Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better: Pitfalls you can avoid

Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better: Pitfalls you can avoid
When you write your story, you will/should be using a word-processing program. Like it or not, MS Office/Word is the industry leader. Many/Most all publishers recommend/require .doc/.docx format for their submissions. This quotation is copied from Amazon’s Kindle Direct formatting page:
Word is a great tool to use because it's extremely easy to format. We suggest writing your book in Word or converting an existing source file into Word (.doc or .docx) format before continuing.
I am assuming you are using MSWord for your manuscript.
If you even think you might be publishing an ebook version, start with that. The formatting is much easier to convert to print version than vice-versa.
For Kindle, you just need to remember a few basic rules.
  1. Don’t tab anywhere.
  2. Format your paragraphs so they automatically indent the first line. That’s at the top of the dialog box when you open “Format/Paragraph” from the dropdown menu. If you don’t do this, Kindle will do it—and justify your text in your paragraphs. Another quote:
Paragraph text displays with justified alignment by default. The first line of each paragraph is automatically indented.
  1. BIG IMPORTANT NOTE! Kindle now allows tables, however, the quote above still applies to the sentences inside the table.
  2. You cannot use bullet points. Remember, you can’t have tabs—bullet points have tabs—therefore you can’t have bullet points.
  3. If you use figures in your text, you must use specific formats and low resolution (72-120dpi). Make the figures large—mine are all about 6 inches in width. Use the “Insert/Photo” dropdown and insert each photo individually. You can’t copy/paste from other sources—even within the document. And, if you insert small figures and make them large by formatting them in place, you will get small figures in your ebook—these are VERY hard to see on small screens.
There are other requirements for figures, so be sure to follow those, or you will spend inordinate amounts of time fixing rather than writing.
Ultimately, if your book is all text, you will find the Kindle experience much more friendly than if you have lots of tables and figures. RIFTS has over 30 figures, but now NO tables after learning by experience.
Next week: The second in the series of “Things I learned about the process when I published through Amazon.com (and how you can streamline your experience!). First up: PDF does not equal .doc—which to publish first: ebook or paperback.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Publishing your “great American” (or whatever descriptor you use) novel

Over the next several blogs, I will be talking about publishing your “great American” (or whatever descriptor you use) novel.
For generations, the only way to get a book in print was to go through a publishing house. Oh, I know that, if you had enough money, you could print your own copies, store them in your garage, and hawk them at carnivals and door-to-door. But the reality was without a publisher, you really didn’t have a snail’s chance in a salt mine to sell many books.
1.    Today, there are myriads of ways to “get your book out.” Of course, major publishing houses are still around—but you’ll most likely need an agent if you want any consideration (serious or otherwise) of a first book by one of them.
2.   Independent publishing houses also exist. Many of them offer what is known as “co-publishing,” or some other term, that indicates you INVEST your money up front. They do varying degrees of editing and cover art. This path will probably get you access bookstore public relations people, since your book has a “publisher.”
3.   My final example of “getting your book out there” is self-publishing through Amazon.com. Their FREE service allows you to generate both/either print copies of ebooks from your manuscript. The service has a final “scan” for spelling errors and massive grammatical gaffs. You can make your own cover from a template, or use their “for a charge” cover production service.
Royalties from Option #2 can be favorable when compared to those from major publishers. Of course, until you’ve recouped your investment, you really haven’t made any money, per se. Royalties from option #3 are all yours. You have some control over the amount you get per sale. Since over 50% of all books sold in the USA are now sold through Amazon, Option #3 can be a very good choice.
My first science fiction novel, Traveler’s HOT L – The Time Traveler’s Resort, is a co-publishing venture as is my co-authored book on changing school class room climates to increase student learning, Tune Up Your Teaching & Turn On Student Learning – Moving from common to transformed learning in your classroom. My third book, out this 3rd week in June 2014, RIFTS – A Science Fiction Odyssey, is self-published through CreateSpace and KindleDirect, both Amazon.com venues.
I leave you with this morsel: Whether you chose option #2 or #3 from my list, you will be responsible for the same amount of marketing.
Next week: The first is series of “Things I learned about the process when I published through Amazon.com (and how you can streamline your experience!). First up: Figuratively Speaking… Text Is Better: Pitfalls you can avoid

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