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An author's take on some secrets(?) of SOL

March 4, 2015
Posted at 4:19 pm

Usually, I limit my blog posting to when I'm submitting new chapters in whatever story/
novel I have in the works.
Today, though, I have a few things to say. In particular, I want to express my appreciation to Lazeez for what is the most user-friendly fiction site I've found. I only post my works here (well, the novels are also on Amazon, but that's a little different), and I do most of my on-line fiction reading here as well. I've tried one other site-the redoubtable Gina Marie Wylie's Beyond the Far Horizon-and while I still read there from time to time, I only posted one novel. Gina unfortunately doesn't provide for author blogs, which I find invaluable. There's also Wes Boyd's Spearfish Lake Tales, but that's only for his own work (a few other authors have similar sites). I'll also read occasionally on SOL's companion site, Finestories, but I haven't posted there yet; the readership is much smaller than SOL, and while my novels fit well with its non-erotic content (and it does allow blogs), I think it would mainly be duplicative of my posting here.
Lazeez generally does a marvellous job of turning my submissions into posted materials. For those who aren't sure how it's done-the submission process, that is-herewith a (very) brief tutorial. I use MS Word to format all my writing (I used to write with another word processor, but it was easy to upload to Word for final editing). MS Word lets you save your copy as a "Web page," which is HTML. I do that with each chapter separately and then submit chapter by chapter with SOL. Much better than using text files, since HTML retains my formatting (italics, bold face, indents, etc.). Lazeez apparently has some software to convert the HTMLs.
Actually, you don't need to buy Word for this. Any word processor or publishing package that converts to HTML files will do; or you can download the freeware Open Office software, which is an emulation of MS Office, and use its word processor just as you'd use Word.
Mostly the SOL conversion works very well. If I have unusual formatting I try to point that out in a part of the submission subroutine that lets you make "notes to the moderator," but sometimes that isn't initially successful. However, you can always refile a story or chapter, and when I do that with another moderator note it's always fixed as I request. One other kind of glitch crops up now and then. Occasionally Lazeez' conversion program will pick up the last few words of one paragraph and repeat them in place of the next full line of the following paragraph. No, that isn't in my original (I've checked), but again resubmission corrects this. I'm not sure why the glitch happens so erratically, but it's rare enough and so easily fixable that I don't worry about it.
Finally, I've found that if you submit a posting after midnight it won't show up on the site until about 8 a.m. the next day (all times are Eastern Standard U.S.), which is the easy way to build in a posting delay. But don't do that with complex formatting; wait until later in the day after the SOL folks have had time for a cup of coffee.
Just wanted to offer the benefits of my experience to encourage anyone out there who's intimidated to go ahead and post their work. This is a great site. I still can't figure out how the scoring system functions, but it seems to be pretty consistent and it'll give you feedback about your writing, which is always a boon to an author. I also get e-mails from some readers, a further help. So jump right in, the water's fine. By the way, even though there's something of a focus at SOL on erotic writing, I do fairly well on scores even though I don't have a lot of sex in my fiction writing (and none of it's at all explicit). So whether you write sexy stuff or non-sexy, SOL is the place for it.