Typos and the Indie Novel

I used to be an editor.  Not that long ago for a publishing house, and actually I made quite a bit of money on the side during my undergrad degree helping out Grad Students with their thesis papers.  It was tough work, but it gave me a fairly decent foundation in my writing skill, especially when I decided to leave my job and head into the publishing world.

Those of you who know me from social media probably remember my ancient tumblr rants about how awful the job was–and it was, trust me.  I think what it offered more than experience was perspective, and that’s not something a lot of readers have if they haven’t been exposed to the inside world of publishing.

The other day I pulled up Summer Palace, by C.S. Pacat on my kindle.  Pacat is an author who has both won awards, and is published through one of the Big Five, as they’re known.  I bought the book as a pre-order, so the moment it was available, it downloaded straight to my kindle.  It’s a first edition, if you want to think of it that way.

And funny thing–it’s riddled with errors.  Typos and missing words, etc.  Not enough that I was put off by them, but enough that I noticed.

The thing is, a few of my books have the same errors.  A missing word, or typo here or there.  Verismo probably has a handful at least, and the bloody thing has been through two editors.  People on amazon don’t hesitate, ever, to comment when they see a typo in my book.  I get reviews like, “The story was good, but the author really could have used an editor.”

Fun Fact: I have one.  Actually, I have two.

But the assumption is there-if an indie novel goes to print with even a single typo, the author clearly didn’t use an editor.

My books probably have more passes by more people than Pacat’s, and I pay for them out of pocket.  While she likely enjoys the luxury of her editors getting royalty portions and a salary paid by multi-billion dollar companies, I’m scrimping and saving for the money it takes to pay a person to use their skills and find errors where they can.  And believe me, errors slip by.  Editors are only human, whether they work for the Big Five, or whether they work freelance on the side.

But readers never hesitate to point out where my editing eye (and the eye of my editors) has failed me, and even go so far as to assume and accuse me of not following the proper steps before publishing my novel.

Out of curiosity, I meandered to Pacat’s review page to see if anyone noticed the typos.

Some did.

Most didn’t.  Or if they did, they didn’t see fit to mention them in the reviews.

When they did decide to say something, it was along the lines of, “The story was so wonderful, the few typos didn’t take away from that.”

Now personally, I agree with that.  I loved Summer Palace and a handful of typos didn’t change that.  But it made me laugh a little, and it made me wonder why Indie authors are held to such a higher standard than someone who has nearly unlimited editing resources at their fingertips.

They have individuals paid–very decent salaries, might I add– to find these typos.  To ensure the cleanest and sharpest version is going to print.  How do I know this?  Because I used to be one of those people responsible for clean copies being handed off.

You would think it would matter more that people with those resources have cleaner copies than people who are paying out of their own pocket, and praying that in the first year they make enough money to break even on the cost for editing, formatting, and marketing.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case.  It’s interesting.  It’s telling, of both the publishing market, and readers.  It’s a little depressing, as an indie author, and it can be discouraging to know that although my books are at the same level and same quality, because Pacat has a name like Penguin House behind her, it means her quality is better without it actually being better.  It means that her typos–in spite of the resources she has to ensure she has a cleaner copy than mine–are more forgivable.

It’s not something I expect to change, really.  It’s more food for thought.

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Tremolo: A Verismo Short Story

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Available now, on Amazon for only 0.99

Rémy Williams spent years dreaming about singing on stage, but when his father fell ill, he resigned himself to taking over his music school and living the quiet life of a teacher. When a gorgeous Italian man shows up on his doorstep one afternoon to offer him a job singing primo uomo in an opera, Rémy can hardly believe it’s real. And when the same gorgeous man offers him his heart, Rémy must face his fears of getting close to someone, and let himself be loved.

Tremolo

Happy April, dear readers.  It’s only eleven days into the month, but it’s already been a bit of a whirlwind.  My plans for writing have taken a strange turn–namely in the fact that I’ll be working a lot slower as I head back to University to work on a second Master’s Degree.  It’s in history, something that’s always been important to me, and although it means writing will take a backseat to all of that study, I’m excited about this new adventure.

As for my release plans, I can’t give any details about that, but I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a couple of short stories set in the Verismo universe.  The first one released is called Tremolo, and it’s a short story of how two of my favourite side characters, Alessio and Rémy, end up together.  It isn’t going to be long, and will be available on amazon as soon as it’s finished.

For now, please enjoy a small excerpt of Tremolo, and check back for updates on publishing.  I’ll try to get another blog-post in this month if I can.

x

***

“I don’t.  Um.” Rémy licked his lips.  “Are you…do you mean…”  It was rare, the way he was fumbling with his words, but he was so lost in Alessio’s eyes, almost desperate for it to mean more than just…this.  Than just the stage.  The opera.

Si,” Alessio breathed.  He took a step in closer and put his hand at the back of Rémy’s neck.  “Posso chiederti di baciarmi?”

“I don’t understand what you,” Rémy began, but the words died on his lips when Alessio’s thumb brushed against them, light, but searing hot.  “Oh.  Erm.  Yes, please.”

Alessio leaned up, his other hand fisting into the front of Rémy’s shirt, and he pulled him in.  It wasn’t chaste, there was no hesitation.  Their mouths pressed together, then opened, and Rémy groaned when he felt the hot, velvet-slick brush of Alessio’s tongue against his own.  He felt himself walking backward, propelled by Alessio’s body until he crashed against cold brick.  Alessio’s knee went between Rémy’s knees, pushing them apart, hitching their hips up close.  He could feel Alessio, hard and pulsing against his thigh, and his head dropped back hard against the wall.

Detailed Diversity

Happy March, everyone!

It’s been a whirlwind of a few months for me, with moving house, two book releases, and a load of family things to deal with.  But as we’re finally settled into the new home, complete with my shiny new office which has slowly transitioned from a Ravenclaw hovel to cats and Star Wars- don’t ask, I have no idea how that happened- I’m finally able to get back to work.

I’ve begun revising a couple of books which I hope to have out in the summer months, along with starting work on two new ones, though I don’t have dates for release on those yet as I’m just starting preliminary outlines.  But it’s nice to feel productive again.  I’ve done 10k words in the last two days which feels like a huge accomplishment since one of those days I also spent an additional eight hours unpacking (read: stuffing half-unpacked boxes into cupboards) and organising everything else we had left to do.

After my foray into proper adulting, I sat down to get a bit of marketing done.  I scheduled a few sales on some of my books, and passed by my amazon page to see where my review standings were (a necessity when it comes to marketing websites and submissions), and had a peek at a few of the new ones.

As always, I’m humbled any time someone takes a minute out of their day to tell me what they thought of a book—whether it’s critique or compliments, or maybe even a bit of both.  But one particular comment caught my eye, and it made me realise it’s probably something I should address.

Now I can guarantee most of my book readers won’t be popping by this page.  I’m not a NY Times Bestseller or anything, so my page isn’t a go-to for people perusing amazon to get their short romance fix.  But just in case, I thought I’d make something clear when it comes to my books, and about what I will and won’t write.

Now, one site I avoid look at is Goodreads—the comments there aren’t always very helpful in my writing process, so I generally avoid it and allow people to have their own discussions without fear or worry that it’s going to get back to the author.  But in the beginning I had a poke round and I noticed a common theme with a few readers whose first experience with trans characters happened to be Endless, Forever.

And a lot of the critique came with the request that I include a glossary of terms, and spend more time in the story discussing Gabriel’s transition process.

I won’t be doing either of those things, and it’s not to be salty or spiteful, and it’s not to be lazy.  I’m doing it for important reasons, and reasons that I think a lot of authors use when they write trans characters as well.

My books aren’t a platform to educate cis-gendered people.  If you don’t know what cis-gendered means, I promise all you have to do is type it into your search engine and you will find the entire first page of your search with accurately described terms.  In fact, if you type in any of the confusing terminology in my book into google, you’ll happen upon blog after blog, written by trans/non-binary/genderqueer folx who not only will educate you, but will do so based on their own experience existing in the world as their gender.

The reason I say my books aren’t here to educate cis-gendered people is because they’re not.  My characters exist in order to give representation to individuals who don’t often see themselves represented in stories or mainstream media.  It’s only been in the last few years we’ve been given non-cis characters whose story lines aren’t absolute tragedy or—at the very worst I’ve seen—fetishisation.

And that last point there is one of the reasons I will not go into detail about a character’s transition.  The truth is, whether the character is fictional or not, it’s no ones business what a trans person does with their body.  They’re trans, whether or not they transition medically, whether or not they have surgery, whether or not they are on HRT.  And it’s no one’s business what’s under their clothes.  Normalising the idea that writers are obligated to tell their readers who are unfamiliar with trans characters exactly what the character went through with their body normalises the idea that it’s okay for cis-gendered people to ask trans people in real life what they’ve done with their bodies.  And it’s not okay.

If a trans person is willing to share with you, that’s a personal choice, and it’s never an obligation.

Laverne Cox has some amazing insight, and of course explains it far better than I ever could, but those lessons should be applied to both fiction and real life.

Which means I will continue to feature trans characters in my stories.  It means they will have diverse backgrounds, personalities, and story-lines.  But I’m not going to use them as makeshift text books to sate the curiosity of the cis reader who might not be fully educated.

It’s okay to not understand these terms, but it’s also not okay to place the burden of education on other people.  There are far too many articles written by people willing to share their education, life experiences, and stories for not knowing to be an excuse for the invasive questions.

So hopefully that answers that question—why didn’t you include those things in your book.  I didn’t include those things because it wasn’t necessary.  My characters are no less valid in their gender, regardless of their transitions.

In conclusion—as I channel my old grad school days—my books will remain as-is.  As diverse as I can manage, without a glossary, and without using my characters as a mouthpiece for sating curiosity.  I hope people continue to enjoy them.  And if my books are less enjoyable without those two things, and you feel like we need to part ways, we can do so now.  No hard feelings.

For now, I’m going to sign off.  It’s back to work, and then to manage the house as the kids are on a week-long spring break.  I plan to do as much writing as I can, and possibly enjoy the pool in this lovely—but strange—90F weather.

I hope everyone has an amazing March, and I hope to update again soon.

~E.M. Lindsey

 

New Release

Available now, for only $2.99

 

boxset_love

 

Love Through the Ages- Romance Anthology

Available on Amazon.  US, UK, CA, AU, FR, JP, BR, DE

From the Pre-WWI coast of Boston, Massachusetts to the modern-day desert of Tucson, Arizona, love can be found throughout time.

Follow the four love stories as they discover the trials and tribulations of life, love, and the meaning of loyalty. These romance stories span across history to remind us that wherever we are, love can be found anywhere.

E.M. Lindsey combines her romance novellas, Time and Tide, Monsters and Men, Absolution, and Time To Wake Up to create a beautiful anthology for the ages.

New Release

Available today, Time To Wake Up is on amazon kindle for only $0.99!

time-to-wake-up-ebook-complete

 

Get your copy today, and remember 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.

Ilan Zoabi is a young journalist trying to make a comfortable life for himself working for Pride Magazine in London. Unfortunately, Ilan’s boss has other ideas. Sent to the hot, Arizona desert, Ilan must dedicate himself to writing a Week In the Life Of Rafael Flores–a former Olympic runner whose career was cut short when a tragic accident took his leg.

Unsure what to make of the assignment, or the happy-go-lucky cowboy, Ilan finds himself in foreign territory. But he’s soon swept away by the beauty of the South West, and the sunny smile of a man who doesn’t seem to want to let him walk away. Ilan has spent half his life asleep, he thinks, but when Rafael looks at him, he wonders if maybe it’s not time to wake up.

Available in amazon US, UK, CA, FR, DE, IN, JP, IT, NL, MX, and AU

New Release

Coming February, 2017

time-to-wake-up-ebook-complete

Ilan Zoabi is a young journalist trying to make a comfortable life for himself, working for Pride Magazine in London.  Unfortunately, Ilan’s boss has other ideas.  Sent to the hot, Arizona desert, Ilan must dedicate himself to writing a Week In the Life Of Rafael Flores–a former Olympic runner whose career was cut short when a tragic accident took his leg.

Unsure what to make of the assignment, or the happy-go-lucky cowboy, Ilan finds himself in foreign territory.  But he’s soon swept away by the beauty of the South West, and the sunny smile of a man who doesn’t seem to want to let him walk away.  Ilan has spent half his life asleep, he thinks, but when Rafael looks at him, he wonders if maybe it’s not time to wake up.

Happy New Year

New year, new changes, and it could be good or bad.  Which is like the start to any year, of course.  I’m choosing, in spite of my fears and probably a little trauma left over from 2016, to remain optimistic.

My new year came with little sleep, cranky children, and something to mull over when I was going through my amazon reviews, and stumbled on someone’s criticism regarding my book, Inhumanity.

Normally I don’t address reviews in public.  It’s the mark of an Author Behaving Badly, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, and buying a book on amazon affords them the right to state it in the review section.  That person has an opinion–it differs from mine, it’s fairly offensive, but I’m not here to change their mind.

But it made me realise there is something important I need to do–as a writer of LGBT+ Fiction and Romance, and a member of the LGBT+ community myself.

I need to make sure my readers understand that more than I’m here for royalties, and more than I’m here for entertainment and fantasy, I’m here for my community.  I have a fairly small, quiet presence in social media, so I certainly don’t make waves when it comes to being an advocate for equality, but it doesn’t change how important those things are to me.  I donate regularly to LGBT+ causes, I do what I can in my social media and in real life, to ensure I’m a safe space for all members of the LGBT+ community, and I do my best raising my children with those same morals and values.

I can’t guarantee my amazon review page will be a safe space.  I can’t guarantee that a trans person who is searching for trans characters in books, won’t stumble on a transphobic review set on invalidating their gender.  Believe me, if I had some measure of control, if I had even the ability to put the review under a cut with a transphobia warning so it might prevent someone being hurt or triggered by reading those words, I would.  But I don’t.

What I can do, is openly state here that I will not put warnings on my books when they contain a trans character.  Trans people do not need to come with warnings to alert the world to their presence–whether it’s in real life, or in fiction.  In my m/m romance, if the character is trans, it changes nothing.  It is still m/m romance.  In my f/f romance, if the character is trans, it’s still f/f romance.  It’s as simple as that.

I don’t really have much to say beyond that.  This is who I am, this is what I write, and I’m not going to fight for readers who would prefer it the other way round.

On a happier note, I’ll be writing again soon.  I have several books coming up from my back-log, and a wonderful new editor who is working her fingers to the bone to ensure the best quality work goes to print.  I’m not sure about new release dates just yet.  We are getting ready to move into a new house, and until that happens, everything is still on hold.

But I’m excited about what’s to come for 2017.  The sequel to Inhumanity will likely be first, and I am hoping to finish that trilogy by the end of the year.  I do have a series of stand-alone novels as well, and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a sequel to Verismo, but it remains to be seen whether or not Nicky and Cedric have any more story to tell.

I will be keeping everyone posted, though.

I hope everyone had a calm, relaxing holiday season, and I hope this year brings the best for us.  We certainly deserve it.

Thanks for reading, and see you all again near the end of the month.

Many hugs,

E.M. Lindsey

 

December

It’s been a rather long time since I bothered to keep a blog.  2016 has been a mad year for most people, myself included.  It feels a bit like someone angered the pantheon of Greek Gods and they’re exacting vengence upon us.

It hasn’t been all bad, though it’s been a bit of a struggle to remember good things happened.  At the start of the year, dealing with an illness, I lost myself in writing, and managed to tear through several books, and in the process found and fell madly in writer’s love for my editor–who now owns most of my soul, for all the amazing work she does.

Writer’s block came and went, then came back again.  I think I’ve worked through most of it, and I’ve enjoyed spending the last few weeks plotting out a couple of novels I hope to have released by Autumn of next year.

I think I’d like to plan a bi-weekly blog post if I can manage it.  Keeping in touch with readers keeps me motivated, and keeps me from sinking into the void of despair which I think is always haunting writers, no matter how much coffee we drink, or chocolate we hoard like a bunch of Sweets Dragons who thrive off sugar and the reviews of others.

I can’t say I’m disappointed in my progress this year, either.  I participated in NaNo in November, completing just over I think 70k of my novel, though it’s nowhere near finished.  But it’s getting there.  It’s nice to lose myself in characters I love again, and I think I’ve struggled with that most of all these last few months.  But they’re calling to me again, and that’s all I can ask for, really, as a creator.

So with that, I think I’ll sign off, but look forward to seeing me again, and hopefully by then I’ll have something to share!

~Elena