Anybody for a little light reading?

Turns out I have a terrible pleading for help face.
Turns out I have a terrible pleading for help face.

Dear reader, the time has come for me to ask you a favour. Not a big one, if you enjoy reading what I write, but a favour none the less.

Would you like to help proofread my new book?

I’m about an hour’s editing away from finishing the first book in a new steampunk adventure series. I can’t afford professional editing, so I’m relying on folks I know to read and comment on issues both big and small. Laura’s going to have a first read through, and in about a week’s time I’ll be sending it to other people for comments. If any of you would like to help out, and have time to read and comment on a short book (novella length – around 30,000 words) then please let me know. The more eyes I can get on this first volume (and the second, if you enjoy it enough to comment on that one too), the less likely I am to publish some awful rambling mess.

Anyone who helps out will receive my eternal thanks, along with an acknowledgement in the book and some kind of writing/blogging favour. I’d say a free copy of the book, but the first volume’s going to be free anyway. But hey, help with both books and get a free copy of the second one when they come out!

If you’d like to help out then please leave a comment below or contact me by whatever other means you have.

Thanks in advance!


Commas are weird. Using them correctly is partly a matter of good grammar, but it’s also a stylistic thing. Laura’s been picking me up on my over-use of commas lately, playing the role of the good proofreader. But I used to be even worse, as I realised doing some final proofreading on From a Foreign Shore (out on Monday – very exciting!). The first story in that collection, ‘Holy Water’, is one of the oldest stories that I’m re-publishing and it shows. I kept finding excess commas scattered through the text, which I’m now hastily purging. It’s too late to stop a couple of reviewers and early readers seeing my grammatical faux pas, but electronic self-publishing means that I have enough control to stop it at that.

Of course this is also part of the iterative process that is learning to do an independent ebook release. This time I’ve left myself enough time for that extra re-read, and even contacted reviewers, neither of which happened with Riding the Mainspring. Hopefully next time around I’ll do those corrections before seeking reviews, and request the reviews far enough in advance to be ready for the release date.

Life is all about learning. What matters isn’t doing things perfectly, it’s doing them better than last time, and on that basis my book release process seems to be heading in the right direction.

Now excuse me, I have more commas to purge.


Writing tour continued…

Having put up my own post for IC Publishing‘s blog tour last Wednesday, I enjoyed reading follow-on posts from other bloggers yesterday.

Josh Stanton talks about fitting writing around a busy work life. I really admire his dedication to fitting it into every spare moment – while walking, commuting, on lunch breaks… Success in writing takes hard work, and Josh is really putting in the effort. I also really like his idea of having a word bank of descriptive words he wants to use in the chapter – will have to try that one out.

Russell Phillips also talks about fitting writing around the rest of life. His suggestion of using text-to-speech software to help with proofreading is new to me and very smart – shows what happens when someone more tech-literate turns their hand to writing.

What top writing tips have you learned from other writers and bloggers? Feel free to share a few in the comments.