Author, please read this and NEVER EVER publish without professionally editing your book!!

When I first published Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette”, I was young and naïve. Okay, it was only four months ago, but when it comes to the publishing world, it’s more than fair to say I was like a child.

I’ve learned more than I could have imagined since June. With the help of several wonderful authors from the amazing Indie Community, I learned about editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, etc. Of course there’s a lot more to learn—learning is a never-ending job, thank God!—but I now know enough to get me started.

When I finished “Mean”, I hurried to publish, because I was too excited about the idea. I thought it was ready. I had asked a friend to look at it—he called himself an editor, so I believed in his powers…—and then went over it again myself. “Perfect,” I thought. Ha! Presumptuous little foul, Renata!! 😀

Well, the truth is, “Mean” was NOT ready. It had typos and grammar glitches. I, however, had no idea. Friends and strangers bought it. Then, I did a KDP Select Free Promo and hundreds of people downloaded it! I was happy and confident.

Then, I saw my first review. On Goodreads.

I remember that day clearly, a Sunday, when my fantasy world crumbled into pieces. Martha Bryce—who is now a dear friend, but who I wasn’t familiar with at the time—reviewed it as an excellent story, but in urge of an editor. Boy, was I devastated…

I opened my book again and saw what she was talking about. I was so embarrassed, I took it off Amazon and wrote to Martha, thanking her honesty and explaining I had taken it off and was hiring a new—serious—editor. She was the most amazing friend, helping me with edits, and re-reading the book once it was—really, this time—done. Then, she rewrote her review, and I finally republished “Mean”. Since then, the good reviews keep piling up, and I’m so absurdly grateful for that.

Martha Bryce became a friend and my beta-reader, and that’s why she was the first one to readMy Sore Hush-a-Byeand deserved so many words of gratitude on the Acknowledgments page.

The point is…I committed a terrible mistake, but life was easy on me about it. It could have been a disaster. I could be finished as a writer right then.

Thank God I had a good story, otherwise I’d still be crying. And “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” would never see the light of day, or would have to be published under a pen name.

I’m telling this story for two reasons.

  • First, to plead…no, to BEG authors: NEVER publish a book that has not been professionally edited!! Never ever!! It can ruin your career, and gives a bad reputation to all self-published writers..

And by ‘professionally’ I don’t mean ‘expensive’. There are good, affordable editors (I can recommend mine, just contact me if you want, okay?) or even ask a friend to help you (better than the one I described here in my tale 😀 Someone good, if you’re lucky enough to know anyone like that). Go to pred-ed.com, an amazing site where you can find good info before hiring someone. But most important of all: LEARN. You’ll never be able to know if your editor is doing a good job if you know squat about grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

  • The second reason is to prevent a future disaster. I understand that most people who download a free book nowadays, with the amount of free possibilities, will maybe not even read it, or will read it months after downloading… So, you see my point, right?

There are hundreds of people out there with a terribly edited version of my novelette on their Kindles. I asked Amazon twice to inform customers about my new, improved edition. I explained the changes in detail, but never heard back from them. Therefore, I decided to do it on my own.

So, if you have a copy of “Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette” bought or downloaded for free BEFORE JULY, 23rd, please, please, pretty please contact me before reading it, and I’ll replace your file with the improved edition ASAP. I’ll even send it in any format you prefer (Epub, Mobi, PDF, etc.). And I’ll apologize and thank you endlessly while doing it, be sure.

Summing it up: If you want to be a serious writer, take your time to make your book the best piece possible. Do not ask people to buy your book if it’s not exhaustively edited. Don’t treat your final readers as beta-readers—that’s not what they signed for when buying your book.

 **Be sure that I’ve learned my lesson. “My Sore Hush-a-Bye” is absolutely, completely, professionally edited. I’ve spent countless hours editinghunting mistakes like a bloodhound with rabbits, or a pig with truffles. I, my editor, and my beta-reader went through my novel time and again (and again, and again, and again…) correcting to guarantee that my readers will have the best work I can provide for their money and time. (Thanks in advance to you all, by the way! 🙂 )

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The best creative writing course – reading!

Every writer is also a reader. We love books, we need to read to be happy.

I’m one of those compulsive readers that can’t stand not having a book to read at the moment. I’m also a proud kindle owner, and believe ebooks are the most amazing thing ever invented.

Of course when you’re a writer, you read in a different, more critical way. You read to be inspired by other authors, and, sometimes, to find motivation to keep writing. It happened to me more than once; I’m reading just for pleasure (or think I am) and start taking notes as if in a class, because the sentences are so brilliant, the characters so well constructed, the story so beautifully told that I think: “Boy, that’s what I want:  to write something that good!”

Reading is the best creative writing course for me. I’ve learned so much from reading great authors! Sometimes you learn what not to do, but that’s not the point! 🙂

Of course, since I love dark, twisted and damaged characters, I read books where they live. I try to always write a review, and, if there’s a way, write to the author just to let them now how much I enjoyed their work. I think this is the least I can do to say “thank you” for their time and effort. Everybody should do that.

I had received amazing responses. Authors are kind people who love to hear from readers. Try it!

These are some of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far. Some are Indies, some are not. I don’t care how a book is published, I just want the story to be great.

In these books, the weather and locations are characters, as important to the plots as the people on the pages.  They describe a tense, dark, almost suffocating world, where the characters are consumed by their ordeals.

Ruth Rendell is a master. Her stand-alones are must-read

This was the first book in this genre that I read, when I was only thirteen – it hooked me for life!

Absolutely amazing. This story has some of the best metaphors I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The plot is superb too

Certainly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Almost impossible to describe without spoiling your reading.

Oh my, what a debut! This author is someone to follow. What a gift with words; so perfectly constructed characters. Plus, the author is a really nice person.

This is the American edition of Rupture (UK). Great book about bullying.

Simon Lelic has a compelling way of telling stories.

An excellent debut. I’ll be looking forward for the next book from this author

Sorrel Pitts develops a magnificent tense atmosphere to tell this story.

This is a haunting tale that will stay in your mind for days after finishing the story.

This book is very slow-paced, but it’s a great journey

This is a great coming-of-age story. It’s very dark and extremely sad in some points, with poetical touches all over the text.

I deeply care about not-that-enjoyable characters. You know, the problematic ones, those that proclaimed themselves as bad people, like Libby Day does. And she is so twisted, you end up loving her.

After reading this book you are sure going to watch your back more often and be more careful, especially if you’re a woman.

If the only thing you have are other people’s words as your memories, how can you be sure what’s true?

The author has a beautiful style. His prose is natural, with an excellent pace that keeps you wanting to read more and more.