Bring on the dreaded red ink!

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post. It’s not that I have no thoughts on anything, it’s the reverse, I have too many! I’ve had some terrific conversations with people lately, and I need to focus and get some of these down in ink… or maybe ones and zeros. To be fair, I haven’t been invisible, I have been doing the weekly flash fictions, which I encourage you to read through if you haven’t.  I have been having tremendous fun with them.

Some medical issues have cropped up, which has taken some time away from writing, I will say it again, aging is not for the faint hearted.

I have been working hard at a short story I’d like to sell. My local writer’s group gave me some great beta reading feedback, and I want to finish the story this week and ship it off to my editor.

Yes, I’m hiring an editor.

And yes, I’ve confirmed this editor is not a predator. I’ve crunched the numbers, and if I sell the piece at standard SFWA rates, the overall cash flow is still going in the right direction, which is always a concern when you’re starting out.

Back-up a second, for those of you not familiar with the terminology I just threw at you.

Beta readers These people happen to be people in my local writing group. We all read and critique each other’s works before we publish them. Beta reading can be anything from “I don’t get this,” to “Grammar Police coming at you!” It all depends on what you as an author want. I usually like generalities for my feedback: “This part confused me.” “This part made me sad.” “Maybe if you moved this part earlier it would make more sense.”  I don’t want: “Do this.” I want to know how you feel, where you get lost, and where you liked it.  I can take it from there.

Editors and Predators This was a website where you could vet the various freelancers involved in the writing world to make sure you didn’t sign on with some who would take advantage of an unsuspecting author. I’m not sure what happened to that particular website, but the Facebook group is still active. There are a lot of other websites that do this, you can find some great ones at the SFWA website.


SFWA is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, one of the largest and best resources for genre (Sci-Fi, fantasy, horror, that kind of thing) authors. They have of resources for authors, including links to learn about good editors and bad. If you’re a genre author, you seriously need to check them out and support them as you can. SFWA has no governing authority over anyone, but they have influence. Lots and lots of influence.

They recommend a basic rate of pay for authors, and publications will tell you if they follow that or if they pay a different rate.  There may be good reasons to submit to a publisher who pays less than the recommended rates. But…

Unless you’re doing someone a personal favor for a specific reason, never EVER EVER give your work to someone who pays in exposure. “I can’t pay you, but you’ll get great exposure!” Yeah, thanks for that, but the bank won’t take your exposure for my car payment. Also, never EVER pay someone to publish your work. I know this should sound obvious, but independent authors who need a place to churn out your book in physical form may have watch this carefully.  Just remember, if the overall cash flow isn’t coming towards you, it’s not worth it.

So, isn’t my hiring an editor cash flow going out? Well, yes, and no. I found a magazine I like that I would like to sell my current short story. I took a look at what they pay, then looked at my editor’s price and did the math.  Sweet eh? And they say authors aren’t good with numbers…

Here’s the other reason: I love my beta readers– they are all part of my local writing group and they ARE FAB. But except for one flash fiction podcast, I’m unpublished in the normal sense of the word. It’s worth my while to take a slightly less income to offer a more polished and professional product as I look to enter the market. pix

So, there you have my writing progress. I hope to have the edited story done by the end of the day, and I’m going to ask a couple of friends for one last beta read before I send it off to my editor.  Then, it will be lather, rinse, repeat.

I hope you are navigating these most difficult of times with faith, love, and good literature.  

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