Please Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes with Your NaNo Novel

Did you “win” NaNo? Are you already intoxicated by the sweet smell of success? Congratulations—you’ve earned it! Let’s talk about what you should—and shouldn’t—do for your next steps. Don’t make these mistakes with your NaNoWriMo Novel.

November is over, and with it the end of NaNoWriMo. The blog posts I read during the month were filled with frenzied accounts of growing word counts and even some samples of WIPs.

Did You “Win” NaNoWriMo?

Those who didn’t make it learned some valuable lessons about writing, themselves, and their approach to writing—so truly, there is no such thing as NOT winning NaNoWriMo because whether you make that 50,000 word count or not, you’re a better writer now than you were a month ago.

By the way, I agree with Chuck Wendig’s comments about the language of NaNoWriMo, specifically “winning” and “losing.” Continue reading “Please Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes with Your NaNo Novel”

Are You Making this Common Mistake with Appositives?

An appositive is a modifier. It’s a noun or noun phrase that immediately follows another noun or noun phrase to further define it. You probably use appositives all the time without even realizing it. But are you punctuating them correctly?

Why am I devoting a blog to appositives? I’m so glad you asked!

Learning how to punctuate appositives—most often done with commas but sometimes with parentheses—isn’t difficult, but I see incorrect examples almost every day. The sad thing is that so many of this common appositive punctuation mistakes show up in Amazon book descriptions, websites, book reviews, and pretty much anywhere you find the written word.

Punctuating appositive nouns and phrases is easy once you understand the rules. Click To Tweet

So let’s review definitions, and then I’ll show you how easy it is to correctly punctuate whenever you use an appositive in your writing.

What Is an Appositive?

As a reminder, an appositive is a noun or noun phrase that provides additional information. Like other types of modifiers, an appositive can be essential (restrictive) or nonessential (nonrestrictive) to the sentence. Removing an essential modifier may cause confusion, but removing a nonessential one still leaves most of the meaning intact.

Essential: My cockatoo Snowflake attacked my computer.

Nonessential: My cockatoo, Snowflake, attacked my computer.

Snowflake’s handiwork the day she decided I was working too much.
Snowflake the Cockatoo

What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

If I had more than one cockatoo, I wouldn’t use a comma—I’d want to make it clear that I’m discussing Snowflake and not another bird. I’m specifically throwing “Snowflake” under the bus (she deserves it, don’t you think?). If I delete her name (the essential modifier), I remove the clue that tells you which bird was the culprit, so I could be referring to one of several birds.

The second example is the one I personally would use because I only have one cockatoo, and her name is Snowflake. If I delete the appositive (her name), which is a nonessential modifier, you still know my only pet cockatoo created some trouble. Continue reading “Are You Making this Common Mistake with Appositives?”

The Importance of a Second Pair of Eyes: My Interview at Jera Publishing

Imagine my surprise when Camille Wise, intern at Jera Publishing, contacted me for an interview! Camille is a talented high school senior who is completing an internship with Kimberly Martin at Jera, and she kept me on my toes with her insightful questions about my work as a professional freelance editor. I hope you’ll join me for the interview over at Jera Publishing to learn a bit more about me and my work; here’s an excerpt:

One professional who can transform your book into a front-of-the-bookstore kind of novel is Candace Johnson, owner of Change It Up Editing. Jera Publishing highly recommends her, along with several other editors, to clients in need of manuscript revisions. Because I felt authors deserved a better grasp of editing, I called Candace on a Monday afternoon to learn why it’s such an imperative part of the writing process. If you’re an up-and-coming writer, the following interview is just for you.

Read the rest at https://bit.ly/2uxJBvm.

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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, and writing coach for fiction and nonfiction. She works with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Are You “Good” or Are You “Well”?

 

When someone asks how you are, do you answer, “I’m good,” or “I’m well”?

Is one response more grammatically correct than the other?

Everything Is “Good” and “Well” Until Someone Gets Upset

Part of my job as a freelance editor is to stay abreast of language and grammar styles. That’s not as easy as it might sound—language is always changing to accommodate its users, which is why applying grammar “rules” can be quite challenging at times.

A few weeks ago, I read this on Twitter:

Whenever I ask someone “How are you doing?” and they respond “Well” instead of “Good” I’m like “Oh [explitive] I’m surprised they let you leave Harvard without making you the dean”[sic]

Who knew the difference between responding “I’m good” and “I’m well” was such a point of contention?

That tweet received more than 2,600 likes and was shared 378 times.

Commenters came down passionately on both sides of the discussion; here are a few of my favorites (including the verbatim grammatical errors): Continue reading “Are You “Good” or Are You “Well”?”

5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD

Please join me in welcoming Eleora Han, PhD, whose book Grieving the Loss of a Love is now available. When I invited her to share some of her story, she was kind enough to write about looking for and finding her editor.

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I just published a book about working through grief after loss. Surprisingly, I found that one of the most difficult parts of the process was finding the right editor.

Writing a Book Isn’t Like Other Writing

As a psychologist I’ve written or co-authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Though I felt confident in my writing abilities, I soon realized that writing a book was different. How best should the material be organized and structured, I wondered. Is this writing too academic, or is it appropriate for general audiences? Is any of this any good?

I decided that I needed a partner of sorts—someone supportive who knew the ropes and the lay of the land—someone to bounce ideas off. I soon learned that in the land of publishing, this partner is sometimes known as an editor.

Searching for My Perfect Editor

Once I had my rough draft in hand, I began my search. I didn’t know much about how to search for an editor, but some sources said to look on Upwork, so I began my search there. I posted a job ad and soon received responses from thirty or so applicants, all with dramatically different qualifications and pricing bids. I reviewed their work samples and asked those who were willing to provide sample edits of the first three pages of my manuscript.

Many of the applicants were nice and provided great feedback, but reviewing their work made me realize several critical things:

  1. Anyone can call themselves an editor.

I received applications from teachers, psychologists, college students, hospitalists, pastors, the unemployed, creative writing instructors with literary magazine publications, and newspaper reporters. The variety surprised me! I wanted to work with an editor with prior experience working at a publishing company, but unfortunately none of them did.

  1. Being an editor means different things to different people.

For most of the people on Upwork, editing seemed to mean sending them my draft and then they would email it back to me with their edits … but I wanted someone who was more of a collaborator of sorts, someone I could exchange ideas with and learn from, someone I could turn to for support and help in understanding how the world of publishing works. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD”

10 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Your Emails

Have you ever written an email, pushed send, and then found an embarrassing mistake? Often you don’t see that misspelled word or insensitive phrasing until it’s too late, right?

Because I’m a professional editor and proofreader, my correspondence is held to a high standard. Even when the correspondence is personal instead of professional, it’s important to remember how easy it is for a recipient to misunderstand an email that isn’t clear and concise.

I’d love to share a few tricks I’ve learned that can save you from making those embarrassing gaffes in the first place: Continue reading “10 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Your Emails”

Meet Indie Children’s Book Author Angel Krishna

I am an indie children’s book author, and I love it. My name is Angel Krishna, and I write children’s books. My latest release is Gabby’s Space Adventure, about a hippo who is determined to go into space.

Writing and publishing children’s books is a bit crazy and fun at the same time, if that makes sense. There is so much you have to consider when putting a book together, but most important is the word placement and grammar, punctuation, etc. … this is why I am so grateful for Candace Johnson. When she edited my children’s picture book she marked all errors with a note, stating the reason why something was incorrect so I could learn as well. Candace has been a huge help to indie authors! We all need a great editor, and she is it.

Previously I was with a publisher, but trust me, it’s not all that! I felt they didn’t work hard at all to promote me and my books. Really nothing was done! I was like, “This is crazy!” A huge percentage of my earnings were going to them, and they did not do a thing to market me. I know that as the author I have to promote myself, and I did and still do, but I got zero feedback and acknowledgment. So needless to say I went indie, and I love it.

I am currently with Bublish—they are pretty great! They have many tools to help you promote your brand. They also have many free webinars to build your knowledge. Bublish offers many services that may come in handy to help you with selling, tracking reader engagement, building your brand, improving discoverability, and learn social marketing—what a list! I hope you’ll check them out.

About that editing …

Wow! What a pleasure it is working with Candace Johnson. It’s always a bit nerve-racking giving your work to an editor, but Candace makes you feel so at ease and proud of what you’ve accomplished. I was so happy when my friend Christa Wojo introduced me to Candace. Now I have a new friend and a fantastic editor.

I’m so happy to be a part of Candace’s life and tell you how great she is and a little about myself. I hope to keep going forward in my venture and passion. As you know, writing and book promotion are hard and exhausting at times, but I usually take a breather and plop on the sofa with a big exhale, lol! Thanks for checking out my books, and I hope see you on social media!

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Thanks for the kudos, Angel. I loved working with you on the text for Gabby’s Space Adventure, and I wish you much success with all your projects!

If you’d like to learn more about Angel’s writing journey, check out her Client Spotlight at ChristaWojo.com

 

Angel Krishna is the author of Gu-Glee-Goos of ChristmasMonkeys and Crocodiles Play BaseballGabby’s Space Adventure, and the Genius Kid App. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Bublish 

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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

I’m a Featured Contributor at Sixty and Me

I’m excited to announce my selection as a featured contributor for Sixty and Me. This online community of more than 350,000 women over 60 connects women who want to live happy, healthy, and financially secure lives and  provides “ideas for turning passions into profitable work, share ways to build strong bodies and minds, and to create a mindset that sees life after sixty as a positive, vibrant, and active time.”

 

“But I’m not 60—not even close,” you say?

 

That’s okay—you’ll love many of the article anyway. For example, I’ve written about ways to get your book published, overcoming childhood fears, and snacks to help you sleep at night … and future articles I plan to write will appeal to every age. Continue reading “I’m a Featured Contributor at Sixty and Me”

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript

November is history, and so is NaNoWriMo 2016. If you’re like most NaNoWriMo participants, you’re pretty excited about ending November with 50,000 words—maybe you have the first draft of a novel, maybe only a third of a longer manuscript. Nevertheless, you’ve written a bodacious number of words in thirty days, and you’ve accomplished something pretty spectacular.

For thousands of would-be novelists, December means it’s time to start down the path to publishing.

Please don’t be one of those writers who rushes to publication. Instead, try these four ideas: Continue reading “4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript”

5 Tips for Getting a Book Published in Your 50s, 60s, or Beyond

Publishing contract

Is writing a memoir, novel, or self-help book on your bucket list? Does the thought of writing your story fill you with excitement? Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just beginning to nurture that kernel of creativity, your dream of seeing your name on the cover of a published book can become a reality.

Over 50 and wondering how to get a book published? Check out these 5 tips! Click To Tweet

Today it is easier than ever to make your publishing dream a reality. Whether you self publish or pursue traditional publishing, you need to think about more than just writing your story if you hope to be a successful published author.

Here are five tips for what you can and should do—beginning today—to build a following of loyal readers in the future.

1. Read. A lot.

The more you read, the more you’ll learn about the mechanics of writing, about story structure, about the standard conventions and what makes a compelling read in your genre.

If your heart is set on penning your own story, read some of the amazing memoirs that are currently on the market. Love a good romance novel? This is one of the bestselling genres today, but readers expect certain things to happen and will not be pleased if you don’t follow the “rules.”

If you plan to share your expertise in a subject you know like the back of your hand, your book will need to offer something unique. Read a variety of genres, but become an authority in the type of book you plan to write.

2. Create a Strong Author Platform

Your platform is everything you do as a writer that makes you attractive to a publisher. If you wait until your book is finished to begin building your platform, you’ll be too late. Publishing is a business, and unless your only goal for writing a book is to put it in a drawer when it’s finished, you need to approach your writing as a business too. A publisher wants to see evidence that you have the ability to sell books; a strong author platform is the ammunition you’ll need.

Begin building your platform now, so you’ll have an audience in place when your book is published. Think of platform building as a marathon, and spend a little time every week on platform-building activities in addition to writing your book.

Two surefire ways to jumpstart your author platform are to start a blog and engage in social media.

Blogging is an inexpensive way to connect with potential readers, improve your writing skills, and even test book concepts. Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, blogging is a powerful way to connect you with potential fans while experimenting with writing styles.

Engage in social media to connect with other writers, readers, and ultimately publishers. Choose the media you’ll actually use and enjoy; you don’t have to master every social media option out there. Remember that the key word is social, so focus on engagement and sharing, not just on self-promotion.

3. Join a Writers’ Group

Writing can be a lonely business, and joining a writers’ group—either in-person or online—is one way to combat isolation. New writers can find inspiration and feedback from more seasoned writers. There’s also a great deal of incentive to write when you’re expected to present each week—sometimes that’s just the push you need to sit down and write when you might not be in the mood.

4. Attend a Writers’ Conference

Writers’ conferences are crucial to your writing and publishing education. Not only will you learn more about the craft of writing, but you may also have a chance to meet and interact with agents, editors, and other publishing professionals, learn about trends in the publishing world, and be inspired by the speakers and workshop leaders who share their knowledge.

You’ll come away with a greater understanding for how to market yourself and your book, and you’ll meet other writers who can potentially become critique partners.

5. Get the Best Professional Help

Writers are often too close to their own work to be objective about what they’ve written; even the most seasoned writers have editors to help them polish their writing. If you want to convey your message in the most powerful way possible, establish a relationship with a professional freelance editor.

Whether helping you organize your ideas (before or during writing), or fine-tuning details such as spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word choice, a good editor will not only help you polish your writing (while preserving your voice) but will also help you strengthen your writing.

A good professional editor will provide a sample edit to show you how he or she can help you, and to see if they’re the right person for you. You might even consider hiring an editor for your blog posts as a way to find one who “gets” you, and establish that professional relationship.

Seeing your name on a book is a thrilling experience! Set yourself up for success by learning all you can about writing and publishing, and I look forward to reading your book one day!

Do you have a book inside you waiting to be written? Which of these five tips do you personally plan to focus on? Which will you put to use right away? Please share your thoughts—and let me know if I can help you achieve your dream!

(This article originally appeared at SixtyandMe.com)


Candace Johnson 11 400dpiCandace Johnson
 is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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