Grendel Press

Self Publishing Guide

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I feel like it’s important to explain that Grendel Press is not a vanity publisher. At no time will we ask for money in exchange to publish your work.

Novel submissions are for our traditional and hybrid publishing contracts in which we pay an advance, editing, cover design, and formatting fees for your novel in exchange for a percentage of royalties.

That being said, we offer the services below to assist authors who choose to self-publish in order to increase the quality of content releasing under our favorite genres.

Purchasing products from us is not required and will not affect your chance of acceptance to our traditional contracts.

For approved requests, we offer a single ISBN for $45, and two ISBNs for $75.
$0.012 USD per Word Proofreading is the final step of the process before sending your manuscript for print. At this point, it should be free of most grammar and spelling mistakes. The purpose of proofreading is to catch any last-minute mistakes that both the author and the previous editors have missed. You may email us at any time with additional questions at info@grendelpress.com

When Formatting Dialogue

  • Comma instead of period at the end of a spoken sentence only when the dialogue tag follows.
    • The dialogue tag should refer to how the words are said (or that they are said at all) and are not to be confused with action tags. Action tags are fun ways to take a break from too many dialogue tags in your manuscript.

Proper dialogue tag usage:

    • “Don’t make me tell you again,” he said while slowly pushing the beast’s mouth away from his face.

Proper action tag substitution:

    • “Don’t make me tell you again.” He slowly pushed the beast’s mouth away from his face.
    • Using this method, you can avoid constantly spamming ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ and focus on moving the scene forward instead. You indicate who is speaking by making sure that the action sentences in the paragraph all belong to the same character talking. We’ll talk more about that under

Formatting Paragraphs

    below.
  • You do not use commas, however, in place of question or exclamation marks.

Proper dialogue tag usage:

    • “I gave you everything I have!” he cried, hands trembling as he reached for another drink.

Proper action tag substitution:

    • “I gave you everything I have!” His hands trembled as he reached for another drink.
    • The importance with choosing whether to use dialogue tags or action tags depends on what importance the dialogue tag plays in the paragraph. The two examples above are perceived the exact same way by the reader. His FEELINGS and how he said the words are already conveyed by the exclamation point and the body language that followed. So saying, ‘he cried’ was unnecessary. It can be done. It’s still grammatically correct, but unnecessary.

 

Keep Consistent Tense

We all do it. Trust us, knowing about a flaw does not mean it never happens. If you start in past tense, then you need to maintain it throughout the book unless you make a conscious decision to change it using some kind of experimental story convention. The exception to that lies in dialogue. Most, if not all dialogue should be in present tense.
Let’s talk about why:

When using past tense to tell a story, you are effectively telling the reader about a story that has already happened. Even if you do not create a traditional narrator, it is presumed that the person or entity sharing the story already knows how it will end. 

Example:
The wolf walked slowly toward the wizard with a cautious eye on his hands.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the wizard said.
“You have not yet, but you will.”

Technically, as the story is presented to the reader, everything has already happened. The last line was foreshadowing by the wolf, not because he literally knew how thisstory would end, but because he made a prediction about how stories like his often end.

Formatting Paragraphs

  • Be careful of lengthy paragraphs for no reason. Writing a paragraph in a book is not like writing an essay. You can break up paragraphs with creative freedom as long as you don’t stop abruptly in the middle of a thought/concept (UNLESS ITS ON PURPOSE).  

    Usually a good place to create a new paragraph is during what I’m going to loosely call a shift. 
    Example: 
    When I was a young child, I was told to be wary of wolves. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. 
    More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc. More creative words that go on about how dangerous wolves are to children, etc, etc.

    When I grew older, I realized that when adults spoke of monsters, they didn’t mean wolves at all.

    More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children. More creative words that go on about how dangerous monsters are to children.

    I could have let all the sentences run together in one very long paragraph, but by separating the statement in bold, I elevated its importance and indicated a shift in subject, context, and meaning.

    Separate characters actions by paragraphs when possible.

  • This is for the world builders and fantasy lovers who write adventurous stories with a team of characters. If you choose not to hone your POV to one character per chapter or scene, then you carry a heavier burden of delivering your story to the reader in a more easily absorbable way. Which means separating your actions/POVs by paragraphs.

    What often happens:
    The group of adventurers ran toward the quickly dissolving door and one by one, slid through the gaping maw moments before the dust dispersed. Kiara looked at Ben and her hands followed, patting his face and hair as if unconvinced the danger was over. “Are you okay?” Megan pushed to her feet and brushed the dirt off her pants, looking around to see what fresh hell they’d slid into. “Really, Ki?” It seemed like a dumb question.

    I hope you can see how the paragraph above could feel like whiplash to the reader. In a book, the POV works like a camera. So when you pick one POV, the camera follows the character an sees what they see. Depending on how intimate you let the reader get (aka, do we hear the character’s thoughts or are you simply letting us exist in the character’s body and feel those emotions for ourselves without telling us how to feel? The later is harder, but way more impactful. Both methods are fine! This is your story and how you tell it is a part of your craft.

    So if POV acts like a camera, you don’t want to swivel the camera too quickly but you also don’t want to twirl it like a pinwheel. Which is what I imagine the reader feels like when they don’t know where to look. That’s what happens when you combine POVs and actions for multiple characters in one paragraph. It causes whiplash and distracts the reader to the point that at some point, they will abandon the story and go read something else.

    So if we are going to use a top down group POV, then we need to make it as easily absorbable as possible… by separating their actions/views/dialogue into separate paragraphs.
    Example:
    The group of adventurers ran toward the quickly dissolving door and one by one, slid through the gaping maw moments before the dust dispersed.

    Kiara looked at Ben and her hands followed, patting his face and hair as if unconvinced the danger was over. “Are you okay?”
    Ben pushed to his feet and brushed the dirt off his pants, looking around to see what fresh hell they’d slid into. “Really, Ki?”
    It seemed like a dumb question.

    Story Self-Assessment 


    • Do you follow an outline? If so, how closely did you follow it?
    • If not, make an outline and look at it objectively. Do all of your scenes move the plot forward?
    • How is your word count?
      Reedsy has a great article that talks about industry standards.
      Yes, there are exceptions, and nearly every author thinks they are one. Just keep in mind that there is a skill in telling a good story within the parameters you are given.
    • What do your characters look like? Yes, most authors have an idea in their head, but the proof is in the pudding. Go through and list your characters in order of appearance along with their description as they first appear in the book. You’ll find that sometimes you forget to describe them at all!
    • You can do the same thing with locations. Review each chapter and scene to verify you have set the scene properly. It doesn’t take much! Even if you simply note that the scene takes place in a coffee shop on a busy main street, you’ve given enough to let the reader supply the rest.


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