Friday, January 24, 2014

Featuring Kim Graff & Celebrate

I have CPs I treasure, all of whom are in a private group -- except one.  In an amazingly serendipitous star-alignment, I met a YA author online who loves Horror as much as I do.  She's so smart and talented, has helped me a lot, and has now embarked on an exciting new venture! Take it away, Kim!



First, I want to say thank you to Lexa for letting me on her blog!  Isn’t she awesome?

So I’m Kim, a freelance editor, cover designer, book swag creator, and an intern at P.S. Literary AgencyToday I’m going to talk about five easy tips that will help anyone who plans on revising their manuscript.

Read your work aloud: Reading your work aloud actually helps a lot.  Or, better yet, having someone else read your work aloud.  You can hear how the words flow together and if there’s an awkward moment better than if you simply read it in your head.  When someone else reads it to you, you catch even more of your mistakes.

Print it out: This advice surprised me the first time I tried it.  I thought: seriously?  I was raised using a computer.  Why would I ever print something out like that?  It’s so old school!  But then I tried it and wow.  I caught so many grammatical errors and typos that I missed when I was revising on my computer.  It helps to see your work in a new way.  If you don’t print it off, I would recommend changing the font style and the size.

Step away: It can be hard to do, but you have to step away from your project for a while.  It’s hard, I know.  You want to finish it.  Maybe you’re hoping to publish your work yourself.  Maybe you just want to get to the querying stage.  The truth is, you can query too soon and you can publish too soon.  Once you start querying, you can’t take back a sent email.  When it comes to self-publishing, you can always replace an original with an updated version, but you really only have one first try.

Always give yourself time away from your project.  I recommend a few weeks, if not a month.  Work on something else in the meantime.  When you return to your work, it’ll be with a fresh eye and you’ll catch a lot more of your errors.

Cut repeat words/phrases: This is probably the number one mistake that I see when I’m working on my client’s manuscripts.  They have certain words (usually adverbs or adjectives) that they love to repeat, but can’t see it until it’s pointed out.  It’s hard for you to see your own favorite words repeated over and over.  That’s when the next tip comes in handy.

Have someone else read your work: Beta readers, critique partners, and freelance editors are great resources.  Outsiders have a way of seeing problems or plot holes in your manuscript that you never considered.  Everything makes sense in your head because you know your characters, you know your plot, and you know the world of your book, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to the reader.  They don’t know what you know.

For the next 14 days, I’ll be giving a 10% discount on all services if you contact me and mention you were referred to me by this post!



About Kim Graff

Kim Graff is a cover designer, a writer, an intern for P.S. Literary Agency, and a book blogger.  She offers critique services and creates covers and swag for authors.  She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Horror Writers of America, Association of Writers, and Historical Novel Society.

Her short story, THE BLIGHT WITHIN, was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Under the Juniper Tree Magazine.   Another one of her short stories has been named a finalist for Project REUTSway.



CELEBRATING THE SMALL THINGS

This week I'm celebrating:  
1)  Kim's covers!  Look at those beauties!  It makes me wish I was self-pubbing just to have one of those gorgeous covers!
2)  Hubby's home but despite the distraction, I'm powering through.  I've written almost 5000 words this week.  Yippie!
3)  Regarding the April A-Z Challenge, I'm proud to announce I've graduated from 
Abject Terror

 to 

Considering the Pros and Cons:



For those who've done the A-Z Challenge, what are the pros and cons of participating?  




This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

45 comments:

Heather Holden said...

Wow, Kim's covers are absolutely gorgeous! I'm in awe of her skills!

And you wrote 5K words in a single week? Wow! Go you! :D

Kate Larkindale said...

Go you! And what gorgeous covers! I want one....

Pros of the A to Z Challenge are that you're forced to blog every day. It means thinking of a lot of stuff to write about! Cons are... you're forced to blog every day and you have to think of lots of stuff to write about.

I tend to pick a theme for the month (last year I reviewed movies) and that makes it easier.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Reading out loud really helps with dialogue and I've always printed out my work. It makes a huge difference.
Pros of the Challenge - you'll discipline your blogging, stretch yourself, make a lot of new friends, and have fun! Yes, go with a theme. Much easier with a theme.

Rhonda Albom said...

Congratulation to Kim on her new venture. I will be needing an editor at some point, but 10 days will be way to soon. I am still nearly done with the first draft :) Are you celebrating hubby being home, or just getting work done despite his presence? As for AtoZ - the Pros: meet new bloggers, increase in traffic (from new readers and from more frequent posts), it's actually fun. Cons: time consuming. I have done it twice, and will do it again in April.

Ava Quinn said...

Yes, Kim, Lexa is awesome! And you're very busy! Wow! Your covers ave beautiful. Good luck to you.

Lexa those are some great things to celebrate! 5k is only a dream for me right now. (We had snow days this week, which meant my Urchins were home and bouncing off the walls, God love them.)

I've been considering the A-Z as well. I don't know if I can commit to everyday posting. I'll have to check out the rules and fine print to see if we can start early and schedule posts. If I could do just re-runs as my theme, I'd totally be in!! lol!

mshatch said...

Loved hearing from Kim and boy is she right about those overused words. Once I start seeing which ones they are I do a search and replace as many as possible with other, hopefully better words.

As for the A-Z, the best advice I can offer is to try and write all your posts in advance, otherwise you'll totally be playing catch up from day one.

Jess said...

Wow, great tips! Thanks Kim and Lexa :)

Debra McKellan said...

Great tips, Kim!

Ugh, April's coming up already? lol I probably won't be doing it this year unless I come up with a theme. Trying to think up a blog post for 30 days straight? Kudos to those who can do it without burning out.

Ellie Garratt said...

A fabulous post, Lexa. Great tips, Kim. One thing I would add about printing it out is to change it to a different font and size. It really helps with spotting the mistakes. I took at your pre-made covers. Stunning.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice to meet Kim. Thanks for the great tips.

S.K. Anthony said...

Thanks for the tips. Really great, Kim!

Robin said...

Those are five excellent tips. I've already done the "printing it out" thing and that is SO CORRECT. I haven't tried reading it aloud, but I will now!

A to Z... I participated for the first time last year. Biggest advice... write those posts before April. I wrote about half of mine before April. By the end of the month, I was dying. The strain of posting every day, reading everyone else and commenting... it was all just TOO MUCH. I don't think I blogged hardly at all in June. I was burned out. So, if you do it, write EVERYTHING you intend to post before April gets here. Then it will be a breeze.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you for the great tips, Kim. I'm saving them. Printing the story sounds like a good idea as does reading it aloud. Have a nice weekend, Kim and Lexa.

M. J. Joachim said...

Yes, those covers are really cool!

The Challenge is way too much fun! That's all there is to it. You meet wonderful new people and everyone wins, because almost all of us get at least a few new followers from it. What's not to love?

Stephen Hayes said...

Kim is obviously an extremely talented lady.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Kim thank you for the tips. The one about printing out the ms I need to explore. Your covers are fantastic! Lexa I was so scared and unprepared to participate in the A to Z last year, but I did it. And I actually made it to the end with short and sweet posts. It was worth the time to meet such wonderful new bloggers.

Kelly Hashway said...

I always read my manuscripts aloud, whether I'm editing for my clients or myself. It really helps you hear repetitions, typos, pacing, etc.

Kim Graff said...

Thanks so much, Lexa! You're the best :)
I'm so glad we met!

Julie Flanders said...

Great to meet you, Kim!! Love your tips - especially printing out the ms. I always do that, usually two or three times before I'm finally done. Best of luck with your new venture!!

Lexa, I'm so glad you are considering the A-Z! I LOVE it and to me the pros are that it's fun, you have the chance to meet lots of new bloggers, and you have a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the month. I am a huge fan of the A-Z - I've done it three times and have loved it every time. I think you would love it too if you decide to do it!

Lara Lacombe said...

Awesome covers! I wish I had that kind of talent.

Glad to hear you're considering the A to Z challenge. It's a really fun hop, and I participated for the first time last year. It was great to see what other people had chosen for their theme, and to interact with the commenters on my blog. I will say, if you decide to participate, PLANNING is key. Schedule posts ahead of time so you can spend more time reading what other people are doing. It really is fun, and I hope you'll join us! :)

T.F. Walsh said...

Great to meet you Kim, and you're covers are just gorgeous. Will have to check out your site for some of your swag creations:) Wonderful tips for editing... I've done the print out and read, and it's amazing how much you pick up. Now I need to tackle the read out loud tip:)

Best of luck with the A-Z Lexa... not sure I could put the time into it to make it successful.

Cathy Keaton said...

I love to hear from professional editors about what they mostly find wrong with the manuscripts they edit. Thanks for these tips!

Winter Moon said...

Congratulations on your 5000 words, that's brilliant!

Loving those book covers :)

VikLit said...

What great tips! Congrats on the 5000 words!

DMS said...

Yeah on the 5000 words! :)

It was awesome to read all of these tips. What an excellent guest post. I agree with all of the advice. Reading my work aloud or having someone else read it is one of the most helpful things for me. Also, I find when I print out my writing I am able to notice so much more than I can notice on the computer. Other people help me to see the words I love to use and repeat. It is so hard to find these repeats myself. :) Thanks so much for sharing, Kim! :)
~Jess

Michelle Wallace said...

Those covers are beautiful!
Thanks for the tips!
I've done the A to Z challenge three years in a row. This will be my fourth. My advice is: plan your posts in advance. If you can, pre-schedule them to go up automatically. This will leave you more time to visit others and connect with new bloggers.
Congrats on your 5 000 words! *virtual toast*

Milo James Fowler said...

Excellent advice -- I follow all of the above with my novels, but I don't print out my short stories. 5K, Lexa? Nicely done. Keep up the good work. Very cool blog header, by the way.

Misha Gericke said...

Great tips. I have to say that I'm usually too lazy to print out my WiP, but maybe I should... :-)

Medeia Sharif said...

Kim does it all. I'm glad I came across this post. I also love the tips. I do most of them except printing. I print for my beta readers, but not for myself. I'd rather read on the computer or Kindle.

You'll love A to Z. The posts don't have to be long either.

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

I know I should print out my manuscripts, but I think about all the paper and ink I'm using. But I will try it sometime. Congrats on the five thousand words!

joss said...

Great tips. I admit though, that I never print my manuscript out to review. Although I do print out a copy when I am finished and sign and date it. I thought it would be nice for my son to have them and know they were the first ever printed version :) I keep them in box files for him.
Wow done on the five thousand words that brilliant. I have been slacking a bit with my writing of late really need to kick things up a gear :)

Rob McBeth said...

These are some really good tips! I hate to say, I "know" most of them, but I don't actually follow them. Reading this kind of reminded me that I need to. Thanks for the info! Hopefully it will help me improve my own work.

Lynda R Young said...

Great tips!! I've found putting my manuscript on my kindle works just as well as printing it out too. It's only the exceptionally difficult spots that I print now.

Gina Stoneheart said...

Thanks for sharing Kim's advice, Lexa. The one problem I'm facing now is not being able to step away from my manuscript. I work fulltime so you can imagine how much I hate being away from the plot and my characters. I feel like if they are not in front of me then I might miss out on something. But hearing Kim's tips helps keep things in perspective.

Cecilia Robert said...

Great art work, Kim! :) really like your designs. Thanks Lexa and Kim for sharing these wonderful tips. Like Lynda, I put my work on my kindle, and later on print it out before I submit to my editor. :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Wow, Kim is multi-talented. Thanks for hosting her here, Lexa.

Emilyann Girdner said...

Great advice from Kim. Those points are so true and helpful. I would add (and people might think this is crazy).... to read the book in reverse. That's right... sentence for sentence, backwards. This way your brain has to process the information more critically to understand it rather than allowing the information to flow as you think it should be through your mind. It's very tedious to do, but it really helps. I learned this technique in school when they were training me to deal with dyslexia, but found it applies very well to editing.

Great post Lexa! Good job on that word count :)

JeffO said...

Very solid advice, Kim. I'm a big believer in printing out. Years ago, someone told me a good way to catch mistakes in a work you've read to death is to turn the page upside down--it's that same thing, of seeing the words differently, that allows you to catch mistakes you might otherwise skip over.

Lady Lilith said...

Nice guest Lexa. I like her writing tips. They are all very helpful. Thank you for sharing them.

Vanessa Morgan said...

I'll need an editor soon. Actually, I have someone in mind already, but I guess it never hurts to compare prices or even have two editors going over the book.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Shah Wharton said...

Just had a good luck around your blog Kim, and I've subscribed. The critiquing services look very interesting :) Happy celebrations Lexa. I did A to Z my second year blogging and it helped that I have little else to do then, so with a few pre-planned for busy days, I managed. MEt a good bunch, but didn't really get the best out of it then. Hadn't found me feet. But now I don't have the time to devote to it. And I'll be in UK in March (when I'd pre-plan) and Vegas in April (when I'd need to be visiting and blogging). So not this year, for me--again! I say, if you have the time, go for it! :)

LD Masterson said...

Those covers are beautiful. And Kim's tips are spot on.

positivelydreaming.com said...

This is great advice, Kim. Printing out and reading aloud really do make a world of difference when trying to find those little flaws that plague any manuscript. This is a good reminder to do what I already know I should do! Lexa, I love this blog. It's fun to see someone go in so many exciting directions with the creative art. I love your emphasis on Egypt and the darker side of life ... this is going to be a fun addition to my inbox!!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Wow, Kim sure has a full plate! Those are great tips - I've found over the years that reading aloud really does help me find all kinds of issues.

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