First time authors….

   Just thought I would share some tips with you, for those of you who may be writing for the first time, or even if you have been writing a while. First, and foremost AVOID, if at all possible, writing with another person!! You want to be careful of that. When you bring in others on YOUR story, it can be a bigger PITA (pain in the a$$) than you know. People will begin to tell you all sorts of ways that you can “change” this or that, when it’s not necessarily a good change for YOU. It’s usually geared toward the kind of story that THEY would want it to be, in which case, I say, they need to write their OWN. Also, when you get into a “sharing credit” situation, you wouldn’t believe the arguments that can be blown out of proportion, ie; “I wrote 3,112 words, and you only wrote 3,110, so I should get more credit!”. I’m SERIOUS. Try to avoid this if at all possible.

As for help in “spicing up” your writing, most people can do that themselves, they just don’t know it yet, lol! A wonderful writer from Los Angeles, whom I met a few years ago, gave me the best bit of writing advice that I ever got. She said, “A good story is 10% writing, and 90% RE-WRITING”. I never got a better piece of advice on writing in my life. She was so right! Do not “hurry” your story along, simply to get it to the masses ASAP, because if it isn’t good, no one will buy it, and you won’t get a second chance to get it right. It’s like hearing about some new actor in what the media touts as a “blockbuster” film, based on the mere presence of this particular actor being IN it. If you go see the film, and it doesn’t live up to it’s “press”, you will probably never go see another movie starring said actor. Moral here, do it right the FIRST time!
  If you DO collaborate with someone else, and it get to the “compensation” part, I wouldn’t do percentages, because people always, ALWAYS, want, what they perceive to be, “their” fair share, (especially if they see that your sales are better than expected) simply for being “involved” in a particular project. If you want to have someone “proof” the work, then offer them a FLAT amount for doing so (in writing) and when they are done proofing, you are done paying! Same thing with an illustration. If they draw ONE picture, but you draw the rest, they are going to feel entitled to additional monies every time they think you made more money in sales. Again, give them a FLAT FEE, and be DONE. Have them sign a receipt for “$XX, for 1 drawing”, “$XX for 3 drawings”, etc… Never make it contingent on your sales.

I had my cousin’s son, who is an artist, design a cover for the book that I am writing right now. I had seen some of his work, and thought he was very talented. Well, I commissioned him to design “a” cover for me, and I wrote a contract that paid him $100 for one design. I didn’t promise that it WOULD be the cover, or that he would get anything additional if I used that cover. Although the drawing was nice, I decided that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, and I realized that while he was good at one particular type of art, he might not necessarily be good for what I needed. I sent him a hundred dollar money order for the drawing, and our business was finished. The contracts were all by email, and I ALWAYS send a “blind copy” email to myself, to protect anything I write, and so that no one can change things without my knowing about it. With the blind copy, they don’t realize that I have one too, and as long as they are not trying to do something wrong, there is no reason for them to know, but if they DO, I have proof of WHAT I sent, WHO I sent it to, and WHEN. Protect your work, always!

   When you get to the “spicing it up” part, just take your time. Even if you have to read/write it over and over, to get the right “flow”. 
9 out of the 10 times that you re-read it, you are going to find something that you need to change. Read it as if it isn’t yours, and make it as “steamy”, “juicy”, “mysterious”, “humorous”, or as “dramatic” as you want, or NEED it to be, if YOU were the customer. With the first draft of the book I am writing, my cousin looked at it, and suggested that I go “slower”, because she felt like she was jumping all over the place, without much detail. I took what she said, and when I re-read it myself, I was like…”she was right”. After that, I took my time, and it became so much easier. When you ARE reading it though, don’t “skim” over the words simply because you “know” the story, because that is how you miss “typos”. Read EVERY word, and also, if you change the “tense” of one sentence, you may need to change the tense of the sentences before, and/or after it.

   Well, I didn’t mean to ramble on like this, but I learned all of these things by trial and error. I hope I have helped some of you, and feel free to comment, or ask questions if you like!Take care, and the best of luck to you all!