Images courtesy Melissa C. Water, © 2014. Used by kind persimmons.
I vote for this snowy scene as Melissa's author photo on her Amazon page. Anyway, to business...
Kacey Vanderkarr repeatedly tells people that I am some kind of good guy. How dare she?! I'm suing.
Did I adopt the black cloak and Darth Sinister title for nothing? Dare I say...is evil just...not working out for me?
Has Young Vanderkarr's meddling granted me redemptive end-of-trilogy powers of sweetness and light?
I wrote a blog post tied to a story, and went in search of a mental health activist for background info. HERE'S A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT.
Melissa C. Water assisted in the development of the post. Then I did a follow-up piece, featuring Melissa. HERE'S A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT.
I'll wait for you.
If you missed it, here's a link about THE VENUS FLYTRAP.
Melissa signed a deal with a vanity/subsidy publisher, not knowing what she was getting into. She was getting into the publishing equivalent of the Venus Flytrap.
Yes, she should have taken advice. But she didn't seek assistance.
When she helped me out with my blog post, I knew I'd help her in return. How? I knew not. As usual, I found myself staring at a book on the mighty Amazon.
Here's Melissa's story of her battle with assorted mental health issues, and the problem of undiagnosed Tourette's. And this book costs...
HOW FUCKING MUCH?!
And there's a disclaimer at the start, stating...
THE BOOK...HASN'T REALLY BEEN EDITED?
(For legal reasons, I must amplify on that comment. I am forced to point out that the book hadn't really been edited. Glad to clear that up for you.)
Obviously, I've removed fifteen pages of swearing from this blog post. Sometimes, you must tone things down for the youngsters. And, by youngsters, I mean anyone under the age of 99.
I talked Melissa through her options. She simply had to escape her contract and publish her own book on Amazon. Hell, I'd edit the book for nothing.
My good deed for the...
(Shut it, Vanderkarr.)
So how far along are we?
Melissa is out of her contract, and free to pursue a second edition of Lady Injury. We're working on it. There are many choices to be made. We had a few laughs, and there were countless questions.
A few laughs? Vital. For Melissa's story is tough to take. Countless questions? The assistance on offer is free. She is free to ask anything and everything. It's her book, and she chooses how she wants things to be.
Can we do it this way?
Yes. There are other options. And here they are.
Okay, well, I'd still like some of those features for the story.
Well how about this, Melissa?
No, I don't think so.
Wait. I've had some feedback, and maybe we could incorporate a few ideas along those lines.
It's all good. Any questions, just ask. I'll tell you if anything is fixed. Immovable.
What can't we do?
Amazon Kindle books don't take well to tabs. No tabs. (Kacey Vanderkarr was AGHAST when I revealed that nugget. You'd think I'd killed Bambi's mother when I said it to her.)
I help authors. Authors, in turn, help me. We are on the same path. If I am ahead of you, I'll point the way so that you find the going easier. And if you are further back, thinking he's going the wrong way, you'll shout and I'll listen.
Action? I'll stop and have a think. As authors, we are always learning, experimenting, failing, trying, pausing for coffee.
Help is not measured on scales. I was aided over a mere blog post and I offered assistance with an entire book. The act of helping is important, not the amount. Sometimes the amount is important, but we aren't here to maintain the balance.
We are here to muck around.
Besides, editing a memoir, non-fiction, would be a new experience for me - and, as authors, we crave experience. Except the experience of stagnation.
Melissa needed help in escaping her contract. I set out the steps, and gave my opinion on what had to happen to reach the upper atmosphere on the way out.
And I was more or less right. Ultimately, Melissa escaped her contract with a shade less difficulty than I expected. I thought she'd be hit with a non-disclosure no-badmouthing clause.
That never materialised. We aren't in the business of giving the company any publicity. So why mention the name? The hell with that.
(I think the company abandoned the gag as it proved unenforceable - Eclectic Ed. Unenforceable and silly.)
Well. There you go. A writer helps me, and I steer her into preparing a second edition of her book. Lady Injury. Never thought I'd be doing something like that.
How do I edit the work? With carefree abandon, fizzing dynamite, a wild look in the eyes, and toffee-smeared fingers.
(Hi, Melissa. That was a joke. You knew that. And you knew I had to say that you knew.)
Preserve the author's voice. But not the formatting. It must change, for the Kindle. What should Melissa's readers expect of a second edition?
The original Kindle book is still available to those who bought it. They retain access to that version. I'm writing this blog post more than a week ahead, as usual...
Today I saw the unedited Kindle version was withdrawn from Amazon. Melissa's readers can expect a new edition to be edited.
The plan is to release the second edition as a Kindle book with month-long sections and daily sub-chapters - it is a diary, after all. There was some discussion over interactivity, with in-book hyperlinks to Melissa's YouTube videos.
YouTube is where she spends her time as an internet presence. At this stage, Melissa is wary of taking readers out of the book to watch a pertinent YouTube movie.
Just because a feature is available doesn't mean it has to be used. There are also several legal issues thrown up by some of the videos, so YouTube interactivity is likely to be low-key or non-existent.
I guess I'll throw that one out to her audience. Thoughts?
That's all I can say at the moment. Getting stuck in, I'll see what sort of editing job is called for.
By the time this blog post goes to press...
Visions of grapes, for some reason.
The basic framework should be set up, and arranged for Melissa's inspection. There'll be worldwide chat, ranging out of the depths of Quebec to Ancient Scotlandia. We'll work out a plan.
Is this a departure for me? Yes, no, maybe. Over the past few months, editing loomed larger and broader on the horizon. I wanted to change things around, and see where this adventure would steer me.
If that meant onto the rocks, I'd gain the opporchancity to survive on seaweed and the cheese of goats.
After blogging 200 entries, I almost shut the blog down. But I always feel I am about to shut the blog down. That seems to be a requirement of blogging. At least, in my case.
Next week's blog? Too far ahead, for me. There'll be a mention of giraffes, I'm thinking. (Giraffes may be conspicuous by their absence - Eclectic Ed.)
I'm not suing Kacey Vanderkarr. Sometimes, evil just doesn't take. Well. Damn.