I’ve been making a list of things I hope to do next year, including the writing that I want to complete and publish. I also includes trying out different social networking sites, and paying more attention to Dark Boundaries, my other WordPress blog. If Smashwords doesn’t come through on its some-day-in-the-future deal with Amazon, I’ll have to dig down and start learning about formatting for the Kindle.
And then there’s Gimp. My first efforts at creating my own book covers haven’t been that great, but I can see what’s wrong with them. It’s frustrating that it’s only after I’ve been looking at a cover for a good while that I can see its weaknesses, but I figure that’s what practice is for. Part of my reluctance to do the covers over is that they were done with a combination of several small graphics programs. I don’t have Photoshop, and don’t want to pay for it or any other program at this stage of the game. My sales earnings aren’t anything to get excited about yet, and paying Smashwords for ISBNs cuts into that. (Yes, I know SW will give me free ISBNs.) So I really need to learn Gimp, which is the cheap skate’s version of Photoshop.
All of that has to do with my own books. I’ve also been thinking, very tentatively for the time being, about offering a service to other novelists. Not editing or proofreading. There’s no way I could squeeze that in and still do justice to my own work. What I’m considering is more of an in-depth evaluation. Diagnostics. What’s wrong and what needs to be done. Grammar, vocabulary, writing style, plot, character, POV, continuity, etc. A lot of beginning novelists don’t even seem to be aware that these problems exist and can tank their books. Once they know what the problems are, it’s up to them to decide to ignore them or learn how to improve their work.
The fee would be commensurate with the time that went into it, and much less than what an editor would charge. The idea is based on the belief that most people are intelligent enough to do their own work if someone would just tell them what’s wrong. It would be enough to be worthwhile for me, and cheap enough that someone wouldn’t have wasted a ton of money if they just toss the report and say the hell with it.
If anyone wants to give me some input on the idea, even if it’s to say that it’s crazy and no one would want that kind of report, I’d be glad to have it.