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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest blog post: Nila Brown and why editing should be covered by Obamacare

The Editing Process – Why ObamaCare Should Cover It

Hello my Lovelies!
Thanks to the fabulous Cheris Hodges, my favorite author in the whole world for blessing me with the honor of guest blogging with her today.  I’ve been webbing with her for quite a few years before I knew she was an author and I’m totally appreciative to her for giving an up and coming Cheetah Diva out of nowhere a shot at the title of Craziest Diva!

Anyhoo, I’m in the process of editing the second book in my trilogy, “Kurai Utopia,” entitled Book Two – Ignition. I’m anxious to finish up the series because I need to move forward with other writing projects, but some annoying health issues, along with my daytime job responsibilities and outright laziness, has slowed me down significantly. This book was supposed to be released by the end of April, but don’t worry, my Lovelies! I’ve grabbed my supersized pen, geared up the keyboard, put on my big girl bloomers and away I go!

To say that I’m not a millionairess wouldn’t be stretching the truth.  Hell, I’m not even a hundredairess, let alone a thousandairess.   I live paycheck-to-a little more than paycheck like most people in this country but I’m not complaining, though. It could be much worse and I’m grateful to have a full-time job that I love. I have nothing but love and respect for authors who have made this their full-time careers; some without a 9-5 job. I’m self-published but the royalties I get wouldn’t feed an ant, much less my college-age daughter. The most important thing is we have a roof over our heads and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

With that being said, being a poor but proud Cheetah Diva author I can’t afford an established editor. I’ve done research on them and the cheapest I came across were advertised on a site called “fiverr,” where you can get up-and-coming artists/writers/editors/everything else people like me who you can contract to help you out. This is done so they can gain the experience and show off on a resume. I went this route at the end of last year and trust me when I tell you I’d rather eat kitty litter than go through this process again. The person I contracted to create the cover for my first book left me and several others hanging, pushing my publishing date back nearly a month. I had to do the cover myself, and if I do say so myself, I liked my results a lot better so I took it as a positive thing.

I did have others set to “beta” my story; fans who would read the document, make corrections and/or tell me what they really thought of the story; except I had a deadline set for them to return the edits before Christmas and that never happened. Two of them apologized to me and two others were never heard from again. You know, as quick as I am to pull the trigger, I didn’t get mad. Sometimes shit happens and this is my dream. I couldn’t leave it to chance for someone else to help me with it and then get mad when their lives happen.  Instead of wallowing in well-deserved anger, frustration and a bag of Funyuns, I just kept it moving.

The book was finally published on January 20, 2014. If course there were some errors in it relating to how it translated over to CreateSpace. In spite of their system telling you to use .doc documents, it scrambled some of my words and threw them into other sentences. With my daughter’s help, I was able to get the story edited better and republished using Acrobat.

Yay me.

So now here I am in the editing process for the second book and although I’ve learned a lot of lessons from editing the first book, this process is still insanity on a stick.  I have to go over the pages line-by-line, make the corrections, rest a day or two, then print it and go over it line-by-line, rinse-repeat until I’m satisfied that I have something that doesn’t read like some crap I wrote in crayon and doody when I was four.

Recently, I had a doctor’s appointment and while having my blood pressure checked, I went into full detail about a lot of anxiety and stress in my life. Somehow the editing of the book came up and before I knew it, I bent this poor woman’s ear for nearly an hour going over and over and over this horrible process. Bless her sweet heart, she just let me vent. Not only am I becoming blind by looking at a bright computer screen, I’m killing so many poor little trees with the constantly printing, redlining and reprinting this ridiculously 17 chapter book.  I actually woke up screaming one morning, “AAH! NO! HE DOESN’T COME IN UNTIL THE NEXT CHAPTER!!”
Scared my daughter to death with that one.

ObamaCare, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, was enacted with the goal of increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance by lowering the uninsured rate and expelling public and private insurance coverage and reducing the cost of healthcare for individuals.  In a nutshell, the insurance companies can’t force you into bankruptcy by refusing to cover you because of preexisting conditions. The same wingnuts who were screaming “REPEAL OBAMACARE!” are now saying “THANK GOD FOR OBAMACARE!” because you don’t have to go into debt just to get healthcare, and in the greatest nation in the world, this shouldn’t even be an issue. I’m sure President Obama appreciates their enthusiasm and gratitude.
Anyhoo, I see a therapist who helps me with the anger management issues that I have because I’m twisted like that and normally all I do is rant about that, but the last session I went on and on about the book. She’s actually a great therapist but even she’s sick of hearing about my book series. She told me she hears Japanese names in her everyday life now, even when she’s at home, in the tub and with her newborn; for example, she called childhood friend by my heroine’s name “Hikari.” The lady’s name is actually “Joyce.”

*Elvis singing voice* “Insanityyyyyyy! That cool refreshing drink!”

It’s bad enough that authors have to conceive the actual book; we have to conceive the plotline, scenarios, character development, see it from the first squiggly-lined storyboards to the “about the author” section. That’s tough enough, but for someone like me who is a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Paranormal author, I have to invent worlds, different species, and in some instance different languages. Do you understand what an endurance trial that is?  ADD EDITING TO IT!  It’s not like I make J.K. Rowling’s cheddah…oh hell naw – my last royalty payment won’t even buy me a Number 2 at MickeyD’s.  The amount of stress that comes from not just one, but 10 – 20 rewrites and editing takes a toll on one’s mental and physical state, and I aint a healthy Diva by anyone’s standards to begin with.

So, I did what any other irrational individual with a gun permit and Xanax would do – I called Aetna.
(…after holding forever and a half and watching my toenails grow…)
Aetna Customer Service, this is Elizabeth - what is your Group ID? (name changed to protect the victim)
My number is blah blah bluh blah blah. Does ObamaCare cover stress-related editing?
Um, I don’t understand.
I’m an author and I’m under a shitload of stress trying to edit what’s shaping up to be another 500 page book all by my dammy. Does ObamaCare cover this?
Your profile says you work for Shooby Boo Boop (name changed to keep my job).
Yeah I know, but when I’m not having a whip cracked across my back, I’m an author who’s on the verge of a drive-by shooting because of all the editing I have to do and I need to see a therapist completely different from the one who now hates me. Does ObamaCare cover this?
Hold please. (new age music – another reason for ObamaCare – actually, a reason why shotgun shells should be non-traceable)
Uh, Ms. Brown?
If your stress is a preexisting condition, yes the Affordable Care Act should cover it, but you have Aetna so this is a non-issue for you. Check with your primary for a referral for stress-related issues.
Really?  Huh…I thought so.  Well, thanks!  Have a great day!

Here’s my take on the whole thing:  ObamaCare should not only cover editing, it should cover everything limited to but not excluding:
Family members who are yelled at
  Dogs that are not walked
 Husbands/wives/significant others who go to bed alone at night
  Snatched weaves
 Depression/post-traumatic stress syndrome
   Cussed out publishers
  Coffee (this should be a refillable prescription)
 Thrown cell phones
  Paper cuts
Chair cushions
  Likka stow runs
  Anything else that makes me feel some kind of way

I love writing. I really do. I’ve been doing it on and off since I was 11 years old and hopefully, I’ll be doing it until I can buy my home in Bali and laugh at the little people.  What I meant to say was until I can afford an editor who will do this shit for me.

Yeah…karma save!

What you have to do is make sure your lame congressman/senator/lunatic doesn’t take ObamaCare away. We need this very desperately. After all, your favorite author’s mental health depends on it, and we really work hard to entertain you. Don’t let us fall into the millions of people who don’t have affordable healthcare. Can you imagine how many more fine works F. Scott Fitzgerald could have produced if ObamaCare existed to cover his alcoholism?  That’s food for thought. 



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