Why You Still Need an Editor After Multiple Books #2

A question that often comes up for seasoned authors: “do I still need an editor? I have x number of books under my belt now. Surely I can self-edit to save money and time.

Famous authors like J.K. Rowling, R.A. Salvatore, Stephen King, etc. still use their editors. Why? They’ve written multiple books and have been writing for years. Shouldn’t they be self-sufficient by now?

Writing a book and editing a book is not the same thing. That’s why an extensive process has been created for publishing. Yes, your work will definitely improve over the years if you continue honing your skills and pay attention to some of the things your editors suggest. There will still be mistakes that another pair of eyes need to catch.

You may be thinking at this point of the article that “It’s okay. I’ll have my best friend or family member read over it and it’ll provide a professional result.” This is often not the case. Even someone who reads books extensively or has an actual college degree in English won’t be able to catch all of the mistakes. Degrees are a piece of paper awarded to someone who completes courses. It doesn’t show their experience or dedication to the work.

Normally, there are three stages to editing: Structural/Developmental, Line Editing, Copy Editing. Laid out like that, it looks easy, but it’s far from simple. A manuscript is normally read through and edited a minimum of five times. Professionals who have studied current genres, story structures, sentence structures, etc. are worth having edit your story and getting it to a traditional publishing level, whether you are attempting that route or self-publishing. Readers expect professionalism and will stop reading after finding mistakes in the book.

But that’s okay. I’ve already established a reader base.” It’s extremely easy to lose readers once they realize your future books are not up to par with the others. The more books you release, the better they are expected to become. Not the opposite.

Continued from
Why You Shouldn’t Withdraw Your Submission Early

To be continued in a later blog post called
Why You Should Keep Improving Your Skills…

Why You Shouldn’t Withdraw Your Submission Early #1

After being in the business for so long, one ends up seeing multiple dreams being squashed or coming true. One of the worst things is getting in your own way and causing everything to crash and burn. This has occurred many times and as such, has warranted this article.

Many publishers have the option of manuscript and anthology submissions. When someone submits to both outlets and one gets rejected, the automatic response is to withdraw all submissions from that publisher. This is the wrong way to do things. Just because one thing was rejected does not mean everything will be.

There are so many possibilities as to why it was refused. Some of the most common reasons is it needed more editing or that story didn’t fit in that particular anthology. No matter the reason, none is cause to withdraw all of your submissions. More often than not, the publisher is planning on accepting one even though another was rejected.

The reason many authors are not successful with traditional publishing is because they don’t follow submission guidelines and once refused, they automatically give up. “Self-publishing is such an easier way to go” has been a saying going around writing communities. It may be easier, but you will never have the same opportunities that traditional publishing gives. And so, the story that was rejected due to poor editing is uploaded for self-publishing without further improvement and gets nowhere with sales.

The worst of all is that, more often than not, the author never continues improving their writing. Critique is the most important way to continue honing your writing skills. If you think you’re already the best and have nothing further to improve, then you’re already in the wrong mindset.

To be continued in a later blog post called
Why You Still Need an Editor After Multiple Books

Author Interview with Damascus Mincemeyer

Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Damascus Mincemeyer, an author in the History anthology.


1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I took to writing immediately in Kindergarten when I was five. As soon as I could read and write I was creating little stories and books. My Grandmother encouraged me, too, and always bought me markers, pens, paper, books, comics–anything to feed my buzzing brain. A lot of my childhood tales ranged the gamut from adventure to science fiction to what I now know is called ‘bizzaro’ (Some were very, very strange). An oft-told anecdote of mine is that the very first thing I ever created (also at age five) was a horror story about a man coming back from the dead. I wrote it at the babysitter’s house, and enlisted the babysitter’s daughter into providing illustrations for it. When the babysitter read it, however, she was so repulsed by what we’d made that she ripped up the story and threw it away! It was my auspicious debut and I’ve been freaking people out ever since.

2. How do you handle writer’s block?

Well, in addition to being a writer, I’m also a professional artist and whenever I get stuck on a story I switch to doing a visual art project. It whets my appetite for being constructive and creative, but allows my mind a break from the sometimes draining effects of the written word. For a looooong time my main goal in life was actually to be a comic book creator. I never quite succeeded, though I did manage to get published several times in Heavy Metal magazine. I started doing horror art in earnest for Deadman’s Tome publishing in 2018, initially for the covers to anthologies such as Bikers Vs The Undead, Psycho Holiday, Monsters Vs Nazis, Mr. Deadman Made Me Do It, Satan Is Your Friend, Monster Party, Wolfwinter and Hollywood Holocaust. I’ve also done the cover for Ryan Woods’ debut novel The Journal of Cinnamon Paige: Un-Death By Chocolate. And all that has helped me to keep the creative juices flowing when a literary barrier rises in my mind.

3. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written two book thus far: the short fiction collection Where the Last Light Dies and my forthcoming horror novel By Invitation Only, but I’ve had roughly thirty stories published in various anthologies, magazines and websites in the past four years. But pick just one as my favorite??? Arrrrgggh!!! I can’t!

There are a few short stories I’ve done that I’m really proud of, though: ‘A Night At Satan’s Palace’ is about two old guys in their seventies who stop by a Las Vegas strip club where the strippers are demons in disguise and intent on opening a portal to Hell. I like its mix of comedy and horror, and it’s the story I’d share with someone unfamiliar with me to showcase my work. I’m also enormously pleased with two alternate-history tales I’ve written: ‘The Spirit of St. George’, about U.S. ace Eddie Rickenbacker leading a biplane squadron against awakened dragons in an alternate 1922, and ‘Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam’ from the Hell’s Empire anthology, which focuses on a demonic invasion upon Victorian Britain.

The problem is that all my work has something special in it to me. They’re all my babies in a way, and I think any writer can relate to being unable to choose just one.

4. Where do you get your inspiration?

Several years ago I subscribed to an email newsletter from Tampa, Florida, called ‘Salsa Ray’s Ideas 4U’. Every week they send ready-made concepts to my in-box, and while half are junk, some are surprisingly effective. No, I’m messing with you. I literally get my inspiration from everywhere. The strangest things will give me ideas–sometimes its a news story, an anecdote, something that happened in my life. Sometimes its an odd observation I’ve had or just something I wish I could see in a movie or read in a book but can’t find. A surprising amount of my inspiration comes when I’m doing something completely unrelated to writing, like when I’m washing the dishes or mowing the lawn. A lot of my ideas also derive from my sick sense of humor. 

5. What do you hope your readers take away from your work?

Any storytelling journey is a silent covenant between the writer and reader; each brings their own experiences and viewpoints to the tale, and I as a writer can only control my end of the bargain. I don’t really have any preconceived notion of what a reader will take from my work because I’m not able to fill in their own individual reference points. I just try to write what I find amusing and entertaining to me, and the fact that it appeals to others at all is a very blessed coincidence in my eyes.

6. Who is your favorite author and why?

James Joyce…oh, crap, I don’t have to lie to pass English Lit 101 anymore. Never mind.

The real hands- down answer to me is H.P. Lovecraft. The man himself was just as strange and fascinating as the fiction he produced, and I always conjure the vision of someone desperate to describe the worlds he’s visualizing in his head. Until I discovered him at age sixteen I had only been exposed to Western Folklore-Judeo-Christian concepts of horror–vampires, werewolves, slashers, demons, angels, etc.–and the idea of Cosmic Horror was a notion that upturned every notion of what I thought fiction was or could be capable of doing. My own writing style doesn’t reflect his influence, but his voice lurks in my mind while I create, particularly in his concept that an upheaval of chaos and disorder is just waiting to tear the veneer of safe civilization apart.

Clive Barker is a very, very close second. His Books of Blood is a collection of such raw, visceral intensity that I don’t think any work of short horror fiction has ever surpassed it, by any author, even by Barker himself. The extent that those tales impacted my seventeen-year-old mind cannot be understated. I’ll round out my list with Neil Gaiman, Harry Turtledove and Colin Wilson.

7. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Draw. Cook. Chitter-chat with my online peeps. And I LOVE music–punk and post-punk, metal (black/death/thrash/metalcore), gothic rock, electronic music, ‘80’s New Wave…the list just goes on and on. I usually create a ‘soundtrack’ of songs for a specific story I’m working on to listen to when I’m not writing. I helps set the mental mood, so to speak, for when I sit down for the real work. 

8. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Odd. Creative. Misfit.

9. If you could only have one season, what would it be?

My bliss would be a world of perpetual autumn. Chilly, crisp, clear-sky days, bright colors on the leaves, that smell in the air. If there is a Heaven, I would want it to be autumn. 

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Any reader thus inclined to follow my peculiar vision of the world can learn more about me on both my Amazon Author Page and Instagram accounts.

Author Interview with A.K. Stuntz

Dragon Soul Press interviewed A.K. Stuntz, an author featured in Extinct Worlds and History.


1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but It wasn’t my first choice for a career. I was actually a horseback riding instructor and horse trainer. It wasn’t until after I moved and got married that I started focusing more on my writing.

2. Describe your writing space.

I have a large desk where I do most of my writing. In one area, I keep my laptop where I do all my writing, and off to the left is my notebook with my notes. I also keep my incentive (candy or cookies) within eye sight to encourage me to reach my writing goals.

3. What time of the day do you usually write?

Most of my writing gets done at night. Usually after eight PM.

4. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Endings are the hardest part of writing for me. It can take me days just to write the ending to a story. I never feel like they come out right.

5. Is there lots to do before you dive in and start writing the story?

I’m more of a pantser. I do make a very basic outline, but mostly I just look over my notes, read the last paragraph I wrote, and then just start writing.

6. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

So far, I have written 7 books. My favorite is Witch’s War. It’s a fantasy about a witch forced into a war after her husband betrays her.

7. Where do you get your inspiration?

I get a lot of my inspiration from pictures. I’m more of a visual person so things I see, like pictures, give me great ideas for stories.

8. How many bookshelves are in your house?

I have five bookshelves currently, but I’m hoping to add another one soon as all my books are spilling out of my bookshelves and filling up my floor.

9. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I like to read and ride my horse. There is nothing better then racing across an open field on the back of a horse.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Author Interview with Jo Niederhoff

Dragon Soul Press interviewed Jo Niederhoff, an author in the Rogue Tales, Dragons & Heroines, History, Space Bound, and Spirit anthologies.


1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since about as long as I knew stories existed. I told my parents about the fairies that lived in my walls, and about my imaginary babies. I’ve been writing well since high school, when I joined a writing club and started getting feedback on my stories.

2. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Editing, definitely. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but it’s so much easier to put words down on paper than to go through and reshape them.

3. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I can write just about anywhere. I often have stories running in the back of my mind, which does sometimes mean I miss out on other things happening around me, especially the radio going while I’m driving.

4. What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

To me, success means feeling good about my life as a whole. I would much rather be a small-time writer who is happy every time I sit down at the computer to get some words down than a best-seller who feels like writing has become a chore.

5. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Daydreamer, sarcastic, fidgety.

6. Who is your favorite character?

Of my own, it would have to be a so-far unnamed girl from a novel I keep toying with, about the people left behind in fantasy novels. Her brother vanishes into a traditional fantasy adventure, but the novel would focus more on how she and her family deal with his disappearance. From others’ works, it would have to be Lois Lane or Cordelia LeHane from Amberlough.

7. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I’m actually working on a non-writing project which is really exciting; I’m studying to become a speech pathologist. It’s very interesting, but also a little stressful.

8. Who is your favorite author and why?

R. F. Kuang. The Poppy War tore me apart in the best way and showed me what historical inspired fantasy can be at its finest.

9. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I do lots of community theater acting, but I also enjoy learning more about all sorts of things (mostly history and biology, but I’m trying to be rounded out with some hard sciences), and I have a quilting project I work on every now and then.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

I have Facebook, but I’m on Twitter much more frequently, even if half of what I write there is utter nonsense.