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Thursday, January 31, 2019

#ROMANCE AND #HORROR AUTHOR KELLI A. WILKINS ON HER TOP 3 WRITING-RELATED FRUSTRATIONS

Actor portrayal of the author's frustrations
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 nonfiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories. Today Kelli stops by to do a bit of venting about her writing frustrations—and man, does she vent, but read on and you’ll understand why. Plus, just in time for Valentine’s Day, she’s got two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances, perfect to read during a coffee or lunch break. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog

My Top 3 Writing-Related Frustrations Are…
My name is Kelli Wilkins and I’m an author of sensual romances and spooky horror fiction. Over the years I’ve had my share of writing-related frustrations. Today I’m sharing my top three.

Editors Introducing Errors: I work really hard to submit a professional manuscript, whether it’s a 2,500-word horror story or a full-length historical romance novel. I edit, revise, and proofread until the submission is as perfect as I can make it. So you can imagine my frustration when I see the final product and find errors the editor introduced into the story.

This can be anything from scrambling words in a sentence so it makes no sense, omitting words from sentences, swapping out a correct word for a wrong one (one/once; sign/sigh; hours/horse), typos, and more. Recently I reviewed a galley and pointed out errors that needed to be fixed. The editor had relied on the “track changes” function of Word to autocorrect things—and it didn’t. It added errors! She promised she’d make sure everything was right before the file went to the printer. But when I received my printed copy of the book, guess what? All the errors were still there. They took away from the final product and ruined the story.

What’s an author to do about this? Not much. Sigh and move on. (And reconsider ever submitting to that publication again.) It frustrates me because readers will naturally blame the author for any typo, misplaced comma, or wrong word in a book—even if it’s not our fault—and we suffer the consequences.
 
This brings me to frustration #2 and all its hazards…

Poison Pen Reviewers: When authors submit their books for review they hope to get great 5-star reviews—not to be slaughtered in a public forum by a vengeful reviewer or blogger. Reviewers are supposed to be professional and actually read the book before they write an intelligent review.

If they didn’t like the book, fine. The review should tell readers what didn’t work: the characters needed more motivation, or the plot wasn’t exciting, etc. But to write the equivalent of: “I hate all books in this genre, so I’m not surprised that this book sucks. The author is terrible and can’t write, so nobody should read this or anything she ever writes again…” Not cool.

What makes this even more damaging is that the “reviewers” who write these scathing/snarky rants never let the author know about them ahead of time. They post the “review” to every social media platform, blog, and book site in the Universe, then sit back and congratulate themselves.

What can the author do to fix this? Nothing! There’s no reasoning with these unbalanced folks. Asking them to take the review down sparks flame wars, and commenting publicly or trying to defend yourself (or the book) only invokes a heap of trouble no author wants or needs.

We can handle a not-so-great review provided it’s done professionally, but not personal poisonous attacks. And it makes you wonder… If the reviewer hates a certain genre, why agree to read a book in that genre? It’s even more suspicious when the reviewer gets the plot wrong or uses the wrong character names in the caustic review. Did they read the whole book, skim it, or skip around to random pages?
  
And I have to ask… What qualifies these “reviewers” to judge others? Do they have any credentials beyond writing book reports in high school? Have these “reviewers” ever written anything? Probably not. Do they care (or understand) how much time, energy, and effort an author puts into a book, only to have all that work destroyed by a review that was cranked out in five minutes? Nope. They do their damage and run.

Some review sites have a policy not to publish a review that’s less than three stars. That’s a professional policy I wish all reviewers/book sites would follow. There’s enough negative energy and nasty people in the world, we don’t need to add to it.

My third frustration is another one other authors have probably encountered. I call it…

Blogger Boo-Boos: Authors love doing guest blogs and interviews on writing sites, book-related blogs, and just about anywhere. We spend time working on our posts, trying to make them interesting (and maybe even humorous). We edit, revise, and proofread before submitting our blog. So when we see the live post and our name is misspelled, the title of the book is wrong, and our links don’t work (or worse, link to somewhere they shouldn’t) we’re not happy.

Where do these errors come from? Usually the blogger introduces them into the text when he or she writes an intro paragraph, a headline, or inserts links. I get it—we all make mistakes—but please proofread the blog before posting it. Or at least double-check anything you’ve typed that the author didn’t send.

My name has been changed to just about everything: Kellie, Kelly, Kelley, Kathy, Wilkens, Wilks, Wilkems, Willens, and I was once credited on a short story as Kathy Williams. Hello! My name is at the top of the blog, please use it.

So those are my top three writing-related frustrations. (Don’t get me started on the “everyday life” or job-related ones, or we’ll be here forever.) Unfortunately, I’m sure I’m not the only author who has encountered these issues. Maybe we should start a support group…

But no matter what challenges we face, we keep writing and submitting. Why? Because the stories need to be told, and we’re the ones telling them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I like hearing from readers and other authors. Feel free to contact me on my blog or site with questions, comments, or your frustrations. You can also follow me on social media for updates and other fun stuff.
  
Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 1
A Collection of Sweet Romances
In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:
* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger


Cupid’s Schemes, Volume 2
A Collection of Sweet Romances
In these 12 mini-romances…
* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in a supposedly abandoned ghost town
* new neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a long-lost love returns in an unexpected setting

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