Free Book Friday: Oops, I did it again!

What did I do? It’s another week with no new promos. Boo, me.

I’ll give you a writing update instead.

In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I’m not a novel writer. I like the quirkiness of short stories, the challenge of creating an interesting plot and conclusion in a limited number of words. So, when I took on the challenge, I was skeptical that I would complete it.

Guess what? I was right! I didn’t finish my novel in the 30 days allotted. But I kept at it, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, line by line, word by word, letter by letter. I hit 30 000 words a few months ago. There was only one problem: The story had concluded.

No spoilers here.

The characters had gone through everything I threw at them and may (or may not) have come out unscathed. I described each scene and event to the best of my ability and wrote the dialogue that I thought was authentic.

I write how I read. When I read a story, I tend to skim over details that seem to go on too long and don’t add to the story. I’m not a great conversationalist either, so when I read dialogue that is overly complex and lengthy, it doesn’t seem believable. I’m not expecting the interjections of ums and ahhs because there has to be some elements that we ignore for the story to progress smoothly.

I went back to see if there were any places that needed more clarification, detailed descriptions, and better dialogue. Of course, I took this opportunity to edit and look for any discrepancies or continuity issues.

I put out a request on my blog and to my newsletter subscribers for any readers to do a beta-read. I didn’t get any takers, so I decided to look at paying for developmental/content editing. I put out a request on Reedsy—where I found my first editor, Doreen. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. I was right on that one too. Doreen actually suggested that upon review of the sample that I sent her, a copy edit seems to be all that is required.

I still wanted feedback on the quality of the story because, after self-publishing two books, it was time to up the game. I’m still writing for myself. I write what I want to read. That will never change, but if I want to make it as a writer, I can’t rely solely on my opinion.

Both of my books have received positive reviews. That tells me that my writing has worth, that My decision to publish was the correct one. I want to entertain. I try to write something every day that others will enjoy as much as I do.

I have contacted a beta reader to start that process, but the offer still stands if you want to read the longest story I have ever written.

So, I guess it is Free Book Friday after all.

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!


The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Contact me:

Thursday Thoughts: To be(ta) or not to be(ta)

Are you a beta-reader? Have you ever used one?

I think it is time to open up my newest work, a novel based on one of my science fiction short stories, to readers to gain some feedback on the story so far.

In essence, the story is finished, the characters have had their adventure and are…[spoiler alert]. It has been a stretch for me to write something longer than 4000 words. It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong. I’m amazed at what I’ve come up with and it has exceeded my expectations.

I write like I read. I don’t like long drawn out descriptions or seemingly endless dialogue, but part of that is the way to immerse the reader in the story. I probably need to be more descriptive in my writing, but I like to give out the basic ingredients and let the reader form their own picture because that’s what we all do when we read, right? Go to a movie based on your favorite book to see someone else’s interpretation (that wasn’t what Hogwarts was supposed to look like…)

I’ll usually go for brevity over elaboration. I use vocabulary that most people will recognize or be able to understand based on context. When I’m reading, I don’t want to have to look up the meaning of a word.

I admit that I am a new writer. Twenty years from now I’ll be a better one. George Lucas reworked Episodes IV-VI because more tools were available. I’ve gone back to earlier chapters to add dialogue and scenes because ideas have come to me. I’m adding to my toolbox with every page I write.

All the more reason to write more.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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