MGardner  Today on the blog I have McKenna Gardner, who is an editor at Xchyler Publishing.



Tell me a bit about yourself and your background. What did you study in college?
I grew up all over the country. Though born in Idaho, I’ve lived in twenty-five different homes and learned at an early age to adapt, make friends, and find joy in the little things. My childhood was spent pretending one scenario after another. My three older brothers and I would often act out battles between elves, trolls, dwarfs, and humans. (J.R.R. Tolkien was a big influence in our home.) As I grew up, I discovered that I enjoyed writing poetry and even research papers at school. I could always crank out a ten-pager in one brief sitting. I didn’t read as much as I wish I had, though. Much of my free time was spent out of doors and in sports where I thrived. Even today, I spend a lot of time backpacking, camping, rock climbing, and exploring.

In college, I studied recreation and ended up with a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a minor in Health Science and Sociology. It doesn’t help me much with my writing or editing, but it did help me to know how to write properly and succinctly. I have spent the last fifteen years trying to make up for the lack of reading I did as a child. Sometimes my family thinks I’m trying to squish fifteen years worth of books into a few days, but I do pop my head up every once in a while. After starting to write fiction about twelve years ago, I found a new passion and that’s what brought me into the world of editing, starting with my own amateur work. I like to think both skills have improved over the years.


What is your position at Xchyler and what do you do there?
I am the senior editor at Xchyler Publishing. I’m entering my third year with the company. It has been an adventure, that’s for sure! My responsibilities include working with authors as a content editor, line editor, proofreader, or final approval editor. These each represent different stages for the manuscript. I also work with authors in developing their “brand”, including author photographs, marketing, and ensuring they represent their work in the best way possible.

As senior editor, I also work closely with the graphics department. I help assign ISBN’s, develop distribution plans, create ARCs for review, and find images that might work well for covers and marketing.

Sometimes I’m responsible for new editors and making sure they get their feet wet in a productive way. I also do my best at supporting Editor in Chief Penny Freeman. She’s a literary powerhouse! Above all else, I offer my resources and aid to authors. We all have difficult days when we simply want a sounding board. I love experiencing “aha” moments with my authors. They really are the cream of the crop at Xchyler!


What are your favorite and least favorite things about your job? What frustrates you and what excites you about this job?
You can probably guess that I love my authors and all the hard work they put into their creations. I haven’t found a perfect first draft yet, so I always appreciate when they are willing to improve and comfortable with defending their position on something. I certainly don’t have all the answers, so when they feel passionately about something, I enjoy respecting that and finding the best possible way to communicate their ideas to readers.

I struggle at times with balancing the workload. There’s just SO much to do in such little time, but it’s worth it when you finally release a labor of love out into the world. Occasionally, I come across authors that are unwilling to change or think outside the box. It’s definitely a challenge to work with that type of personality, but I find a way to make it work unless they are compromising the standards that Xchyler has worked hard to establish.

I’m excited about the direction business is going. We continue to grow exponentially and find artists that insist on blowing our minds. It’s very rewarding.


Can you tell us a bit about taking a new manuscript through the editing process? What does that entail and how long does it take?
I think I offered a glimpse into the work required to publish a book, but there are so many stages, it’s hard to list all the facets involved. Simply put, there are a few initial meetings to develop a plan of action, editing begins (content, line, proofreading, final approval, and final proofing), marketing develops their plan (distribution, video trailer, bloggers, Goodreads, reviews, interviews, Facebook release event, etc.), graphics gets involved with the cover and any promotional artwork, and then ARCs go out to readers. Reviews are very important in the publishing industry. Especially good ones. The book is usually uploaded and available online before the release date and party. We love throwing parties for our authors to celebrate their hard work! Afterward, it is a team effort to continue promoting the author and their book long into the future.

The entire process can happen within a few months, but six months or more is ideal. At this point, our docket is full until fall of 2015, but we are still accepting promising authors.


You also work as a freelance editor. How different is it from working for a publisher? What’s that process like and what does it involve?
Oh, it’s much, much simpler. When you remove all of the marketing, graphics, and distribution, everything becomes pretty cut and dry: guide an author through the process of making their work better than before. There are certain things you learn from operating in the publishing industry that someone may not know before (what trends are popular, what trends are not going so well, what publishers are looking for, what frequent mistakes authors make, and what ideas are overdone). It’s my responsibility to stay on top of those things so I can best serve my authors.

I like the simplicity of freelance. I’m not having to balance too many things at once. Instead, I can just dive into the work and focus solely on that. I find great fulfillment in editing, whether that’s helping develop a character more completely, making the “world building” more solid and consistent, or suggesting different ways of opening scenes. It’s also important that I stay on top of language changes. It’s a dynamic field! There are specific requirements when it comes to punctuation, grammar, and word-usage, but I also need to be aware of how to make an author’s language and voice stronger, active rather than passive. It’s a large responsibility by itself, so adding the publishing side can be a handful!


Can you talk about some of the books you’ve worked in (both for the publisher and indie)?
This question made me go back and think through all the manuscripts I’ve had my (virtual) nose in! I counted 25 just within the past three years. They cover many genres: children’s, middle grade, young adult, adult; fantasy, thriller, suspense, romantic, paranormal, comedy, steampunk, science fiction, and dystopian. I’ve had dragons and wizards, mechanical men and steam-powered trinkets, women on the run and female warriors, men who give up everything to gain everything, and spaceships that cover both space and time. The stories that make me happiest provide two important elements: interesting worlds and dynamic characters. I probably prefer character-driven books, but I’ve seen some decent plot-driven ones, too.

I’m always searching for brilliant artists, so anyone can contact me for a consultation. Those are always given freely.

Thanks so much, McKenna, for stopping by and answering these questions. It’s a fascinating process, for sure.

Husband Maker Tour

The Husband Maker Blog Tour Schedule

The Husband Maker by Karey WhiteThe Husband Maker by Karey White

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next.

Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she’s not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle’s wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Get your copy of The Husband Maker for just $3.99!

Amazon * Kobo * iTunes * Barnes & Noble

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This was such a fun book to read, with quite an intriguing story line.
Charlotte’s journey in the dating world is sometimes funny to read and sometimes hard. With such a past, you can’t help but root for her and Kyle, and secretly hope this time will be different, cringing at the direction it takes the more time they spend together.
On the other hand, I felt like Gibbs slapping her for how blind she is to what’s right under her nose.

I knew this was the first of a trilogy but I was not prepared for the massive cliffhanger. The speculation alone is enough to write a fanfic novella while I’m waiting for the book #2.

it’s clean, funny, romantic, and a fast read.



Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Coming Fall 2014 – Charlotte’s Story continues in The Match Maker

The Matchmaker final ebook coveradd to goodreads new


$25 Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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  • […] 7th 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight Lucinda Whitney | LDS Author – Review Literary Time Out – Review Bookworm Lisa – […]ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth MuellerAugust 12, 2014 - 5:38 PM

    The Husband Maker sounds like fun! When I read the blurb, I had to reread this sentence four different times, then I asked my 2 teenagers if they understood it (sure ripped me from the story, though!): “Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband.” I get it now.

    Thanks for sharing! :)


  • Crystal CollierAugust 13, 2014 - 11:01 AM

    Okay, I’m totally not cool with cliff hangers, but this sounds wonderful and will definitely go on my TBR list…ready to be read as soon as the next book is out. ;) ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 13, 2014 - 12:25 PM

      It’s a great book. I’m looking forward to the sequel.ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the month again, first Wednesday, which means, it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


This is going to be a short post today. I’m still applying the edits I received from my editor. This is what it looks like: Word document from my editor on the left, and my Scrivener project on the right (thank goodness for a wide screen).



It’s a slow process, and a very hard one where I’m continuously forced to face my shortcomings.


But it’s also the way I’m learning to get better, word by word and line by line. I’ve learned how bad I am at action beats (‘smile’ and ‘nod’ are my enemies), how much telling I have instead of showing, and how much more work this story really needs.

And the greatest lesson I’ve taken from this process is that, for me, being a writer is about perseverance.


Insecure Writer #213


What is being a writer to you?

  • Christina MitchellAugust 6, 2014 - 8:22 AM

    I am so bad at action beats. My characters smile, nod, roll their eyes and raise their eyebrows with RECKLESS ABANDON. I envision them all as being extremely twitchy :)

    They also sigh a lot. Sigh.

    To me being a writer is about letting go of perfection and embracing flaws and weaknesses. Every step I make toward that in my writing life improves my personal life.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 8:25 AM

      Christina, thanks for your comment. It made me smile and nod in agreement. ;) Embracing flaws is hard but a step in the right direction.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle WallaceAugust 6, 2014 - 1:11 PM

    I’ve discovered that you have to be in it for the long haul.
    It’s all about perseverance… and patience!ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 2:49 PM

      Thanks for the visit, Michelle. And I agree, lots and lots of patience.ReplyCancel

  • Jay NoelAugust 6, 2014 - 1:30 PM

    Being a writer is being just crazy enough to do it, without being “clinically” insane.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 2:49 PM

      It’s a thin line sometimes. ;) Thanks for the visit!ReplyCancel

  • J.L. Campbell (@JL_Campbell)August 6, 2014 - 4:36 PM

    We all go through phases where we learn the mannerisms and phrases that make our writing life difficult. The good thing is, once we find the weaknesses, we continue to grow and become better writers.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 7:22 PM

      Thank you for the visit, Joy. That’s my hope, that I’ll grow from this.ReplyCancel

  • AnneAugust 6, 2014 - 5:22 PM

    I love that picture and that quote. Also, I completely understand about the “nods” and the “smiles.” “Look” and its many variants apparently also plague me. Happy writing!ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 7:23 PM

      I’m determined to eradicate all unnecessary smiling and nodding. Thanks for stopping by, Anne.ReplyCancel

  • emaginetteAugust 6, 2014 - 7:22 PM

    It`s tough incorporating other opinions into your work. We all face it if we are on the road to success. Try not to let it get to you and stand your ground over the important issues. Editors expect it. :-)

    Anna from Shout with EmaginetteReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 7:33 PM

      Thanks for the visit, Anna. My editor did a tremendous job and I am indeed learning a lot.ReplyCancel

  • Donna K. WeaverAugust 6, 2014 - 7:47 PM

    Yeah. Perseverance. And yay for wide screens!ReplyCancel

  • Patricia LynneAugust 6, 2014 - 7:49 PM

    Editing can be tough to swallow, but it can only make your story better. Good luck with your story.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 6, 2014 - 8:13 PM

      Yes, absolutely, Patricia. It will be better when I’d done.ReplyCancel

  • Jen ChandlerAugust 9, 2014 - 12:45 PM

    Wonderful to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my IWSG post the other day! Yes, it does take perseverance…LOTS of it!! I finish a story and then I chisel the life out of it! Unfortunately, that’s usually where I leave it. I have one story right now that is in the final throes of second edits. It is obvious it needs a lot more work (ahem *edits*) before it’s ready to be sent to some readers. I’m learning it’s a necessary process. Best of luck to you! ~ JenReplyCancel

    • LucindaAugust 9, 2014 - 12:58 PM

      Thanks for returning the visit, Jen! I’m beginning to think the editing process is like the refiner’s fire. ;) ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the month again, first Wednesday, which means, it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


A few weeks back, I was talking online with a group of writers. Someone new expressed an interest in indie publishing her book but wasn’t sure how to go about it. She then asked, “I have to do everything myself, don’t I?”

I remember thinking along these lines when I first started writing. After all, the term self-publishing, or indie (independent) publishing suggests a certain degree of autonomy. The thing is, this is not to be confused with DIY (Do-It-Yourself). In fact, an author who is starting out will be doing herself a disservice if she tries to publish a book with no other help. She may think she’s really good at what she’s doing but it will show (it always does).

Let’s look at some of the steps towards self-publishing that might be better to be hired out:

  • editing
  • cover art and design
  • formatting and typesetting

I would say that hiring a professional editor is one the most important steps in self-publishing. There are many options available nowadays and I suggest you ask around for recommendations, do your research, and send for free editing samples until you find and editor that is right for you. It’s an investment that you won’t regret.
A book really is judged by its cover. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the reader and a professionally designed cover is another step worth the investment.
Formatting and typesetting may seem like cosmetic choices, but presenting your book in the most attractive, professional fashion will only increase its value. Plus, readers nowadays are very savvy and demanding, and details do matter.

You may be in a position to barter for some of these services, or even form a cooperative of writers with different skills: one who’s good at editing, another at proofreading, yet another who can format book interiors, someone who’s good with photography and Photoshop. You get the idea. Pooling skills and resources benefits everyone in the group without having to make a monetary investment. Or, you may also take the time to learn some of these skills, with the knowledge that your investment in time is a medium to long term one and that you can’t expect to do it in just a few weeks.

Let’s not forget about  other steps not directly related to publishing a book but more on the business side:

  • marketing and advertising
  • blog/website creation and hosting
  • copyright
  • business license
  • taxes

Some of these you may be able to do yourself, or learn how to do, and others you might actually need to get help for. Or again, a cooperative with a few business-savvy individuals would be a good idea as well.

My point is, self-publishing your book is not an occasion to show off your scrimping. You want to publish the best product you can show to the world, and sometimes that means hiring out others who are better than you at things you can’t do.

Concentrate on writing the best story you can. Then, surround yourself with people who can help you make it shine.

Insecure Writer #213



What are some services you have hired out to indie publish your book? What are some you wish you had hired?

  • Loni TownsendJuly 2, 2014 - 10:09 AM

    You hit a lot of good points in this post!

    I hired an editor, but the rest I did myself. I actually enjoy the formatting part, because it hit close to my day job (computer programming). I also made the cover, but it was after much trial and error, and testing it with my target audience. I’ll probably hire out next time for that.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 2, 2014 - 3:03 PM

      Thanks, Loni. I like to do ebook formatting so I’m doing that myself, but I hired out for the paperback formatting, as well as an editor and proofreader.ReplyCancel

  • Diane BurtonJuly 2, 2014 - 12:20 PM

    I agree. I’m a former English teacher and would never edit my own work. Geez, I completely miss missing words and the wrong homonym. Or the glaring hole in the plot. I have zippo artistic talent so a cover artist is worth every penny. I have learned how to format my books but the learning curve is steep.

    You’re absolutely right that you have to present your work the best you can.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 2, 2014 - 3:02 PM

      Thanks for the visit, Diane. The truth is we can’t do it all, so hiring out only makes sense.ReplyCancel

  • emaginetteJuly 2, 2014 - 3:42 PM

    I think your mixing up self-publishing with indie publishing. I’m with two indie publishers and they do most of the work. I still have to help promote my work, but with their contacts and reviewers it’s far from Do It Yourself.

    Anna from Shout with EmaginetteReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 2, 2014 - 4:52 PM

      Thanks for the visit, Anna. I know the difference between a small indie publisher and an author who’s self-publishing. My point was to show that many writers today are under the assumption that they have to do everything when they’re self-publishing, and that’s not the case.
      And as for marketing, even authors with big name traditional publishers do most of their marketing work.ReplyCancel

  • Julie MusilJuly 2, 2014 - 11:12 PM

    I hired an editor and cover designer…money well spent! I formatted myself, though. A steep learning curve, but I’m so glad I learned how to do it.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 3, 2014 - 12:28 PM

      I’d say cover designer and editor are good investments. Thanks for the visit, Julie.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia LynneJuly 3, 2014 - 4:27 PM

    Great points. Self publishing doesn’t equal DIY.ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 4, 2014 - 11:45 AM

      Thanks for the visit, Patricia. I think it’s easy to forget the options are out there.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Van SicklerJuly 3, 2014 - 6:29 PM

    Your post is so appropriate to me right now. I am self-publishing my debut novel and am learning all of this as I go along. What a fascinating journey!ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJuly 4, 2014 - 11:47 AM

      I’m right there, Kim. I’m also self-publishing my début novel, and I’m trying to learn all I can about it. Thankfully, the resources available online are invaluable. Thanks for the visit!ReplyCancel

  • AJ Lauer (@ayjaylauer)July 5, 2014 - 6:06 PM

    You are totally right about needing to have others participate in the process of making your book the best it can be! I lucked out in that my co-author is also a graphic designer, so he took care of all the appearance-related stuff. We did most of the editing last time, with just minor help from a writerly friend, and I think we might want to get a professional editor this time. This book is just so much more complicated…

    Visiting from IWSG,
    ~AJ from Naturally SweetReplyCancel

  • Michelle WallaceJuly 6, 2014 - 5:51 AM

    I always think about the saying: First impressions are lasting.
    So yes, a professional cover is a must!
    I read somewhere that according to a study on consumer behaviour, a potential buyer holds a book in his hands for approximately 3 to 5 seconds. So your cover, which is the first thing he sees, has about 5 seconds to make an impression.
    Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen SteeleJuly 10, 2014 - 2:13 PM

    So true! If you want your self-published work to be successful, you’ll need to hire out help. You might be a great writer, but that doesn’t mean that you are a great editor or cover designer. The investment is worthwhile because your end product will be that much better.ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the year! The Summer Book Trek Reading Challenge by New LDS Fiction! Keep track of your reading during the month of July and win book prizes. You don’t have to be LDS to participate, just read books by LDS authors. Click on the links above to find out how to enter. And here’s the prize page: Book Trek Prizes!

I don’t usually plan my reading list, but here are a few books I’ve been wanting to read for a while:

Falling for You by Krista Lynne Jensen;

Glimmering Light by Margot Hovley;

Porcelain Keys by Sarah Beard.

So head on over to the New LDS Fiction blog and enter the challenge!

Happy reading and Happy Summer!

  • KarleneJune 30, 2014 - 10:50 AM

    Good list. Looking forward to your reviews. :) ReplyCancel

    • LucindaJune 30, 2014 - 11:49 AM

      Thanks, Karlene! Hoping to find some time to read them.ReplyCancel

  • KatieJuly 12, 2014 - 10:35 AM

    Fun list! I’ve read those and have loved them. I hope you enjoy them, too!ReplyCancel

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