Posts Tagged ‘Editing’

Here’s an update on what happened with my writing during January, 2013.

US editing on Operation Tango Two-Two (first and second drafts) finished.

IDM x 4It Doesn’t Matter hard back covers arrived at our house (a month late, but who’s counting?) Now this book is in print in soft cover, hard cover and colouring book. Surprisingly, I like the colouring book best, but have resisted the urge to colour one in :)

The Spanish version has been printed, I believe, just waiting for a release date. It is wonderful to have all four versions of the book in my hand.

The US version of Operation Alpha Papa was printed and the release date is April 1st. No, this is not a joke :)

I was hoping to be able to share sales figures for the first two books in the Operation Series and the soft cover of the picture book, but they haven’t come through yet.

Operation Romeo Sierra (book 6 in the Operation series) is on my desktop, but I must confess, not much work has been done on it during January. Hoping for more actual writing time this month. I’m still planning on it coming out towards the end of this year.


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Time for a writing update :)

The US version of Operation Foxtrot Five is on sale. So is Operation Delta Bravo, and so is my picture book, It Doesn’t Matter.

Operation Alpha Papa has been edited and is ready for print. Operation Tango Two-Two and Operation Uniform Echo are with the Tate editor. Cover design hasn’t started with these books.

My Book Trailer for Operation Foxtrot Five has had over 200 hits at last count :)


The Australian version of the Operation series (all 5 books) continues to sell in Australia. Sales are slow, but at least orders are still coming in. http://www.bushytailbooks.com/books.html

On the home front, special thanks go to Margaret and Kate – two editors I have not had the pleasure of meeting in person – for all the work they did when I was so sick and unable to fulfill my contractual commitments with Tate Publishing. They stepped up and took over the corrections and final edits on two books. Their friendship, support and wonderful work gave me a chance to recover without the stress of trying to keep up with the writing side of things.

My Social Media following is growing surprisingly fast. The Facebook Fan page has had over 200 ‘likes’, and my Twitter following keeps growing by the day. How does that happen?

For those who are interested, my networking sites are listed below. Some are still in the development stage, but most are up and running.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordjstutley

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Blog: https://stutleytales.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DJStutley


Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/djstutley/

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/yEgWgHAkCZ4

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00A2CMB8A

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I think it’s time for a writing update:

Operation Foxtrot Five is on sale in the US now, and I believe the book trailer is being shown on US television. I don’t have any sales figures yet, so I have no idea how it is doing.

Operation Delta Bravo has just finished its final edit. I’m pretty sure all the fullstops and speech marks are in place :) It will be on sale before Christmas in the US.

The picture book, It Doesn’t Matter, is either on sale or very close to being on sale. I received a copy of the Spanish edition for my book shelf. So exciting!

Operation Alpha Papa is still in the final editing stage at Tate Publishing.

Operation Tango Two-Two is undergoing its first edits. So there’ll be some work for me to do next month :) Another cover to plan – I love this stage!

My second picture book is ready to be submitted – just haven’t had time to think about that this last month.

Book 6 in the Operation series is still where it was in March this year. That makes me feel sad. I had set my heart on finishing it this year, but it is looking unlikely now.

Book 7 in the Operation series is still just a file of notes. That makes me sad too.

Social media/networking is up and running, and just this week I opened a twitter account. Don’t quite know what to do with it, but I have one. Tweet-tweet :) Who’s out there?

Website: www.djstutley.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authordjstutley

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Blog: https://stutleytales.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DJStutley


Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/djstutley/

YouTube link: http://youtu.be/yEgWgHAkCZ4?hd=1&rel=o

Now, here’s my dilemma, and I’m open to suggestions…

My US publisher wanted all this networking in place in order to promote my books. But… by the time I spend 4 – 6 hours a day (7 days a week) on all these sites, I’m not in the right mental space or have the time to write. And if I don’t have time to write, my US publisher won’t have any more of my books to sell. Does anyone have any suggestions?


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We are a special bunch.

My writing family are heroes. No doubt about it. I sent out a plea for help last week, saying that I was going to be out of action for a while and was there anyone who could help with my existing contractual commitments? I may need someone to do a final pre-print check on one book, go over the final edits for another book, and the first edits for yet another book. Throw in the initial cover design of one book, and the followup cover design of another book – that’s quite a lot of work for the first 15 days of next month. And due to a medical emergency, I’m going to be out of action. When I looked at the work ahead of me, I wondered how I could possibly do what was expected, knowing what I was facing medically. I needed help.

Offers came flooding in. One from an editor I’ve never come across, (she has been following my progress over the years), others equally qualified to do any of the tasks I needed help with, some saying that if no offers of help came in they would give it a ‘shot’, others saying they would like to help but felt they weren’t qualified enough.

I’ve narrowed it down to three. If I need help, I know they will step up and do their very best for me without a second thought.

Being a ‘writer’ is like being part of a large family. Writer’s are unique in their willingness to help others succeed without being jealous of their success. We share knowledge, advice and encouragement with each other. We feel the successes and disappointments of others in their writing as well as their personal life. Yes, writer’s are special! Thank you, fellow writer’s :)


(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Guest Blogger:

Let me introduce myself – my name is Detective Sergeant Scott Backer, and I’m the lead character in the Operation Series of  YA crime fiction thrillers by DJ Stutley. She’s been working on Operation Romeo Sierra since 2003… Will someone please tell her to get busy and get this case solved! I’ve been languishing in the depths of DJ’s computer for so long, that after 4 successful books, I feared she was not going to be able to continue our successful association.

Let me tell you where she went so wrong.

DJ was one of those writers who never made notes. The whole story unfolded in her mind as she wrote. When she began typing, with just the smallest spark of an idea, the story unfolded page by page. Even she had no idea what was going to happen in the next chapter. Don’t ask me how she did this, but she actually wrote the first 4 books in the Operation Series this way. Not one note on a scrap of paper anywhere!

Then in 2003, along came a real villain, who attacked her with a baseball bat because he wanted her car. Her injuries were significant – recovery was long and slow. By the time she sat down to work on Operation Romeo Sierra, the storyline had gone from her head. It was like she was reading it for the first time. She agonised over it for hundreds of hours, followed advice from numerous other authors and friends, before finally facing the awful possibility that she may never write again.

Fortunately her good friend and fellow author, Simon Higgins, suggested that she put Romeo away and write something new. So in typical DJ style, she had an idea, and started typing. This time she had a notepad beside her and jotted down any ideas that could be used in the story. To her surprise, she discovered that she was actually plotting! For the first time, she could see ahead, make notes and fill in the details. 6 weeks later, the first draft of Operation Uniform Echo was finished. 2 weeks later she sent it off to her writing mentor, Marg McAllister, who sent her an email saying ‘… you’re back!’

During the past 18months, DJ has been able to pick up the threads of Operation Romeo Sierra again and has managed to write 10 chapters. And I am excited to see how the case is looking :) She keeps telling everyone that Romeo will be finished by the end of the year. So come on, DJ – get busy! you’ve still got 5 chapters to go and  hours of editing and proofreading ahead of you, and half the year has gone.

Lesson to all you writers out there: take notes, notes and more notes. Don’t leave ideas in your head where they can be traumatised away, never to be thought of again.

Scott Backer (& DJ)

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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The dreaded adverb: “ly” words. My editor at Tate, Megan, has this quote posted at the bottom of every email she sends:
“The adverb is not your friend.” —Stephen King

Megan pulled me up many times saying that I was ‘telling’ not showing the emotion behind the sentence.

That got me thinking… How many is too many ‘ly’ words? So I started doing some research and found that one ‘ly’ word in 300 is okay, but if you can write with even less than that, it shows a high level of professionalism.

One suggestion I came across was to do a ‘word search’ for ‘ly’ words and see how many times you’ve used them.

Here are some examples.

shouted angrily – if someone is shouting, that says they are angry.

admitted sadly – admitted is enough to show the emotion.

tiptoed silently – tiptoeing is pretty silent.

I hope you’ve found this helpful :)

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Tate Publishing (in the US) is keeping me busy. So far this month, I have done the final proofs for the print run of Operation Foxtrot Five, done the final edits of Operation Delta Bravo and done the final edits for my picture book – It Doesn’t Matter. Now it’s time to start working with the publicity department.

One thing that I’ve learned is that no matter how good you think your work is, there is always room for improvement. No matter where or who you are in the chain of production, there is always room for improvement.

For example, this is the third edition of Operation Foxtrot Five – which means that it has been edited by three different publishing companies since 2001. Each time it was edited, the manuscript became tighter and tighter, and I was given the chance to update and modernise it a little.

Everyone needs their work given the once-over by an editor. An editor is invaluable when it come down to producing professional product. Listen to your editor, consider their advice carefully, and pick your battles. Don’t challenge every change they suggest, there must be a reason for what they are suggesting. Negotiate if you feel strongly and put your point-of-view out there. A good editor will listen and work with you to find a compromise.

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