#HyphenGate Heads Straight to Hell

I don’t know if many people have read a blog post written by Greame Reynolds, author of the incredible High Moor series, but he recently found himself at the center of #hyphengate.

His successful novel High Moor 2 – Moonstruck has been removed from Amazon’s shelves because somebody complained that it was riddled with errors. Graeme openly states that he paid over $1,000 to have that novel edited by industry professionals, and created the file manually in HTML format using his own years of software knowledge to do so.

What were these errors then to be so bad as to ruin the book – which has 123 reviews on Amazon – and escape the attention of such watchful eyes.

Hyphens.

That’s right. The novel contained ten… TEN hyphenated words. How dare he allow such nonsense to be published with his name on the cover. Has the world gone mad? The use of a hyphen is grammatically correct, and even so, ten uses in a 90,000 word novel. Come on Amazon. You allow Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey to sit atop your bestseller lists. I assume these will also be pulled. I mean you wouldn’t want people to think you were mindlessly attacking the little man.

I read Graeme’s blog a few days ago, and noticed at the same time, my own novel Highway to Hell had a strange Amazon warning label on it. I asked my publisher and they said they were looking into it. Today I was told by someone who wanted to buy my book that they could not do so.

It turns out my book was also removed from Amazon following a complaint about the writing, how error filled it was. How many errors I hear you ask. SIx. SIX errors have resulted in my novel being pulled from sale.

What were these errors? Well I just happen to have them here.

Highway

Error Description: “a kaleidoscope of patters” should be “a kaleidoscope of patterns” / Error Location: 4073

Error Description: “uncertain why had would ask such a” should be “uncertain why he would ask such a” / Error Location: 3488

Error Description: “to conduct his business meetings it” should be “to conduct his business meetings in” / Error Location: 702

Error Description: “suddenness with which is arose” should be “suddenness with which it arose” / Error Location: 550

Error Description: “below to where out fallen brother” should be “below to where our fallen brother” / Error Location: 4906

Error Description: “The all found themselves” should be “They all found themselves” / Error Location: 5259

Error Description: “bedroom of the motel than they had driven” should be “bedroom of the motel that they had driven” / Error Location: 1854

We are talking of a novel over 90,000 words, and these six issues were so bad that people felt the need to complain – but not leave a review – and for Amazon to pull the title without hesitation.

There are a lot of words I would like to use now, and people who know me will probably be able to hear me reciting them in a stream right about now, but I shall refrain from using such terms for the time being.

My publisher has fixed the error, and the new title will be available tomorrow. Maybe now I can start advertising my horror novel as being the book that Amazon BANNED.

Lord knows a little bit of spin can’t hurt.

Where do I go From Here?

I have just finished my most recent anthology submission. It was only a 10k story, but I am really excited about the project, and am so happy to have gotten it finished. I was invited to submit and it was just before I had my semi-breakdown a few months ago. I missed the deadline, but was kindly granted an extension. Finishing this piece is a milestone for me, and in my mind is confirms that I am back. With that in mind, I find myself staring at a new blank page, faced with so many potential stories. The next novel I write is an important decision. It will come on the back of Blood of the Tainted, which I truly believe is the best thing I have written so far.

My options are:

Highway to Hell III

This will be the third and final novel in the Highway series and it has been a year since I published the second installment. I have a lot of story left to tell, but for some reason I can never quite figure out what that story is.

I am hesitant to write this novel, namely because the second book has not sold well. In fact, I would be better off saying it has not sold at all. I need to follow Blood of the Tainted with another powerful novel, and while i have no doubt the contents of Highway III will have that power, the interest in it just does not seem to be there.

Demon Clowns

This novel has been bouncing around my head for a while now. A drunk, crack addicted demon clown who left his hell circus after growing tired of eating the souls of children. Found by a young boy, the clown – Giggles – pulls himself together and goes after the circus he both loves and hates.

Dark Romance

I really cannot say much about this novel without giving too much away, but suffice to say it will be heart-breaking. I love the concept of this novel so much it almost hurts.

Orwellian Novel

This story takes place in a dystopian world where the government create diseases through suggestion and media involvement. They leak news of a new outbreak or disease, and slowly people begin to believe it until it actually becomes a real thing. One man challenges their authority and refused to believe their lies and tries to convince others also. This was one of my most recent novel ideas, and the details still need to be ironed out, but I love the concept.

There are a few other novels, but the above are my main items for the time being. All three are worthy choices, but which one I will ultimately choose is currently infuriating me. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a horrible position to be in, but hopefully I won’t be stuck staring at an empty page for too long.

Building a Writing Career is Like Working Out

I have been at this writing thing for quite a while now, and I have learned a lot in that time. There is also a lot still to be learned. I know that a lot of people say that writing is something that you can never truly master, and I agree with it, but would also take it another step and say that it is a career path / creative outlet that you will never want to master.

There will always be some other way to change or improve your work. To tweak your writing style or your story construction.

This is why I liken the writing process or a writing career, to working out. Both are pursuits that offer as much reward as they do potential set backs, and cannot ever truly be completed. Goals can be met, but will then be moved again.

When you first start working out, the goals are simple, and the gains are clear. They come thick and fast. Yet, once you start to get a little more advanced, when the gains start to slow, that is when you start to question things. To tinker with the goal posts.

20131117-103145Writing is exactly the same. We start off and our writing improves so much so fast that we cannot contain our excitement. But there comes a time when things slow down. When the work gets tougher; goal posts are adjusted and the gains in many ways become smaller, but more complicated to achieve.

A beginner will start with basic lifts, building strength; Bench Press, Dead Lifts, Squats. These are the cornerstones upon which a workout is built, and these techniques must be developed properly before moving on to the next level.

In writing, the cornerstone is (good) fiction. It is having words written on the page. Stories, novellas, novels, these are the things a writing career is built upon.

Once these basic lifts have been mastered, variety is added. New exercises are found and used, new routines and training cycles. You start to factor in supplements and other start to change other aspects of your life to help keep the gains from working out coming through. You adjust the goal posts once again.

In writing, once you have your pieces published, whether it is self-published, indie press published, or through one of the larger more traditional publishing houses, it makes no difference. The new goal is the same; to sell books.

Writing will remain the cornerstone, because to sell books you need to write books. The same way the three core lifts remain in your workout schedule.

What you can add are promotions, events, launches and swag, conventions and signings, anthologies and cross promotions with other authors in your genre.

Slowly, you incorporate more and more things into your routine, and change them up regularly to keep from getting ‘bored’.

You will hit plateaus, you will have periods where it feels as if you are going backwards, but as long as you keep going, as long as you keep true to the core movements and stay positive, you will break through.

You will achieve your goals.

The harder you have to work for it, the more satisfying it is to move those posts a little further away once more.

writing