I’d like to welcome Mary Welk, to Beat Book Babes. We collaborated on a couple of anthologies, Hearts & Daggers and Hot Crimes, Cool Chicks. Mary is an award winning author as well as an editor.
Mary V. Welk writes the Readers Choice Award-winning “Rhodes to Murder” mystery novel series featuring ER nurse Caroline Rhodes and history professor Carl Atwater. Her short stories have appeared in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes; Hot Crimes, Cool Chicks; Chicago Blues; Mayhem in the Midlands; and Blondes in Trouble & Other Tangled Tales. Mary can be found on Facebook and at www.marywelk.com.
NO TRICKS IN YOUR E-BOOKS, ONLY TREATS
Booksellers will assure you that scary stories are all the rage in October. After all, Halloween is right around the corner, and what better way is there to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve than by curling up on the couch with a blood curdling ghost story, a haunting romance, or a spooky mystery?
I’ve chosen three e-books for my holiday reading pleasure: DARK HOUSE by Karina Halle; SCARY MARY by S. A. Hunter; and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman.
I look forward to reading all three of these on my Kindle, my only hope being, there’ll be no tricks in the e-books, only treats.
What I mean by “no tricks” is this: please don’t let me find a host of proofreading errors in the story, or poor formatting of the manuscript.
I recently read two e-books by established authors whose previous work I’d read in print format. The print books were well edited. The e-books were not. I finished one of the e-books because the story was compelling enough to overlook the few proofreading mistakes: spaces before ending periods; spaces deleted between words (ex: ‘of ten thousand’ became ‘often thousand’); an occasional missing word.
The second book had so many formatting problems that I quit reading after the third chapter, although I did skim the rest of the book just to see if the formatting ever improved. It didn’t. The main problem concerned the page setup. Some paragraph first lines were indented by 0.3 inches, others by 0.5 inches, and many by 1inch. Seeing continual changes in the paragraph indentation was extremely distracting. Then there was the problem of misspelled and incorrectly capitalized words. The names of the four seasons are never capitalized; the same holds true for names of flowers. A tulip is a tulip, not a Tulip.
Okay, you may think I’m being overly picky here, and that’s your right. But as a freelance editor, it’s my job to correct such mistakes in manuscripts before they’re published, and I can’t stop myself from noticing them in published books I’m reading. In this day and age of fierce competition in the publishing business, it’s imperative that writers do a thorough self-editing job that includes use of the pilcrow—that backward P on the toolbar—to show paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols. It’s equally important to follow that up with professional proofreading and formatting.
I love a book that’s a treat to read on my Kindle. I enjoy reading debut novels by new authors, and I’ve found several authors I now follow because their first books were so good. What I hate to see is a good story from a first time author dismissed by readers due to unnecessary mistakes.
If I could give only two pieces of advice to new writers, they would be this: learn how to self-edit your work, and invest in professional services to make your book the best it can be.
I’d like to thank the Book Beat Babes for having me here today. I wish you all much success with your novels and your new website.
Oh, and one last thing. I almost forgot to tell everyone that I’ve contributed a novel to the annual Halloween booklist. THE SCARECROW MURDERS is a mystery set in a rural university town during Halloween Homecoming Days. It features my series sleuths, ER nurse Caroline Rhodes and history professor Carl Atwater, along with a cast of colorful (and sometimes odd) characters who do their best to cause mischief and mayhem in little Rhineburg, Illinois.