The Journal, Monday, 8/21

Hey Folks,

Had a great visit on Saturday night with a dear friend. Cigars puffed, movies discussed, philosophy slathered. Then a good session on Sunday morning on how to use the very intuitive Serif PagePlus to create book covers.


If your books are offered for sale on Amazon, please read “Amazon Author Central: A Primer” at

I read it and there was a lot there that I didn’t know. For one thing, Amazon doesn’t automatically update your author page with new books when you publish more work. On my author page, only 33 books were listed. That was most of my nonfiction and a few short stories.

To put this in perspective, I have around 250 publications on Amazon. So I spent some time clicking Add This Book this morning. It still isn’t fully up to date (pen names are a whole other ball of tacos) but most of my books are there now.

Anyway, they also give you a dedicated Author Page URL where readers can find all of your books in one place. For example, mine is at

As a result of my foray into Amazon Author Pages, I also decided (for various reasons) to kill off one of my personas. Raymond L. Sevareid is no more. The SF novel Terminus Loop is now a product of Harvey Stanbrough at D2D, Amazon, Smashwords and BundleRabbit.

What a time-consuming PITA that was. But in time, I’ll also replace at least the ebook version of all my other novels too, moving them from a pen name to my own name.

Topic: On Bad Advice

Goodness knows there are a ton of bad sources of misinformation for writers out there, so I’m doing my little bit to counteract that.

On my website, in the blogroll on the right sidebar and in Writers’ Resources on the left sidebar, I list valid sources of information for writers.

Those resources don’t get a place on my website until I’ve checked them out. I don’t have to agree with everything they say, but I won’t post a link to advice that, if it’s accepted, will actually harm a writer’s work.

This morning I removed one of those links. I won’t mention the link specifically here because I don’t want to call attention to it.

The one I removed is now saying writers not only need to have their work professionally edited, but “I’ll go further and say you need several editors, at least for the first book – a developmental editor for the structure of the book, and a copy-editor for the line detail and cleanup.”

I was stunned to see that advice coming from that source. So my endorsement ended.

I agree that you need at least a good First Reader. Preferably one who is not also a writer. That person is someone who likes your work, and who is willing to read it and give you feedback. The feedback, however, is limited to

hard inconsistencies that you didn’t catch (name spellings, clothing, etc.) and

places in the story where something caused the reader to stop reading for whatever reason.

That’s it.

I also agree that a good copyeditor (this is a paid service) is worth his or her weight in gold. A good copyeditor can save you a ton of embarrassment over typos, punctuation, etc.

What you DON’T want is ANYONE who wants to change your work in any way. Hence, a “developmental” editor, whatever that is.

Think about that for a moment. Why in the world would you ever think ANYone else could possibly know YOUR story better than you do?

A “book doctor” or “developmental editor” is someone who will do their level best to make your work look as if they wrote it.

If someone who’s much farther along the writing/publishing road than you are says your writing is “thin” or “slow” and offers techniques you can use to add depth or improve pacing, consider those techniques with an eye toward applying them.

But if anyone, especially for money, says “write it like this,” RUN.

As a famous writer (I think it was Samuel Clemens) once said, There is no greater urge in the world than the urge of a writer to change another writer’s work.

Just sayin’.


Wow. I really thought today would be a full writing day. Instead it’s another nonwriting day. I actually ran out of time.

I got up at 3:30 this morning, looked up a moment ago and the day was gone. My day was taken up primarily with frustration. If I don’t hear the words “solar eclipse” again for 360 years, it will still be too soon.

Other than that, though, at least I got to help a couple writers so it wasn’t all bad.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “How to Run a Bookstore in 2017” at This is a great post on business in general and there are tips for writers if you just read them.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 820 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 820

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11440
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 130550
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 510170

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 632 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

1 thought on “The Journal, Monday, 8/21”

  1. J. Daniel Sawyer had a very similar take on “developmental editors” on his writing podcast just this Saturday:

    Short answer to the question “When should I engage a developmental editor?”: “Don’t”. But he then gives useful advice on what to look for in a first reader instead. And the next episode of the podcast is also worth listening to: he directly addresses a first reader with specific instructions on what a writer expects and doesn’t expect from them.

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