Thoughts, writing

Lie vs. Lay

It’s not a pet peeve this week, just a tricky one that often gets me thinking twice, too. And lately I’ve been seeing it in all kinds of trad pubbed books as well as indie.

The dreaded Lie vs. Lay

lying-lion
This lion is lyin’ down. Ha… ha…

WHICH ONE DO YOU USE AND WHEN? It’s the frequent cry I hear in my dreams as some writer somewhere in the world stumbles upon this dilemma and proceeds to tear out their hair. WHY ARE THESE WORDS SO CLOSE BUT NOT THE SAME?

I know, my friend, I know.

So I’m going to attempt to help clear things up by sharing the tip that finally made it click in my own head. If you hear the same click in yours, huzzah! If not, it’s all right. Your time will come.

Lie is more of an active verb; lay is passive.

You lie down on the bed, but you lay the socks down on the dresser.

I lie in the grass, but I lay the blanket on the sand.

BUT WHAT ABOUT IN THE PAST TENSE???? you might scream in frustration.

A good question, because this is where grammar really hates us.

You lay down on the bed, but you laid the socks down on the dresser.

I lay in the grass, but I laid the blanket on the sand.

WHAT ABOUT THE PAST PARTICIPLE???

All right, all right, this one is a will be easier if you’ve gotten the past tense down:

You have lain down on the bed, but you have laid the socks down on the dresser

I have lain in the grass, but I have laid the blanket on the sand

Lie          Lay         Lain

Lay         Laid        Laid

If you want or need more tricks to try to make it stick, the Grammar Girl has got you covered!

Did you hear the click? Was this post helpful? Let me know in the comments!

update

EMS Upgrade (cont’d)

I’m afraid to say I’m not quite as far in the newsletter changeover as I’d hoped to be by this point. In part because of some animal health issues that kept us away from home at high stress levels for the better part of last week, but also because of some miscommunications.

newsletter

Not that I don’t have anything to report, however.

I mentioned last week that I am making the move from trusted MailChimp to the fancier dancier ActiveCampaign. So far I have nothing bad to say about the service, but that’s mostly because I haven’t really played with it yet.

For the customer service… I’m on the fence.

Mostly, I’m blown away by how on top of things they are. I signed up for the free trial so that I could get my account set up and everything ready before migrating everyone over from MailChimp. Within two days, I was receiving calls from ActiveCampaign looking to introduce me to their service, see if I had any questions, and to set me up with a longer phone call to go over the different features that would best suit my business.

Wow!

I’d never encountered anything like that before and was super impressed! I looked forward to the longer chat, which involves some screenshare time so I could get a crash course in how to best use the service.

So I book the time, and that night, 6:15, I postpone dinner so I can be at my computer in time for the call.

Now, for the intro call, the phone rang within 30 seconds of the clock rolling over to our arranged time.

This time… 6:20 rolls around…. 6:30…. 6:45.

After forty-five minutes of waiting, I send off an email to follow up and make sure we’re all on the same page about the time of the call. A few minutes later, I receive a reply telling me they had tried the number on file, but it had just kept ringing without anyone answering.

Now, I had my phone right beside me. I’d made sure the volume was up, and there was no one on the line. Also, I was confused about why no one followed up with an email when the call didn’t go through, even if it was a “sorry we missed you!” message.

We tried to arrange another time for the call, but nothing has worked with our schedules, so I’m just going to start with a few links they sent me to try to work it out on my own.

So overall… kind of a wash as far as customer service goes (likely, like with anywhere, it’s just a matter of who you get), but I’m still really excited to try out all the different features and see how this can up my game! That is a big part of my goal for this weekend, so I should have at least a few more updates for you by then.

update

Leveling Up: EMS-style

There comes a time in every business-owner’s life when they need to say farewell to the vintage-newspaper-printtrusted systems they used when they first started out and move on to something a bit more expensive, yes, but more importantly, more focused and versatile.

One of the first pieces of advice I received when I started my business was to start a mailing list. Never rely solely on someone else’s platform. Amazon can go glitchy, Facebook can shut down. Better to have your own foundations for people to find you.

It’s very good advice. In fact, it’s some of the best advice out there. It’s a big part of why I created my own paperback (and eventually ebook) storefront on my author website, and, of course, why I maintain my mailing list for all its ups, downs, and GDPR-purges.

I love sending out my newsletters, too. It’s great to hear back from readers and learn a bit about what they’re up to, what they’re reading, what they’re looking forward to. Up until now, MailChimp has been my trusted companion on all of these adventures, and really I have no complaints.

But I’ve decided it’s time to level up. As of this week, I’m slowly going to be building up a presence through ActiveCampaign, exploring its versatility, it’s resources, and it’s ability to help me better engage with readers. Because that is my first priority. Getting to know the people who take the time out of their day to read my messages. Not only out of a sense of appreciation, but also to better deliver what interests them. It’s a never-ending circle.

My first impressions of ActiveCampaign have been incredibly positive, so as I explore further, I’ll share my thoughts and views on this, my most recent attempt to kick all kinds of ass at my business.

What have you tried lately to shake things up and move yourself up a notch? Share in the comments below!

update, writing

Pet Peeve: Nauseous vs. Nauseate

cold-and-flu-seasonWe’re heading into cold and flu season, which also means the start of hearing another one of my language peeves.

This one isn’t a full peeve. It doesn’t make my eye twitch like “impact” does, but I do notice it. I can’t help it. I can be exactly the kind of language purist whose tea you want to lace with some kind of relaxant so I’ll go to sleep and stop talk about how words should be used.

I would apologize for it… but I won’t.

This particular gripe? Nauseous vs. nauseated.

Anyone who watched or remembers Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed will appreciate this one.

Common usage says that these two words are interchangeable. Fine. I accept that, but at the very least I feel people should make a conscious decision about which word they’re using.

Nauseous means something that makes you feel ill. The rotting garbage is nauseous (not to be confused with noxious, which is something that is physically harmful or destructive). If you were to be nauseous, it would mean that your very presence was enough to make those around you feel ill.

That might be the case, who am I to say? But I find it unlikely that if someone were to provide a description of you, “makes me queasy” would be included. If so, my apologies.

Typically, however, the word you should be going for is nauseated. It’s fun to say, sounds fancy, and doesn’t run the risk of accidentally giving people the wrong impression about your personality. Win-win!

update

REBLOG: KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers — David Gaughran

I read this article earlier today and felt it was important for both readers and authors to know. Amazon has been instrumental in bringing indie authors onto the publishing playing field, but it does have its drawbacks, like some slow momentum in addressing issues as they arise.

A situation blew up at Amazon over the weekend which is ghosting most KDP ebooks (and many Amazon imprint titles) for international readers who use the US Kindle Store — which has also exposed a glaring security problem. 153 more words

via KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers — David Gaughran

update

No post this week

Last week I took a break from this blog because I was celebrating my latest book release over at http://www.kristawalshauthor.com. This week, I’m feeling a bit under the weather, so am allowing myself a bit of a break.

Next week, however, I will either be back with thoughts on pet peeves about nouns being used as verbs and vice-versa, or about the first steps to formatting your novel using Adobe inDesign, or some views on why having a proofreader is important, regardless of your business.

Have a preference? Leave a comment below!

update

KDP Printing

Another industry-related post before I return next week to my English pet peeves: the KDP print experience.

For reasons that I’m sure are easy to understand, I was anxious to receive my first KDP paperback proof. When there’s a change in the system, there’s always a chance that the quality is going to be…iffy.

And I can’t really say otherwise when my Veilfire proof arrived. The colours are a bit dark, the glue is showing under the cover, and the pages are filled with tiny black lines (no, not the words, don’t be silly). I’m hoping that the author copies are a smidge better, but at the very least, the proof still looks professional and sellable, so huzzah!

One thing you should be aware of if you haven’t started seeing this around the interwebs: unlike Createspace’s subtle but convenient PROOF written on the last page in the book, KDP has opted for a more “in your face” method of letting you know it’s an arc.

proof

Kind of hard to miss that giant NOT FOR RESALE that wraps around the entire cover.

Downside: It makes using your proof copy for promo a little bit of a challenge. It also means that you’re not able to get the full cover experience prior to setting your book to live and ordering your author copies.

On the other hand is that upside: You never need to worry about selling your proof copy by accident…

So take that as KDP’s starting point. Some people are already contacting them to voice their displeasure, so it might change as the growing pains are worked out.

What are your thoughts on the new KDP paperbacks? Yay? Nay? Voice your thoughts in the comments!

update, writing

Createspace to KDP

Oh Amazon, how you do love to change things on us writers. Just as I was getting the hang of Createspace, learning the process, mastering the behind-the-scenes, they scrapped it and moved us all over to KDP.

Thaaaaanks.

Fortunately, if you haven’t gone through it yet, it’s quite a simple process. You click “okay,” and KDP kind of does the rest for you. I can’t complain.

I did, however, run into some issues with the formatting of the new paperback I made, so figured I would share my experience with you in case you run into something similar.

I used inDesign for the first time to format my paperback interior (that was a whole lot of joy that I’ll share in a separate posts once I make sure it all worked out). My book is a lengthy 610 pages, so I made sure that my gutter was .75 inches. I triple checked. Yet I kept getting an error message that KDP wouldn’t accept a gutter of less than 0.75 inches.

You can imagine my frustration.

And I confess it took me longer than it should have to realise why I was getting that error message even after I checked my dimensions: it was only flagging three pages. On three pages that had italics at the front of the line, the descender on some “f”s and “y”s had sneaked out past that 0.75 gutter.

Are you freaking kidding me?

And unlike Createspace, KDP does not allow you to push these little things through.

I managed to fix it fairly easily—more of a pain in the butt than anything else—but it did teach me how particular KDP will be with things like this.

Have you learned any helpful tips and tricks with the new KDP paperback platform? Share in the comments below!

writing

Pet Peeve: Impact vs. Affect

I openly admit to being one of those people whose eye twitches when words are used incorrectly.

I know that education, and therefore proper usage, is a privilege not everyone has, so it’s not that I judge people for the way they speak, it’s more an automatic reaction, like when you hear a discordant note in a piece of music.

Some of these discordant notes strike me worse than others, so I figured I would take advantage of my platform here to share my particular pet peeves as I think of them over the next little while, and maybe play my part in weeding them out of existence.

Okay, that’s kind of a huge ambition. Language changes. I know this. As certain usages become popular, they become accepted, often replacing the original word or use. We see it all the time, and it’s a facet of the English language I find fascinating.

But I have a hard time letting go.

Take impact vs. affect.

In my dayjob, it has become acceptable to use these two words interchangeably. Every day, documents go past my desk with sentences like “This policy impacts the program.”

It’s a personalized form of torture.

Unless you are specifically talking about something physically colliding with or hitting something else, impact is not a verb, it is a noun.

Your car can impact the telephone pole.

The asteroid can impact the Earth.

In both of these cases, the result is serious injury and expense.

If your policy impacts your project, then that would suggest said policy was taken in hand and slapped against your project, or maybe stuffed into a cannon and fired into your project, or possibly raised to a height of some significance, then dropped onto your project to the distress of all involved.

However, your policy can have an impact on your project, or your policy can affect your project. Neither of these alternatives risks any kind of bodily harm, depending on the nature of your business.

For a quick and easy way to know whether you’re using impact correctly, Grammar Girl suggests an simple test: if you can use an article like “the” or “an” before impact in a sentence, than you’re likely in the clear.