"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Welcome to Katzenhaus Books, where we tell - the stories behind the history.
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

Why I'm Being an Absolute Sloth!
Lessons We Learn Too Late
Christmas Without . . .
Another Thankful Morning--This Time for Alert Cats.
Connections

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Agents
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
birthdays
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
business
Business plan
Busy-ness
Butterflies
Career choices
cats
celebrations
cemetery research
Census
challenges
chaos
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas
Christmas Past
Civil War
Clues
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
CreateSpace
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
Dead Mules
Deal of the Day
decisions
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elections
elevator speech
elmore leonard
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
Excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
fires
Fish
flood waters
flowers
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
free chapter
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
Goodreads
grammar cops
gratitude
gray horses
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
handicaps
hardbound books
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horse races
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
illustrations
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons Learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
loss
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
Nellie M. Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
omens
opening lines
outrage
Oxford
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
photos
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
portraits
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
Reading Enhancement
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smashwords
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
story arc
Substitutes
Success
summer
Synopsis
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
Trivia, Nostalgia
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process
X-Rays

Archives

March 2019
February 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

editing

What Not to Say to the Person Who's Trying to Hire You

Sometimes I just have to shake my head and move on.  Recently I've been trying to add to my small business's staff by hiring an accountant and an editor. (If you missed my blog about why every self-publisher needs a staff, you can find it here) In both cases, I started by taking the recommendations of friends.  I should have known better!

Case #1: The Accountant.  She "welcomed my business", but never had time to meet with me.  Meanwhile, I was sweating the fact that my book sales had added thousands of dollars to our income, without any deductions coming out of them.  I knew I was going to owe self-employment taxes at least, and we might also be hit with a fine for not submitting quarterly estimated payments to cover the difference.

As January 17 got closer, I again asked for an appointment, which she made, and then cancelled twice. On the third appointed day, I arrived at her office with all my paperwork in hand, only to be told she was "out of town." Her receptionist offered to call her, and I had the dubious pleasure of listening to her sputter an apology. "Leave the paperwork there," she said.  "I'll be back in the office tomorrow, I'll look it over, and call you." Right! She finally called on the Saturday afternoon before the deadline to say she didn't have time to go through the paperwork.  Her recommendation: Send the IRS $2000 or more, and they'll be happy.  Then, she said she would file to get me an extension on paying my taxes in April.  Bottom line: "Call me back at the end of April, and we'll try to find a time to go over all this before the October deadline.

FAIL!

Instead, I found myself a new accountant -- one recommended by the Chamber of Commerce.  He was polite and accommodating, offering a whole afternoon to get us straightened out.  Thank you, Kind Accountant, for treating me as if my business is important.

Case #2: The Editor. She was excited to read the first three chapters of my book -- until she read them.  Then back came the critique. "You seem to want your historical novel to be historically accurate, but all these details are going to bore your reader, as they do me.  I prefer to work on a story line that has lots of action and excitement.  I can do an edit on these pages and put in some more exciting events, but you'll have to start all over again to write the kind of book I produce." 

FAIL!

I had told  her that I am a historian and that the book is based on a real person.  Sorry, but we can't put car chases, explosions, and terrorist threats into a Civil War novel. So I found a new editor, too -- one who found the real story interesting and promised to help me polish the book I wanted to write. 

It's been an interesting couple of weeks! I'm trying to put a positive spin on the experiences. After all, I did end up with two wonderful additions to the "staff." But what on earth is wrong with people who offer their "services for hire" but don't want to serve the people who hire them?

Bar Jokes for English Majors and Book Editors

Yesterday, I finally hired an editor for my upcoming novel. Then I worried about sending her the first chapters without doing a quick edit myself to catch the really dumb mistakes. After a couple of hours of editing this morning, I took a break, but I couldn't get away from grammar and punctuation.  On Facebook I found people playing a new game: creating bar jokes involving grammar and punctuation. So here, for your enjoyment -- or befuzzlement -- are some of the best ones I discovered.

  1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
  2. A question mark walks into a bar?
  3. Two "quotation marks" walk into a bar.
  4. The bar was walked into by a passive verb.
  5. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
  6. A spell checker want into a bar and preceeded to get waisted.
  7. A worn out simile went into a bar, had a shot and a Red Bull chaser, and then ran like a bat out of hell.
  8. A subordinating conjunction walked into a bar because it was thirsty.
  9. A colon walks into a bar for one reason: to drink.
  10. A split infinitive decides to boldly walk into a bar.
  11. Always a verb in a bar.
  12. An adverb walks into a bar thirstily.
  13. A run on sentence walks into a bar and sits and drinks and leaves and comes back again and has too much to drink and stumbles out of the bar and returns again unable to stop its on going drinking habit which it learned to do the first time it went into the bar to sit down and drink and leave if only for a moment.
  14. Being well fried, the Dangling Modifiers enjoyed the pork chops.
  15. An ellipsis walks into a bar…
  16. A palindrome walks up to a girl in a bar and says, "Madam, I'm Adam."
  17. An unnecessary Oxford comma walks into a bar, drinks, and leaves.
  18. A conjunction joined two phrases at a bar.

How many of them did you understand? That's why every writer needs an editor!

New Books and Older Ones

I'm in the midst of a busy day. Proofs have arrived, asking me to make decisions about my new book cover and its interior layouts. Here's the cover I've chosen.  Layouts will take a bit more work. These are exciting days, and I'm trying not to push ahead too fast. The temptation is to get the book out as soon as possible to catch the holiday shopping frenzy that is sure to erupt as soon as everyone has finished eating turkey.  But since I don't want to publish a "turkey" I'm trying to slow down and edit carefully.

In the meantime the IHR Virtual Conference on Historical Fiction is in full swing.  Here's a brief summary of today's events.

There's been a lot going on today.  Starting with Elizabeth Chadwick's research into why readers of historical fiction enjoy the genre conversation moved onto questions of why academic history is perceived to not be able to recreate the human condition adequately.  We then heard from Justin Champion, Tracey Loughran and Peter Straus.  In these papers, amongst much else, the issue of e-book readers came up and in other conversations the rise of the internet was discussed as revolutionising the communication and interaction between author and reader.  

It seems that historical fiction is regarded as a popular form of writing and reading about the past, leaving academic history failing somewhat in its targets for impact!  However, the inter-relationship of the two are time and again shown to be strong - one could not survive without the other.  I suspect we'll return to that topic tomorrow as we look at the differences and similarities between historical fiction and academic history.

Elsewhere, Jenny Benham's book review focused on Swedish historical fiction is a gentle and much welcome reminder that in this conference so far we have largely talked about British and perhaps a little American historical fiction.  What about elsewhere?  It would be great to see if anyone else has any views on non-English historical fiction!


Of Early Birds and Second Mice


You've heard people say,"The early bird gets the worm."  Well, that's fine advice, if you have a taste for worms. But here at Katzenhaus Books, we've observed that while the early bird may get the worm, it's the second mouse who gets the cheese. That's doubly true when it comes to book publishing. The path to publication is studded with traps for the unwary.  We're here to help aspiring writers avoid those traps and reach their goals.

Here's the final guide to topics you'll find in my upcoming book, The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese.  You will want any book you write to be as letter-perfect as possible. But if it comes off the press with typos or grammatical errors, the self-published author has no one else to blame. Do you need help with grammar, punctuation, vocabulary? Thinking about hiring a professional editor?  Then read chapters 12 through 14:

12. Listen to Your Inner English Teacher
Conquering Commas
When Do You Use a Hyphen? And Why?
Punctuation Marks We Can Do Without
Spelling—Cna Ouy Rdea This?

13. Listen to What You Say
Don't Let Your Modifiers Dangle
One Letter Can Change Everything
A Few More Problematic Pairs
More Ways To Improve Your Diction
Five Words

14. Hire an Editor
Choosing an Editor
It's the Little Things That Get You
Are You Ever Finished Editing?
Editing  your Kindle Edition

Once you've written your book, what do you do with it? How do you make sure it is professional in appearance? How do you handle distribution?  How do you sell it?  Is it possible to make money by self-publishing? Finish up with chapters 15-17:

15. Reject the Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Choosing Your Printing Company
Contracting for Other Services
The Challenge of Book Layouts

16. Market, Market, Market
Your Elevator Speech
A Virtual Launch Party
A Virtual Book Tour
Press Release: Advertisement or Publicity?
The Value of Book Contests

17. Embrace New Technology
Why You Must Publish an eBook
Kindling a Controversy
Give Away $70,000 and Make a Profit
Kindle Free Books: The New Public Library
The Elusive Amazon Algorithm
The Price of Success


Pre-order your copy now at www.thesecondmousegetsthecheese.org

Who Stole My Fall?

I've been toddling along, waiting for summer to be over and telling myself that once fall arrived, I'd get really busy with my next books.  Among the promises to myself is the one that says I'll have the book on self-publishing reading for Christmas shoppers.  The leaves on our trees are still green, my impatiens bed is bursting with new blooms, and today's temperature will be 80 degrees. Of course, the weatherman just said that Denver is expecting a major winter storm tonight, but there's still a hurricane brewing in the Gulf, so it must still be summer here. The holiday season is a distant goal, but as soon as it turns cool, I'll know it's time to get to work.

Except . . .  Halloween is just a week away, and then it'll be November -- Thanksgiving, Christmas decorations, holiday shoppers -- aaarrrgh!  There, in a nutshell, you have part of my excuse for not blogging for almost a week.  The realization that fall has moved on without me has sent me into a frenzy of multi-tasking.

The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese absolutely has to be finished before the end of November. This little book for self-publishers has assumed its final shape.  In the past few days, I've finalized all of the publishing arrangements.  Contracts are signed and paid for.  The ISBN number is already assigned, and the Library of Congress cataloguing number is being processed.  The design team responsible for the artistic stuff I can't handle is in place and impatient to get started.  The cover designer has the illustration that will form the focal point of the cover, but is waiting for back cover copy and blurbs.  The interior layout folks have cleared the illustrations but need the final edited manuscript. Kindle conversion is arranged. Everything depends, now, on my finishing the final edit.

So what have I been doing, you ask?. You mean, besides the usual stuff--cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, and bill paying? Besides attending a Lions Club district conference all day Saturday, running my own club meeting last night, getting ready to go to do a pre-school eye-screening this morning? Besides buying a new car and planning a research trip that will start on November 30th, whether I'm finished with "The Mouse" or not. Besides sleeping now and then?

I'm going to promise to do better with the blog, primarily because you readers help keep me on track.  If I feel that I should report to you with progress updates, perhaps I'll stay better focused during the net several days. So off I go -- first to check the eyesight of those adorable 3- and 4-year-olds at today's day care center. Then back to the final nine chapters, looking for strange and awkward wording or curious omissions caused by imprecise first-round editing. 

If you find a way to restore my fall season and postpone the encroaching holidays, please let me know.