Dealing with Multiple Characters

FeaturedDealing with Multiple Characters

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Dealing with Multiple Characters.
When writing my novels I frequently deal with multiple characters. This is common to most writers. But in my case, I like to let the reader into a character’s mind instead of just telling the reader what the character is thinking.
This immediately presents a situation where the character could take over more than his or her part of the story. I must always remember who the primary character is in the book. In my Bible based series The World That Was this is not a major problem because the Bible has already told me who the primary characters are and their role. But in the series Christland I have a great deal more freedom which also means I face different problems.
Multiple characters can be a distraction.
Especially if the character has a limited role. For example, in Death Ship to the Stars there was Ralph Abernathy. He had a brief but important role early in the story, albeit a limited role, while people he connected with had more enduring roles. Keeping him in his proper place yet allowing the reader to get to know him kept me busy. But I believe I accomplished the task.
On the other hand Agent X was constantly being revealed through his thinking.
How Did You Do It?
Basically, I only allowed the reader into Ralph’s mind when he was alone or for only a brief time. Agent X’s identity was secret. For awhile the reader may have included Ralph as the true identity of Agent X. In fact, several people in the novel were possibilities so I limited the amount of time they were given for us to see their thinking. I restricted these moments to only those that were important for the reader to see.
I also kept to the Primary Character rule.
What’s the Primary Character Rule?
That’s my name for keeping the primary character up front even if not in view at the time. In the case of Ralph most of his interactions were with Sarah, so she was always treated as the Primary Character when in his presence. Of course, she actually was one of two primary characters.
On the other hand there was Miss M. Since she was something of a mystery woman (not revealed until Book 3) I kept her thoughts restricted. She did think and the reader listened in, but I also kept her true identity secret while dropping a clue once in a while. But she was also a primary character that was viewed through the eyes of Colonel Michaels and General Smith. So there was a balancing act between revealing her and hiding her identity.
Should a Writer Always have Multiple Characters?
Actually that is up to the author. Multiple characters can get messy. You must try to keep them consistent and in their proper roles. In my Bible based novel Perished The World That Was I had multiple characters imposed by the Bible itself. Some of the characters had the same name. (I would not recommend having multiple characters with the same name, but dealing with the Bible required them.)
When the book was reviewed a man purporting to be a Christian reviewed it. But instead of reading it honestly he skipped through the book. You guessed it. By skipping he ran into characters with the same name but didn’t know they were actually different people. So it resulted in a poor review. (By the way I have kept the review because even a poor review can be a good review. Most people reading his review will spot the problem.) Don’t let that scare you most reviewers are honest in their approach.
Multiple characters can be problematic, but the larger your story the more likely you’ll have them. The key is to keep them consistent or develop them over a period of time. And keep their relationship with the primary character consistent.
What About Only the Primary’s Thoughts Being Revealed?
That is a legitimate solution. In fact, that is what most writers do and I believe I’ve read experts advise such. In my opinion, if you can handle multiple characters thinking go ahead and try it. I believe when you can let the reader truly get to know the characters it can be worthwhile but just remember it also requires hard work on yourself.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Writing and the English Language

FeaturedWriting and the English Language

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Writing and the English Language
While it is true that everybody has a story in them, it is not necessarily true that they have the ability to write a book. One of the first obstacles a writer has to good writing is the English language.
What’s wrong with the English language?
There’s nothing wrong with the English language. It is perhaps the most powerful language in existence in the world, which explains its worldwide usage. It is the language most used between countries as they negotiate treaties, trade with one another, and socially interact with each other.
Now I’m not advocating a college major in English. While that might be helpful, it could also be disastrous. Rather I’m advocating that we teach ourselves proper English. I often review the rules of grammar and spelling, especially now that we have the internet. (I’m doing so even as I’m writing this blog.)
With the internet available and self-help books available we don’t have any excuses. If someone critiques my book and finds a grammar or spelling error it is my fault. We need to master English to the extent that we can write a good book.
Unfortunately we live in an age when speaking or writing good sentences is on the decline. We are living in the age of the dumbing down of America. We’ve often heard that phrase in relation to math and science, but it is also a true description of  our writing and speaking.
Don’t believe me? Read the posts on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of “you are” you read “ur;” instead of “best friend” you get “BF;” instead of “God the Father” you get “old man;” and instead of “laugh out loud” you get “lol.” I understand the need for brevity, especially on Twitter, but the problem is that kids are learning this language and spend more time using it than they do English.
I once knew a teenage girl who was rather smart. She wrote an essay and submitted it to a national contest. And she won! She was proud of this accomplishment, as I would have been. But then she let me read her essay. The writing was terrible. There were misspelled words, poor grammar, etc. It was obvious they read only to get the concept of her letter. But this was a writing contest. Oh, and this was before the internet!
Recently I read that American schools, both high school and college, score low on literacy charts for the world. I don’t know the accuracy of that statement, but the man himself is credible so I tend to believe him. This is tragic!
This is why it is so important that anyone wanting to be an author keep a dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar book nearby.
You Don’t Think That’s Important?
If you can’t properly write a book the chances are that people won’t be able to read it even if they want to do so. Communication is the life line between writer and reader. A writer needs to be able to use words efficiently and effectively. We are creating word pictures for our readers, but if they can’t see the picture then we’ve failed.
Being able to read is just as important as being able to write.
In fact, I’d say they go hand in hand. People today have trouble reading Old English. How many kids can read Shakespeare? Not many, because it’s too hard! Yet they spend countless hours on their tablet and on Social Media ( think Twitter and Facebook).
This also affects the reading of the Bible.
One of the reasons people don’t read the King James Bible is because they don’t know the words being used. The real tragedy here is that these same people have to learn a technical language for their jobs, but find the KJV too “difficult.” The result is they use so-called modern translations that leave out powerful words like “propitiation” which is used more than once in the New Testament. Instead they accept the watered down translations of the word that gives them a bankrupt understanding of Scripture.
(I do realize that the primary reason for new versions is the financial rewards for the publishers, but even so they are capitalizing upon our ignorance.)
You hear today that our language is evolving, which implies it is not only changing but changing for the better. But this is not true. A better word would be devolving (degenerating). Aside from better education I don’t know how to handle this phenomenon, but we as writers can learn to write better.
Oh, and I’m not talking about the King’s English. Rather I’m talking about American English. I’m sure the people of England face the same challenges, but we in America need to face up to these challenges and work on our English. Starting with me!
Ain’t that right? (Just kidding.)
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for more book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to receive a free copy for the purpose of reviewing any of these books please feel free to contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Save Your Work

Save Your Work

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Save Your Work.
Why is it necessary to save my work?
Let me tell you a true story.
Many years ago before I became a writer I started writing computer programs. It wasn’t for a job I had or a school I was attending. Rather I had a desire to write and writing programs seemed a great fit. And in the course of several years I did write a small program for where I worked (this was back in the day when it was easy to get into the company’s software and edit it) and later I wrote a little larger program for my church.
But early on I was learning the BASIC programming language. I had purchased the BASIC software engine and was diving deep within. I basically (pun intended) taught myself how to write programs. And I actually enjoyed it.
This was in the early days of personal computers. I began writing a long program that I would eventually use for myself. But then I started running into a problem. I would make an error and accidentally delete the entire program. This happened at least twice causing me to have to retype the entire program. Fortunately I had printed it out and simply had to read and type. Even so it was time consuming. That spurred me to saving my work every day I worked on it. But I still could lose the program, which then required me to reenter any code I’d already entered for the day. So I began saving my work periodically throughout a session.
When I started writing books I found this practice an invaluable tool. Why? Because no matter how sophisticated the computer gets there is the possibility of losing data. So it is necessary to save the work as you go on. I just saved this work for a second time.
Aside from replacing lost work what other advantages are there?
One practice I have engaged in since writing books has been to periodically save the work under a different name. When writing a book for another person I have done this frequently. This practice then provides multiple copies of the work at various stages. Even when writing for myself I have done this. Sometimes it’s because of a title change for the book. This has occurred several times. Again it provides additional material for comparison purposes.
Theoretically there is another advantage.
By saving my work frequently I can theoretically create multiple versions of the same story and decide which one I like the best. I haven’t done this, but it is possible.
But what is the most important reason?
That’s easy. Peace of mind. If I save my work regularly I am secure in the knowledge that I have the freedom to write without fear of losing the manuscript. Another advantage very close to that is the saving of time. Rewriting an entire book would cause a great deal of lost time, frustration, and energy.
How often should I save my work?
That’s something of a personal decision. But I would suggest you save your work at the very least every session. You might also consider changing it every hour or more often. It depends on the volume of work you do and the time you normally spend on it. But whatever you decide you might want to emphasize consistency. That will breed repetition which in turn will breed a more successful experience.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Rules or No Rules

Rules or No Rules

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Rules or No Rules.
You’ve heard all: Rules are made to be broken; You must never do this or that; and Absolutely not! Rules tend to govern our lives, some being good, some not so good. But the rules of writing, must we follow them? Or can we just do whatever?
One thought before digging in here, the purpose of rules are to provide a guide for you, the writer, to follow. Rules are meant for your good.
What are the Rules of Writing?
Actually there are a ton of rules, but I’m only going to look at a few. It’s not so much the rule that is at stake here but a point that I’m trying to make. In doing research on this subject I came across a book in my library that had a section on Kurt Vonnegut, who was a giant in the industry. He had some opinions about rules worthy of taking a look at.
Here are a couple of quotes: “Can I get away with this? No. The trick is getting the reader to buy it.” Another quote is, “whatever works, works.”
Now let’s take a look at a few rules:

  1. Always identify who is talking – Unless, of course, the context makes it obvious.
  2. Use italics when a person is thinking – Unless, of course, you prefer using another method.
  3. Separate speech from the action – Unless, of course, you decide to combine them.
  4. Only have one primary character – Unless, of course, you can get away with having more.
  5. Give readers as much information as soon as you can.
  6. Weave historical data, if any, into fictional content.

Those last two weren’t really rules, but rather suggestions from Vonnegut. But you might consider them as rules you should follow.
Now look back at the rules, you’ll notice I followed the first four rules with an “Unless” which indicated you could break the rule. Now take a sheet of paper and make two columns. On the left side the column will list rules, and on the right side you’ll put the word “Unless” at the beginning of the column.
Now, using the left column, make a list of the writing rules you know about. Just the ones that might affect you. Now go back to the top and read the rule on the left and then consider whether there are times you break the rule and why. If it’s a valid why, place the why in the right column. Theoretically that will provide a scenario where you have possible points where you can violate the rule. I said theoretically because you might be wrong.
To find out whether you’re right or wrong you might try searching on Google or some other search engine. A lot of times you’ll find the answer. another resource is to look at what famous and successful authors have done.
Neither of those methods can be considered absolutely correct, but there’s a good chance they are. In the end, you must decided the right or wrong.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Keeping Your Writing Fresh!

Keeping Your Writing Fresh!

Today I am writing about Keeping Your Writing Fresh.
Have you ever run up against a wall? The words just won’t come. Or how about have you ever looked over your writing and felt it was stale, boring?
I think all writers run into it. Whether its Writer’s Block, staleness, or something else you find your writing a drag. It has suddenly become a chore, leaving you tired.
I would be less than honest if I said I never was frustrated with my writing, but I have kept it in the rare category.
How do you keep your book fresh?
It’s not as tough as you might think. Consider, if you will, your brain. God created your brain to function and accomplish much. The brain is able to multitask. Now, I’m not talking about your perceived abilities. You, or your mate, may laugh at the concept of you multitasking. But the brain has that potential.
What’s Multitasking got to do with it?
I’m not a scientist or a doctor but I believe the brain can get tired. I’ve heard it referred to as a muscle. And a muscle can get tired. In fact, if you don’t use your brain it can deteriorate. The brain needs exercise, so I invite you to consider multitasking as exercise.
I often work on multiple projects. For example, I am working on two unrelated novels (one is a World That Was novel and the other is a Christland novel) plus I’ve been working on a catalog and this blog. Does that make me better than you? No. What it does is it keeps my brain fresh. Just as physical exercise stimulates the flow of blood to the muscles of your body, so I believe multitasking (exercising the brain) stimulates the flow of blood to your brain.
So What Do I Need to Do?
I’ve already answered that in part. But consider these ideas:

  • Work on more than one book at a time
  • Start a blog
  • Read a book
  • Work a crossword puzzle
  • Take a nap

Wait a minute, I thought you said exercise!
I did. But your body needs rest, also. Besides, the brain is hardly inactive during sleep. It is still maintaining all your bodily functions and, if you dream, it activates and uses your imagination.
I might add I quite often take a nap. I had a heart attack in 2014 and while physically I am still able to do the things I used to do, mental work tires me out. So I’ll take a 15 minute nap and I’m refreshed.
It’s amazing how a short nap or multitasking can freshen the brain. The brain is designed by God to be able to do more than one thing at a time. In fact, whether you believe it or not your brain is multitasking right now. For example, right now I’m working on this blog, but I am also listening to a CD of music, and my head is moving back and forth in time with the music. Add to that the manipulation of my eyes, fingers, and ears enabling me to do the task before me.
So What Do You Suggest I do?
In my opinion I think you should try to do all the things that I have mentioned. And add to the list. Oh, and there is one other thing. Don’t be afraid to walk away from your work for a while. Sometimes that is just the right thing to do!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Beta Readers

Beta Readers

Today I am writing about Beta Readers.
You’ve put forth your best efforts. You’ve completed your book. Now you’re ready to publish!
Not so fast.
Have you gone over your book looking for the smallest of errors? Have you followed up by editing the book? If yes, then good, but you’re still not ready.
Let me pause here for a word of transparency. While I have used readers to check my work they don’t necessarily fit within the “Beta Reader” definition. Also, I am not necessarily recommending that you use Beta Readers. It’s a choice. Whether you use Beta Readers or not, it is your choice.
With that out of the way let’s review the following which is based on an article written by editors.
What is a Beta Reader?
A Beta Reader is essentially a person who provides feedback that potentially helps your book to be better than it was. Not everyone can provide that service. A Beta Reader should be:

  • the kind of person likely to buy your book
  • be more knowledgeable than you are on the craft of writing
  • be a reader of books in your genre

It is unlikely that you will find such people in your circle of friends.
Where do you find Beta Readers?
Listed below are some ideas. You are free to add additional ones.

  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) by asking for help
  • Scribofile where you offer feedback on other works and receive reviews of yours
  • Join Wattpad where you upload your book with a compelling blurb enticing people
  • Visit local writing or critique groups for face-to-face feedback

Working with Beta Readers
Just locating Beta Readers is not enough. You must have rules. The editors of the article point out authors don’t usually pay Beta Readers, so your interaction with them needs to be positive and affirming.
Don’t forget this little rule: How you treat your Beta Readers will determine whether they ever help you again. So it is to your advantage to treat them well. Use the Golden Rule: treat Beta Readers as you would want to be treated.
Having established that all important rule, let’s look at some others:

  • Give them your completed manuscript, not a draft
  • Send the manuscript in their desired format and method
  • Keep them informed on what kind of information you’re looking for
  • Provide a list they can follow
  • Never display disappointment or offense at negative feedback
  • Reward them by mentioning them in your acknowledgement page (people like compliments)

What’s the alternative to Beta Readers?
Your circle of friends can provide the alternative. Not all friends will be willing to help, but some may be willing. The thing to remember is to provide the same rules as for Beta Readers. And remember that these people are not necessarily trained to do such work.
But I have found that a friend who is willing to read my book and critique it can be very helpful. As I write this I have in mind a woman who took the time to read one of my manuscripts and critiqued it. Her comments and suggestions played an important role in the writing. Unfortunately she’s not really available anymore because of time constraints but readers like that are like platinum!
What should I do?
My suggestion would be to first look among your circle of friends for one or more people who’d be willing to critique your work. Note: the fact that a person may be an educator doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she should be used. Writing is fluid and sometimes crosses the border of so-called rules of writing as taught in the schools. That doesn’t rule them out, but just be careful.
Once you’ve done that you can try the Beta Reader routine.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

A Look at Indie Publishing

A Look at Indie Publishing

Indie Publishing is relatively new. You might call it the baby of the family. This is real self publishing. Let’s take a look.
Advantages: (same as self publishing)

  • No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  • Virtually able to have book published.
  • Author owns ISBN.
  • Royalty paid.

Advantages in addition to above:

  1. No contract
  2. Published within days
  3. Growing number of publishing formats
  • CreateSpace
  • Kindle Direct Platform
  • Others
  1. Select either 35% or 70% royalty
  2. Control throughout
  3. Minimum requirements by platform
  4. Ability to retire a book
  5. Ability to edit and republish a book
  6. Ability to not only set prices but to change prices
  7. FREE

Disadvantages:

N/A

In 2014 Teresa and I formed our own publishing company: TR-Independent Books. Although getting up and running was time consuming we have not regretted it. Since that time I have purchased the rights to and republished Perished; I have republished one book under a new title; and I am publishing other books.
In addition, I am working on developing a catalog that will enable prospective buyers, including bookstores, to see what we are offering.
I would recommend to anyone that they seriously consider being an Indie Publisher. Yes, it will require more work, but it  also gives you control throughout the process. And that is important.
Try this simple quiz:

  • Do I control the editing services? Yes
  • Do I control review time of a Proof before returning it for correction or publication? Yes
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it? Yes
  • If so, how much does it cost? Free
  • How much help do I get marketing the book? Various free tools
  • What do the marketing tools cost? Some are free.

These and other questions need to be answered. And I think you’ll be pleased with the answers. Perhaps the biggest advantage that Indie Publishing has, other than control, is the cost. You can publish an entire book free of charge or you can pay a little. Again you have control!
Here are some facts to consider:
An Indie Publishing company is the author who now has virtual control over every aspect of publishing. That includes the cover, the back cover, any pictures within the book, and, to some extent, the text itself. Basically the author has the power.
Self-publishers generally don’t do marketing. But they do provide tools at a cost that you can use. This may include such things as banners, magazine ads, newspaper ads, and more. All for a price.
But Indie Publishing is different! You, the author, become your own agent, publisher and marketer. This means you have greater flexibility in choosing who prints your book. You control virtually all aspects of the printing process.
In addition, you control the marketing. Let me point out that you have greater responsibility as well as power. But when you become your own publisher doors of opportunity open allowing you to use the same tools you have been paying the self-publishers to use. You not only do the work, you make the decisions!
And you reap the rewards!
Happy Indie Publishing!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Self Critiquing

Self Critiquing

Today I am writing about Self Critiquing.

It is popular to advise writers to avoid doing their own editing. Get, they say, a professional so that your work will be at its very best. The reason given is very true: When you review and edit your own book you may not catch the errors. Not because you’re incompetent but because you know what you are trying to say and your mind might translate the words on paper to say what you want it to say.

For example, you may have intended to write, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” But you actually wrote, “My son, God will provide his self a lamb for a burnt offering.” Forgetting for the moment this is scripture, you have changed the actual words. The meaning is the same but the words have been changed. Sometimes the meaning isn’t altered but you erred as far as the words are concerned. But when you edit it you may not see the error because in your mind’s eye you actually read it the way it was meant.

That is a legitimate concern. But do you need professionals to review your work? Professionals cost money and if you are on a tight budget then your ability to hire them tends to be non-existent. Whether you use a professional or amateur you need to do much of the editing yourself. It is your book and your responsibility. If your budget allows it then consider a professional, but if not then plan B should involve repeated reviews and edits.

Now some may say that is bad advice. That it will result in errors. But the truth is that whether you edit the book or a professional edits it there will be errors. Don’t believe me, then the next time you are reading a popular or classic novel keep an eye out for errors. You won’t find many, but you are likely to find some.

The key is repeated reviews. If you can involve others in reviewing your work, so much the better for the work. The more eyes the better chances you’ll have of catching the errors. By the way, one of the advantages of publishing your book yourself is that if you discover errors after it is published you can still correct and republish.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Insights from World of Shem Part 4

Insights from World of Shem Part 4

In this issue I will speak on the About the Author page.

Have you placed an About the Author page in the back of your book? You should. You want to let the reader or potential reader know about you and what they can expect if they buy your book.

Sometimes, when I am looking at books to buy at a bookstore or borrow from the library, I look at both the back cover’s bio AND the About the Author page. Why? Because if I am unfamiliar with the author I want to know more information about him or her before I decide on getting it.

So what should you include in the About the Author page?

The first thing you want is a good, quality picture of yourself. I don’t recommend using your Tablet or cell phone. I have used a picture taken by a friend who knew how to take professional grade pictures. And he used a professional camera. It is different than the one on the back cover of my book. It’s more informal. Because I usually go for black and white interiors, the picture is also black and white even though I inserted a color picture.

It is important to remember that there are criteria to be followed regarding any pictures you include within the book’s interior. Create Space has their requirements and other publishing houses have theirs. They may not all be the same, so be sure to find out what is required and what is acceptable. Then make sure you meet them. If you don’t the book may be rejected, requiring you to bring the picture up to snuff.

What about including text?

Generally speaking your picture and text should take up only one page in the back of your book. In my books I only have two brief paragraphs below the picture providing the essential facts about me. These facts include how long I’ve been writing books, the books I have written (if you’ve written lot of books you may want to mention only the series), and my contact information.

The contact information should only be your email address. Unless of course you have a business phone that you’ve made available for them. But as a general rule an email address should be all that is needed. The reason for contact information is twofold: the reader wants it and so do you. (Hearing from a reader, even a disgruntled reader, shows interest.)

Can I put the About the Author page in the front of the book?

The front matter usually includes a title page, copyright page, dedication page, and contents (optional) page. I have also included a Note From the Author page which relates to the book, but I have never included an About the Author page in the Front Matter.

That being said, I don’t know of any rule that says don’t do it. Books that I have purchased sometimes included Other Books By the Author in the front but I don’t recall ever seeing their Bio in the front. So you probably can, but look at other authors and books for examples. And if you don’t find any then maybe you should consider it not a good idea. The choice is yours.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem (Book Three), but Perished The World That Was (Book One), and World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two). If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review World of Shem.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Bind them continually upon thine heart

Bind them continually upon thine heart

“Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Prov. 6:21

This verse is referencing the Word of God as the Father’s commandments. Today I want to apply it specifically to authors.

Perhaps because I am an author I am slightly biased. Since we deal with communicating to people, albeit through fiction, I think we need God’s wisdom to a very high degree.

Thousands of books are published every week and tens of thousands every year. All authors are trying to sell their books to the widest audience possible. I am no exception. And we need God’s wisdom if we are to succeed.

I’ve talked before about the principles of God’s Word and I don’t want to be merely repeating myself. So instead of talking about marketing advice seen through the lens of the Bible, I want to talk about God’s wisdom and how it helps us write better.

Every book I’ve written has been bathed in prayer. It is not enough to merely follow principles, whether they are secular or spiritual. Writing is more than that. It involves the plot of the work, the characters involved, and the cohesiveness of the story. For that to happen requires a great deal of skill. But it also demands more.

People talk about inspiration being required. I’ve talked about being inspired, but it goes beyond simply being inspired to write. We need God’s guiding hand as we write every scene and develop every character.

It can be taxing, but when we have God in our corner it makes things much easier. Whether writing Perished, or World of Noah and the Ark, or even the current writing of World of Shem I have needed God’s guidance. I seek God’s guidance. I’m not talking about formal prayer, which I do, but of communicating to God throughout the process.

This involves talking to Him about every scene, indeed every word. I approach my writing in the spirit of open prayer. Sometimes it is unconscious praying and sometimes I actually ask Him directly. I ask questions like,

  • How do I write this scene?
  • Is this scene too suggestive?
  • Is this character believable?

Sometimes I have typed several words or entire sentences and upon further evaluation have erased them. We’ve all done this, but the question is was God involved in the process.

How do I involve God?

That’s not a hard question to answer. If you are a Christian, having received Christ as your Savior and you have been called to write, then you can expect His involvement. He doesn’t call and then abandon.

On the other hand, He doesn’t force His Will upon us. According to Psalm 32:8 He will guide us. That is a two-fold promise. On the one hand, God promises to guide us, but on the other hand we are responsible to listen to Him and obey.

What a great feeling it is when we have written a story and can say that God helped us all along the way! Whatever genre you write in you can count on His help as long as you are doing it His way. And that is a source of a huge sense of confidence and peace.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.