Help me, will you please?

by Doc Coleman on June 19, 2013 · 5 comments

in Writing

When I started Swimming Cat Studios, I named it because I was having to do a lot on my own, teaching myself as I went. I had some resources to steer me in the right direction, and a few friends who could give me suggestions, but I pretty much had to do it on my own. It is the only way to learn new skills. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of new things, had some success, and some failures, and learned a few things.

One of the things I’ve learned is that there are some things you can’t do for yourself.

And that is why I’m asking you if you’d be willing to help me out.

It has been almost two years since I started working on The Perils of Prague. Another year or two before that when I came up with the two main characters, Professor Harmonious Crackle and Miss Titania Bang. I think I’ve created some amazing characters, and the fantastic, compelling world that they live in. I want to share that with the world, but I’ve got a long way to go before I’m ready. In order to get there, I’m going to need some skills I just don’t have, and there are some things that need to be done that I cannot do.

The true test of a story is not what the author makes of it, but what the reader makes of it. I’m too close to my story. I know all the history and back story. I can’t look at it with fresh eyes. I need people who can do that for me.

Specifically, I need an editor. More accurately, I need an editor I can afford. When I started writing, I considered it a potential way to earn some additional income while telling the stories that continue to spring into my mind. However, I made the cardinal mistake of not  considering what I would have to invest into the business to earn a reasonable wage. Not until the past few weeks. So, I have missed the opportunity to put money away to cover expenses like editing. This means I need to find and editor who is willing to take pity on fools like myself who are starting out without having raised a budget for editing. Or an editor who has need of other services we can offer, such as audio editing, voice acting, narration, and certain kinds of web work. If you are such an editor, or you know of one, please let me know.

Lacking the services of a good editor, or perhaps more accurately in addition to them, I could use some volunteers who would be willing to serve as Alpha and Beta readers. Readers need to be able to give constructive criticism and identify both strong and weak points in a story. And you’ll have to agree to confidentiality until the story is released. No spoilers!

There are some other things I can learn to do for myself, but I’m going to need some guidance from someone more advanced than myself. Once Perils is ready, I’m going to want to ready an e-book version and a print version. To do so, I’m going to need to learn about how to lay out a book. So I could use advice from those who have done book layouts, for epub, Kindle, other e-formats, and print.

And there is still more help I need. My story is set in a world similar to ours, but with some differences in physical laws, and some major differences in the progression of scientific progress. Steam power is still dominant, although clockwork is a major force. There are diesel engines, but they’re usually used for industrial purposes. Electricity is still a fledgling science where high voltage and high amperage is still the rule of the day. Electronics never developed. The Aether is real, but only a few scientists in the world understand how to harness it. Scientific research is an honored pursuit, but scientific discoveries are tightly controlled to maintain the stability of the Empire. This is the world of the Eternal Empress.

And the world of the Eternal Empress needs scientists. Specifically, I need consulting physicists, geologists, and probably other specialists to check the science in my story and make sure that I’m only bending the laws of physics, not breaking them beyond the limits of all credulity. If you have expertise in this area and you’re willing to take pity upon a new author, either by helping me figure out the plausibility of the science I’m trying to use, or by pointing me to resources where I can find the answers that I need. Again, I doubt that I can pay a proper consulting fee, but if you’re willing to offer services in trade as outlined above, or with only a token payment, I could really use your help.

If you’re willing to help me out in any of the afore-mentioned roles, please fill out the form below and tell me how you can help.

EDIT: Well, this web-form isn’t working properly, so I’ve had to pull it for now. If you are willing to help, please leave a comment letting me know how, or if you’d prefer a more private form of communication, then e-mail me at Doc at SwimmingCatStudios dot com. 

Please include your name, your e-mail in the comment form, and identify what skills you’re able to make available to me. Thanks again for your help!


Thank you so much!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doc Coleman June 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

OK… Well, it looks like I need a little more help than I thought. I’m pulling the web-form from the page because it isn’t working properly. Not the best track record for my first run at using this web form.

The worst part? Several of you have tried using the web form, and it has resulted in me being sent blank e-mails. So I know someone filled out the form, but not who, or how they were willing to help.

So, I’m going to have to ask you to either use the comments or send me e-mail directly. Sorry about this, folks.



2 Val June 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

What kind of timeframe are you looking at? I might be able to help out with the editing, but it’s going to depend on when (I’ve got some paying projects lined up for the next few months, so it would have to be after that). Let me know.


3 Doc Coleman June 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm


I am treating this as a summer project. I would like to be able to get the book ready for an October or early November release, but I realize that may be a big order, especially with trying to get feedback from Alpha and Beta readers, and knowing that paying work will tend to trump my project. I am over 40% done with the second draft, but until I put itin front of someone who can give me good feedback, I don’t know how strong the writing is. I’m not writing by committee, but I want to be sure I can reach my audience.



4 Karee June 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I’m a big sci-fi fan with experience in editing magazine articles and legal briefs. Typos make my eyes twitch, and I’m known for sometimes brutal honesty. I could always use technical help with my blog but don’t have much time available. Let me know if you see a way we could help each other.


5 Doc Coleman June 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm


What is your blog, and what kind of issues have you been having with it?



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