Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What would I tell a new author? by Christopher A. Gray || DARK NIGHTS

In the last few years it has become quite easy to publish your own work. Most new authors publish an eBook first, and then if it is successful, a print version follows. The ease of self-publishing is a double-edged sword. The temptation is to release the work as soon as possible, which is understandable. It is very exciting to publish your own work, but don’t forget that “publishing” is releasing to the public. If you don’t do a good job, you will most certainly be called out on it, usually by bad reviews.

The most common mistake is to skimp on editing. Good editing takes time and money. You need to find an editor that is not only competent, but also understands you, your work, and the intended audience. An editor provides a second pair of eyes, to look for errors and let you know when you’re straying off course.

The worst thing you can do is self-edit. This is when you alone edit your manuscript. You are probably not aware of your own bad habits. Do you make certain grammatical mistakes, over and over? Are you spending too much time in exposition, or not enough? Is there a plot hole that needs to be fixed?
Unfortunately, you can’t answer these questions accurately.

Only slightly better than self-editing is asking a friend or an acquaintance who has little experience to edit your work. They may not be objective, and may not wish to tell you when they think you’re wrong. Or, they simply might not be competent at the job.

Besides editing, other important stages in book creation include font choices, and for print books, margins, headers, footers, line spacing, and more. It pays to hire someone with experience. Or, if you feel you can do this yourself, you can get an idea of what works by leafing through books at the bookstore.

Cover design is one of the last and most important steps. A good cover can draw the prospective buyer in for a closer look at your book. Choose a designer with a proven track record.

It’s true you will save a bundle of cash up front by doing everything yourself, but it will more than likely be a poor choice. Investing in the expertise of professionals can pay off later. By all means shop around and ask if their rates are negotiable, but the old saying of “you get what you pay for” is usually true.

The machine believed it knew best how to save humanity... even if doing so meant destroying half the population. 

Astrophysicist Doug Lockwood's unusual discovery during his observation of the sun kicks off a chain of events that nobody could have foreseen. The powerful political and military influences that compete to deal with his discovery set Lockwood on a course which will carry him across worlds, and into the grasp of a formidable new intelligence bent on accomplishing its goal at any cost. With Earth itself at stake and time running out, Lockwood and his team must find a way to counter this unprecedented threat before the powerful new enemy completes its plan. Two civilizations are pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival.

Available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

“Increase buffer bandwidth to maximum,” Nick ordered his assistant, Anders.

“I already tried that, it makes no difference!” Anders replied, a trace of panic in his voice.

Nick turned to the astrophysicist that was monitoring the moon’s position.

“What will the orbit be if no action is taken?”

The astrophysicist looked at him, incredulous.

“I don’t need to tell you what the outcome will be.”

“Is there at least a chance it will settle into a stable orbit? The speed is right.”

“The angle is off by three degrees! If it isn’t corrected the moon will pass within seventy thousand kilometers of the Earth. That’s less than one-fifth of its normal distance!”

Nick stared blankly at his expert, not wishing to believe what he was being told. The astrophysicist shook his head.

“With the increased gravitational and tidal effect, there will be a massive world-wide earthquake, and that’s just the beginning. The orbit will be highly elliptical, and will degrade further. We’ll have bi-weekly earthquakes and tsunamis, much worse than we have ever experienced. There is an 80% chance that within four months the moon will collide with us!”

“We’ll all be dead long before the collision,” said Anders, his voice shaking. “We may not even survive when the moon makes its first pass, six days from now.”

Another assistant looked over at Nick.

“We’re getting the same report from our observatory in Arizona. They’ve noticed the angle and are asking questions. How do you want me to reply?”

Nick broke out into a cold sweat. He didn’t know what to do.
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Christopher A. Gray is a professional freelance writer living in Toronto. He has been a sales agent, project manager, actor, filmmaker, comedy writer & performer and world traveler.


  1. Hi Christopher,
    Welcome to the Snarkology! Thank you for sharing with my readers today. :-)

  2. Thank you Melissa, looking forward to answering any questions from readers!

  3. Compelling excerpt, thank you.


  4. Very useful advice!


  5. Wonderful excerpt and very sound advice.