly, though, I’m interested in how well her novel is doing considering it went “through 3 editors and a proofreader” before it was self-published.

 

Epic Crazy Love was published in April 2017. Here’s the blurb accompanying the book.

 

Can two reunited soul mates conquer deceit, begrudged malice, extortion, multiple mental and physical traumas and maintain an intense, lasting, abiding love?

 

To date, Epic Crazy Love has one, five-star review. Here are its rankings on Amazon.

  • #18011 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Westerns
  • #27965 in Books > Romance > Western
  • #159502 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Contemporary
  • #3,393,001 overall on Amazon’s Paid in Kindle Store

“I did love the story (East Van Saturday Night) itself,” Robertson writes, “but reading it, it was difficult to overlook all of the little things that threw me off as a reader. Paying someone to proofread will really kick it up a notch and make your work great.”

 

Or maybe not.

 

But here’s the kicker, Artsy Ally, didn’t pass along my book to the reviewer saying, “Due to the adult content I don’t think it’s a good match for us to review for you, I don’t think it would be something Susan would enjoy reading so I won’t pass it along.”

 

Add censor to Robertson’s list of accomplishments.

 

Some days...

 

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs.

 

 

Access Television https://www.facebook.com/ACCESSCOMMUNITYTV/

Ally Robertson

 

http://ArtzyAlly.com

 

Epic Crazy Love

https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Crazy-Love-Ally-Robertson/dp/1770650717/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538433910&sr=1-2&keywords=crazy+epic+love

 

Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-15 06:41
Four short stories and a novella depict coming of age in East Vancouver during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.
East Van Saturday Night - Rod Raglin

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.

Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

- Oscar Wilde

 

 

East Vancouver has become gentrified and at the same time romanticized. It was neither when I was growing up on East 4th Avenue in ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Indeed, it was the neighbourhood you hoped to get out of rather than move in to.

 

A low-income, blue-collar neighbourhood, adults spent their evenings and weekends in the Legion while their kids were raised on the street. They left home in the morning, showed up for dinner, and were gone again until “the gun” sounded at 9 p.m. I was one of them.

During the time away adventures were undertaken, friendships were forged, and character was created. East Van Rules was not only meant as a challenge, but also a code to live by.


East Van Saturday Night - Four short stories and novella, highlight coming of age events during that era; a ten-year-old playing for the elementary school softball championship, a teenage tough strutting his stuff at the local dance, a hippie youth hitchhiking across Canada during the Summer of Love.

 

Watershed moments told from a perspective that explains why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you'll never take East Van out of the boy.

 

Now available in E-book or Paperback at

 

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2018-04-01 07:22
Kill Your Darlings - Yellow Team (My Wrap-up Post)

Books Read:

As Death Draws Near (A Lady Darby Mystery) - Anna Lee Huber Daughter of the Siren Queen - Tricia Levenseller Gunslinger Girl - Lyndsay Ely,James Patterson A Man Lay Dead: Inspector Roderick Alleyn #1 - Ngaio Marsh Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller An English Murder - Cyril Hare The Gender End - Bella Forrest Zero Limit - Jeremy Brown   Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco A Brush with Shadows - Anna Lee Huber The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman Artists in Crime - Ngaio Marsh Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen Craven Manor - Darcy Coates The Masked City - Genevieve Cogman The Burning Page - Genevieve CogmanThe Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #10) - Joseph Delaney,Christopher Evan Welch Death in a White Tie - Benedict Cumberbatch,Ngaio Marsh  

 

 

Round 1- 5 pts
As Death Draws Near: (Author starts w/ A in Arsenic) Crime Scene- Arsenical Toothpaste 

Round 2- 5 pts
Daughter of the Siren Queen: (Book w/ animal in story) COD- Mauled by a Demon Hound

Round 3- 5 pts
Gunslinger Girl: (Main character carries a gun) Victim- The Gunslinger

Round 4- 20 pts
A Man Lay Dead: (Main character is a doctor) Victim- Dr. John Watson

Round 5- 25 pts
Daughter of the Pirate King: (Author Last Name begins w/ L) Suspect- Harper Lee


>>Collect Victim- Ariadne OliverAn English Murder by Cyril Hare (Book set in U.K.)


>>Collect Victim- Lydia BennettThe Gender End by Bella Forrest (Annoying character-King of Patrus)

Round 6- 20 pts
Zero Limit: (Read a book set in the future) Crime Scene- The Hob, District 12 

Round 7- 15 pts
Hunting Prince Dracula: (Read a YA book) Cause of Death- Killing Curse


>>Collect COD-Run Over By A CarriageA Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber (Author Last Name Begins with H in Horse)

Round 8- 15 pts 

The Invisible Library:  (Author's first name begins with G In Meg) Victim- Meg Murry


>>Collect CS- The Dark TowerArtists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh (Series >8 books)

Round 9- 10 pts
>>Collect CS- WattsWake of Vultures by Lila Bowen (Character is a POC)

Round 10- 10 pts
>>Collect Suspect- Stephen KingCraven Manor by Darcy Coates (Read a Horror Book)

Round 11- 20 pts 
>>Collect COD- Stabbed w/ a Sword The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (Silver on Cover)


>>Collect CS- Green Dragon PubThe Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman (3 Word Title)

Round 12- 20 pts 
>>Collect Victim- Atticus Finch The Lost Page by Genevieve Cogman (Author Last Name Begins with C in Finch)


>>Collect COD- Bow & ArrowLure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney (Teenage Hero)

Round 13- 10 pts 
>>Collect COD- Dark Alley Beat Down Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh (Book written b/t 1925-1975)

Overview:
Victim 1: Atticus Finch ✔ 10
COD: Bow and Arrow ✔ 10
CS: Watts, LA ✔ 10 

Victim 2: Ariadne Oliver ✔ 10
COD: Run Over By A Carriage ✔ 10
CS: The Dark Tower ✔ 10

Victim 3: Lydia Bennet ✔ 10
COD: Dark Alley Beat Down ✔ 10
CS: Green Dragon Pub ✔ 10

Victim 4: John Watson ✔ 20
COD: Stabbed by a Sword ✔ 10
CS: The Hob, District 12 ✔ 20

Murderer: Stephen King ✔ 10
Incorrect Guesses: Six ✔ 30


Total Points: 180 

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text 2018-04-01 03:07
Kill Your Darlings - Yellow Team (Round 11, 12 & 13-Finale)
The Masked City - Genevieve Cogman
The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman
The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman
The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #10) - Joseph Delaney,Christopher Evan Welch
Death in a White Tie - Benedict Cumberbatch,Ngaio Marsh

Round 11
>>Collected COD- Stabbed w/ a Sword- Read The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

(Silver on Cover)


>>Collected CS- Green Dragon Pub- Read The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

(Three Word Title)

 


Round 12
>>Collected Victim- Atticus Finch- Read The Lost Page by Genevieve Cogman

(Author Last Name Begins with C in Finch)


>>Collected COD- Bow & Arrow- Read Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney

(Teenage Hero)

 



Round 13
>>Collected COD- Dark Alley Beat Down- Read Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh

(Book written between 1925-1975)

 

 

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text 2018-03-25 08:27
Book Awards - To compete or not to compete?

To compete or not to compete?

 

Does entering writing competitions achieve anything other than deplete your bank account and inflate others?

 

Maybe - for the few who win, place or show.

 

Last year I researched contests, this year I'm entering them.

 

Why?

 

My writing career is going nowhere and doing the same things and expecting different results is a definition of insanity, right? So to delay that diagnosis last year I sent East Van Saturday Night - five short stories and a novella to maybe a dozen traditional Canadian publishers hoping they could take some of that grant money they get from the federal government and publish my book. Indie authors get no respect, and in most cases don't deserve any, but traditionally published authors get it whether they deserve it or not.

 

Most didn't even bother to reply, a few sent generic rejections and one, Thistledown Press, actually wrote a letter saying "while your writing is fresh, visceral and intuitively captures the rawness of youth and the dark energy of East Van, we do not have an audience presently to support such work."

 

Nice, but no cigar.

 

This year I'm thinking some recognition from a notable contest might generate some interest among readers and publishers. At the very least I could use the phrase "award winning" or "shortlisted" to stimulate my webpage and social media sites.

 

I began by submitting The Death You Choose, a story about a senior who realizes he has dementia and decides to take his own life rather than be relegated to the living dead, to Writer's Digests' Short Short Story contest in January.

 

The fee was $30 and the submission was an online so no additional costs were incurred.

I can't find out who won, but obviously it wasn't me, however, the fee might have been worth the exercise in editing a story about four times too long down to the required 1500 words.

 

Next I entered The Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction sponsored by Prism, a literary publication put out by The Creative Writing Program of the University of British Columbia.

 

I was ambivalent about this submission because I feel there's an inherent bias in favour of submissions from fellow academics, and that's not me. I mean how would it look if someone without a degree in Creative Writing won a contest sponsored by a Creative Writing Department?

 

However, they kept extending the deadline which I interpreted as they were light on submissions, which means my work might have a better chance. Publication in literary magazines can fast track a career. I know it's hard to believe, but in Canada it's true.

So I sent in East Van Saturday Night and the Paper Shack, two short stories from the anthology that traditional publishers have all but given up on.

 

Why two? The entry fee for one was $35, and only an additional five bucks for a second one. Again, an online submission so no additional costs.

 

Results are pending.

 

I chose my novel Abandoned Dreams to submit to the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards in the category of literary fiction. Here's where it starts to get expensive and that question about sanity begins to arise again.

 

Submission fee is $99.00 CA plus you have to send a paperback so add $20 for the cost of the book and shipping.

 

The submission process was the same for The National Indie Excellence Awards to which I submitted a paperback edition of Mad Maggie.

 

By the middle of April I plan to submit Forest to The Book Pipeline Competition which seeks material for film or television adaptation. They want approximately the first 5,000 words and full synopsis (1-3 pages). I think a good movie about Sasquatches is long overdue, don't you?

 

And once I finish this blog I'm going to submit The Big Picture to the 2018 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest to get their early bird discount of $89 USD. I'm entering this competition primarily because I like that "all entrants receive a mini-critique which will provide ratings on five key literary areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability."

 

If you lose, at least they tell you why?

 

As the year progresses I might even enter more contests - until I run out of money, or go back on my meds.

 

Want to preview the books I've entered? Go to my Amazon Author Page at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Readers' Favorite Annual Book Award Contest

https://readersfavorite.com/annual-book-award-contest.htm

 

The 5th Annual Book Pipeline Competition

https://bookpipeline.com/

 

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

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