December 2018 Newsletter


Saturday, December 08  at 10 A.M. 

At the South Valleys Library (15650 Wedge Pkwy Reno, NV 89511)

The High Sierra Writers Meeting is  DECEMBER 08 from 10 a.m. to noon at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511. Come early to get a good parking spot, even though the library doesn’t open until 10 a.m. 


Whether you’ve been polishing a book for the past year or just wrote 50,000 words participating in NaNoWriMo, how would you like to get tips from people who work as editors? Part of our December meeting will be hands-on editing using your pages. Bring in a piece of dialogue that’s causing you trouble. Bring in a sequence that doesn’t feel right. First Pages? Yes, bring them in too.

Pacing, character development, plot arcs, dialogue, description, and cutting bloat will be some of the issues we attack.

We’ll show you how to break down your manuscript to filter for specific problems, then correct them.

We’ll also show before and after examples of bad writing boosted by good editing and rewriting.

The goal is to get your manuscript as polished as possible.


Last month, at the Michael Grumley self-publishing workshop, we didn’t have time for the demonstration on how to use Amazon tools to build the final version of your book and then upload it. We’ll do this at the December meeting in real-time and walk through all the steps to upload a book. We’ll show how to classify your book and enter information that will help you sell more books. The live demo will take us to the step where we’re ready to push the “Publish” button.

From the President

Never Do Your Own Editing? – Maybe, Maybe Not

We’ve all been advised to never do our own editing. Even if you have an English degree, that’s probably good advice. But, as is the case with so many things…it depends.
Editing is really a spectrum. At the simple end of the spectrum is the line edit, which is a spelling and grammar check. Unfortunately, many new writers think that’s all there is to it. It’s not.
Beyond the line edit we get into structural edits which get into character development and plot structure. These are much more complex and involve a back and forth between editor and writer.
We can get specialty edits, such as continuity editing. This involves poring over the details to make sure of consistency. You don’t want the hero having brown eyes in chapter 7 and blue eyes in chapter 52.
An edit which is frequently overlooked but which I think is one of the most important is where the editor analyzes tiny stylistic elements such as how well dialogue works, or whether the writer is telling vs. showing. This is a sentence-by-sentence scrutiny at the granular level.
How much of this can or should you do? Definitely a writer needs to do some of these editing filters before submitting a manuscript to an editor. The more that’s cleaned up before a pro lays eyes on it, the lower the editing invoice will be.
At December’s meeting, we’ll show some of the ways you can break the “never edit” rule and come out a winner at the end of the process.

Workshop with Mignon Fogerty

Photo: Mignion FogertyKnown to millions of people as Grammar Girl, Mignon parlayed her grammar podcast into a huge social media success. 

We’re hoping to bring Mignon back for a hands-on, all-day workshop centered around social media and how to use these media to market books. Her availability window is now April 2019 and we are tentatively planning for that date.. Cost will be $30 for HSW members and $50 for non-members. If interested, email Linda Enos at


We have loads of new members looking to join or start a critique group – check our website ( to see if there’s anyone you might be interested in joining forces with!  

We also have a new finish group, for full beta reads, starting up, and no doubt more to open up soon. Email Critique Group Wrangler Nicole at  if you’d like to be added to a waiting list to have your book read, or to be added to the list of those looking to join an on-going group.  2019 is YOUR year to get that book finished, join a critique group now! 

Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Finish Group
We have a finish group for Sci-Fi/Fantasy starting in December that has room for one or two more people. If interested, contact for more information.


Renewal dues of $25 for 2019 are due in January.  

Due to a policy of the library, we can no longer accept payments for dues or workshops on their premises. In order to handle this, HSW now has a PayPal account. You can go to our website to pay your dues using the PayPal link. You do not need a PayPal account to pay with your credit card. Simply enter your card number on their secure server, and the payment will be handled. This will also make it easier to track payments with more accuracy.

To pay using PayPal, click on the renew button below then click on the PayPal button for dues. This will take you to the secure PayPal site.

Renew Now
If you absolutely cannot use PayPal to make your payment, you can send a check or money order made payable toHigh Sierra Writers, via mail to High Sierra Writers, PO Box 7825 Reno, NV 89510. 


While Michael C. Grumley talked about various links that can be useful to the independent author, I added a few to the list. 

One that Michael mentioned the first time around is the Grammarly site for checking your text. I use Grammarly, and I used the free site for quite a while before I committed to buying the subscription to it. Then I discovered that the free site only gives you a small percent of the potential errors in your text. I think it is worth it to spend the money for the subscription to get full access. 
     The program is great at catching punctuation errors, spelling errors, grammar errors, multiple uses of the same word in a paragraph, and suggesting alternate words. It does not replace an editor, and you may often disagree with the suggestions, so you need to apply your logic when using it. But a cleaner manuscript going to your editor will make it easier for the editor to catch the important stuff.
Find it at:

Need a professional cover for your independent book? Several sites offer covers that are done by professional graphic artists, and they are within the $70 to $150-dollar range for the eBook cover. The artists charge an additional fee for the full wrap for paperback. 

Self Pub Book Covers is a good one with many artists featuring their work on it. The interactive designer makes it easy to add your own title, taglines, and author.
To check out the covers, go to:

Photo: Book marketing examplesAnother place where you can order illustrations, covers, graphics of any kind, like the nice 3-D images of your book cover on a book or an e-reader, is Fiverr. Artists, writers, editors, and others offer their skills on this site for prices starting as low as $5. I contracted with an artist to do the illustrations for my children’s book and ordered 7 full-color images for about $65. Be cautious though as some of these artists aren’t as good as they claim. 

To visit this site:

On Facebook, you can like the Book Design Cover Marketplace where quite a few designers post their pre-made designs that you can then contact them to purchase. Most of them also do custom designs, so you can check out more of their covers on their websites and get pricing. 
Find the marketplace at:

Michael also mentioned KDP Spy, which is a tool you can purchase that will help you find the best, most effective, keywords to use when listing your book on Amazon (or any other eBook seller).
To learn more about KDP Spy and order it visit this link:

The HSW 2018 – 2019 Writing Contest is well underway now. How is your novel coming? Remember the entry deadline is the August 2019 HSW Meeting. While it seems like a long time, you do need to have a completed, polished manuscript of a minimum of 70,000 words for adult fiction; 65,000 for YA, and a maximum length of 100,000 words. You’ll also need a query letter and a three-paragraph blurb. 

For all the rules, visit the HSW website at this link.


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