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A caterpillar cannot become a butterfly without first undergoing transformation in a chrysalis. As an editor, I feel the same is true when it comes to shaping a manuscript into a publish-ready book. Though editing is multifaceted and even tedious at times, and therefore dreaded by many, it is crucial to the development of a strong text and, with persistent effort, can be manageable and even enjoyable. In this article, I will discuss the revision process through the lens of self-publishing, which is a fast-growing industry and which is becoming increasingly more accessible to those who aspire to immortalize their words on a page.
Where to Start?
Are you a new author aiming to self-publish? Are you feeling unsure about where to find an editor, or whether you can afford one? If you haven’t already, I’d suggest that you explore the many offers for editorial services on sites like KBoards. Working with freelance editors still costs, but it’s far more affordable for indie authors than other alternatives may be. Consider the investment. Maybe even talk with a prospective editor about whether (s)he offers payment plans. In the indie world, we are of the understanding that it takes some time for everyone, writer or editor, to get her business off the ground.
If it turns out that editorial services still aren’t in your budget for the time being, you may hesitate to move forward with your manuscript or, inversely, elect to publish without some sort of editing regimen beyond proofreading it independently. I highly discourage either course of action. You want your book to go somewhere, and you want it to be polished.
Words of Wisdom
The following eight tips are useful whether or not you plan to hire an editor in order to ready your manuscript for publication.
Many thanks to Keith for asking me to serve as a guest writer on his blog. I hope that my editing tips might be of some help to you all. Have any questions or ideas for a future blog post? Leave them in the comments!
Since graduating from the University of North Texas in May of 2013, Mel Finefrock has been following her long-time dream of working as a freelance editor. She has edited ten books, seven of which are the work of award-winning romance novelist, Krista Lakes. Mel’s greatest passion is art, which is why she loves working with authors. An artist herself, Mel writes songs and accompanies herself on guitar, has won awards for her poetry from UNT and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, and even takes pictures once in a while, which might surprise many on account of her blindness.
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The cover for “Battlecruiser Alamo-Stars in the Sand” by Richard Tongue.
I’m always trying to go for an updated “Amazing Stories” type image with this work since I love that stuff so much.
Posters and high res here
This is the cover for the collected stories of “Boris O’Hara” titled “To The Death” by Jerrold Mundis
After discussing the various elements involved in each story we initially tried a montage, but Jerrold decided he’s prefer to go for something with more action. Almost like a traditional pulp cover.
It was quite a daunting subject and I spent a lot of time collecting reference. In my fictional coliseum I wanted to include some of the Roman Gods so in the back ground you see Jupiter (King of the Gods) Mars (God of War) and Venus (God of love). I also felt it would need a great crowd bristling with excitement.
The battle is taking place in the late afternoon, the sun casting the long shadows and bright light slashes across the crowd, through the breaks in the canvas overhang.
The gladiators battle as the woman looks on, wondering if she will have to live with the grief of losing her love and remain a slave to the older warrior or if her lover can set her free.
The covers I’ve done for this series prior to this one I consider to be some of my best work.
How was I going to top what I’d already achieved?
I needn’t have worried though. As soon as I read the brief my mind was filled with ideas. and this is the amazing thing about working with Richard.
He has such a powerful vision., and it would bring out the best in any artist.
” The specification for Sacred Honor is a wind-swept plain, with a pair of officers looking up at a ruined, obviously alien statue – one of them Marshall, the other the woman from the cover of Price of Admiralty. (That goes back a bit!) They’re wearing uniform trousers and warmer brown jackets, pistols holstered at their belt. There is a red sun in the sky, casting a faint light. As for the statue – I haven’t got any fixed ideas on it, but I’d like it to evoke that old ‘Ozymandius – King of Kings’ quote. It is old, very old, and crumbling away; some pieces of it are on the ground, there’s a strange mould growing across some of it, pieces missing, that sort of thing.”
I immediately looked up the poem:
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.“
And as I opened manga studio 5 I began to think about lost and extinct alien civilizations.
First came the wind swept plain and the alien sky. Distant alien mountains. Next I began to sketch the ancient alien statue. I thought of the Egyptians, I thought of the of the great Frazetta as he painted the work of Egdar rice Boroughs, and I began to feel a great sense of loss for the civilization that was now expired. This emotion found it’s way into the statue I was drawing who I realized was now screaming in despair.
Finally I placed the witnesses to this tragedy, the brave explorers of Richard’s space opera. I landed their ship and sent them exploring the strange and ancient world.
Once the visual was completed I forwarded it to Richard. It looked like this:
Well fortunately Richard liked it and so I went on to complete the work. As you can probably see I made a few minor changes but I think it came out well.
To be honest this kind of work is why I got interested in painting in the first place and I hope it inspires the sense of mystery and the intense desire to know more about the story that it does for me.
You can keep up to date with Richards work here: .http://richardtongue.blogspot.co.uk/
Richard asked for a “film noir” type feel to the image.
The protagonist was to be seen drawing his gun while keeping hold of his drink, meanwhile behind him a glamorous singer/dancer is observed by the bar crowd.
In order to get the feel I went for deep contrast in the lighting, but everything looking a little subdued by a mass of cigarette smoke (just like in the old movies).
I also realized that on a space station (that is spun to achieve gravity) it would likely be a low gravity environment. So everything had to have that slow motion feel.
The dancer would be taking advantage of her low weight and able to make extraordinary moves while singing.
The protagonist drawing his gun knocks over the table and chair and the drinks almost float into the air.
Through the space station window, If you look carefully you can see a nod to the “Battlecruiser Alamo” Series.
To keep up to date with Richard’s books you can follow his blog here: richardtongue.blogspot.co.uk/
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It was a really exciting job, not like anything I’d ever done before.
“The setting is an elegant library with carved rosewood–as if the Sistine Chapel and a library crossed.
The focus, though, is on a painting hanging on the wall.
It is of a woman, wearing an beautiful, full-length gown as if going to a ball, and she is holding a deep-red rose. She has long, black hair and green eyes.
The portrait should have Diane sitting down, looking toward the spine of the book. Behind her, in the painting, a forest green (or some green that looks nice) tapestry with a unicorn (just enough to recognize it as such, if possible.
Diane has a slender nose and hypnotic eyes, and a wonderful smile. The smile is important. It doesn’t have to show teeth, just obviously a smile. She should be wearing a corset. The library, which I assume would be mostly on the back, would be of books and scrolls.”
To create the library I started with the amazing free “3D Mandelbulb Ray Tracer”.
I made multiple renders and edited them together to create the basic structure and then went on to add lots of details.
Inspiration can come from many places.