Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

ups and downs

Sitting here at the keyboard, I am enjoying the sight of the columbines out my window, allergy season not so much, and re-edited an Oregon historical manuscript that is due out June 21st. 

 this is not the cover, but I played with it as a possibility

Where Dreams Go has been edited, time and time again. This edit is the one ahead of when I hand it over to a beta reader. He has read a lot of my books, maybe all of them, been a friend, knows a lot about Oregon history, and has proven to be good at finding errors I missed. I think the first time I experienced his skill was in Desert Inferno, where I had a heroine, who didn't care much for coffee. She was sitting on her patio, enjoying a desert morning-- sipping coffee. Okay, I might have gotten by with that if she hadn't been sipping tea only a few lines down. He caught that one, and he's been good at it ever since. 

Finally it dawned on me to ask if he'd consider being a beta reader. There is no money in it, but beta readers do get many thanks, the book free, now and again a paperback or bookmarks, and the satisfaction of telling the author-- you goofed. Mostly they are looking for inconsistencies in the author's logic, but anything else they find is a plus.

Besides not having beta readers, I also haven't had editors. A major no-no to the ePublishing world. The experts, and pretty much everybody else, are adamant that you must have editors as no writer can edit their own work. I believe they can, but it takes hours and hours, doing it many times with distance between the reads, and is a pain in the neck job as it's a word for word job. It has none of the excitement of writing the first draft or reading a book for the first time.

This week, our ranch lost a calf. Fortunately Ranch Boss saw the problem and was able, with a lot of muscle, to pull the dead calf and save the mother. It was too big for her. These things are tough; but on the same day, another heifer had hers without problem, but that was due to its being smaller. 

Currently we are trying to get our shearer out here, but this is his busy season which means we work around his schedule. They are doing okay although we did have one lamb break its leg, something that is generally fixable. The question in such cases is always-- how on earth did it do that?

Weather in my part of Oregon has been a mix of gray to beautiful blue skies. We are now though in a warm streak with temps up to 80ºF this week-end. The garden is tilled and ready for planting, even if it is 33ºF in the morning. Normally, I buy bedding plants about now, but this year I can't buy from any source that will not promise me that the plant was not grown using neonicotinoids or their ilk.If you are not familiar with the concern, here is but one link: 

When you think about it, it's not hard to figure out that if a product becomes part of the plant and kills insects, why not bees. With the great concern over hive collapses, it seems to me that we home gardeners must do our part to see this product and those like it are no longer used. Petitions are nice but kind of do nothing. When you vote with your dollars, growers and manufacturers hear you. In my case, if I can't get guarantees of the plants being safe, it's the year I'll grow them all from seed. 

I have also read that these products are not healthy for pets. We would like to think we can trust our nurseries or stores. The truth is-- we need to ask questions. If they say they don't know, then bye-bye. I am grateful for the researchers who reveal such problems to us and give us a choice. Science is wonderful for what it can do-- Of course, the science that told me of the dangers of neonicotinoids was used by a corporation to develop the product to begin with... 

What most of us want as consumers is full disclosure, and that for all those working to come up with new products, there are others assessing them for their safety. I know not all people value science. Some even want to cut budgets for any research. That's where consumers again need to be educated and vote their personal ethics and concerns.


Linda Kay said...

Beautiful sky with a cloud in your picture today, Rain. I do believe in having readers and at least one editor before I go to publish, and I belong to a critique group that is very helpful. Have a great weekend!

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, and some writers benefit from having beta readers as another way of getting their books a jump-start in the rankings. Recently I saw a request for betas with the condition being that they would do a review right away and buy the book the first day it came out. The author would put the book out for 99¢ that day for their benefit. There would be other swag as rewards. You can see how that gives the book a lot of sales and positive reviews (the request did not say they had to be positive but it's hard to believe a beta reader who gave a negative one would be asked to do it twice).

I used to put more stock in reviews (for my own book purchases) when they were verified. Now I’d say that a lot of reviews, all at the same time, likely are ones set up ahead of time. I can't deny it probably is smart marketing. I was told by one marketing person that he could get me 50 well-written positive reviews for a fee. I can see why those who have to make a living at their writing probably do things they don’t like—much like politics in that respect.

Then, on editors, as I see it, the issues are several-fold. It's a tough job. A writer cannot just pick any editor as the wrong one can take the heart right out of your story if they don’t share your vision for it. When a writer writes books the lengths of mine, a thousand dollars or more is not an unlikely fee. Most of my books would never have paid that back. Editors who work for less often use the same software I can use. With the products out there, we can catch our unwieldy sentences. [There are exceptions to the high cost for those lucky enough to have a talented friend or someone who works on a percentage of the royalties.]

That said, editing is a tough job and if I ever regularly made enough money to cover the cost of a good one, I'd be happy to turn the job over to the right person. But I got into this with the idea the books had to pay for themselves, not borrowing for experts and then being depressed when a book doesn't hit the market right. It can be tough enough without loss of money taken into it ;)

Tabor said...

So sad that reviews are not what they should be. I have been stung a few times in buying a book based on several reviews and finding it was not at all what I had hoped in terms of plot or quality. Now I am more careful. I do like the e-readers that allow you to download a sample---maybe 30 pages as that is somewhat like picking up the book in the store. Wish I had an editor, they are worth the money, but as you say, you must be successful to afford them.

Rain Trueax said...

I know those who borrow to get the editor but it all depends on how you see that. I would have to borrow from our funds assigned to other purposes and just wasn't willing to do it.

There are some good articles out there on how the wrong editor, especially a cheap one, can actually damage your book; so it's kind of a six of one and half dozen of the other.

There is one positive feature on editing your own work, which means keeping the edits as far apart as possible. Sometimes you then see elements in the story that you had missed earlier and can enrich your characters or plot. No other editor could do that for you.

The samples are definitely a help in deciding if a book is worth our time. I have read that some writers though edit the sample very exactly and let the rest go. Which would seem kind of dumb as that is going to lead to a mad reader and nobody wants a mad reader ;)