Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Link Corral: Self-Publishing, Self-Editing

The Madam Mayo blog offers this guest post by Deborah Batterman that’s a solid, serious guide to help anyone interested in checking out the self-publishing waters:

“And yet I admit to some reservations about going full-throttle into digital DIY mode. As a reader I love the feel of a book in my hands, the reflective nature that seems diminished by the visual nature of reading on-screen. As a writer I love the way words take shape in my mind and on the page. The ‘page’ as it exists on a digital reader is not the same: differences in the technology that drives each eReader result in variances in formatting. If I go this route, am I sacrificing my sense of what a book IS and everything it takes to bring one to fruition? Yes. At the same time, as a writer seeking ways to increase my exposure, why not tap that market of readers shelving their paperbacks in favor of viewing books on portable screens? And even if my plunge into the world of self-published digital books carries the risk that my own work (now a thumbnail image in an eBookstore) may get lost in a sea of ‘vanity’ books, all it takes is one good wave to lift it out of the water.”

Read the rest here.


Joe Schuster (who wrote that great piece here about “20 writers over 40”) directed me to this link on MoBettaWriting, about how to tell when your work is done.

I’ve certainly been here:

Writer/blogger Steven Schwartz writes, “I just wrote a story and one of the sentences that I kept trying to work in was "Janice could almost be alive in Las Vegas." I'll skip the story summary; in fact, I'll skip any context, and just tell you that I worked with this sentence, with some coffee and bathroom breaks in between, for 3 hours, a long time for one sentence. I tried rephrasing it: "Janice, Gene realized, with stinging regret, could almost be alive in Las Vegas" and "Janice, Gene realized, with stinging longing, could, in this city of might happen, almost be alive out here." But wait! It changes everything when I use an em dash: "Janice--he realized with stinging longing--could almost be alive out here."”

Read the whole piece to get to this bit of incredibly wise advice:

“Yes, Mark Twain memorably said that the difference between the right word and the next to right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. But the right word has a spark of spontaneity and grace to it; the perfect word has a whiff of sweat and pushiness.“In other words, you need to back off and let the narrative take its chances.”

This is exactly what I needed to be reminded during these days of revision: there is a bigger picture, beyond that semi-colon that perhaps should be a comma or even a period or re-written entirely.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.