Dialogue tags

There is, and likely always will be, an ongoing debate about dialogue tags.
Some editors/writers say you should only use, “said” because it is invisible to readers. Others say it’s okay to use words like, “yelled,” “whispered,” etc.
Here is my take on it.
I am an editor who believes that “rules” are meant to be flexible, and that most great books go against many rules. I believe in balance.
For me, “said” doesn’t disappear. It is neutral, neither adding or taking away, however it doesn’t disappear.
Tags serve the primary purpose of letting the reader know who is speaking. If there is a back and forth conversation and the reader can tell who is talking, no tag is needed, unless the tag provides a certain impact that needs to be done in a concise way. I prefer either for the dialogue itself to give the impact, or for there to be a physical action going with the dialogue to show the reader the emotion. The later is my preferred way as it puts the reader into the story. That said, I have seen authors over do it with showing through physical action…like after every…single…line…of…dialogue!!!
Okay, how many editors/writers did I drive nuts with the ellipses??? LOL
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Goodreads Tips

Happy Friday, Authors!!!

Are you making the most of Goodreads to promote your book? There’s a good chance you are missing a few things you could be doing.

Here’s a good blog post on how to maximize Goodreads…

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Indie Authors – It’s time to branch out and sell to libraries

Are you selling to libraries? If not, here are 5 Reasons Why Selling to Libraries Needs to Be a Top Priority

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Types of Editing Defined

Thank you to Reedsy for taking feedback from editors and authors to come up with these concise definitions for the various types of editing.

Acorn Author Services provides Developmental Editing and is dedicated to making your writing shine!

Editorial Assessment

An editorial assessment is an extremely valuable first overview of your manuscript by a professional editor. Your editor will read through the entire manuscript and provide thoughtful, in-depth feedback concerning elements such as plot, characterization, structure, consistency and style. Feedback from an editorial assessment can lead to significant changes to your manuscript. The assessment will identify your book’s strengths and weaknesses, and help you devise a revision strategy that dramatically improves the execution of your idea.

What is developmental editing, content editing, and structural editing?

When it comes to manuscript editing, all three terms are pretty much interchangeable. A developmental edit is a thorough and in-depth edit of your entire manuscript. It is an examination of all the elements of your writing, from single words and the phrasing of individual sentences, to overall structure and style. It can address plot holes or gaps, problematic characterization and all other existing material.

After a round of developmental editing, a manuscript can change substantially; for inexperienced writers, accepting direct and honest feedback can be a difficult experience. Much of what you have spent many weeks, months or even years writing can be cut, shaped, moved or heavily criticised.

Good developmental editing will also bear in mind your target audience and will judge your work in relation to professional industry standards and expectations. Only once your manuscript has been cut, reshaped, revised, and developed will it be ready for a copy edit and proofread.

How is developmental editing different from an editorial assessment?

The main difference is that an editorial assessment evaluates big-picture issues like characterization, plot, structure and style by way of a separate document — like a professional, super-in-depth book report. A content edit means the editor will be working in your document with you, so in addition to the big-picture items addressed, he or she can also point out line-level issues. Developmental editing is more labor intensive than editorial assessment, and therefore more expensive. If your manuscript is still in an early draft phase, the editorial assessment is likely a good first step in developing your content to a professional standard. Developmental editing should begin when you have a polished draft in hand.

What is copy editing?

Copy editors are mechanics for language: they edit your book’s text or “copy.” Fiction or non-fiction, academic or populist, YA or Sci-Fi—copy editors help create the most readable version of your book.

They’ll make sure your manuscript isn’t riddled with bad grammar, spelling mistakes, or glaring inconsistencies. They’ll break up your 50-word sentences into smaller ones that readers won’t skim. They’ll catch scenes in which your antagonist is wearing sunglasses and spectacles at the same time. They’ll save your tone and style from unintentionally wild shifts between sections. They’ll pull your book together page by page.

What will a proofreader do for me?

Proofreading is the final step in the editing process. It’s the ultimate polish on your final files before they go to the printer or digital press. Ensuring that your text has no tiny errors in spelling or punctuation brings your writing to a level of professionalism required in the competitive publishing world. Many authors even hire more than one proofreader, double checking that absolutely no mistakes get through and adding an extra level of reassurance for the author.

Proofreading requires a keen eye for detail and a systematic method in order to spot every subtle error and typographical mistake.

The main difference between a proofreader and other types of editors is the mindset with which they approach the book. A proofreader will not focus on the overarching structure of your story, or the strength of your prose. They look for unintentional errors in spelling, grammar and mechanics. A proofreader will not add in or take away specific words or phrases, but instead focus their sharp eyes on small errors that ultimately make a big difference.

For print books, the proofreader is checking the aesthetics: page design and typesetting. For books with a table of contents, they are cross-checking those numbers and chapter names. For books with photos, they are checking the captions for style and accuracy, that photos are placed correctly, that the photos have a credit.

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Kingston Court

What happens when you take two middle-aged stay-home-moms and throw them back into the workforce and dating? Samantha and Natalie, wealthy Southern California women living in the beachside community of Kingston Court, are at a crossroads.

Gorgeous, over-the-top Samantha, hangs her status and her happiness on her “perfect” husband. That is until she learns his secret.

But she’s not the only mother on the block struggling. Natalie, nurturing and careful, is thrust back into the workforce after her husband barely survives a horrifying car crash. However, it isn’t just her new job co-hosting a national morning news show that keeps her busy. Alik, the hot young production assistant, does everything in his power to seduce the woman he loves.

Death and misfortune in the span of a single year force these two women to find their inner strength and make life-changing choices.

Kingston Court is full of scandal, temptation, and all of life’s juicy little secrets.

kingston court cover

About The Author – Holly Kammier

hollyHolly Kammier splits her time between San Diego, California and Henderson, Nevada. She is the author of the debut novel, Kingston Court, and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir.

Visit Holly on her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

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Amazing new author – Jordan Sala Tenna

El Awake CoverIn the year 2115, Eleutherius (El) is struggling to find meaning in a city where most are strangely submissive and unquestioning towards the absolute rule of the merciless authorities. But after discovering the dark truth behind the white city, El ventures on a fast paced and thrilling journey to fight for the freedom of a people he once resented.

Guided by his now-deceased grandfather’s poems, El’s body and mind must be broken and reassembled, in order that he become stronger and accomplish the work his Grandfather began, all the while struggling against questions of morality and discerning who is friend and who is foe.

AVAILABLE NOW! Click here to purchase.

“The whole concept was very different to anything else I have read in a while and it was great to see fresh ideas come to life on the page. I got this book as a read for review and I will absolutely be purchasing the printed version, when it becomes available if it’s not already! Loved it!!!!!”   – Goodreads Reviewer (Joelie)

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Click Over to Amazon and Pre-Order…

Acorn Author Services is excited to announce client Les Lahage’s novella, 8-Track, is available for pre-order on Amazon!

8-Track Cover

Congratulations Les!


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Every day plot twists…

This morning I sat listening to a talk on “You can be anybody you want to be”. Next to me was an awkward young teenager. He chewed at his fingernails, or I should say the little nubs of what was left of his fingernails. With this task completed he moved on to picking at a spot on his blotchy leg. “Let it go, do not judge” was my inner mantra as I struggled to stay focus on the talk.

The talk concluded and we were requested to join in song before the wrap up speech. The song was, “How Could Anyone”, a song of special meaning during the time my mom was dying. With no prior knowledge this would be the song, I was left without the opportunity to prepare my suit of armor against the emotions. I wept with abandon until the last note was played.

This young man I had to focus on not being annoyed with leaned over to ask if I was okay and gave me a hug for comfort.

How was that for a plot twist on what I saw as his character?

What experiences have you had in life that you incorporate into your writing to bring it more depth?

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E-books versus physical books

E-book sales in decline, and a return to actual books? What say you? Which do you prefer?



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Quotes and Copyright Laws

Thank you to Holly Kammier for this information…

For long dead historical persons, you do not have to obtain permission from anyone to use quotes. You can use as many quotes as you want. Any copyright Shakespeare may have enjoyed for his works and utterances has long expired. On more recent works, it all depends if the remarks were copyrighted and when and if the copyright was renewed. But even so, you may be able to use small portions without breaking copyright law. If the quote is 100 or more years old, it is absolutely safe under copyright law.

While it does vary from country to country, copyrights typically last between 50 to 70 years. In the United States, the current copyright length for anything copyrighted after January 1, 1978 is 70 years after the author’s death. So this means that if an author obtained their copyright in 1990 and does not die until 2007, their copyright does not expire until 2077. At that point, their quotations can be used freely without any permission under copyright law.

Any writings or utterances from authors who have been deceased since 1910 are safe to use. This means that Shakespeare, Poe, Wordsworth, and Blake are all safe to use. You can also use lyrics or music from composers such as Chopin, Bach, and Beethoven without fear of a copyright lawsuit.

Yes. You must find an original quote or original copy to use. Any translations or adaptations by another author will have a renewed copyright. For example, you cannot put Josh Groban’s version of “Oh Holy Night” in your company’s Christmas commercial without his express permission, because his arrangement and performance of the song is copyrighted to him. In addition, you can quote scripture from the King James and New King James versions of the Bible without consequence. However, the New American Standard Translation is copyrighted and cannot be quoted without permission from its publisher.

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