Marketing Books for Free?

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Image Source: Pixabay, congerdesign.

The Dragonling is now in the hands of my most trusted beta readers, and I am wrapping up front and back matter, updating web pages, cleaning out files, and working on the first revision of Book 6. (Book 6 is actually more like a first draft because it’s comprised of everything from the original draft plus everything that was cut from the previous books, so somehow I have to mash all of that into a comprehensible ending for the series. It’s such a collection of spare parts and scraps right now, I’m tempted to make its working title The Frankenstein-ling.) So for today’s blog, I decided to clean out my old blog, too, and resuscitate an old article with new life.

I came across an article I wrote when The Changeling was first published; I was offering free copies for a few days. I was a new indie author, and it was my first book, so I thought it would help with promotional exposure and “discoverability” (the current buzz word in marketing). Lots of new indie authors take this route. It was a controversial marketing move back then, and it continues to be a point of debate today. Should new authors, artists, and other professional “creatives” offer their works for free?

Some people dislike the idea because if you offer something for nothing, people come to expect it as a regular thing. It lowers the value of the market overall, but it takes the highest toll on the creative professional as an individual. It takes a lot of TIME to create things like novels and professional quality art. The Dragonling has taken two years to craft … so far. It still has to endure the beta read, the final revisions, and the final edit before it’s ready for official publication. That’s about 500 pages of work going through about 7 revisions total in the end. That’s waking up every day at 6:00 a.m. and logging in anywhere from 4 to 19 hours a day of drafting, researching, and editing, even on weekends and holidays. (And that’s not including the time and effort spent on cover illustration or marketing.) Creative work is a labor of love for the creative professional, but it IS labor, and our time and effort are worth something because we have bills to pay, too. No other profession puts that much work into a product only to give it away for nothing. Can you imagine telling a doctor you expect the first visit to be free, because you don’t want to have to pay until you know you’re going to like the service?

There is also the argument regarding whether give-aways actually work as a marketing tool. Most people who snatch up the freebies snatch them because they’re free, not necessarily because they’re truly interested in the product. A lot of one-star reviews come from freebie offers because the consumer didn’t invest anything in narrowing down his or her own preferences for the purchase. And free literature doesn’t necessarily lead to more reviews in return. Something-for-nothing receivers are under no legal obligation to return the favor, even when authors bait them by saying, “I’ll give you a free book if you review it.” Maybe it’s because some readers don’t understand how reviews are the lifeblood of marketing for authors, but usually reviews don’t happen simply due to lack of time or inclination. So, if it isn’t a long-awaited sequel, from a favourite author, or a book that really, surprisingly impressed, most reads will not result in reviews. Many free books aren’t even opened.

On the flip side, those freebies I gave away did result in some really nice, very gracious reviews I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I probably would not have reached my initial audience or found regular readers had I not offered that first book for free to draw attention to the fact that this series exists. And as a reader and consumer myself, OF COURSE I want to save money! So, yes, I will look for free books before I look for cheap books, and save the expensive ones ($15-20 for an e-book? Seriously?) for last.

Right now all of my finished books fall into the “cheap” category because I realize people are hesitant to spend money on an author and series they’ve never heard of. But it’s also important to me that my books be reasonably affordable because my love of reading comes from growing up reading stacks of library books. Had it not been for free library books, I would not have become a good reader or writer … because I couldn’t afford to buy books, otherwise. I side with Neil Gaiman on this matter in saying I don’t care whether you bought my book, borrowed my book, or don’t like my book and choose to read something else. Just read. Reading is fundamental to a free society.

But I, too, must pay bills and eat. 🙂 So, if you enjoyed any books in the series (however you got your hands on them), please leave a review to help other readers know what you thought of it, so they can decide for themselves whether they might enjoy them, too. For those readers who have already left reviews, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It does take time and effort to write a thoughtful review, but it’s always appreciated by the author, especially if that author does not have a big-selling name that helps books market themselves.

There comes a point when the creator deserves to be paid for the creation, or eventually she will stop creating and have to find another job. So, if a book, song, handcrafted item, or other creative work lifts your spirits or offers a few minutes of fun or a few years of beauty, support your favourite author, musician, and artist by offering a few dollars and reviews.

“Oscar Wilde quite rightly said, ‘All art is useless’. And that may sound as if that means it’s something not worth supporting. But if you actually think about it, the things that matter in life are useless. Love is useless. Wine is useless. Art is the love and wine of life. It is the extra, without which life is not worth living.” (~ Stephen Fry)

Digital Books For Everyone

Having finally published The Atheling yesterday, today, I’d like to throw out reminders that even if you don’t have an e-reader, this book (and many, many other e-books) are still available to you if you have a computer or smartphone.

Kindle app
Amazon Kindle store offers free reading apps for PC’s, pads, and phones.

Amazon has a free reading app that you can download here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page… . I have a Kindle reader, but I also use this one on my computer. If you use i-products or Android products, you can purchase from the Kindle bookstore and at checkout choose to have the book sent to your Kindle or device with the reading app.

Here’s an article with more information about how to do that:https://netgalley.uservoice.com/…/54717-can-i-use-the-kindl…

Smashwords logo
Smashwords offers nine download formats .

Smashwords is my other current publisher because they offer nine different formats, including pdf, text, an on-line reader, and the original document. Would you believe PDF format is actually their most popular sales? Here’s an article on that: http://blog.smashwords.com/…/most-popular-ebook-formats-rev… . They suspect it’s still popular because of its easy formatting, universal PC acceptance, and familiarity.

So, if you’re interested in digital books, but don’t have a specific reader, give some of these other options a try. Many sites also offer public domain or discounted books for free or lowered prices. I still love my paper books, and my novels will eventually go to print. But I also love my digital readers since I can take lots of books with me and not have to worry about storage space. (Because, yes, I’m one of those people who has starry-eyed visions of some day owning a ceiling to floor library in my forever home.) 😉

Book Launch: The Atheling

The Atheling cover
The Atheling by Melody Daggerhart

The Atheling is now available at Amazon and Smashwords in a variety of digital formats! (Paper versions will not be available until the digital series is finished.)

Woo, woo, woot! One year in the making, three months past the due date I had in mind, and fighting high word count every inch of the way, this book has proved to be my most challenging yet. But it’s finally done.

A word about the series first: the Elf Gate books comprise a portal tale that stretches across several volumes like a story arc. Aija is mistakenly abducted into the land of the fae, where humans are outlawed and to be executed on sight. But she can’t find her way home because the gate she came through collapsed. With the help of Trizryn, the enigmatic elf who mistook her, Aija discovers fae have modernized like humans, only differently; that they are on the brink of civil war; and that she must learn to defend herself in a world full of magic she doesn’t understand. In trying to find a gate home before dragons destroy them all, they must unravel secrets not even Trizryn is aware of about himself and the fae court. This dark fantasy series combines elements of horror, comedy, romance, and adventure, in a modified steampunk setting. Rated for older teens due to language and violence.

I’m still in the process of updating author pages and such, but I’m ready to get word out there that the fourth book in the series is finally available. I published a short interview on Smashwords for its release. You can read the whole interview here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MelodyDaggerhart . But here are some highlights.

THE ATHELING picks up where THE DARKLING left off. Aija and her fae friends have a lot to accomplish in this book. They have to fix a broken airship and use it to rescue the hostages Ilisram is holding in Absin’navad and be prepared to confront him and any necromancy tricks he has up his sleeve. But, of course, things are never that simple. …
Time is running out with the dragons destroying the gates before Trizryn can find one to take Aija home, which means the falling gates are also taking chunks out the Veil that divides alternate realities. The dragons that have already risen are growing in number and are still prophesied to attack Brinnan, and Ilisram’s conspiracy against the Derra Eirlyn is looking more clear, yet more muddled at the same time. They need to get word out to the rest of the kingdom about what’s really happening in the fae court because they can’t trust the King to do it. And the King is still after Trizryn’s and Aija’s heads. …

This is still a coming-of-age story for Aija. This is still a spiraling-inward journey for Trizryn. Most of the characters introduced so far come together once more, along with a few new ones, for a full-blown assault on Absin’navad in attempt to free the hostages, locate the body of the Princess, and defeat Ilisram. So, there’s a lot of action in this book compared to the first couple where they were still learning to trust each other. I hope readers enjoy this fourth installment of the series.

The most difficult part of producing this book was, without a doubt, word count. I don’t usually care about it, but books that are too thick, particularly books by indie authors, don’t sell well. The fact that this is the fourth book in a series helps because fans who have enjoyed the first three books will hopefully look forward to more in the fourth. But I don’t want it to be too expensive to print or impossibly bulky for print when that time comes. Otherwise, I’m a big fan of series and long books, so I enjoy having more material to read on characters I’ve learned to love from books and TV shows. I love big books with new worlds and familiar characters that I can take my time exploring extensively.

The easiest part of this book was the flow of the action and dialog. My characters have a tendency to take over the story, and this one was no exception. But the interaction felt more fluid this time around — too fluid, if that’s possible. Which is why the excessive word count had to be curtailed. I had to cut out one scene entirely after about the third draft, but I fought hard to save everything else, even if it meant meticulously scrutinizing and cutting 20K words or more.

Many of the series questions will be answered in this book. Many more are pending. There are still one or two more books to finish. I initially drafted the final as book 5, but if it’s too big, answering all plot threads started is more important. I will split a large final book into 5 and 6, if necessary, to be able to give it the proper conclusion. The final book(s) will probably take longer to produce, partly for this reason and partly because I have a lot of personal things going on in my life right now that are demanding attention — the kinds of things that really don’t give a damn about whether I have readers waiting for the next book to drop while ideas are fresh in my mind. (*sigh* … life …) But I’ve already started revising the draft of book 5, so I promise diligence until completion as much as possible.

As always, I’ve also updated the previous books in the series to include information on book 4, correct minor errors, and give them more unity in publication formatting. You should be able to upgrade your previously purchased copies at the locations where you originally bought them.

Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed reading my drafts of this series as free web serials, please consider purchasing the final copies. Writers have bills to pay, too, and while these stories might be readable in a matter of a few weeks, they each took a whole year to craft. If you purchase a copy from either Amazon or Smashwords, please consider leaving a review to give other readers an idea whether these books might be something that suits them.

To those of you who have already left reviews for other books in the series or for the web series version of this one, or who just were present to offer support when I doubted myself (because artists forever doubt themselves), thank you for being patient and encouraging me to keep writing. I write first for myself because it’s part of who I am, and I will always have stories to tell because it’s how I process and play with the world around me. But without readers those stories are like plush toys in an attic, lacking children to love them. My readers are important to me. And I sincerely hope you enjoy the latest adventure in this series. 🙂

The Atheling Cover Reveal

The Atheling cover
The Atheling by Melody Daggerhart

The cover for The Atheling is done. 🙂  So, is the manuscript! (I think that deserves a double smiley, but I’ll spare readers too many emoticons per paragraph.)

Final word count was beyond my goal, so I’m very proud of myself for bringing a 190K+ script down to around 166K. I don’t have a final word count yet because I am still working on front and back matter, but that gives you an idea that it’s still a pretty hefty volume, though not as monstrous as it could have been.

Currently working on stuck on the blurb. (sigh) Why is something that’s only 200 words or less more difficult to write than something that is 166K+. And after that I have to format everything for uploading. But the end of the tunnel is in sight!

A few comments on the cover art … Some people are of the opinion that you should never put the faces of the characters on the book because it destroys the reader’s imagination of what those characters look like. Or, on a more practical level, if the artist doing the cover has never read the book, he might get the description wrong.

I am the author, so I know how my characters look. And I’m of the opinion that since I am the author, I am in charge of what the characters look like. 🙂

Whether to describe characters in detail or leave them open to interpretation is one of those conditions some people like to set rules for, but there is no such rule because creative writing is an art. Some people prefer details; others prefer to supply the details themselves. They’re both fine. Books that provide details are like completed water-colour paintings. Books that leave elements open to interpretation are more like abstract art or colouring books. Nothing wrong with colouring books. 🙂 But no one in their right mind would tell an artist to paint only half the picture and let the viewers imagine the rest. It is the artist who chooses whether to give the audience the opportunity to fill in the rest of the picture, or finish the entire painting exactly like she wants it done.

Do my characters look exactly like my cover art? No. My art style is pretty set when it comes to portraits, and it’s not a realistic one. In fact, my inspiration for drawing hair started way back in about 5th grade when I got my hands on the Revolver album by the Beatles. 🙂 I have a thing for long hair, and I remember trying to copy that hair many times. Art is based on interpretation, even with the basic elements in place. So, I love fan art. I love seeing how different interpretations turn out, even with the same basic elements.

Revolver
Revolver by the Beatles: one of my early album art inspirations for hair textures and profile studies.

So, if funky art is good enough for the Beatles, it’s good enough for me. Creative arts and writing are supposed to be fun. Have fun with design.

 

Book Dedications

My Muse
My muse doodles to wake up, too. 🙂

There is no right or wrong way to write a book dedication. It’s extremely personal, so who is chosen, how that person is addressed, and what is actually said can be done in any number of ways.

So far, I’ve dedicated my first book to the friends who inspired me to write, my second book to my favourite authors who inspired me to be a writer, and my third book to my beta readers.

I’ve kept the brushstrokes broad because there are many people who contributed to my creatives process and works. I get more specific in the acknowledgements page if I feel certain people or references need to be mentioned.

I chose my friends because they are the ones I started telling stories for, who I first started writing stories for, and who have been my biggest supporters along the journey to being published. I chose favourite authors because if I had not been so engulfed in other people’s imaginative worlds and characters, I would not have been inspired to create my own. And if not for my beta readers helping me with valuable feedback on the nitty-gritty of cleaning up the scripts, I probably would have quit long ago, thinking no one else cared.

And while it’s fine to write a dedication that simply says, “For Mom,” I prefer to say why I appreciate those who lift me up enough to help me believe I can do this. If not for these people, I would not have made it this far, so I recognize that any success I have in the realm of writing stems from them and is priceless to me.

In trying to think of the dedication for The Atheling, however, I drew a blank. I couldn’t think of any other people who have contributed as much or more than those already mentioned … until today.  I have been running some long, long hours over the past month and a half to try to finish this book on schedule. And in spite of my midnight oil efforts, I’m still going to be late. It’s very discouraging, and has left me mentally exhausted. Sometimes I had to force myself to take a 20 minute nap. (I don’t normally nap because I feel like I’m wasting valuable time.) Sometimes I grabbed coffee or a snack to wake up. Sometimes I stumbled away from the computer to do light chores and make myself move. But the majority of my “wake-up calls” have come in the form of music.

My playlist has grown quite a bit over the past several days because of a handful of earworms that helped me stay awake and added atmosphere to the scenes I’m correcting. The role that music plays in the process of writing is a topic for another blog, but while I was half-asleep, trying so desperately to wake up enough to work through lunch I realized if those musicians were present in my office right now, I’d be at their feet and begging them to sing one more song to get through the next round of edits.

Just like with my favourite authors, I don’t personally know any of my favourite musicians. But I’m thankful all the same for their voices and tunes, which lifted me up and inspired me to keep going. My playlist for this book has been half Japanese and half Korean, but I’m writing in English. Occasionally, that means I see words like “you”, but hear words like “kimi” if I’m singing while typing, so I have to be extra careful that doesn’t distract me from catching errors in edits. But for the most part the challenge of working with multiple languages is part of what wakes me up between editing scenes. These cultures and languages inspire my content in the first place, so it makes sense that they would form part of the soundtrack, as well.

Music from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faeroe Islands, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and France have also contributed greatly to the Elf Gate series soundtracks in my head. Without my musical muses, I think I would have given in to fatigue and discouragement. I think I would be writing very different stories. So, since I can’t give my favourite musicians hugs of gratitude, a dedication in my fourth book will have to do.

The Virtues of YA

My head is killing me and my eyeballs are about to bleed, but I’ve made over 10,000 word cuts to The Atheling so far. My tactic for downsizing the story while keeping every scene is working, so far. I’m under my goals every chapter, if not every scene, and I have 5 chapters left in the fourth revision. My goal was to revise a chapter a day, so I have not taken any days off since the beginning of May, but … ganbarimasuyo!  (I’m working hard and giving it my best!) I will have this book done by July if it kills me. Apologies again for the late deadline in order to do a fifth revision.

What’s been keeping me going since I have no time for weekends? Korean dramas, raamen, and lots of coffee. It takes me about an hour to edit one scene. Then I try to accomplish one task around the house. Then I watch one episode of a drama, then go back to work on the next scene. I start around six in the morning … end around midnight. It’s been a long month. But if the story turns out better, it’s worth it. 🙂

Most of the dramas I’ve been watching have been YA lately. YA has gotten a bad rap in recent years, yet it remains one of the biggest selling genres on the market. When I was a kid, there was no YA genre. There was only children’s literature, juvenile literature, and adult fiction. I enjoyed reading all three. When I first started writing, I wanted to write for teens because I was a teen myself, and I appreciated writers out there who created teen protagonists for readers. Though my first novel series is not currently marketed as YA, I’m still sometimes introduced by friends or family as a YA writer. My books have many elements that could qualify it as YA, so one of the reasons I’ve been revisiting visual YA through the dramas is to help me make up my mind whether my books qualify as YA or not … and whether I should switch marketing, or not.

What is YA, and what are its virtues?

The only difference between the “Young Adult” genre and ordinary adult fiction genres is that it contains a “coming of age” theme in at least one of its plots.

There is usually at least one character in his teens, late teens, or early 20’s. And that character must endure some kind of “first” as a plot trial that forces him to step away from childhood dependency, make a mature and independent decision, and face the consequences of that adult responsibility. Like with all characters from any genre, sometimes it takes these characters more than one try to resolve their problems.

I like YA characters because since they’re starting without experience, they have enormous potential for growth throughout the story. It’s not that adult characters can’t be dynamic, it’s just that they already have baggage from decades of experience. The other reason I like YA characters is they tend to be more resilient for that same reason.

YA Is Too Dark

I’ve heard lots of people complain that YA of recent years is too dark … what with all the focus on vampires, werewolves, magic, depression, love triangles, and general Dystopian atmosphere. This is simply not true. In fact I started watching YA again because I needed something fun to make me laugh and wake me up away from the computer briefly.

Look again at that list of literary elements and tell me none of that is present in adult fiction. Dark elements are present in fiction because dark elements exist in reality. Whatever forms the monsters and crucibles take is secondary to the lessons we learn from them. Fiction is truth within lies because it’s easier to digest a fantasy than to look in a mirror. YA is far from being the only genre that does this. All fiction does this in one way or another.

The other issue going on with this complaint is the lack of understanding that YA has subgenres. If you want to read a coming of age story with a young protagonist, reach for YA first. Then choose as you would any other fictional genre. Do you like romance, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, horror, adventure, or  paranormal? YA has it. You’ll just see it through the eyes of a less experienced protagonist.

YA Is Too Light

Just like people complain that YA is too heavy and dark, there are people who complain that YA isn’t heavy enough. I admit I tend to lump YA into the “shallow” category frequently, but I don’t mean it in a bad way. Perhaps I should switch my use of the term “shallow” to “light”. The problem with comedies and “light” reading is that no one takes it seriously. More awards are given to stories that depict tragedy and trauma than those that make us laugh. But laughter is good, too. Again, this is true of all genres. YA is not the squeaky nail sticking out from the rest.

Although some reader and writer elitists would say otherwise, light literature is not bad. There is value in a story just being a story that can entertain you. It doesn’t have to have layers upon layers of depth to do that. If you need something to help you laugh, and it has you laughing out loud, it accomplished what the author intended. But who says light literature can’t have depth?

Lots of times when people complain about literature being shallow, it’s because they’re looking at the pop culture packaging, rather than truly analyzing the story. And, yes, it takes critical thinking skills to analyze light reading, just as with heavy reading. So, instead of dissing a light work because it’s marketed as pulp fiction, trying digging a little deeper. You might be surprised at what lurks beneath the surface.

I just watched a drama called Shut Up Flower Boy Band about a group of high school boys from a poor neighborhood who wanted to become famous rock stars. I know many people that would roll their eyes at a title like that. But before the story was done I had found three major themes that were surprisingly deep: a reality check on what it takes to succeed in the entertainment industry, a reality check on what happens when dreams fall apart, and the sad truth that when friends grow up, they often grow apart. Believe it or not, the story reminded me of the classic YA book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, but with a modern, musical twist.

And one of my favourite examples of teen pop culture covering up an incredibly deep plot is Final Fantasy X (yes, the Playstation game). On the surface, it looks like a bunch of young adults heading out to fight the monster that destroys their homes every 10 years. Underneath is a story of a man who thought he was protecting his home, but his desire for revenge ended up destroying everything. It’s a story of necromancy and hypocritical leadership that betrays the trust of its civilians. It’s about a cycle of martyrdom that ends up feeding the destruction again and again and again, simply because no one has the courage to challenge the corrupt authority and make the changes required to end it.

The next time you consider a story “shallow”, I challenge you to look again.

Why Do So Many Adults Read or Watch YA?

Adults face the same challenges as teens, but in a different environment. Everything experienced in youth continues into adulthood under different guises.

The “mean girls” from high school now exist in the PTA. The bullies or rich brats might now be your co-workers, or bosses. Cliques still exist in communities based on interests and familiarity. The feelings of running in the hamster wheel, but not getting anywhere in life no longer apply to mounds of homework and tests, but take on the form of dirty dishes and laundry, lawns that need to stay trimmed, budgets, bills, business reports, and client management. And in the case of divorce, a child leaving home, a move, a marriage, a job promotion, continuing education, etc. … sometimes, you have to start over doing something you’ve never done before. Suddenly you’re the new kid on the block again … the freshman entering high school on the first day of classes.

Themes like rejection and relationship issues, dependency, depression and suicide, crime and violence, poverty, worries about the future, and wanting to make life better but not knowing where to begin exist throughout a lifetime because they’re part of the human condition. Youth just isn’t as numb to it as a way of life yet. First experiences are more profound than routines.

The awkwardness of crushes, insecurities, and inexperience can seem nostalgic. Who wouldn’t prefer worrying about a math test to worrying about debts? Boyfriend troubles pale in comparison to the personal and financial price of divorce. … That’s not to trivialize anything experienced during the teen years. Most adults, even if they wish they were younger, would rather die than repeat high school because growing into adulthood is tough!  🙂 But looking back on that stage of life can serve as a refresher course for the challenges that lie ahead because resilience is necessary in reality no matter what age we are.

In other words, YA virtues are the same as the virtues of any other kind of fiction. There is just as much substance in YA literature as there is in any other kind of fiction. It’s just seen through a young protagonist’s perspective. And with all literature, it is the reader’s responsibility to understand what he’s reading or viewing and how to appreciate it for what it is, so he can get the most out of it.

 

 

 

You Know You’ve Been Proofreading Too Much When …

Atheling WIP cover 15
Slowly, but surely …

This week I have been working some long hours, trying to revise a minimum of one chapter a day for The Atheling. I’m up to chapter 20 of the 4th revisions, and you can see progress on the cover painting above. The main thing I’ve worked on for the cover art was the ship … putting details on it before shrinking it down as a layer to shift around. I think I like this composition, but I keep shifting the ship still. I move it below the moon and then next to the moon, below the moon, then back next to the moon, etc. Maybe once I start refining the clouds and sky, I will be able to make up my mind. I might make it smaller, too. Hm …

Manuscript-wise, I’ve shifted a few things and added a few things. Like I needed to add more words to my count, right? Well, I’m still going to try to make a major change at the end, so hopefully I will cut off enough there that the few additions in the front won’t matter.

As a writer, you know you’ve been proofreading too much when you begin to question your own ability to work with grammar. You know how that is, right? Like when you repeat a word enough times, it starts to sound weird … Or when you spell something right and it looks wrong, so you change it only to find out you had it right the first time? It’s been that kind of week for me.

I finally broke and looked up the grammar rules for hyphenated colour words because I kept staring at them peculiarly. Is it “dark-green eyes” or “dark green eyes”? I knew “emerald-green eyes” or “blue-green eyes” would be correct because using two nouns as one modifier is always hyphenated. And I knew “eyes of emerald green” would not be hyphenated because they are not followed by a noun. But for some reason words like “dark”, “light”, and “pale” started making me doubt myself. Visions of diagramming modifiers in English classes came back to haunt me. Is “dark” modifying “green” or “eyes”? Since “dark” isn’t a noun it wouldn’t be hyphenated … right? But since “dark green” could be considered the name of the color maybe it was a compound noun … right? … Does “broccoli” have two “c’s” or two “l’s”? Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Arrrgh!

Here is a link I found useful at Daily Writing Tips by Mark Nichol, “How to Punctuate Descriptions of Colors.” Of course, after I read it, I KNEW I was right all along. “Dark-green eyes …” But no other writing job numbs the mind quite like proofreading. And when proofreading 180K words four times or more … sometimes it’s necessary to remind myself that I’m not terrible with grammar. And that tired minds are also responsible for putting the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry … or walking into a room and standing there for five minutes trying to remember what I was looking for before giving up and walking back out.