Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 2. Part 4

“So, let me get this straight. Dad was a Dragoon, making him superfast and strong and able to fly. He worked for the regency. His office was located at the American headquarters in Connecticut, but he worked for the London headquarters,” Sierra summarized as their silver Chevy sped past the “Welcome to North Carolina” sign. “Since you don’t trust the regency, we’re going to hide for now in a small town, away from everyone.”

Apparently, it only took ten hours of nonstop driving to become acclimated to the idea of a secret society existing within the human world.

“Not quite,” Gran replied, brushing back Sierra’s wavy hair. “Savannah does have supernaturals, but it’s a tight-knit community. And I know the marshal there—Gavin McLoughlin. We can trust him.”

Sierra wondered what it would be like to meet an Ardere marshal. Would he resemble a human sheriff? A middle-aged man with a beer belly and perhaps a mustache? Or would he be fit and charming like her father? Like her father had been. Her father who was gone. Forever. This wasn’t another business trip, which would end in a few weeks’ time. Dad might not have tucked her into bed daily or helped her with homework the way other fathers did, but when he’d been off work, he’d been truly present. Quality time, that’s what he had called it, which included yearly skiing trips to Stratton and hiking on the Equinox Mountain. He’d told the best stories, and he’d always made her laugh.

“Turn here.” Gran pointed at a motel sign. “We’ll rest and then do the remaining six hours tomorrow.”

Sierra stepped outside and stretched her legs and spine. She prayed she could fall asleep, turn her mind and reality off for a few hours.

Gran paid with cash for the night. “You don’t need to see an ID or credit card.”

The concierge nodded mechanically, and Sierra blinked at the confusing exchange. Had Gran just used some mind manipulation skills?

They settled into their room on the ground level. The beige carpet sported several stains, and the two single beds creaked from the lightest of pressures. Still, it was better than sleeping in the car.

“I’m setting the alarm for seven. I want us to leave as early as possible,” Gran said.

Sierra nodded. Six hours of sleep would have to do. With a start, she realized it was 1:00 a.m., meaning her birthday was over. Her eighteenth birthday had come and gone without candles, toasts, or a party. In her hurry to arrive at graduation on time, she hadn’t even opened her presents that morning. She bet Gran had given her another book and a self-made bracelet or necklace with gemstones. It didn’t matter, though. In light of everything that was happening, it was just stuff. What mattered was that her father was gone forever and that she had lost her home. How could someone be so cruel as to kill her father? Leaving her behind as an orphan.

Sierra’s throat constricted. Needing to be alone, she made her way to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. She flipped the switch, and fluorescent light flooded the space. She hopped into the shower, allowing the tears to come as hot water pelted her skin, masking her sobs.

When her skin became pruny, she turned off the water and pulled on her favorite pajamas with clouds. Ensuring her shoulder-length waves hid her blotchy skin, she hurried toward her bed and turned to the wall.

Maybe closing herself off was wrong. Maybe she should share her pain with Gran, but right then, Sierra wasn’t ready to be soothed. Her sadness and confusion felt too raw for that.

Exhausted from everything, she fell into a deep slumber.

A hand on her shoulder, shaking her, awoke her sometime later. “Sierra, get up!” Gran’s voice sounded urgent. The sleep haze dissipated quickly, as Sierra remembered the events of the previous day.

“What’s going on?” Sierra rubbed her eyes. The clock on the bedside table displayed 5:45 a.m.

“Come here.” Gran tugged on her sleeve, motioning for her to crouch between the wall and the bed.

“What—”

“Shh.” Gran put a finger against her lips. “We have company.”


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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 2. Part 3

Gran pulled into a gas station and took Sierra’s phone. “You can’t tell her what happened or where we’re going.”

Sierra snatched the cell back. “She’s my friend! Plus, she’ll keep texting me if I don’t reply. If we’re both gone for a few days, Tammy might call the police.”

“She won’t. An Ardere will take care of her and sell the house.” At Sierra’s raised eyebrows, Gran elaborated. “Her memory will be altered. It won’t hurt her, but she won’t remember you.” Gran pushed the car door open and strode to the mini store.

It took Sierra several moments to recover and dart after her. “That’s crazy. There has to be another way!”

“I’m afraid there isn’t.”

Sierra stared into blank space. Certainly, Gran didn’t mean that. No, she couldn’t. Tammy had been Sierra’s best friend since elementary school. And what did Gran mean by the house being sold? “Our home. You can’t just—”

“I’m sorry. I have to. We’re not coming back.” Gran reached out, but Sierra took a step around her and ran out of the store. She unlocked the car with her key set, sat down in the passenger’s seat, and pulled her legs up. Despite the temperature being in the mid-seventies, she shivered. Everything was crumbling around her. Dad was gone, and Gran was adamant to leave their lives and everyone behind. No, Sierra couldn’t do that.

She typed into her cell.

Sierra: Don’t worry, I’m fine. I had to go out of town for…

For what? Being a supernatural? Because her father had been murdered?

She deleted the text and tried to think of something better. They had recently crossed the state border of New York. She could say she was going to NYC for the summer, but that was too close. Tammy might try and visit.

Sierra: Gran has a birthday surprise planned for me. We’re going to the South for the summer.

She stared at the message.

Sierra: It’s a painter’s retreat.

There! Perfect. Tammy didn’t enjoy art or, for that matter, anything that didn’t have to do with boys and parties. She wouldn’t want to visit. Sierra hit send.

Gran returned and Sierra quickly stashed away her cell.

“Here.” Gran handed Sierra a cup of coffee and an apple Danish. It looked nothing like Gran’s homemade apple pie. The list on the back label bore more resemblance to a chemistry book than edible ingredients. “You need to keep your energy up. I want us to cover as much of the drive to Savannah today as possible.”

“As in Savannah, Georgia? Why?” Sierra’s stomach rumbled, and she opened the stale pastry; it was better than nothing.

Gran shifted in her seat. “I don’t trust the regency. They’ll find out soon if they haven’t yet that your powers are manifesting. I won’t let them use you as a weapon, take away your ability to choose.”

“The what?” Sierra chewed on the pastry, focusing on the first part of what Gran had said, the second half too scary and foreign to consider.

“The regency is the government of the Ardere. Each city with a supernatural population has a marshal, who reports to a regional ruler. The US has five regional rulers. Clement Fielding is the Northeast’s ruler and also the regent of North America.”

“A whole society.” Sierra balled up the paper bag that had held the apple Danish. How easy it was to destroy, much easier than to create. “And no one knows about it?”

“For the most part, humans are kept in the dark. High-ranking politicians know the basics, just enough to ensure they cooperate and notify us when something important happens on their end.”

Sierra didn’t quite understand this, but decided to drop the subject. Talking had helped for a while—but not anymore, not when a stabbing ache was building in the back of her skull.

She must’ve drifted off or spaced out, she didn’t know which one, because the next time she read a sign, they had left New York and arrived in Pennsylvania.

“Let me drive.”

Gran gave Sierra a skeptical look.

“I’m fine, really. You must be tired.”

At the rest stop, Sierra sneaked a glance at her cell.

Tammy: OK. Bummed you’re bailing like this. Your Gran is weird. Have fun. You better make up for the lost time when you get back.

Sierra sighed. Nearly 6:00 p.m. Right now, Tammy was probably straightening her blonde hair and sipping on cherry vodka with Diet Coke. Sierra had always preferred a good book to a party, yet right now, she wanted nothing more than throw back a few drinks until she forgot everything.


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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 2. Part 2

“We don’t have to talk about everything right away,” Gran stated, getting back on the highway that led to New York.

Sierra wanted to fight this, to say there was nothing to talk about. Yet, the image of the diploma floating into her hands replayed in her mind. Maybe it hadn’t been stress after all. Maybe she hadn’t imagined it. She flipped open the mirror above her head. “I don’t see a glow or an aura.”

A ghost of a smile flittered across Gran’s face. “We can’t see our own auras. Yours is gold. It’s pale now. The color will grow stronger over time as your powers develop.”

Sierra’s head spun with the information overload. She needed to take it one step at a time. Just like in math, she had to understand the basics before she could move to more complex equations. Right now, she needed to understand where they were going. “Is Dad’s body in New York? Are we going there?”

Gran moved her hand back and forth on the steering wheel, her bangles clanking. She always did this when she was about to deliver bad news. “No, we’re going somewhere else. Somewhere safe.”

“But…how can we be sure? Maybe it’s not even Dad. There could’ve been a mistake.” Her father was a businessman, not a criminal or a politician. The chances of him being murdered were slim to none. He was kind, everyone liked him, and he had no enemies.

“Sierra, I know this is hard to accept, but your father is dead. Pretending he isn’t and lying to yourself won’t do you any good. And we can’t identify him or arrange a funeral. Supernatural bodies disintegrate.”

Cusses she had never uttered before sprang to Sierra’s mouth. She shoved them down and sucked in a deep breath. “Like vampires?” Sarcasm bled from her lips.

Gran shook her head. “No, not like in the movies. It takes several minutes to several hours, depending on the strength of the supernatural.”

“Dad is strong.”

Gran’s throat worked up and down. “Yes, he was.”

“Why would anyone…?” Sierra trailed off, unable to say the word.

“I believe the murder was planned. After he returned from Europe, Heath checked into a hotel in New York. The next day, he was supposed to report for duty in Connecticut. He never made it out of the hotel. He was killed in his room. The regency notified me once they realized what had happened.”

Vivid images assaulted Sierra. Blood splattered against cream-colored walls. Carpet soaked with red liquid. The scents of iron and copper permeating the space. Her father’s lifeless form crumpled on the ground. A bullet entrenched in his chest.

“Don’t do this to yourself.” Gran shook Sierra gently.

“Was he in pain?” He must have been terrified.

Gran sighed heavily, as if the weight of a mountain pressed down on her lungs. “I don’t think so. I believe whoever killed your father wanted to remove him quickly to make it easier to get to you and kidnap you.”

“Because I’m a supernatural?” The word felt foreign and icky in her mouth.

Before Gran could reply, a vibration came from Sierra’s black tote.

Tammy: Everything okay? Your Gran was extra scary today. I thought she’d be happy you graduated…


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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 2. Part 1

Anguish held Sierra’s innards in a viselike grip, compressing, squeezing them. Her father. Dead. No. Please don’t let it be true. “Are you sure?” she finally managed to ask.

“Yes. I received a call right before your graduation started. When you started glowing I knew….” Gran trailed off. She removed one palm from the steering wheel and placed it on Sierra’s hand. For once, her touch brought no warmth or comfort.

Tears filled Sierra’s eyes. “Glowing, like you were?” she choked out. She needed to focus on something, distract herself. Because her dad couldn’t be gone.

Gran took a deep breath. “I wish we’d prepared you better for this, but until today, there were no signs. We expected you to remain human and never receive your powers.”

Sierra sat completely still. Maybe Gran not making any sense was a good sign. Maybe this was all a dream. Yes, it had to be, right? In a few minutes, she would wake up and go to her graduation ceremony. Dad would be standing next to Gran, clapping.

“Sierra, I need you to listen carefully and please keep an open mind. I believe that Heath was murdered to make it easier to come after you. You’re a very rare type of supernatural.” The soft flesh on Gran’s chin wobbled. “Until today, I had hoped you could lead a normal life, but you can’t now that your aura and powers are manifesting.”

If this was all a dream, Sierra decided there was no harm in playing along. Perhaps if she fulfilled her role, this trial would end sooner. “Is the green hue around you your aura?”

Gran nodded. “Yes, like you, I’m also a supernatural—a human with powers. My green aura affirms I’m a Guardian. Your mother was also a Guardian like me. Your father was a Dragoon and had a red aura. Guardians and Dragoons are two of the four Ardere types, which are humans with special powers—supernaturals.”

Sierra shook her head. Done with this nightmare, she pinched herself. Nothing. “I want to wake up.” She massaged her temples. “This is not happening. I want to see my father.”

“Sierra, I’m so sorry.” Tears colored Gran’s frail voice.

Why did everything feel so real? Could it really be happening? Sierra’s stomach heaved. She swallowed several times and brought her palm to her mouth. “Stop! Stop the car!”

As soon as the vehicle came to a standstill, she flung her door open and threw up. When her stomach was empty, she dry-heaved. She wiped her mouth with her knuckles and reached into the back seat to grab a water bottle, trying to wash out the acrid taste.


 

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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 1. Part 3

“What is it?” Did it have to do with Dad? Panic unfurled in Sierra. What if something bad had happened, preventing Dad from attending her graduation? An accident? A heart attack? Dad ran daily. He was in good shape. But diseases struck even healthy people…so did drunk drivers. No, it couldn’t be. Dad was fine, most likely delayed by an important last-minute meeting. At least that’s what Sierra kept telling herself during the short drive it took to reach their home.

“You have ten minutes to pack. Bring only necessities. I’ll handle the passports and other documents. I promise I’ll explain everything. Please be patient.” Gran killed the engine and made her way down the gravel leading to their two-story brick house.

The last time Gran had used her “I’m very serious” voice was when a ten-year-old Sierra had swiped painting supplies from a store without paying.

Whatever was going on now, it was serious. Her pulse accelerated, drumming loudly, until it was all she could hear. How bad could it be? Was Dad alone in a hospital somewhere? Was he in critical condition?

She needed to hurry. Rushing up the wooden stairs, she felt nausea at the scent of cinnamon and applesauce, which normally calmed her. She breathed through her mouth and forced herself to keep moving. From underneath her metal-framed bed, she pulled out a suitcase and threw in clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, and her sketchbook before forcing the zipper shut. About to leave the room, she realized she didn’t have her mother’s bracelet, which she had misplaced the day before.

“Hurry up!” Gran called.

“Just a second.” Sierra darted around the room, digging through drawers. Nothing. She threw the cerulean cover back, hoping to find the bracelet in her bed. Tears stung her eyes. She couldn’t lose the only heirloom she had from her deceased mother.

Something crunched below her high heel; she kneeled to retrieve it, relieved to find the bracelet. Strange…she could’ve sworn it hadn’t been there a second ago. Pressed for time, she hauled her suitcase up and hurried down the stairs.

While Gran locked the house and started the Chevy, sickening scenarios raced through Sierra’s mind. Only a horrific event would’ve made Gran pull Sierra out of her graduation celebration.

The not knowing drove Sierra insane. In a whisper, she asked, “What is it? Did Dad get in an accident?”

“Sierra, your father is dead.”


 

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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 1. Part 2

 

The principal gave a nervous laugh. Sierra blinked in rapid succession and then hurried from the podium, furtively glancing at the students and parents surrounding her. No one seemed to have noticed. She shook her head. Of course not, objects didn’t just up and fly through the air. She must’ve imagined it. Nerves.

Then she noticed the frown on Gran’s face and something else. Gran’s whole body was outlined in a green hue. Okay, now she really had lost it. Sierra sat down in her seat and kept her gaze trained on the podium, not daring to sneak another peek at Gran.

Fortunately, Tammy didn’t speak or try otherwise to engage Sierra until the end of the ceremony, giving her plenty of opportunity to convince herself that the stress of the day was responsible for the mirages. Take deep breaths. Try to relax. How did Gran’s technique work again? Ah, yes. My breath travels from the top of my head to my toes. Oxygen to the brain, neck muscles soft and pliable, unknotted belly, calmness in my feet.

“Are we still on for six?”

“Hmm?” Sierra turned to Tammy to discover the graduation ceremony was over and everyone was clearing out. “Sorry, yes, of course. Do you want me to bring something?”

“As if you could sneak anything past your Gran.” Tammy chuckled. “Don’t worry. I’ve stashed away a cherry vodka bottle. Plenty for the two of us until we get to Rick’s party. Your job is to secure a curfew past midnight.”

Sierra sighed. “I can’t make any promises. It depends—”

“On your dad and Gran. Yeah, I know.”

“I’m glad to hear you understand,” Gran said in a calm yet firm voice, joining them.

Tammy jerked. Recovering quickly, she said, “Of course, Mrs. Reeves.”

Sierra pushed her lips together, suppressing a smile. As much as Tammy enjoyed giving advice to others on how to stand up to authority, she didn’t adhere to it herself.

“We must go.” Gran placed her hand on Sierra’s arm. The green glow was still there.

“What do you mean? There are drinks and paninis outside.” Sierra pointed toward the hall.

“I’m sorry. We can’t stay.”

“Umm, I’ll catch you later,” Tammy said. She pointed to her cell and mouthed, “Text me.”

“What’s going on?” Sierra asked.

“I’ll tell you once we’re on our way.” The urgency in Gran’s voice and in her face temporarily drowned Sierra’s further protests.

She pushed past her classmates, praying no one noticed her leaving early. She swallowed hard when her gaze fell on Ben and a raven-haired girl. Two months had passed. She should be fine. But she wasn’t. Ben had been the one to break it off after two years, saying it would be too hard for them to make it work—what with him going to college in Boston, while she remained in Vermont. Now it looked as if distance hadn’t been his only motive.

“Go to the passenger side. I’m driving,” Gran instructed.

Deciding to pick her battles, Sierra acquiesced. She buckled up, her pulse accelerating. “What’s going on? You’re freaking me out!”

Gran’s veiny hands, bedecked with chunky antique rings quivered. “You’ve already noticed the changes, haven’t you? I’ll explain everything in a bit—”


 

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Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 1. Part 1

Sierra Reeves had expected the day of her high school graduation and eighteenth birthday to be a joyful event. It signified the end of her overly protected and boring existence and marked the beginning of her actual life.

Yet, here she stood in line to accept her diploma, pulling at the ends of her chocolate-brown hair and feeling nervous instead of joyful. A layer of sweat coated her back, and her forehead itched underneath her graduation cap. She kept glancing back at the parents in the bleachers. The ceremony had started over half an hour ago, and Dad was still a no-show, the seat next to Gran unoccupied. Despite being in her seventies, Gran Waldeburg had a vitality about her that many teenagers lacked. Instead of sitting at home and knitting or complaining about modern life, she stayed active by gardening, cooking, cycling, and acquiring unusual clothing. Today she wore a floor-length, paisley dress with bell sleeves adorned by half a dozen multicolored necklaces, making her stand out like a beacon in the mass of neutral suits. Normally, Sierra didn’t mind Gran’s eccentric style, but today she wished Gran would’ve gone with something more subdued.

Noticing Sierra’s stare, Gran arched an eyebrow, which matched her unruly winter-white curls. Sierra whipped her head back, redirecting her attention to the podium. One after another, the students accepted their diplomas and shook hands with the principal.

“Fifteen more to go, and then it’s our turn,” Tammy said.

The minuscule size of Manchester, Vermont and their high school resulted in Tammy Scott standing next to Sierra Reeves. So far, this was the only good thing about June eighth.

Tammy tapped Sierra’s shoulder. “Did you ask about Burlington?”

“Yes. The answer is still the same. I can’t go.” Sierra chewed on her lip.

“Why not? It’s only two and a half hours away, and you’re eighteen now. She can’t tell you what to do!”

In front of Sierra, Becky whirled around, the golden tassel on her cobalt cap swinging, and put a finger to her lips. Tammy smiled sweetly at her, then jabbed Sierra. “It’s just for the weekend. You deserve to celebrate graduation and your birthday.”

Sierra sighed. “I tried everything. Gran won’t budge. You know I want to go.”

“That’s what you always say.”

“This time is different. She’s not just being overprotective. Dad’s coming back from business. He wants to spend the weekend with me.”

“I see. And where was he for your last five birthdays?”

Sierra pressed her lips together until her molars touched. Tammy’s brown eyes turned apologetic, and she tried to reach out. Sierra leaned away. Gran always said, “You can’t take back words.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

Sierra nodded, acknowledging the apology. “It’s our turn.” She made her way to the podium, taking care not to slip on the shiny, parquet floor in her three-inch black pumps. Her nerve endings grew tauter with each step. She swallowed, trying to get some moisture into her mouth. Her gaze swiped one last time over the parents in the bleachers to confirm that the seat next to Gran was still empty. Despite his promises, Dad hadn’t made it after all.

Principal Carr smiled encouragingly. A tall and put-together woman, her graphite pantsuit fit her to a T. Sierra swallowed hard. With all eyes on her, and while her dad was missing, she wanted to get this over with. The principal said words of congratulation. Their exact meaning escaped Sierra, the syllables melting into white noise. Finally, the principal reached for the diploma. Eager, Sierra extended her hand, and then the strangest of things happened. The diploma floated into her palm.

It didn’t fall into her palm. It wasn’t blown into her hand.

No. It floated. As if it had obeyed her will.


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How to successfully design a cover

photshop

Designing a cover is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful one. In this blog post, I will walk you through all the points you need to consider.

First, decide what your budget is. If your budget is on the low side, you might want to check out sites like Fivver.

However, you must be aware that these sites tend to focus on quantity over quality and that many of the freelancers will try to pump out as many covers as quickly as possible, thus severely limiting individual attention and amount of revisions performed.

If you decide to go with a cover artist who is more established and has an own website, be prepared to pay more. Just like on Fivver, you will soon discover that there are a lot of cover artists out there. In addition to carefully checking their website and portfolio, try to find their work on Amazon. Check whether authors have stuck with the designed cover or hired a new artist to change it because the initial cover wasn’t selling or they were unsatisfied with it.

Next, decide what package you need and ensure your selection of cover artists offer them. You might think you only want an e-book cover, but I suggest looking for cover artists who also provide print covers. You never know when you decide to offer a printed or even audiobook version to your readers. Check with your cover artist whether you get discounts for multiple covers etc.

Once you have found several artists that you like and who are within your pricing range, contact them. I suggest contacting at least five, and having a list of ten artists ready. Some artists might never get back to you while others aren’t taking on new clients. If an artist is busy, you must decide whether to wait for this artist or go to somebody else. Personally, I believe that it makes sense to wait for a good artist for a few weeks until a timeslot becomes available. I wouldn’t wait several months though, since this would severely postpone your book release.

Once you have agreed with your artist on the time and date you will start working on the cover, be prepared to provide your artist with images you like. Check out Amazon and books in your genre to get a feel for what should be on the cover and what colors and font work.

Ask your artists where they get their images from. Bigstock, Shutterstock, and Depositphotos are the most popular sites. Once you know which photo provider your artist uses, ask him how many images are included in your package. Then go to the website and search for images. Don’t under estimate the time it will take you to find a good image. I would calculate in at least several hours for finding the perfect model in the perfect pose and then another few hours for background etc.

Withstand the temptation to pick a model or an image from the first page of results. The first page is seen by a lot of people. The chances that another author is using this same image as you for their cover is very high. You don’t want readers to think that you are a copycat or uncreative. Make sure to ask your cover artist how confident there are in image manipulation. Certain artists will want you to pick one model, while others will be more flexible and be able to combine the face of one model with arms from another image and an outfit from a third image. When picking your background, make sure that the background isn’t too busy and doesn’t detract from the focal point of your cover. Also, if your background has too many colors, it will be difficult to have your title and author name pop out.

In summary, consider these points when hiring a cover artist:

  • What is your budget?
  • What package do you need?
  • How many images, revisions, and photo manipulation do you need?
  • When does your cover has to be ready by?

I hope this post has been helpful in your search for the perfect cover and will bring you one step closer to your journey of becoming a self-published author.

Things to consider when hiring an editor for your novel

No matter how many grammar books you read and how often you reread your manuscript, you will want to hire a professional editor for your manuscript before self-publishing it.

For those on a tight budget, I suggest checking out the website Upwork. It has thousands of freelancers and you can search by skills, rates, test scores, and regions. Upwork is very user friendly, and it takes less than half an hour to set up your profile and post your project.

Upwork will ask you how much you are willing to spend, and potential candidates can filter you project by this category and other factors. If you see a particular freelancer you wish to work with, you can invite him to your project. If not, sit tight. In less than a day, you should expect to receive at least 15 to 20 responses.

Besides a cover letter, you can see how many jobs each interested freelancers has performed, how satisfied their clients were, whether they have worked on projects similar to yours previously, and what their scores were on grammar and punctuation tests.

In addition to this, Upwork has a wonderful customer service that will assist you with any queries.

The downside of using Upwork is that a lot of times you will get people who are trying to make quick money and are doing this job on the side. Many freelancers will do the minimum of work required to satisfy you.

Unlike agencies, who put a lot of effort into maintaining clients, freelancers might think more short-term and try to take on as many projects as possible within a week or a month. This in turn means that they will earn more money, but that your project will receive less time and attention.

When thinking about cost vs. value, you want to check how many rounds of edits are included. You might think that the agency is charging way more than a freelancer, but you are actually receiving more value if the agency reads your work twice and offers advice on the edits you’ve made. Freelancers don’t have to look over your work a second time. And if you want two sets of eyes, you will have to hire two freelancers.

At an agency you won’t just see an anonymous portfolio, saying that a freelancer completed project XYZ. Most agencies will tell you what type of books they have edited, and you can check out those books on Amazon or other online stores to get a feeling for the quality of the performed work.

Whether you decide to go with an agency or a freelancer, make sure you ask for references and a sample edit. In a sample edit you will submit the first few pages of your manuscript and it will be edited for a set fee. I suggest sending the first three chapters to 3-5 people. This will give you a good idea for how well, in-depth the agency/freelancer is, allow you to properly compare you hires, and determine which is the best fit for you. You should also be able to gauge a general turnaround time and how much of a priority you are for them.

Below I’ve created a list of questions you should ask somebody before hiring them for an editing project.

  • What type of books have you edited in the past?
  • Do you have experience in my genre? How vast is that experience? It makes a difference whether someone edited 1 vs. 50 fantasy books.
  • What is the price of your services? Do you charge per hour or per word?
  • How quick is your turnaround time?
  • If you write a series, you might prefer to work with the same editor on all the books. Ask whether they would be available to do so. An editor who is familiar with your work will be able to point out inconsistencies in a series.
  • How many rounds of edits will you perform? Do you provide a second set of eyes? This normally applies only to agencies. If you hire a freelancer from Upwork or a similar site, you will have to hire a second freelance editor to perform a second check.

Whatever route you decide to take, make sure you leave enough time between the editing process and the submission process. If you’re using Amazon’s pre-order option, set a deadline for yourself that is realistic and includes buffer time for emergencies, sick days, etc.

 

Magic. Romance. And a battle to the death.

The Secret Circle meets Sookie Stackhouse in this pulse-pounding, fast-paced paranormal series.

Torn away from her high school graduation, Sierra Reeves discovers that everything she thought she knew is a lie.

In a flash, she’s no longer a normal girl preparing for college, but a Fluidus—a rare supernatural with telekinetic powers. Her new abilities attract the attention of both the Ardere regency and the Culpatus, a group that wants to overthrow the supernatural government. Fearful for Sierra’s future, her grandmother decides to leave their home state Vermont and hide out in Savannah, Georgia.

In Savannah, Sierra forms an alliance with the overprotective and handsome Ardere marshal Gavin McLoughlin. With his help, she slowly accepts her new powers and that she’s a part of the supernatural community.

Just when Sierra begins to settle into her new life, her world is rocked again. In addition to the Culpatus discovering her location, a serial killer is on the loose in Savannah.
Fighting to control her developing power, and facing danger on multiple fronts, Sierra will have to use all her resources to stay alive.

Fluidus Rising is the first book in The Ardere Series.