Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keira Michelle Telford on Five Things a Writer Should Know

Today, I welcome Keira Michelle Telford.  She is currently on tour with The Virtual Book Tour Cafe.  She has some great tips to share.  

Giveaway!  Please leave a comment for Keira and you'll be entered to win a e-copy of Silver: Acheron (A River of Pain).  Deadline to enter 7/3/12 T 11:59 P.M. EST.  Also, just for leaving a comment, I'll send you a link and free coupon code for my short stories Annals of the Immortyls, and you'll also be entered to win a copy of my latest novel, Servant of the Goddess. Drawing ends 6/30/12 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Please provide a contact email for both giveaways.

Fragment, Consider Revising

From a persistent, irritating wavy green line to the IRS, here’s five things a new writer should know:

First and foremost…

Turn Off the Grammar Checker
It lies. It was the bane of my existence while I was writing my first book, and I quickly learned that there was no way to placate it. No matter what I did, it wasn’t happy. Part of the problem with it is that it doesn’t understand style and aesthetic. My advice? Cut the damn thing loose and make an effort to learn the rules of proper grammar. Rely on your own knowledge, not on a computer program that might understand the dictionary definition of ‘creative’, but doesn’t know how to apply it.

Beta Readers
I can’t emphasize their importance enough. Put together a reliable network of people who read (preferably people who love your genre) and whose opinions you trust. And in case you were wondering, the answer’s no: your mom doesn’t count. You don’t need people who’re going to tell you how awesome you are, and how you’re the next Stephen King. You want people to tell you “there’s something fucky with it” or “that doesn’t make any sense”. If someone reads an entire draft of your book and can’t give you one single criticism, don’t be fooled. You’re not a genius, they’re just a lousy beta reader.

Collecting royalties is simple. Just go to a CAA to file a W-7 with the IRS to get an ITIN, then fill out a W-8BEN and send it to… wait. Did I say this was going to be easy? Sorry. I might’ve told a porky. It’s easy if you’re a US citizen, or if you have an agent who can deal with this type of thing for you (or if you don’t mind having 30% of your cheque withheld). But, if you’re a non-US indie like me, and you want that 30%, you’ll need to follow the rules. If you’re published through Amazon/Createspace, it’s laid out in a fairly straightforward manner. Go here if you’d like to read more:

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore
You’re going to get a bad review. Or two. Or three. Over the course of your writing career, you’ll probably get many. The thing is: a bad review isn’t the end of the world. A lot of times, a bad review isn’t even a reflection on the quality of your work. Sometimes, a reader just won’t ‘get’ you—and that’s okay. Opinions are free, and they’re all valid. The trick is not to take anything personally. To one reader, my use of present tense might be ‘jarring’. To another, it’ll add to the cinematic feel of the text. In any case, whatever you do, don’t respond. Even if a reviewer makes a criticism that you feel is invalid, say nothing. Hold your tongue. Bite back the instinct to defend yourself. In the end, it’s just not worth it.

Learn When to Say No
People are going to want to give you advice. Some of it’s going to be good, and some of it’s going to be bad. Someone once told me that there was too much extraneous information in my narrative. They said that if they took out all of the ‘junk’, they’d cut away a third of my book. My immediate reaction was to doubt myself. In the past, I know that I’ve had issues with dumping information into a narrative like truffle oil over a nice risotto. It’s too much, it’s over-powering and it’s unnecessary. That being said, I’d put a lot of work into pinpointing the weak areas in my text and banishing the exposition where necessary, so I didn’t feel like that was a legitimate criticism of the book.

So what did I do? After much thought, I decided to ignore the advice. And as it turns out, one of the things that’s most often highlighted in the positive reviews of my work is my world-building. See, the person who gave me that advice isn’t a big science fiction fan. It’s not that he doesn’t get me per se; he just doesn’t get the genre. The trick is learning to spot that, and knowing when to go with your instincts.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to please everybody—never forget that. Don’t beat yourself up over a negative comment or a few less stars than you’d like. There’s plenty more where those came from. Just take it on the chin and get ready to do the same thing all over again tomorrow.

Keira Michelle Telford


Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists. 

Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate—death.

Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests—they need someone to pull the trigger.

They need an executioner.

Book Trailer

Available now:


Coming Soon!

About the Author:

Keira Michelle was born and raised in the UK. She moved to Canada in 2006, and there she still resides in her west coast townhouse with a husband and 10 guinea pigs.
She is the author of a 10-book series of post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novels, all centering on the lead character of Ella 'Silver' Cross. The first book (a novella) in this series, Acheron, was released Nov 2011.

Buy her books on Amazon!


Denise Verrico said...

Keira, thanks for joining me today. Your books sound fascinating.

Bk Walker said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for hosting Keira. Loved it and great advice.

J.R.Randle said...

Wonderful advice! Thank you for sharing.

Denise Verrico said...

Thanks for commenting ladies! I think Keira's book sounds cool. I'll be emailing you the link and coupon code for Annals.

Patti Hultstrand said...

You are very correct Keira. When it comes to the genres of science-fiction and especially fantasy, cutting too much would take away from the meat of the world you created. I have known fantasy stories to be over 600 pages, and this is fine because its not just the world building that is needed here, but the adventure takes significant pages to get through. And the more characters you have to longer that tale will also get.

Best of luck on your tale,
Patti Hultstrand
AZ Publishing Services, LLC
Author of "Time Conquers All"
Time-travel (Sci-fi)

bn100 said...

Very nice advice. Thanks for sharing.


KM Telford said...

I know I'm commenting late, but just wanted to thank you, Denise, for hosting me :)