<![CDATA[Jennifer A. Hasheider - My Insightful Blog ]]>Thu, 14 Jan 2016 21:12:58 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[How I Deflected Mr. Doubt Yesterday. ]]>Tue, 26 May 2015 14:37:02 GMThttp://www.jenniferahasheider.com/my-insightful-blog/how-i-deflected-mr-doubt-yesterdayPicture
It isn’t present at first, but overtime I feel it coming. First, standing silently just outside the peripheral of my mind. Then it steps closer, one silent footfall at a time, until it has the ability to turn a compliment into an insult. I hear, “I can’t wait to read your book” as “I hope my eyelids are never held open with bobby-pins while I’m forced to read that drivel” Can I really create something anyone on this planet will want to read??

I felt self-doubt beginning to creep in so I did what I could before it paralyzed me; I printed my first chapters and started marking them up, making them stronger. I’m happy with what I am seeing, excited at things I’d forgotten, horrified at times, too. It’s good though. I am happy with what I have… I think.

Out for a stroll on the internet I came across a self-doubt crusher, at least it helped me yesterday. Hemingway Editor claims to be "like a spell-checker, but for style". Have you tried the app? Basically, you plug in what you’ve written (or you can write directly in the app), then click “edit” and it will tell you basic things about your piece; readability, when you have sentences written wonky and hard to read, when you’ve used words or phrases that have simpler alternatives and shows them to you, it highlights all those pesky adverbs, and highlights all your passive text. 

Ever the skeptic, I looked for reviews. I found one blasting the Hemingway software basically because of the readability stats it gives. Back when I learned about writing I was taught to write at a 9th grade level in order for every reader to feel comfortable with the piece (in accordance with The Flesch–Kincaid readability levels). “Pity the reader” Kurt Vonnegutt says; don’t make them work harder than they have to. I agree. I read for relaxation and because I chose not to do something else. Don't make me suffer. If there is a simple way to say something, that’s how it should be said. 

The reviewer of the Hemingway App was appalled that Out of Africa  by Isak Dinisen only scored an “ok” by the app because it had a high readability score (grade 12). S/He went on to point out another work that was given a score of grade 14. Then went on to further torment the site for giving a “good” rating (grade 9) to a passage missing words. The software clearly does not proofread, and it doesn’t state that it does.

My take is that this reviewer needs to a hug. S/He seems to be missing the point of the Hemingway program. It is basing the “okay” and “good” scores on readability below 9th grade level and above. If you write higher than this, and do it well, don’t be offended when software programmed to work a certain way points out your high level of writing then says your work is only “ok” Some people. My goodness. This is the kind of person I wouldn’t get on well with in a critique group. In fact s/he would probably cringe at my attempt to write light new adult fiction.  

I plugged in a few paragraphs at first, just to see. Then I copy and pasted the entire manuscript. I was happy with the results. It didn’t say I’d just completed the greatest novel ever written and that it could not be improved, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It gave me a boost of confidence, and that boost has helped deflect Mr. Doubt for another day. It also pointed out places I need to look at in my work that I might not have thought about.

I could not have found a writer friend to read 100 pages of rough draft and give me valuable suggestions for free and in an instant like the Hemingway Editor did. I rather enjoyed using the software and I'll use it again. 

Every suggestion is a tool of some sort. Some you will use, and some you won't. Some suggestions you may not use now, but later you may use it on a different piece. I like exposure to the craft. Try out the software and let me know what you thought of it. http://www.hemingwayapp.com/beta/index.html 

<![CDATA[Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing... and more]]>Sat, 16 May 2015 13:56:38 GMThttp://www.jenniferahasheider.com/my-insightful-blog/traditional-publishing-vs-self-publishing-and-moreI interrupt my regularly scheduled blog-series…

I am supposed to be blogging about appearing professional on the internet but I’ve been diverted by something I feel needs attention right this very moment: 

The big debate about Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing; it’s a real and ongoing thing, but something new has thrown itself into the mix: Hybrid Publishing. Say what? Yeah, I know. Hybrid publishing is a situation that’s sorta traditional but its sorta not because authors pay for some of what the publisher does for them. It’s not a vanity press though. Allow me to attempt to explain:

Traditional publishing:  I write a book, and work really hard to make it perfect. I may hire editors to help me develop the book and proofread it. Then I or my agent (many choose to skip the agent nowadays), shop the manuscript to a traditional publisher. The editor at the publishing place reads it then either loves it or hates it. An author hopes they love it, but if not then it goes somewhere else (sometimes again and again) until finally a traditional publishing house loves it and wants to buy it. Once a publisher wants your baby they buy the rights to it from you, usually in the form of an advance on future royalties from the sale of your book. Then, the traditional publisher spends its own money on editing the book to their taste, creating a cover they want, designing the layout in their own style, etc. until your book is eventually born. Then, still on the house’s own dime, it prints as many copies as it thinks it will sell. In some cases a traditional publisher will then market the book, but this is becoming less of the case. In all cases of traditional publication they will distribute the book to the public without you having forked out one red cent to make it happen.

Self publishing: I write a book, I pay editors to help me develop the book and proofread it (hopefully this is a step not skipped). Then I create cover art, format the book and design it or I pay someone else to do this for me. Then I pay to have the book printed and I market it myself to the public (which often happens in traditional publishing now, too). See? I pay all the costs of the book becoming a book, but then – the part that is attractive – I get to keep all the money I make from the sale of the book and I have total control over the manuscript and how the book looks.

Vanity Press: Like straight self-publishing, but I also pay a fee (usually a hefty fee) for the press to do everything for me.

Hybrid publishing: I’ve talked with two hybrid publishers in recent days and they both had different things to say about themselves. They both denied that they were self-publishers or vanity presses and tried to sound like they were traditional publishers and appeared to have convinced their clients of the same. The things they had in common with one another were that their authors DO pay for some portion of the production of their books, but then claim a “partnership” where sales are split 50/50 in one case and 30/70 in the other. 

I think Hybrid Publishers are still defining themselves and therefore you should shop around if you choose to go this route. However, don’t be fooled. A Hybrid publisher is not a Traditional publisher. A Traditional Publisher will not make you pay for anything and in most cases will pay you some amount of money before your book actually hits the shelves.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of publishing, so do your research.

<![CDATA[Professional Portrait, Please. (For Crying Out Loud!)]]>Tue, 05 May 2015 14:25:33 GMThttp://www.jenniferahasheider.com/my-insightful-blog/professional-portrait-please-for-crying-out-loudPictureNot a professional photo
I conceive someone’s looks before I meet him or her. I can’t help it. Much like characters in a book, I decide in my head how they’ll look if we ever meet. Perhaps everyone does this in real life and we’re equally taken aback when the tall, skinny bald man is actually rotund with a head full of hair.

Nowadays it’s easy to gather a pre-impression from a person’s actual photograph because our photos are everywhere. This means it’s also easy for us to judge people before we know them. Of course, we hope this isn’t the case, but it’s safe to say happens. In a professional setting, or when an author wants to appear professional, photos on our public social networks should show us as such.

Plenty of authors write in genres where they are expected to appear a certain way. A young adult author, for instance, may want to have blue hair and a weird nose ring in a photo to appeal to his or her blue-haired-nose-ringed fans. Another may want to wear a Magneto hat made from duct tape. Whatever, I’m just saying – however you hope to be regarded, you need to do your part and play the part in your photographs, which is after all the first impression many will have of you.

What makes a photo professional? Well, it isn’t a selfie taken on a cell phone, it’s not a snapshot taken with the little camera on your laptop, it’s not you cropped out of a family portrait where you can still see pieces of your partner’s hair next to your chin. It’s a well-lit photograph of your face, mostly. Fix yourself up, put on makeup and a clean shirt. Leave your dog at home and go somewhere to get a nice portrait made. It feels weird to have a picture taken of you, for most of us anyway.

If you can’t stand the thought if a boring, in-studio, high school yearbook type photo then ask a friend to take a photo. A few tips to get you started:

Clothing: Dress Conservatively. Leave the sexy, low cut top at home where you can grab it to go to the club later after your photo shoot. Guys, tuck in your chest hair. Solid colors are always better than prints.

Background: I’ve seen a lot of people standing against brick walls. This must be a thing. Back when I was a photographer I did a lot of photoshoots in South St. Louis and Soulard where bricks walls were sometimes the only option. They are fine, don’t get me wrong. I just see a lot of them. Whatever you choose to stand against or in front of, make sure it isn’t too busy. You

don’t want your background to distract from you, and remember, the photo is of you – not the location.

Outside vs. Inside: If you aren’t using a professional photographer with a great lighting set up indoors you may want to consider having your photograph taken outside in natural light. Encourage your picture taker to use a flash even if you are outdoors. It will help eliminate some of the natural shadows on your face.

Bonus tip: Have the photographer stand above you rather than below, if this is an option. Everyone looks thinner looking slightly up than they do looking down. If your photographer is shorter than you, bring a step stool.

<![CDATA[Thanks, Stone.]]>Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:40:28 GMThttp://www.jenniferahasheider.com/my-insightful-blog/thanks-stonePicture
I’ve encountered an author who calls herself DC Stone. This morning she posted a photo of an old-fashioned typewriter with a cup of coffee next to it and the caption, “Good morning.” The glow of light in the photo gave off a beach vibe. I enjoyed the picture taking up a few ticks of my day.

Then - a fan posted this: “Morning, Stone.”

Oh, man! That sent me whirling. I felt excited and decided right then and there (just a few seconds ago) that I need a cool 
pseudonym like DC Stone. I tried out a few but they were all two letters followed by “stone” and I didn’t think it’d be right to try to be DC Stone II or something. So, meh. I’ll be me.

I’ve followed this Stone character throughout her budding career as a romance writer and she seems to be getting somewhere. I think the secret is that DC is actually writing, like, probably every day.

Most writers know that is the secret to writing, and many can’t seem to accomplish it. It’s hard. For instance, I have no cool, green old-fashioned typewriter and cute coffee mug with just the right glow of light coming off the sand and sea. What are we people who call ourselves writers supposed to do when we aren’t the likes of Miss Fancy DC Stone?

Well, we’re supposed to write.

I do write. I write nearly every single day, too. The trick for me though is that I don’t write for myself. Just this morning I wrote about fifty-two emails, gave critique on a synopsis and a flash fiction story and did some work on a preface for a book I’m editing. That’s all writing, but none of it is for any book of mine.

This blog post is a start, I suppose. DC Stone, you inspired me with the photo this morning. I threw together this blog post, which I haven’t done in ages. Maybe I’ll start making the long loop back toward my own writing. After all, it’ll be summer any day now. Things will slow down, right?

<![CDATA[Shame on me!]]>Thu, 22 May 2014 18:23:14 GMThttp://www.jenniferahasheider.com/my-insightful-blog/shame-on-mePicturePhoto by Rick Klockenbrink
I have been so naughty! How dare I leave my blog hanging out with no new entries for so long? 

Well, the last blog I wrote was about Jamey Stegmaier and his amazing Kickstarter program. Did you see that he was over 1,300% funded on that sucker? And what a totally cool game - a board game about wine! Come on.

Photoshoots, editing, reading, board meetings, ghost investigations, mommying, woodworking... plus I'm preparing to traverse the globe (not really) for most of the summer. My children will never want to leave the house when we finally land back home in August. They hate to leave their friends for a quick trip to the store as it is!

I say, "Hello, my friend," then dash away,  leaving you with my hope. I hope that you are doing what makes you happy and that I find the kick in the rear that makes me start blogging again. I have SO very many things to talk about... 

I appreciate you being here! Thank you for stopping in!