News

Help: Cover Text

If you’ve been following me on social media, you know I’m evaluating the book cover of The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice. I love my cover. I won’t be changing the artwork.

But, I am evaluating how it appears when someone sees it on websites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. While I’ve been posting plenty on social media, the answers have been variable.

Below I’ve made a survey that will hopefully help me narrow down the ideas. Perhaps I am being overly critical, and the cover is fine!

So please, if you have a minute, answer the survey below. It will mean the world to me.

Thank you!

ESB

News

Tuppence: A Fairy Tale Retelling – PREORDER NOW

A farmgirl. A goat. ⁠
And a song that will change her life.⁠

Her whole life, Tuppence has dreamt of leaving the hillside to make a life in the Kingdom. When the King hosts a Grand Ball, she finally sees a way out, only to have her dreams squashed by her bitter mother and two sisters, Uma and Tertia.⁠

With only a goat and her gift of song, Tuppence begins to develop her own plan to escape…only to discover the true nature of the Kingdom beneath the Hill. ⁠

Inspired by the Grimm Fairy Tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, with a touch of Cinderella, venture from the hillside with Tuppence and her sisters to discover where true magic lies. ⁠

Content Warning: Contains mentions of violence and animal cruelty.⁠⁠


News, Updates

General Update

Hey everyone.

I know I’ve been a bit quieter on social media lately. I’ve kind of hit a bit of a wall. While my writing is still doing awesome, I think I was trying to wear too many hats: my full-time career, my author stuff, reading books by indie authors, creating features, and writing blog posts. While I sold more books last month than I did in awhile (thanks in part to my new TikTok page), the work-to-return ratio has been quite low.

Don’t get me wrong, I will continue building up this indie writer community with every fiber in my body. My TBR still consists of MANY indie books, and I will continue to take review requests. But, I really wanted to feature authors regularly and get this blog series going…but it has kind of fallen by the way-side. 

It’s hard when you have to run most of your author stuff by yourself. While I have amazing support from my fiance, I have a wonderful editor, and I have some great friends…99% of the work is all me. I am sure most of you understand this. 

I am just going through a rut right now. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but it’s been difficult for me lately when I put SO MUCH of myself into my author stuff, and the return is maybe a few sales or a review or two. 

Will I stop supporting everyone in this community? Absolutely not. But if you’ve notice how I’ve had to take a step back, or that I’m being quieter…these are the reasons why.

I will still be posting regularly here, just my overall engagement will be a bit lower until I can find the right place…mentally. I’m posting a ton on TikTok because it’s fresh and new, so if you want to see or here from me MORE regularly, you can follow  me there at esbarrison_author. 

For now, stay on the look out for details on my upcoming short-story, Tuppence, as well as more book reviews. I’ll have a few more complete by the end of the month!

Thanks for understanding ❤

ESB

Insights, News

To Hire an Editor or Not…That is the Question

Indie Authors face a challenge when it comes to getting their work out there: do they hire an editor? Many independent authors see the price tag of hiring an editor and back off: is it worth it? After all, as a writer, shouldn’t you already be familiar with sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation? 

Each indie author approaches how to edit their book differently. Some will go and hire an editor. Others will work on their own. Some might do something in between (hiring for proofreading only, or using a friend/relative). Everyone will have a different opinion on this, and that is why I reached out to multiple people in the community to find out their thoughts. 

First…My Opinion 

Personally, I believe if you have the means to hire an editor, do so! There are many editors with fair prices out there, while also providing writers with the tools they need to succeed. On all counts, I have a relatively firm grasp of the English language, but there are obscure rules that completely pass over my head. In fact, I even tried to take a single credit grammar class in college, and some of the rules were so strange I barely pulled off a “C” in the class. (Granted, I will admit, it was just a single credit so I could get my loan money for the semester, so I didn’t take it too seriously.)

But that being said, I searched for an editor because I knew my ability to completely polish my prose was limited. I really wanted to see it shine. In addition, I have the means to hire an editor and found an amazing editor within my price range. Charlie Knight helped me clean my prose and make the story pop, and without their help, I don’t think I would have ended up with the story I have today. As an editor, Charlie not only cleaned my prose, but helped me find plot holes and strange spots that even my beta readers missed. 

That, I think, is one of the many important things to take into account: editors don’t just find your spelling errors…they also help you develop the story into something, well, awesome. When you hire an editor with the proper training, they will really help make your writing shine! 

How do you find an editor?

Research! There are so many editors out there, and only YOU will know who is best for your story.

But, heed the following warning from Editor Charlie Knight…for there is fraudulent activity out there, and sometimes the amount you pay for an editor won’t be worth.

Per Charlie:

Indie publishing is, unfortunately, very open to the scam of people who have written books or beta’d for friends calling themselves editors. I regularly get new clients who were already screwed by one of these people. Best advice for avoiding them: Get samples. You’ll know if the editor can do their job and if you click.

This isn’t to say that your writer friends can’t help you edit…but be wary. Years of training and education goes into becoming an editor. Just because someone has a good understanding of grammar or story structure doesn’t mean they really understand how to be an effective editor. 

What if I can’t hire an editor? 

If you do not have the means to hire an editor, do not let this stop you from publishing. There are tools and courses out there that can help your writing pop! Here are just a few of them that I know of off the top of my head. If you know any more, please comment below!

  • ProWritingAid – I will say, I use this one before sending my book to beta readers! It helps clean up repetitiveness, grammatical errors, and passive voice. There is a free web-based version that lets you operate with 500-words at a time, or a subscription based attachment you can download to MS Word or Google Docs. 
  • Grammarly – We see this one everywhere! It’s a web attachment that you can use as a basic spell check, or you can use its priced services to help with editing.
  • Hemingway Editor – I don’t know too much about this one, but I know it helps identify a grade level for your writing and find overly complex sentence. 

There are also tons of resources to learn more about editing…just remember to heed each with caution!

While I still don’t think different software programs or self-training can replace someone who is trained, if you cannot hire an editor, these are the next best thing! But, I do believe that if you can find at least ONE person to read your work before you publish, even if it’s your friend or relative, then do so. They’ll catch things you don’t see. When you edit, after all, you are far too deep into the weeds to notice every little error. 

In fact, don’t just take it from me!  My editor, Charlie Knight, has very similar thoughts!

If you’re going to self-edit, my biggest pieces of advice would be to take recommendations from software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid with a grain of salt (they can’t read for voice), read your drafts out loud, and use beta readers.

Other authors have had their only thoughts regarding self-editing. Most of the time it has to do with costs. A few authors on instagram have voiced how the price-tag for an editor is too high for them at the moment. 

Author Kaitlyn Legaspi told me that, as a college student, it is hard to afford an editor. So she works with her boyfriend to read through her books and make it shine! 

But, there are other reasons too why authors don’t always hire an editor.  

Author SG Bacon doesn’t hire an editor directly, because she has a group of close companions who are effective editors. Her process is:

I do the first round of editing myself, just to make sure I’ve fixed any mistakes that stood out to me. Then, the next round is done with my mom and brother. I know having people close to you edit is something some people advise against, but it all depends, I think. I know that both my mom and brother won’t hold back on their opinions, so I will still get a good result. My final round of editing is with a family friend who is absolutely fantastic at catching little mistakes and picking up on things that might not make sense to the readers.

Author Céline Gelpe has a more methodical approach, once again working with people close to her while tackling her books. 

I did six rounds of editing (developmental, line, copy, proofreading), then I had a uncle who is a poet to do a final proofreading. I did the developmental and line editing after long discussions with beta readers. Talking with my beta-readers was great. I really enjoyed their feedback and I think that overall, my story benefited from their inputs. I had to justify things my characters would do and discovered them in the process. One also took the “job” of a sensitivity reader and made me realize my own bias and my own limits.

But Céline Gelpe has a word to the wise regarding using friends:

My beta-readers were my friends and did this as a favor to me, […] but I had to check regularly to see how they were doing on their reading. I had to actively seek them out for them to give the feedback. It’s not a nice feeling when, once a month, I have to write to them to know how far they are. It takes a toll on my well-being, and makes me feel a bit like a stalker. All of them took more time than they had initially thought. It’s okay, not everybody is a reader but instead of publishing my story 6 months after the final draft was done, it took a whole year.”

As I am sure you can see, there are so many different approaches to editing. While some ways may be better than others, if you want to get your story out there, find a way! Just find the method that best works for you.

Insights, News

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Editing

 Editing: it’s probably the most important aspect of publishing a book. More than the book cover or sometimes even the story itself, editing can often make or break a good story. Why? Because editing helps polish the story and make it shine. Without editing, a good story could become unreadable, cumbersome, and looked over by readers. 

As the first part of my series, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Self Publishing, we’re going to talk about Editing. Everyone has had both good and bad experiences with their editing: between using software, hiring editors, and discovering typos…we all are faced with different hurdles throughout our publishing journey.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing thoughts and stories from many different authors (including myself) in regards to their experiences with editing. 

What can you look forward to in the coming weeks? Let me tell you!

  • Insights on editing software
  • Insights on finding and working with an editor
  • Mistakes that authors have made along the way
  • And more!

So stay tuned while we begin to discuss all these topics and more. As a reader, you might understand more about the amount of effort put into an author’s work. As a writer, you’ll learn about all your options. We can all continue to learn and improve our craft.

So if you’re interested, stay tuned.

News

Tuppence: A Fairy-Tale Retelling – Beta Readers Wanted

 A farmgirl. A goat.

And a song that will change her life.

Her whole life, Tuppence has dreamt of leaving the hillside to make a life in the Kingdom. When the King hosts a grand ball, she finally sees a way out, only to have her dreams squashed by her bitter mother and two sisters, Uma and Tertia.

With only a goat and her gift of song, Tuppence begins to develop her own plan to escape…only to discover the true nature of the Kingdom beneath the Hill.

Inspired by the Grimm Fairy Tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, venture from the hillside with Tuppence and her sisters to discover where true magic lies.

Introducing Tuppence: A Fairy-Tale Retelling.

I started writing Tuppence back in October, and after a couple drafts, it is just about ready to be passed out to beta readers! 

With a word count of approximately 12K (50 pages), the goal is to release this short-story sometime this coming spring! 

But, before I hire an editor to help me go through the writing itself, I need a handful of individuals to beta read this story! The goal here is simple: help me identify good areas, areas that need work, and inconsistencies. 

If you are interested, please fill out the form below. I’ll be sending out copies to all beta readers on January 29th, 2021…with the hope of getting it back by mid-to-late February. 

Don’t think you can commit to beta reading? That’s OK! The short-story will be released on Kindle Unlimited AND will be available to newsletter subscribers FOR FREE. So if you haven’t subscribed yet, now is definitely the time to do so! 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

News

Did You Know I have a Newsletter?

Hey there!

Have you been hanging out around my blog for awhile? Or have you only just popped in?

Well did you know I have a newsletter? 

This newsletter pops into your inbox between 1-to-3x a month, providing you with details about my upcoming projects, thoughts, and more!

But what else?

Starting this month, January 2021, I am including free content to newsletter subscribers!

What? Free content? Like what?

Quite a bit actually! 

The moment you sign up, you’ll receive an email with a downloadable link to the first 3 chapters of my debut novel, The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice!

But wait? What if I already read The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice? Why else should I sign up? 

Great question…because every month, subscribers will get a new reward! These include, but aren’t limited to: book outtakes, book previews, short-stories, cover previews, and more! 

Interested now? I thought so! 

Sign up below and start reading today! And don’t forget to refer a friend!

Insights, News

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Self-Publishing – Authors Wanted

One thing is evident: self-publishing is hard.

But often times, people only celebrate their successes on social media. This makes sense. Who wants to share their dismal sales numbers or terrible reviews? 

Unfortunately though, self-publishing is riddle with obstacles like this. 

So I want to throw together a series of blog posts to discuss topics that might not be so readily explored so those getting ready to self-publish know what they are in for as they prepare their novel. 

So, I am looking for people to answer questions about the following subjects: 

  • Editing 
  • Cover Design
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Reviews 
  • Imposter Syndrome & Self-Doubt
  • And more!

I want candid answers that cover the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let us find out your marketing plan and what has worked! Tell us about the heartbreak you have suffered along the way! We want to know. 

We’re not racing against each other to be the best. We’re a team. Authors aren’t each other’s competition. We all write different stories.

So why not talk about these hurdles…and maybe, help each other overcome them?

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the form below! I’m looking for both people to be interviewed as well as guest blog posts.

I cannot wait to see your responses. 

Until next time,

ESB

News

99c Sale and Store Announcement!

Can you believe it’s almost December? This year has been a chaotic one, but I hope everyone has been finding a way to weather this storm. 

With the holiday season upon us, I have a few announcements! Check it out below!

I have officially launched a Square Storefront! You can purchase signed copies of my book directly, as well as some other merchandise!

I currently have a deal where you can get a discounted hard cover copy, due to a change that I made a couple months ago.

If you purchase from the website, I’ll probably throw some other goodies in for free! Over time I’ll be adding in more products as well, so check back regularly!


The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice is on sale through the end of the year for only 99 CENTS! 
 If you’ve been meaning to get a copy of my debut novel, now is the perfect time! Check it out! 

You can also purchase a copy through my Square site!


And finally…

I’ve added some new swag to my Teepublic shop! More will be coming over the weekend so it is definitely worth checking out!

That’s all for now.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Insights, News

Insights: Why I Take Time to Promote Other Authors

A question has been posed to me on multiple occasions: why do you take time to promote other authors and review their books?

The answer to this is simple to me, and it comes down to a simple statement children are taught since childhood: treat others how you want to be treated.

What does that have to do with my author promotions? Simple. I personally believe that it is not fair for me to go out and ask people to review my book, or to promote me as an author, if I am not doing it myself.

Not every author has the time or energy to do this. But I think, especially for Indie Authors (who typically have smaller street teams or marketing budgets), it is our job to stick together and support other Indie Authors. Do I expect the authors I read or feature to do the same for me? Absolutely not. But from a personal standpoint, it’s how I am.

Do the benefits of doing this equal the effort though? Maybe not from a review or sale standpoint (not that I’ve run the numbers), but from an enjoyment standpoint… ABSOLUTELY! Authors aren’t competitors. Sure, maybe ten years ago when I was a silly teenager I might have thought that. But really, we’re all running the same race. Sure, some people might win a prize at the end, or get more support…but we’re all just trying to tell a story.

So while I could just beg for reviews, submit my book for features, or post on social media, I have decided instead to focus in a way I know I can help other indie authors: reading and featuring them instead.

This also falls into my own type of anxiety. For me, personally, interacting on social media takes a lot out of me. It comes down to social anxiety: even in real life, I’m not one to interact much with others. So it is far easier for me to offer features or to go read someone’s book. It’s support for the authors, since after all, reviews are a type of currency for authors.

That’s why I focus so much on these initiatives. While yes, they can be cumbersome, they’re less draining (for me) than actually commenting on social media posts. Instead, I see a book I like, and I add it to my TBR list. Or, by featuring authors, I discover new books as well!

We’re all a part of a community of reader and writers. So why not build each other up? I think it’s worth it.