Despite the coughing and fatigue still plaguing me, I managed to finish the second round of edits on A Question of Balance yesterday morning. For new readers' sakes, here's the steps I use for editing any story:
1) Read the story. Take notes on a legal pad. Look for plot holes, timeline problems. etc. Review notes and fix problems. Once satisfied, pass the story to a beta reader.
2) Fix problems the beta reader caught. Read through for typos.
3) Upload story file to tablet. Use text-to-speech to read back story for rhythm and finding additional typos. (I used to use MSReader on my old laptop until Microsoft discontinued it and Isabella crashed. I downloaded a text-to-speech program to my Samsung tablet. I could choose language and accent, so I have a British female reading my stories to me. It's pretty cool!)
Since I generally take a mental break between each round, yesterday afternoon, I picked up Dean Wesley Smith's How to Write Fiction Sales Copy that he wrote last year. As I've said before, the last book I published was Blood Sacrifice in 2013. I definitely need a refresher before I start on the blurb for A Question of Balance.
And I think that's where many writers make a major mistake. Once they've learned one aspect of the craft or the business, they stop and rely on that form for the rest of their career.
The problem is that tastes and processes change over time. Is a style of blurb I used three years ago going to work this year? I don't know, which is why I studying the subject again.
In March, I had to relearn how format files for uploading to the various retailers because requirements changed at every retailer I used. Criteria had changed due to reader requests and distributors needs and upgrades. I could not longer rely on my skills from 2011.
And with each story, I work on some aspect of craft. With A Question of Balance, I worked on historical research and male characterization. In Zombie Goddess, I'm practicing interweaving three separate storylines.
Decades ago, my great-grandfather said the only constant in the universe is change. His words definitely apply to writing and publishing.
So what new thing have you learned lately?
P.S. If you want to read Dean's book online, it starts on his blog. Or you can buy it. (I suggest the paperback so you can scribble notes in the margins, but it is definitely available by e-book, too.)