An Announcement | Review Policy Changes and a Question

I’m going to be a bit scarily honest here, and there are two real points I need to make, but before I make either of them, I should make an update.

Cora has been officially diagnosed with a kidney/bladder disorder (after an absolutely brutal test at the hospital today that lasted several hours and won’t be forgotten by any of us anytime soon). It is a condition that is borderline severe, and may require kidney surgery to fix. We are looking at a long road ahead of us. It feels good to have a direction, and kind of daunting. Right now we are managing the symptoms and trying to keep her from having any more 107 degree temperatures by keeping her on a daily dose of antibiotics which will last a minimum of six more months. We are on a list to see a pediatric urologist to discuss potential kidney surgery/other treatment options to fix this. We are incredibly relieved to have a diagnoses and a direction… but also… it’s hard. She’s eleven months old, and no matter how you cut this, it sucks. There has absolutely been trauma involved in all of her tests and treatments so far, and that’s also really, really hard to deal with on multiple levels. She doesn’t trust many people anymore.

Now, onto my two main points.

First.

It’s interesting how chaos can change reading habits. Stress has a ton of ways it shows itself – there are tiny lines of strain all over my life right now. This has the added benefit of making my own disease flair up, which causes me to suffer from nearly constant (and incredibly painful) dislocations and subluxations. I’m dealing with chronic pain, a kid who is sick and potentially needing kidney surgery, and another kid who is kind of stuck in the middle of all of this. It causes some strain.

Stress, chronic pain, issues along those lines really, really change my reading tastes in ways that I don’t really notice until I realize all I’m reading is stuff that I explicitly say I do not review. Therefore, I think it’s time for me to stop being ashamed of what I read (Really, that’s pretty stupid. Read what you read and don’t ever feel like there is reason to be ashamed of it.) and expand my reviews to encompass….

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Yes, folks, I’ve been reading an absolute metric ton of UF and PNR recently, which is something I never in a million years thought I’d say, but it’s true. I’m reading it, mostly because I really, really need happy endings, fuzzy feelings, and lighter mental distractions right now. I’m having a shockingly hard time getting into anything else at the moment. I am positive that once my life, and my chaotic emotions settle a little, I will get back to my usual stuff. I also think it is incredibly unfair for me to not mention the authors and books I am reading because I’m afraid to do so for various arbitrary reasons that really don’t matter a fig to a soul.

And, the more I read these types of books, the more I’m kind of amazed at the amount of skill it takes to sell me on a happily ever after, and the books and authors that manage it deserve recognition for their skills.

So as of today, you will officially see the occasional urban fantasy and paranormal romance book reviews on here, and yes, I will open my doors to accept those books to review.

Now, second point.

We have medical bills coming out the wazoo, as well as some other things going on. I can feel all of this pressing down on me, a very real weight and I need to do something to help a bit more.

I’m trying to figure out things to do to help my situation. I’m kind of stuck because I work part time, but we can’t afford daycare (seriously, costs for daycare are just stupid high) so I can’t work full time. I’m approaching various local venues about selling my photography/doing art shows/something and getting some nibbles in that direction. My other option is to put myself out there and offer my services as a freelance editor. So, really this point is just me asking if I did this, took this step into editing/proofing manuscripts, would anyone bite? Is it worth my time? Anyone have advice? I have six years experience in this genre, and I have (some) editing experience as well as experience alpha/beta reading, proofing, slush pile reading, under my belt, but really… I just don’t know. I’d love to edit, but I don’t know if anyone else would love that or if it is just me.

So there you go.

8 thoughts on “An Announcement | Review Policy Changes and a Question

  1. Though it doesn’t do you much good at the moment, I know for a fact that I’d strongly consider you as an editor if/when I get my shit in gear and finish working on a written project or two. Until I do that and can also afford to actually pay you for such services, the most I can do is recommend you highly if anyone asks. You’ve got experience, you’ve got skill, and both are worth paying for.

  2. More good editors are definitely needed, and really, what do you have to lose? Go for it and give it a try. It sounds like a perfect solution for you at the moment.

  3. I’d add my voice to the “Hell yes, you can and should go into editing!” pack. You’ve got the experience and the interest – there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it and damn well, at that.

  4. I’ve been following your reviews for a long time but have never commented before. Here is me de-lurking to comment on the editing question, both from the perspective of someone who has previously worked as an editor and as someone who will soon be looking for a copyeditor for a fantasy ms.

    Things to think about:

    (1) What kind of editing are you thinking? Structural, big-picture comments or copyediting or proofreading?

    (2) When setting rates, do some test runs to see how long it takes you to edit 10 pages / how many pages you can edit per hour for an ‘average’ manuscript so that you set a sensible hourly rate / flat fee per wordcount. Always get a sample first before you give people an estimate, in case what you thought was an ‘average’ manuscript turns out to be a ‘needs waaaaaay more corrections than I estimated’ manuscript.

    (3) You may have to take on a few jobs that you are not getting a great hourly rate for in order to build up a reputation. Choose manuscripts wisely if you decide to go down this path. It is not worth driving yourself insane over a dreadful manuscript that you’re being paid peanuts for.

    If you’re targeting indie authors, the rates question is likely to be the most important one.

  5. Wish I could use your services for editing, but when I do decide to settle in and actually do it I’m afraid it’ll be children’s picture books. But who knows, when I get to that place you might be willing to edit them as well!

    On to what I really wanted to say: yes yes yes! My reading preferences absolutely change when chronic pain and significant life stressors flair significantly! I first found UF and PNR (more on PN than R) when my husband lost a great job and we lost our home because of it back in 2008. They remain the sub-genres I always lean into when illness, grief, pain, or major depression comes my way. So, my reviewer friend, let me rec two authors for you to listen to in audio (because that’s the best way for these books). Diana Rowland, specifically The White Trash Zombie series, and Molly Harper, specifically the Jane Jamison series. Both are SO FUN! Great dialogue and 100% spot-on narration! A bit more romance in Harper’s books and a bit more truly laugh-out-loud scenes in Rowland’s books. They are my go-to series that lift my spirits every time. And still they are well-written characters that evolve in strength and agency over time. You really can grow to care about them. Would love to hear what you think!

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your Tiny Human. I wish her all the best.

    I also read a lot of UF and PNR when I get stressed, they’re great comfort reads that manage to take my mind off thing’s.

    I always love your reviews, even when it’s something I wouldn’t read, as you point out a book’s strengths and weaknesses really well, and to me it seems like you’d make a great editor.

    Have you ever thought of judging book awards? Jake Hope ( @Jake_Hope on Twitter) might have tips about how he got into the business. He’s a freelancer based in the UK, and has judged all the top UK awards for children’s fiction.

  7. I’m a reviewer over at NPRoB, which is targeted for indie authors and small press books. We encourage indie authors to hire an editor to make their manuscripts more professional. As such, we have a page titled “Editorial Assistance” where we list freelance editors. If you want, we can add your name to that list. If you’re interested, please use the contact info on the blog (keeping your personal info private) and let us know what you’d like listed (website address, biz email, etc).

    And best wishes for you and your family in this trying time.

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