Why I Don’t Write Book Reviews

I will, however, judge your bad fashion choices.
I will, however, judge your bad fashion choices.

I would love to. I’ve been reading since I was just out of infancy. Millions and millions of glorious, magnificent, fabulous words. Thousands of stories. Some I loved, some I hated, some that didn’t leave a lasting impression but were good for a couple of hours of entertainment. I love them all, even the bad ones. I wrote my way through my senior year of high school with book reports. In the past, I used to love writing reviews.

Things Are Different Now

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Amazon cracking down on reviews in an attempt to clean up the rather nasty problem of fake reviews and sock puppets. Now, Amazon says if you know an author, you may not review. Their TOS clearly states if you have a financial stake in a book, you cannot review, and they are removing reviews even as we speak.
From the start of my career as a professional editor, my policy has been I do not review. It sucks because I am an avid reader, the biggest fan of STORY. It’s part of the price I pay to do what I love for a living, and while I wish I could review, I can’t.

No Review For You

Think about it. If I review a client’s book, it’s a conflict of interest. Although I work on a flat fee basis and have no direct financial stake in its success, of course I want my clients to do well. What kind of credibility would I have in reviewing a client’s book? None. I will say I do not take on stories I don’t believe in 100%. I don’t work on books that are not ready or that I don’t like, and I am blessed with a wicked talented roster of clients. When I say I love a story or a character, I absolutely mean it or I wouldn’t say it.

But a detailed review? Can’t do it. It would be suspect and rightfully so.

Other People’s Work

“But what about other authors?” you may ask.

I’m glad you did.

I wish I could, but again, there pops up the specter of credibility. Not only that, but my personal reading time is really limited, and most of my reading time is spent on manuscripts I’m editing or craft books. I read outside that as time allows and to keep up with trends, but the fact is editing is my business and I find it difficult to read as a reader now and not an editor. It makes me sad sometimes, but the bright side is I’m doing what I love so how can I hold a grudge?

So, reviewing books as long as I’m working as an editor is a moral and ethical line I’m not willing to cross. Although I understand what Amazon is trying to do, I don’t fully agree with the way they’re going about it. You can’t really divorce the writer from the reader, and in today’s social media climate, readers know writers in a way unprecedented in the past.

I don’t have a solution, but I am watching Amazon and wondering how this is all going to shake out.

What do you think about Amazon’s new policy as a reader, writer, or editor?

Launching A New Editing Course!

It’s here!

Content Editing With Netta

Everything you wanted to know about content editing but were afraid to ask!

This e-course is designed to help you, the writer, take your manuscript to the next level by evaluating all the moving parts. Not only will this save you money when hiring a professional editor, it will also teach you how to be a better writer.

Use the link above and receive 15% off the course! 

Three free lessons before you decide to buy!

Sign up for my newsletter and receive 25% off!

time to up your game (2)

Click here to enroll with a 15% discount!

Let’s get started! And someone take these exclamation points away from me before I put out an eyeball!

 

:)

 

Content Editing With Netta

Yes! Finally!

After months of work, my editing course is now at the final stages and just about ready to be released. I’M SO EXCITED.

Creativity

And let me tell, you creating this course was a lot of fun. It was also brain burning and a labor of love, but what’s fun without a little brain on fire? Heh.

The course, titled CONTENT EDITING WITH NETTA, will be available to the public on Friday, May 29th. But, for newsletter subscribers, tomorrow you will receive a newsletter with all the particulars and a promo code for big savings.

If you’re not a subscriber, why not sign up now? Trust me, I don’t spam and I would never release your email to anyone else. That’s rude.

In the meantime, I’m giving everything a last minute spit and polish. (Not real spit. That’s gross.)

Sign up! Get the scoop! Pass the rum!

:)

New Editing Course Coming Soon!

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I think I might have run into blogging burnout in addition to being so busy I just haven’t had time. You know how it is.

But with a new year comes new ideas and new opportunities. Warning: BRAIN ON FIRE!

Not my actual brain. Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com
Not my actual brain. Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com

A couple of years ago I presented an editing workshop to some lovely people on Prince Edward Island, Canada. What a magical place! It absolutely oozes creativity, and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you visit.

The workshop was well-received, and I thought about really beefing it up and creating an online course for those who don’t live on PEI and might be interested. Well, it took me long enough, but I am hard at work doing just that.

I’m still in the beginning stages, but it looks like in a month or less I’ll have it completed. WOOHOO! That’s a huge thing off my To-Do list, and I’m excited about it!

The course covers self-editing and will take your manuscript from flat to fabulous. It covers everything from plot to passive prose, complete with worksheets and resources. Whether your piece is a novel, novella, or short story, you will find many helpful tips to take your story to the next level.

This doesn’t take the place of a professional edit, but it does get your manuscript into good shape before sending it to a pro. This course is designed to help you become a better writer and to help you save money when hiring an editor.

Keep your eyeballs peeled! I’m going to need Beta testers soon, and if you’re interested, sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page to receive updates as soon as they happen. You don’t want to miss this!

white-pen (2)

Hard Work Pays Off!

Wow, so much is going on lately my head’s spinning. Those of you who subscribe to the writer’s newsletter on annettaribken.com already know some of this, PLUS you received a brand-new story from me! If anyone else is interested in reading MOSAIC, just sign up for the newsletter and boom. It’s yours.

CONGRATULATIONS TO PATTI LARSEN AND SYDLYNN THADDEA HAYLE!

Three years ago Patti Larsen introduced me to Sydlynn Thadea Hayle and her family. It is accurate to say my life has not been the same since.

I knew from the first book in the Hayle Coven Novels that all Syd had to do was get in front of the right people, at the right time, and the right place. I had a BLAST editing Syd’s stories–and I live in total amazement at the prolific and stellar talent from Patti Larsen. She’s a total professional with a work ethic that could fell Paul Bunyan. The woman is an animal.

So it is with a great deal of smugness and I TOLD YOU SO-ITIS that I announce Patti Larsen’s FAMILY MAGIC won the World’s Best Story of 2014 competition out of a field of over 1,000.

WHAAAAAA?!

Oh yeah! Which means Syd and Patti are on their way to a traditional publishing contract, distribution, and a book tour. Possibly MOVIES. Or TV. CAN YOU EVEN STAND IT?

Me neither :)

I’m incredibly proud of Patti and the work that’s gone into the Hayle Universe. This is one of those “overnight” successes which only took years, sweat, tears, and blood. But that’s why we love our job, no?

THE ROCK STAR ON ROCK TOUR

Aaron Galvin has not only released the second in his Salted series,Taken With A Grain of Salt, he’s made Salted, the first book, FREE.

He’s also on a book tour in Indiana; check here for dates and places.

Praise for Salted:

Debut author Aaron Galvin gives us robust characters and non-stop action, making this imaginative story of characters from a parallel, underwater world (the Salt) worth a look.

Finally a fresh take on what goes on under the sea. A thrilling, dark, page turner that leaves the reader wanting more. I am definitely hooked and eagerly awaiting the sequel. Although it is under the YA genre, adults will love this book. Readers will enjoy the exposure to a new fantasy world that has not been done before. The characters are well developed and interesting. A great read, highly recommend!!

Congratulations, Aaron!

***

I can’t believe it’s December already. This year FLEW. I’m already mulling over plans for 2015–I’m thinking about doing another anthology based on the Zodiac, playing with Sally Mae, and finishing up a few loose ends in addition to the work flow.

What plans are you pondering?

I Love Mondays

HA! Just kidding.

I don’t hate Mondays, but we’ll never be in love. Monday is is like an annoying mother-in-law, cold, rainy days in autumn, or pants that chafe your thighs. Inevitable and uncomfortable, but they don’t last forever even if it seems that way.

Schedule Updates

With the change of seasons comes a change in scheduling. My guidelines remain the same, but I thought I’d update my Rates and Services page so you all know the best time to get a hold of me. Any questions, just email me.

Newsletter News

I missed October’s newsletter. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but there will be a newsletter on November 3 with the next installment of editing tips and the new releases of September/October. But let me ask you a question–what would you like to see in a newsletter from me? Are the editing tips helpful? I am totally open to suggestions, so if you have one (or a few), go ahead and throw them out there for consideration. After all, the newsletter is for YOU and I want to provide what’s useful to you.

If you’re interested in the writing side of things, visit Annetta Ribken-Literary Home and sign up for the newsletter there for updates on my writing endeavors.

Speaking of Writing News…

Not Nice and Other Understatements has received a makeover :) She’s nice and shiny, and hopefully will be released on October 15th. People who have purchased the Kindle edition in the past will receive the update at no charge. There will be a new print edition available for those interested. More info on the writing website.

And that’s it for Monday. Hopefully yours is going well. :)

Editing With Netta~Basic Chores

You will find as many ways of editing your manuscript as there are grains of sand upon the beach. That’s because editing is as much an art form as writing. No two people do it exactly the same, nor should they.

However, when it comes to self-editing, there are some basic chores you need to do to get your ‘script ready for a professional edit. These are my Top Five Recommendations:

1. Put your manuscript away for a couple of weeks. Longer, if possible. Why? Because it’s too soon, you’re too close, and you’re not going to see what needs to be changed or corrected when you’re right on top of it. Let the manuscript “cool” for a little bit. You’ll be amazed at what you see when you re-open the document.

2. Take the editing in rounds, big picture to little picture. If you try to get everything in one round, it’s likely you’ll experience frustration, discouragement, and probably rage. You might reach for a hammer. Slow down, tiger, and take one round at a time.

3. Outline. If you’re a die-hard pantser and did not work from an outline, that’s fabulous. Everyone has their own way of writing, and there’s no “right” way or “wrong” way. But for the purpose of getting your ‘script into fighting shape, whether you outlined or not, it’s a good idea to create an outline from the completed material. Things could have changed from your original outline. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but enough to keep you in a straight line. *Note: It’s a good idea to share these kinds of documents with your editor.

4. Construct a style sheet or compendium. Especially if you’re working on a series, a style sheet or compendium is a must. If you start it now, it will save you so many headaches down the line. Include the proper spelling of names, locations, physical attributes of your characters…you can use an Excel spreadsheet to help. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later when you’re in book three and can’t remember what color so-and-so’s eyes were in the first book.

5. Include a Bug Word list. Every writer has bug words. These are words you may overuse and just don’t see anymore when you’re writing. And, the bug words can change from manuscript to manuscript. TRUE STORY. Keep a list of the ones you see most often, and utilize your Search and Find function. This can really save you a lot of time when you’re whipping through a manuscript.

Next post we’ll talk about the FIRST READ. Sign up for the monthly newsletter and get your editing tips and tricks before the crowd!

Good News and New News!

Here we are in September! I’m so happy not to be frying like bacon in a pan (mmmm, bacon!) and am really enjoying the cooler weather. Remind of that when I’m bitching about the cold, okay?

Yeah. This doesn't look good.
Yeah. This doesn’t look good.

You know that’s coming up sooner rather than later, right?

But I said GOOD NEWS!

I am pleased and happy to report Jennifer Wingard and I won an award for editing Forever Road by Catie Rhodes. Jennifer was the copy editor, and I served as content editor. Love, love, LOVE me some Peri Jean Mace! She’s really my kind of gal, and I had so much fun working with Catie. It’s a great story.

CHANGES TO THE BLOG

In New News, this blog will concentrate on the editing side of things. If you’d like to keep up with my own writing, you can visit me at AnnettaRibken.com for updates on what’s happening. While you’re there, sign up for the newsletter–you’ll see covers, trailers, and excerpts before anyone else and as a subscriber, be eligible for special giveaways just for YOU. Since my production schedule is hardly blistering right now, you won’t be spammed to death with emails, promise. :)

NO SPAM, I SWEAR !
NO SPAM, I SWEAR !

DON’T MISS OUT ON EDITING WITH NETTA!

Speaking of subscribers, the newsletter here on Word Webbing provides valuable editing tips and new releases from my clients as they happen. So make sure you sign up–it comes out once a month and you don’t want to miss it.

Another change coming up is on Wednesdays, I’ll be posting the editing tips here. They’re six months behind, so signing up for the newsletter ensures you get the latest right away.

Work continues on both sites as I update and clean out stuff. It’s almost like tackling the closet where you throw everything because you don’t know where else to put it. Don’t play. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Yep. You know this closet.
Yep. You know this closet.

In the meantime, I hope you’re writing and having a good month! Tell me what you’re up to in the comments :)

Ch-Ch-Changes!

Welcome to my new digs! Sometimes, in seeming catastrophe, good things can happen.

I’ve had the plan for some time to break off my editing brain from my writerly brain but still have them linked. Due to unavoidable circumstances, the timeline for that process has been bumped up considerably.

Instead of looking at it as a disaster, I’m going to take it and shape it into an OPPORTUNITY.

Here on annettaribken.com, you will find the editing half of my brain. Later on this year, I’ll introduce you to the writerly half.

Brain
I’ll let you guess which half is which. Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.

In the meantime, hang tight while I hang curtains and throw a little paint on the walls. I’ll have it spiffy in no time!

Before you leave, take a quick minute and sign up for my monthly newsletter. It’s chock-full of editing goodness and the latest on new releases from some outstanding authors. See you there!

What’s Going On

Well, you know. The usual. Busy is BUSY, but that’s nothing unusual for not only me, but most everyone I know. And while busy is good, it can also be frazzling sometimes. Especially when you share space with a judgmental and obnoxious cat who is all up in your business 24/7. Not mentioning any names.

The bitchiest cat face on the planet. Judging. Always judging.

I’m not the most dedicated of bloggers on the planet, that’s for sure. And when I do decide to post, I have ten million ideas but when I open up a blank document, do you think I can find a brain cell? Hell, no. They scatter like rats deserting the Black Pearl sucked into a black, watery vortex. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Since I’ve wanted to impart some editing tips and tricks for the longest time, I figured the easiest way was to create a monthly newsletter. You can sign up at the top of this page–and it will be information you won’t see posted on the blog. I’ll also include a shout-out to the writers I know who are releasing some outstanding work.

The first newsletter launched January 31st, and included five important editing tips when starting the editing process. On February 28th, the newsletter will continue on this editing journey with what you should look for in your First Read. Tell you what–sign up today and I’ll make sure you get the first five tips, too.

Now to get this feline out of my face so I can work. Wish me luck. Heh.