“National Punctuation Day” is having its annual Photo Contest: deadline = 10/31/17


“National Punctuation Day” is having its annual Photo Contest: deadline = 10/31/17

Yesterday (Sunday, 9/24/17) was National Punctuation Day HAPPY NATIONAL #PUNCTUATIONDAY!

In this post is info from its founder, Jeff Rubin, about this year’s #PHOTOCONTEST!

deadline 10/31/17!

“This year we celebrate the day with a punctuation photo contest.”


As a reminder, I am an ace proofreader and offer “Last Pass” proofreading services, for those who are wondering if the proofreading you already paid for/did is sufficient (take my word for it: it’s not). https://sallyember.com/last-pass-proofreading-available/ for more information, rates and guarantees.


Here are the rules:

PREPARING THE PHOTOS

  1. Take three photos of incorrectly punctuated signage (stores, billboards, businesses, road signs, public transit, etc.), each showing a different punctuation error.
  2. Name the punctuation error(s) in each photo (there may be multiple errors, as seen in some of the examples attached).
  3. One entry of three photos per person.
  4. You must be in the photos. (see me in the “Member’s Testimonials” photo attached.) Selfies are OK. Photos with Photoshopped heads will be disqualified.
  5. Each photo must contain a caption, which will be considered when judging your entry. Be creative.
  6. Photos must be submitted in .JPG format and be no more than 2 MB each.
  7. The file name for your photos must include your last name in CAPS. For example: RUBIN photo #1.jpg, RUBIN photo #2.jpg, etc.

SUBMITTING THE PHOTOS

  1. Send your submission to jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com.
  2. In the e-mail subject header write: NPD PHOTO CONTEST.
  3. Include your name, address, and location of the photos (city and state).

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS OCTOBER 31

http://www.NationalPunctuationDay.com
jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com
1517 Buckeye Court
Pinole, CA 94564
(510) 724-9507, office

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“Last Pass” Proofreading Already Successful!

“Last Pass” Proofreading Already Successful!

NEWLY REVISED info below…

Experienced editor, writer, grammarian and excellent speller as well as college-level writing professor now available for your document’s/manuscript’s FINAL proofreading.

Found no fewer than 14 errors and made several suggestions for two SHORT pieces (brochure, poster) from recent client who told me her current proofreader and she had BOTH already “proofread” these pieces! Last Pass is excellent…and essential!

Pay me less if your piece has fewer mistakes!

Only $0.25 per error
(one quarter, USA currency, payable via PayPal or snailmail checks).

When you’re fairly certain your other proofreaders have “done the trick,” let me have the “last pass.” If I don’t find any mistakes, you pay me only $25.00 for every 200 pages, because it usually takes me one hour/200 pages (about 40,000 words), to read through for errors. All errors marked, for evidence.

Usual no-error costs:
— $5 for short pieces, fewer than 2500 words (brochures, blurbs, posters, banners, etc.)
—$10 for short stories
—$15 for novelettes
—$25 for novellas
—$50 or more for full-length plays or novels

$2 extra, per page, with or without other errors, if you want the document to be checked for formatting and consistency in usage as well as the usual proofreading checks (punctuation, grammar, word choice, capitals, spelling and typos).

— Manuscripts must be provided in as a document in MS Word or OpenOffice Word or similar format (not epub, Scrivener, PDF). $5.00 surcharge, approximately, for editing suggestions and/or if the document does not allow for mark-up changes right on the document and I have to send each error/suggestion by typing out sentences, 1 per error/suggestion.

No developmental, story or other larger editing provided.

If I deem that the manuscript isn’t proofreader-ready, I return it/do not proofread it, charging only $10 service charge.

Quick turn-around on most jobs. I am fast, thorough, accurate and correct.

No ebook or publication final formatting provided. No book design, cover design, or blurb-writing (but will proof these, when requested).

I accept almost all genres in fiction and topics in non-fiction, EXCEPT those with graphic violence, war/military/terrorist scenes or BDSM/erotica. I do not proof graphic novels/comics or artwork.


Invoiced on 4/1/17 for the first two projects for this new “Last Pass” proofreading service!

Total, $18.50
—Invoice 1, $15.00, 41 errors/concerns, 6-page brochure, fewer than 2500 words; editing suggestions cost about $5.00 extra per document, under 2500 words.
—Invoice 2, $3.50, 14 errors/concerns, 1-page poster, fewer than 2500 words.
Not April Fools, either.
Affordable, reliable, quick turn-around, excellent eye for all types of errors.
Check me out!


Contact: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com
For more information, my blog, my books, more: http://www.sallyember.com

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

I am sorry to have to post this review, but I have given the author, Amy Collins, over a month to make this right. Despite many emails preceding and after the one I quote, below, including promises of payment by a certain date and apologies for its lateness and a new promise, she has posted no payment and provided an unusually bizarre response to my having given her the deadline to respond by the end-of-business yesterday (Thursday, January 28)—see below.

I am appalled and surprised that someone who is publishing a book on writing entitled The Write Way: Everything You Need to Know about Publishing, Selling and Marketing Your Book, would unironically send out ARCs and then another version pre-publication that are both riddled with errors for reviewers.

Know this: the Author and her “publisher” (which I now think is comprised of Collins and one other person in the business) INVITED ME TO REVIEW THIS; I did not solicit her and I rarely do reviews.

After I had read about twenty pages and marked up every page, including the cover, with up to 15 errors PER PAGE, I sent her emails, left voicemails, asked her to communicate with me before I continued. I couldn’t believe this was her final draft. Maybe there was another version, I hoped?

She wrote to tell me that she had had a death in her family and while she was out, that “someone at her office sent out the wrong ARC” (there are two?). Then, for many days, she mostly did not respond (except via automated emails saying she would respond within 24 hours) for this entire communication stream.

She did send me a PDF of another ARC version which was supposedly “the right one,” but it, too, was filled with most of the same errors and some new ones. I read about twenty pages into that and emailed her back, telling her that this PDF ARC was a “new” but not a better version.

I asked for a newer, final ARC; no response. I now think there isn’t a better version (yet).

I waited a few days and sent the email, below. After reading my proposal, the author wrote back to say that she knew that I had given her a break on my editing rate (I did have sympathy for her at that point). She wrote to say that she was very grateful for my offer and agreed to pay me for my editing and postage for me to ship the marked-up edition back to her upon receipt of payment. She promised to pay “by the middle of January.”

I told her that I didn’t want to post a negative review. I’d rather that she revise and improve the book before publication: win-win. Plus, I had already completed reading and marking up the book and had marked up every page. I would be happy to get paid for my work.

January 15 came and went; no payment. More emails, more promises, and no payment, and here we are, January 28: nothing. The author said on January 18 that she had been traveling (and still is, apparently; now she’s on a cruise with other authors and publishers, publicists, etc.), but has she obviously access to the internet, since she’s live tweeting from the cruise ship!

I sent her this on Twitter yesterday (1/28/16):

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
to @NewShelvesBooks AMY: Deadline is EOB today Central USA time. My review goes live at 2 AM CST USA Friday, 1/30/16 if no payment is posted

She responded, astonishingly and terribly unprofessionally:

from Amy Collins ‏@NewShelvesBooks
Hi @sallyemberedd Grateful for all the time you put in. Had to redirect the $ to a project I am afraid. I know your review will be spot on.

To which I replied, with a quoted retweet of the above:

from Sally Ember, Ed.D. ‏@sallyemberedd
Sally Ember, Ed.D. Retweeted Amy Collins
This is known as “breach of contract” by professionals. We had a written agreement. #Youoweme #Payup

I won’t bore you with all of our previous correspondence.

In this post, then, the review occurs, starting with the email I sent the author in which I detailed for her many of her book’s most frequent and egregious errors.

Dear Amy,

I don’t know who your developmental, copy and proofreaders/editors are, but they should all be fired.

Here are a sampling of the errors I’ve found, so you know I’m not being a “troll” or pretending to know what I’m doing. You have these types and/or numbers of errors:

—3 errors ON THE COVERS (back and front and spine) in that your formatting is inconsistent (font color, size, style)
—1 error on the TITLE page (do not capitalize “by” or use it at all, actually; this is not a college essay)
—5 errors on the copyright page (no city of publication is listed; no proper copyright symbol was inserted; no need for “by”; missing colons)
—up to 15 errors(!) per page, with at least one and usually more errors on every page throughout the entire book
—TOC has no page numbers in either version, or the page numbers are wrong, and is on the verso rather than recto side
—Some pages have no numbers (the entire Glossary; all front matter)
—paragraphs and some sentences inexplicably start and end mid-sentence on many pages
— bullets are not formatted in a standard fashion within your own book; most of them are formatted incorrectly; AND, you inserted rhetorical questions within them while you BULLETED those questions(!?)
—seem to have no idea how to use (or when to use) the Oxford comma, apparently, and neither do your editors
—random sections (not consistent as to which or why) in italics
—show no permissions granted from the original authors, nor even where the pieces end, when you quote entire articles within your book
—repeating entire sentences and/or paragraphs and/or concepts from one page to the next within the same chapter, sometimes on facing pages. Word for word, sometimes
—use “so” over a hundred times, mostly inappropriately and without proper punctuation
—no standardization I could fathom for/ among and between your levels of headings regarding font, font size, font styles, alignment and/or purposes
—chapters do not all start on the proper side and you have random blank pages between some chapters (which do not result in their staring on the proper side—recto)

This and much more are wrong. I can’t even group or list all your errors.

All unacceptable, wouldn’t you agree?

I had one idea: You could use this as an opportunity to discuss the very things you warn other indies against within your book, and I would work with you on that if you choose to be honorable and do that.

Or, you could pretend it’s all fine, try to fix the errors yourself (good luck with that; you obviously have no clue how to edit your own work), and hope my review sinks to the bottom beneath all your sycophants’ fake ones.

Anyone who gives this book more than 2 stars (and that would be for content, not professionalism), is lying or has no idea how to read or what to expect from a professional nonfiction book.

I actually got quite a lot of good information from this book and do not want to slam you, but your whole “death-in-the-family—someone sent the wrong version” (in a two-person office?) sounds to me, now, like “the dog ate my homework.”

I am sorry for you any anyone who buys a poorly edited version of this book.

Here is another idea: if you pay me $400 (which is low-balling my rates, considering how much time I put into my mark-up and these emails), plus $5 shipping, I will send you my marked-up copy.

Then, when you complete all the revisions, send me a new one and I’ll review it at that point.

And, now, as we know, I will not receive any payment for my work, despite her emailed promise to do so. I still have the edited copy.

Here are some photos of the mark-ups:

write way cover
front cover of The Write Way with font, color, size errors and inconsistencies.

write way 1
There are multiple errors on almost every page and not one page without an error.

write way 2 upright
Apparently, can’t even keep paragraphs together; this occurs on several pages. How on earth does a copyeditor/proofreader not see these types of formatting mistakes?

write way 3 upright
There are up to 15 errors on some pages; this one has only 8.

Believe me, I take no pleasure in this.

I would certainly have preferred to have been paid for my time and expertise and to have had a positive relationship with this author.

I also wanted this book to be everything it said it would be and for it to live up to its title and promises. Many other authors would then be able to benefit from it.

However, since Ms. Collins doesn’t keep her word and seems to be clueless as to how to behave professionally, I am no longer surprised by the poor quality of the writing, the editing and the proofreading. Very disappointing, though, wouldn’t you agree?

Whoever did the editing and proofreading should have to refund their money to Ms. Collins. If she or anyone else continues to hire them, s/he/they should fire these horrible excuses for professionals immediately.

As I already stated, there are many great points, tips, ideas and resources in this book, if readers can ignore or get past all the mistakes and problems with the formatting, writing, proofreading and repetitions.

Especially for amy writers who are new to self-publishing, such writers would benefit from reading this book and taking notes. Do as she says, not as she does!

Try to borrow it; don’t buy this version!

Reluctantly, I give this mess of a book 2 stars, but buyer beware!

Definitely do not hire the author or her team for anything at all, ever. She calls herself a “teacher” and an “expert,” but I also found mistakes on her website (no surprise, now), which is: http://www.newshelves.com/ Do not contract with New Shelves for anything since they seem to have with no respect for agreements, unless you’re willing for her/them to decide arbitrarily to put time and money into other projects.

Sorry to have to post this saga and review. I would vastly have preferred the other plan to have occurred, as we had agreed.

When you get back from your cruise, fix your book and try to behave more professionally in the future.

proofreading-details-1
image from http://www.michellerenegoodhew.com

Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: *CHANGES* conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube

“Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: CHANGES conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube”
originally posted on http://www.asidefromwriting.com on July 6, 2015

CHANGES Theme Image_3

In early April, 2014, I had just completed and uploaded Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, of my science-fiction/romance/ multiverse/ utopian/ paranormal (psi) ebooks in The Spanners Series for adults, New and Young Adults, and joined two new writers’ groups in the East Bay (one in Berkeley and one in Hayward, California, where I had been living), when I was in a terrible accident. The resulting broken nose has been healing fine and didn’t require surgery; the concussion has proven to be a lot more problematic.

For several months, it was as if I were in a fog. I wasn’t allowed to do any serious computer work, reading or thinking (I had been about halfway through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, when I got hurt). Since I couldn’t wear my glasses without causing myself enormous pain (glasses would be sitting on the broken nose, right?), and I was overwhelmingly aphasic, exhausted, confused and injured, unable to process much, the respite from writing, reading and working seemed necessary. The accident had also caused extreme damage to my arms, hands, shoulders and upper back, so keyboarding wasn’t all that feasible, anyway. Plus, when I did type, I made more errors than words, typed very slowly (usually over 100 WPM; then, about 40 WPM, with numerous mistakes).

However, once the enforced hiatus was over, I still couldn’t return to my regular life. My memory was horrible, both short- and long-term. I couldn’t find words, or the right words, to speak or write. I no longer sounded as if I were drunk, but I was still extremely slower and less able, all around, than I had been prior to the brain injury. I usually function in the top 10 percent of intellectuals, with an extremely large vocabulary and many types of intelligence. I had been fortunate, up until the accident, to be a wide reader of many subjects, with both formal and informal education beyond the doctoral level and a larger variety of knowledge, experiences and insights than most people. Post-concussion, I was barely above-average and often, not even that.

Before the injury to my brain, I had been writing my fiction series quite quickly, often exceeding 2,000 words per day. My creativity seemed boundless, my energy matching it. Volume I’s first draft had been completed in under two months, and it was over 130,000 words. I had developed a spreadsheet to record my (very brief) notes on my series’ dozens of human, animal and alien characters, multiple timelines, overlapping realities, historical and future events and people, but most of the series’ details and plans had been in my brain which had been injured to the point of being severely compromised.

In July of last year, I discovered all I could create were short, nonfiction blog and other posts, and it took “forever” to finalize each one, since I typed sentences that were riddled with errors. Each post needed to be proofread multiple times. I could barely read others’ blogs and reblog/share, almost couldn’t read short pieces/stories.

Yes, after a few months I was improving and could do these with increasingly better understanding, but I still couldn’t return to my fiction series. My “executive functions” and “working memory” were still extremely low-performing due to the post-concussion syndrome I had been diagnosed with in June.

I wasn’t well enough to return to my “regular” life of work or writing, but I was well enough to be bored. Luckily, I had discovered Google+ the previous year. During the winter and spring of 2014, I had been attending Hangouts On Air (HOAs) somewhat regularly.

After my accident, watching videos was about the only thing I could do, since reading, writing and other glass-wearing activities were excluded. I attended and participated (when that was allowed) in many HOAs by leaving comments, questions, and interactions with others also viewing or presenting, on topics ranging from books, book marketing, authors, writing, marketing, social media, spirituality/meditation and more. I watched most on Google+, but they were also archived so I could watch those I missed on YouTube, where I found even more entertaining, informative videos. (Find me on Google+ as Sally Sue Ember)

I got into watching one HOA in particular, Lights, Camera, HOA!, run by an excellent trio of women: Meloney Hall, Rayne Dowell and Sheila Strover.

After I attended a few shows, Rayne read Volume I of my series and reached out to invite me onto the show to learn more about being in/on a HOA. The entire reason for this show’s existence is to help newbies (like me) get comfortable with the HOA format and technology, both on- and off-camera. I LOVED it! What a great service this show provides. THANK YOU! https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Bigupticksociallightscamerahoa/about

As a former actor/performer, being “on camera” wasn’t hard for me. As a writer/author, being able to interact with viewers LIVE was so much better than having readers I almost never hear from or meet. I was hooked on HOAs and wanted my own. I learned everything I could in the next several months, wondering if I’d be able to manage my own show.

What could I have a HOA about, exactly? There were an infinite number of choices. By then, I had been interviewed on several radio shows online and submitted many “author interview” posts to others’ websites, so I was familiar with that format and was beginning to feel it was somewhat overused. Frankly, and no offense to the current website(!), I find most author interviews to be awfully repetitive and, well, boring.

I did NOT want to interview authors, but I wanted to meet more authors and talk about writing as well as many other interesting topics. By the end of July, four months post-injury, I still couldn’t write for my series, but I was able to talk better and listen very well. I decided to launch in August and to have a show that I would want to watch.

Since I wanted to be around other writers and hear about their experiences, hoping to be entertained and inspired until my own writing would (hopefully) be accessible to me again, I posted on Twitter, Facebook groups and in general, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ communities to invite authors to be guests on CHANGES conversations between authors. I also ranged around to those sites that posted award winners in science-fiction, particularly, and invited many of those authors on my show as well.

CHANGES YouTube Image_3 best

The response has been more than gratifying. I welcomed Dr. Shay West as my first guest for my August 6, 2014, premier Episode, with several more super authors scheduled to be on subsequent shows. Since then, with a few planned and even fewer unplanned exceptions, I have had an Episode each week. The live show airs three or four times per month (with one week off, to rest) on Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA, and TODAY, August 5, 2015, I air my one-year anniversary show!

Amazing authors have been guests on CHANGES (http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on my website for full schedule of past and upcoming guests). I have had guests who joined me live and/or hail from France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Israel, Guyana, and many states in the USA. The authors I have talked with enrich me weekly (and my viewers as well, I hope), writing in every fiction genre and including those who also write nonfiction, plays, screenplays and poetry.

Ethnically, my guests have been American mixed-Causasian, African-American, African-Jamaican, Spanish, English, Indian (continent, not tribe), Russian, Jewish, German, Norwegian, Israeli, Guyanan, Irish, and Greek (so far). Editors, publishers (magazine and book), and translators, with an age range, as of today, August 5, 2015, of 15 – 78 years old, are in my CHANGES guests club.

Our conversational topics list is too lengthy to include here, but has been exactly as I had planned: wide variety, high-level subject discussions that are informative, entertaining, insightful, funny and poignant. My guests and I share personal and professional stories, discuss books and writing, publishing and editing, book cover artists and much more.

I am quite happy to say that, as of August 5, 2015, CHANGES Episodes (now up to 37, http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on YouTube) have garnered audiences as large as over 1000 in one day, totalling over 3600 views, so far.

My YouTube channel went from having 2 to almost 50 subscribers. I now have over 3000 followers on Google+ and Facebook, each (although some are the same people, I’m sure), and over 5000 on Twitter. Pinterest followers’ number has quadrupled; so has LinkedIn’s.

I know these are small numbers compared to many, but I’m happy that my network is growing. We receive many compliments, positive comments and excellent questions for each CHANGES Episode from viewers who watch live or later, and more watch weekly.

Since starting CHANGES, I’m delighted to report that downloads of Volume I of my series, which is permafree since I uploaded Volume II (right before my accident), are steady. I do wish for better sales for Volume II, but I’ve heard a series has to have at least three books released “to really take off.”

What’s Next?
CROWDFUNDING to meet my Goals

—I wish to convert the *CHANGES* videocasts into podcasts, for those who prefer to listen-only, but the podcast hosting sites are not free.
—I also wish to pay for my next book covers,
—I need to buy better equipment for my home videocasts, and
—I must keep writing.

However, the concussion has severely limited my ability to work and I am in deep debt. If you’d like to help, http://www.patreon.com/sallyember has a video about my goals and rewards to donors in which I sing (really; not so well, but, hey; I’m not a professional singer!), and more information.

$4 gets you a free ebook; larger donations earn you deep discounts on professional editing, proofreading and writing tutor services, all of which can do well, despite the concussion.

Concussion Recovery News
As of May, 2015, I am back to writing new parts of Volumes III and IV! Slowly, much more laboriously, with an ongoing need for referrals to notes and dictionary, thesaurus and spell-check than remembering going on, but glad to be writing!

I wish I could open up my brain and retrieve the Spanners Series ideas that had been so accessible, so easily before the concussion and look them all over, but…

logoAuthorsDen

The network of authors, book bloggers, book marketers and other writers I have been developing over the last two years has blossomed into a group I can call upon for help, advice, and exchanges. That has proved amazingly gratifying as I trumpet my announcement, below, because many have stepped forward to play a role in this next phase.

Good news: I finished the Beta readers’ draft of Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in late July! Five wonderful writers are reading it right now and will offer their sage wisdom on its improvements by late September. I then hope to be finished with the final proofed version no later than mid-October. I have already begun the cover design process with Aidana Willowraven, The Spanners Series‘ cover artist. The Cover Reveal is planned to occur on Alesha Escobar‘s site in late October. Pre-orders start 11/1/15 and the release of Volume III is scheduled for December 8, 2015!

Wish me luck!

How Else You Can Become Involved
Beta readers for upcoming draft of Volumes IV and reviewers of all Volumes welcomed! Contact me: sallyember@yahoo.com

Also, watch a few Episodes of CHANGES any time: http://goo.gl/6xjSKl Please comment on YouTube or go to the original G+ Event page for that Episode and comment/ask questions, get more info and links. I will respond!

Become/Refer a Guest! #Authors and #bloggers, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction, but not only those: learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest.

OPENINGS 8/12/15 and later this fall! For more info, schedule and past/upcoming guests list, visit here: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV.

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

Also, I’ve invited former guests and others I appreciate to Guest Blog on Wednesdays, with excellent posts, so far! Check out the Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame on my site (see below) for previous and upcoming posts.

I strongly suggest you check out others’ HOAs as well: there are some great shows out there in Google+ land! Two good places to find them (and another great G+ community, User2User: LIVE!):
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459 for User2User-Live!
Http://www.hangouteventscalendar.com for the HOA Calendar

For updates about and links to available Volumes of The Spanners Series, me as an author, my own and guest blogger’s posts, Patreon and much more: http://www.sallyember.com has all links and info. Look up or to the right and scroll.


May all who are ill recover and all who are in pain find comfort.

Best to you all!

Dear #Indie #Authors: If You Don’t Want an Honest #Review, Don’t Ask Me to Write One

AuthorsWarning
image from: http://www.pieceofcakepr.com

If You Don’t Want an Honest Review, Don’t Ask Me to Write One

Some background…
I’m an educator and an editor: I don’t mean to be harsh, but I have a red pen in my mind when I read. Can’t turn it off. Is every piece of my own writing perfect? Not by a long shot. HOWEVER, my proofreading skills, grammar-checking and spelling are excellent, particularly when applied to others’ writing.

I used to teach English writing, grammar and spelling. I have worked as an editor, proofreader and paid writer. I also used to teach kids, teens and adults, all grades, many subjects, pre-Kindergarten through graduate school, including English to Speakers of other Languages (ESL) and literacy/numeracy to adults with severe learning disabilities. I used to train/supervise and evaluate student teachers and classroom teachers. I have a B.A., master’s and doctorate in education, specializing in multicultural and teacher education.

I have had nonfiction, articles, poetry, and short fiction published and plays produced prior to self-publishing my sci-fi/romance ebooks. I write The Spanners Series‘ ebooks intentionally in the present tense, BTW, which confounds many readers and reviewers until they understand the reasons.

Degrees are no guarantee of excellence in any area, as we all know, nor is quantity of publications any indication of quality. My education and experiences are important to note, however, for background.

As a reader: I used to read about 10 books PER WEEK for dozens of years, mostly fiction. Now I read less, but mostly fiction, with some select nonfiction and recently, online pieces and blogs.

I know some stuff.

Really.

Current state of my life…
I’m also very busy. I rarely even agree to attempt a review because I’m so busy.

I’m therefore justifiably extremely picky about what I choose to read and even pickier about what I decide to review.

So, if I agree to review your book but I find that it is not well-written, not carefully edited or proofread, or otherwise NOT going to be getting a stellar review from me, I first will email you and explain my criticisms. Sometimes, I will do your critique in detail, at no small loss to my own writing time, because I truly wish to be helpful. I might not even be able to finish your book; it could be that bad.

negative-reviews-image
image from http://www.brookeharrison.com

When I review your book and it’s not very good news for you…
I will tell you that I usually get paid $100 for these kinds of critiques. I am not joking. I am also not extorting you, just making a point and asking for you to share the wealth, if you ever have any. Paypal button is on my website. You can donate $1, out of respect.

Because, if I do deign to finish your book (because your bad writing and many mistakes hurt my eyes, you should realize that I am doing you a HUGE favor to keep reading under those circumstances; imagine a musician having to listen to someone sing who is tone-deaf!), be amazed. If I further agree to review your flawed tome, the FIRST proper response from you, the author, is: THANK YOU, Sally.

Negative reviews can be helpful

How you could best react to my comments about your book…
If you are serious about being a writer and intend to continue, you should express your eagerness to consider my critique carefully. Think about how you can try to make corrections, do revisions, improve in the future. Do SOMETHING that makes me believe that I haven’t wasted my time.

If you have received only positive reviews up to this point while my criticisms are warranted and accurate, then your other “reviewers” have a very poor professional “eye” or are lying to you to “spare your feelings.” They did you a grave disservice and misled you horribly.

That is not my fault. I am pointing this out so you’ll know whose opinions to trust.

Do not hide behind those “good” reviews and do not make excuses. Do not whine about being “new” or “inexperienced.” Do not complain to me that you did not have enough money to hire an editor or proofreader, so you did it yourself or used your cousin.

If your book is not ready for publication, DO NOT PUBLISH IT. Really.

Honestly: I have given this a lot of thought before I tell you that your book is not currently good enough to merit a positive review. I give you my professional reasons for assigning your book its low rating.

What not to do when you get my email…

  • Do not call me names. (Seriously?)
  • Do not act as though I have offended you personally by critiquing your writing professionally.
  • Do not tell me you have now gone to read my book or my reviews (but not before this???) and have determined from your brief perusal (my books are over 130K words or 300 pages long) that you do not respect me or my writing and, therefore, can ignore what I’m telling you.
  • Do not tell me not to contact you and then keep emailing me or following my blog, posting about my review on YOUR blog and “calling me out” as a bad reviewer or writer, just to make yourself feel better. Your behavior is beyond appalling. You ASKED ME FOR A REVIEW, remember?
  • Do not trot out your credentials, degrees, numbers of previously published and much-loved books: I do not care. I am reading THIS one and reviewing THIS book and only this book, and my assessment stands.
  • Do not tell me how much more you know than I do about_______________(fill in the blank). That is not relevant. This is not a competition. If you actually know that much about good writing but did not apply it to this book adequately, get going to do it better next time instead of wasting your energy deriding me for noticing all the ways that you did not apply your knowledge well in this book.
  • Do not position yourself as my enemy, my judge or my combatant. What is your purpose in doing that? If my honest review of your book inspires you to denigrate me, a fellow author who donated her time and expertise to try to help you write better, there is a lot wrong with your approach to seeking and receiving reviews that I do not have the time or interest in detailing here.

News flash: Every negative review is NOT to be dismissed cavalierly by your declaration that your book “is not for everyone,” although some reviewers’ opinions certainly can be dismissed in that way. If I took the time to read and review your entire book (and almost always, I do NOT), then I thought (I hoped) that I would like your book. By definition, that means your book was written for me.

What’s true about me and you…
I am not a “troll.” I am not being unfair. I am not “slamming” you or your book. I take no pleasure in having to write a negative or mixed review. I agonize over what I know will hit you hard, especially if you have been surrounded by people telling you, sometimes for years, how great your writing is. Your writing might be entertaining, interesting or creative, and I probably already told you that. Great it is not.

I am an ethical, hard-working author who occasionally tutors writing, edits or proofreads (for money) and writes reviews (rarely, and always for free). If I mention to you that I do this for money, the “this” is not reviewing, it is my tutoring writers and editing. By taking the time not just to offer a review, but to email you (more than once, sometimes) and converse with you about specifics and ways you could improve, mistakes you made, recommendations I’m making, I have now ventured into the arena of work I usually get paid to perform.

I tell you that not to extort money from you, but to let you know that, if you find my insights valuable and you ever have “extra” money, I’d appreciate a donation that recognizes my having GIVEN you my professional expertise, having gone above and beyond what reviewers usually do. It’s an opportunity to respond with courtesy, not a requirement.

I respect most other authors tremendously. However, I am not reviewing your ideas or taking into account your desire for success, however strong they may be. I am professionally reviewing your book, author to author, editor to author, proofreader to author, educator to author.

If I have reviewed your book and you are dissatisfied with my opinions, suggestions or corrections, I strongly recommend you let it go. I will not engage with you beyond providing my critique. I do not want to get into a “flame war,” bloggers’ conflict, take sides, or other such middle-school-era nonsense.

I have writing to do.

If you are too thin-skinned (read: unprofessional), not ready, not willing to improve, AND, if you don’t know enough to respect my opinions and experience much less my expertise, so that, really, you do not want my honesty, DO NOT ASK ME TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK.

Please.

Ask your cousin.

SHARE! EXPERIENCED #editor #proofreader available for quick-turn around jobs

SHARE! EXPERIENCED #editor #proofreader available for quick-turn around jobs, any size/length, from blurbs/web content to full-length manuscripts. Will work during Holidays (don’t celebrate them, myself!).

editor needed

image from http://www.kameronhurley.com

In a very crowded field, populated with scam artists and incompetent or inadequate editors/ proofreaders, whom do you select and how do you know if you’re correct to choose that person to work with you on your precious writing?

As a published nonfiction and ebooks fiction author with many years of teaching English/Language Arts behind me, many books I’ve edited/co-written/ghostwritten and many articles, short stories, poems and scripts as well, plus my own website and frequent blog posts, I have work you can see.

YOU can decide if you want to hire me by checking my published and printed writing.

[NOTE: If you are going to read my sci-fi/romance ebooks in The Spanners Series (Vol I, This Changes Everything, is free) to see how well I edit, you should know that I wrote those deliberately in the present tense to make a plot point, not because I don’t know how to use verb tenses.]

I can help you learn more about how to write better by discussing the reasons/foundations for the edits and corrections I provide
OR just provide proofreading/copy editing with no conversation:
your choice.

With my experience and academic background, I can edit/proofread:

  • fiction, most genres and any length
  • nonfiction, any length, including marketing materials and manuals for many purposes
  • academic or professional White Papers in education and social sciences
  • articles and essays on most topics
  • literature reviews and dissertations or other graduate theses/writing in education and social sciences, using APA Style formatting

Maybe you already have an editor/proofreader you’ve used before, but reviewers or readers have complained about typos, mistakes and other problems. I can be the professional editing consultant who assesses your previous work and then honestly tells you if someone you’ve hired in the past is worth hiring again.

Editing consultations cost a lot less than paying a bad editor/proofreader for sloppy work and then having to pay someone else to do it AGAIN, not to mention dealing with the upsetting delays.

I offer great rates (negotiable; see below), quick and reliable service.

Work online via email, Google docs or Drop Box.

proofreading-essays

image from http://soopllc.com

I will:

  • assess your project by discussing and reviewing the written piece with you in advance
  • provide an written rate and completion time estimate
  • fulfill that estimate on time or early
  • check in with you before proceeding to next phase or adding costs
  • not flatter or mislead you
  • give you honest, credible, useful feedback
  • be professional, clear and accurate with my written recommendations/corrections

We can SKYPE or use Google Hangouts/Chat to discuss or go over edits. We can make the experience more of a tutorial, if desired (different rates for tutoring).

Pay via PayPal within 14 days of completion of first project.

Rates
$50/hour for proofreading (minimal) to $125/hour for extensive editing/rewriting and/or tutoring.

OR $10/250-wd page for proofreading to $25/250-wd page for extensive rewriting

minimum of $50/web content or Book BLURB.

15% discount if paid within 24 hours of submission of completed work.

20% discounts for #NaNoWriMo #authors.

NaNoWriMo

10% discount for returning customers.

10% discount for referrals that turn into customers for repeat customers.

DISCOUNTS MAY BE COMBINED!

Sense of humor and compassion: no charge.

Contact: sallyember@yahoo.com

The Anguish of Posting a 2-Star Review of a Colleague’s Book

As an #Indie #Author, I am keenly sensitive to the ways we are each other’s main support. We have no publishing house, no “team” dedicated to our book unless we gather that team ourselves and pay them individually. Because of this, I have made it a point to join groups on Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere in the blogosphere of fellow indie authors, bloggers and reviewers in order to support one another and be part of a “team.”

Some of these teams are better than others, and I have left a couple of them already (in less than a few months of membership) due to a lack of the very support I joined to acquire. However, some are excellent. #RaveReviewsBookClub is one of those. Its founder, president and fellow author, Nonnie Jules, and the team she has gathered to moderate and administrate the site and its activities (which are many!) are top-notch.

RRBC GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS:

President – @nonniejules

V. President & Mentor Program Director – @bruceaborders

Secretary & Blog Tour Host Co-Ordinator – @mlh42812

Membership Director – @kathrynctreat

PR/Marketing Director – @DanicaCornell

Newsletter Co-Ordinator – @sharrislaughter

Reviews Co-Ordinator – @voiceofindie

“SPOTLIGHT” Author Consultant – @TeriGarringer

I highly recommend joining this FREE group if you are an indie author wanting to get and provide reviews and other types of support: Nonnie’s own site (which leads to the RRBC site) is: http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

I belong to several other great Facebook groups: Clean Indie Reads, Amazon Author Support, Female Writers, Science-Fiction Romance Brigade, Gutsy Indie Publishers, eNovel Authors at Work, and more. Many have their own blog or websites and activities beyond Facebook cross-postings and support.

On Google+, I have recently joined several groups that I appreciate. Except for #BookMarketingTools, which provides biweekly Google On Air tools and info shows called “The Author Hangout,” hosted by Shawn Manahar (@ShawnManaher), I am not yet “known” or know many members since I’m not very active, yet.

I am “in” many groups on Goodreads and LinkedIn, but mostly as a reader or sometimes visiting poster/”liker”. Not active, often, as an author, yet. Very much appreciate the tips, tools, ideas and support these offer, regardless of how often I visit, comment or post.

All this is by way of saying: I am anguished to have to post a low rating and poor review of a fellow club member’s indie book. But, I just did. I had to. I do not do many reviews mostly because I am usually writing, marketing and job hunting or working as a consultant: in short, too busy. But,a requirement of joining some groups is to do reviews occasionally.

So, I recently chose a book from the options provided that I thought I’d like and began to read. You can see the results, below.

BTW: When I knew I wasn’t going to be able to give the book a positive review, I reached out to the club moderator, who was very helpful and supportive of my honesty and professional opinions. I also reached out directly to the author. I told her my dilemma and offered her some minimal feedback and also to provide more. She responded and thanked me, but declined.

Since we couldn’t communicate privately, I put my feedback into this review. I sincerely hope my comments and questions inform the author so that, when she is ready to hire an editor and a proofreader for her next book, some new team members could be hired who are better than this book had.

Review of C.E. Wolff‘s Common Denominator

Disappointing: unrealistic and 2-D characters, horrible story arc, unbelievable plot points, poorly proofread /unevenly edited

Common Denominator cover
http://www.amazon.com/Common-Denominator-C-E-Wolff-ebook/dp/B00G8SE5RC

I rarely give bad reviews and hesitate to post this one. I wanted to like this book. I was pulled in, at first. Somewhat interesting story, main characters, situations. Despite some proofreading errors, I continued. Wanted to give a new author the benefit of the doubt.

Then, the number of mistakes became ridiculous. Simple things, but signs of amateurish teamwork that are very frustrating and give indie pubs a bad name. Examples: confusions between “their” and “they’re,” “your” and “you’re,” other spelling and grammar mistakes and overall sentence structure. These all fell short of good publishing standards by a lot. Whatever this author paid the proofreader, it was too much. She should get a refund.

Not wanting to give up because I had made a commitment to review this book, I continued. Parts of the story line and the two main characters showed some promise. However, every one of the secondary characters was a stereotype, without exception. They were 2-dimensionally and boringly depicted or came across as numbingly inconsistent. Each character was an insult to some group: women, men, British citizens, gays, mothers and criminals of all kinds. “Bimbo”? Really? Calling her own sister a “wench”? Harping on age differences between lovers, then going along with it: which is it?

Why are the criminals all “sinister” with zero back stories? Why does the main antagonist have no obvious motivation? We learn more about her taste in clothes and plastic surgery than we ever do about what makes her do what she does.

The main plot, a supposed thirty-year “love” story, is flat-out ridiculous.Maybe if these characters were in their mid-twenties, we could believe they didn’t yet acknowledge/know their true feelings for each other, having been childhood friends, blah blah blah. But, they’re hovering around and over 40, have stayed “best friends” all their lives, and work together every day. Meanwhile, they continually trash each others’ dates/lovers. Unless they have recurring amnesia or personality disorders, the concept is absurd.

The female main character’s obsession with her appearance, physical attributes, clothing and underwear, even in the middle of public places, might have been funny if it weren’t so dysfunctional and unbelievable. What 39-year-old professional, educated woman, the VP of a large corporation, doesn’t know how to dress and conduct herself in public?

And, what 42-year-old male behaves sexually as if he’s seventeen? i could just be out of touch, I suppose. A president of a successful corporation who has remained unmarried and not become a parent obviously has issues.

This begs the question: what do these two see in each other? They’re each a mess. Are they supposed to be anti-heroes? Success.

Whatever she paid the editor: also too much. There is a horrible amount of repetition: I swear, the main character and her sister have the exact same conversations, about two basic topics, more than three times. So do the two main characters. Why? Does this book’s editor not know how to tell an author to CUT and when to insert new material?

The subplots are so thin as to be pulled directly from someone else’s novels and plopped into this one. Not even worth recounting. Cliche after cliche abounds without even one redeeming original moment. Could have phoned it all in.

I stuck it out to the end, hoping she would redeem it, and then POOF: it just stops. No actual ending, no resolution worth discussing.

Up until the non-ending, i was willing to give it three stars for effort and blame most of the problems on her “helpers,” but I just can’t. Two stars. Readers: not worth your time.

I was not paid to review nor did I get the book for free.

P.S. I posted the review on Goodreads and Amazon about two days prior to posting this entry on my blog. On the night of the second day the review appeared, I received this notice: “Fred liked your review of Common Denominator on Goodreads!” This book is also receiving a lot of 5-Star reviews. So it goes!