Kindle and Smashwords: Formatting Tips

A fantastic post full of awesome tips and how-to’s. I can’t thank Mishka enough for writing this one!

A Writer's Life For Me.

I’ve had a few emails from people asking about when I publish my books on Smashwords if they go through the ‘Meatgrinder’ and how do I do it.

I have to say I’ve never had a problem with Smashwords and all my books have gone through first time with no trouble. So, instead of copying and pasting the answer to reply to the emails, I thought I would do a blog on it.

Please note that these are just some of the things I do to get my books through Smashwords and Kindle, don’t take it as fact! I highly recommend reading both Kindle’s guide and Smashwords style guide in order to better understand the process.

This is a comparison of the same manuscript (my newest release, The Magic Spark) put through Smashwords (on the left) compared to Kindle (on the right).

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Kindle Formatting:

– Justified alignment.
– Max…

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Just keep writing…Keep writing…

I want to write, I do, but there are days when I don’t. I have a lot of excuses (We’re selling our house, the dogs (both) are shedding their coats and we have a fruit fly infestation) but the truth is I have trouble getting down to it.

I found these post particularly helpful to get my butt into the chair.

Claire Cook recommends breaking it down. She says she writes two pages a day. Just two but she does that come rain or shine and it keeps the story moving forward.

Annabel Candy wrote this one on her favourite motivation tips. Only six and they’re awesome.

This one is 31 ways to find Inspiration for your writing by Leo Babauta.

But since I’m writing this post, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not working on my WIP. Nuts.

What about you? Do you have favourite ways to make sure you keep writing?

Writing tips

Great posts with fantastic tips. Check out the little blurbs to see if they’re for you. My hope is that they help you find your personal writing muse.

We all get Writer’s Block. From a bad review, a nasty comment or just simply a bad day, doubt can creep up on us and destroy any and all inspiration. If you’re there, check out this post. It won’t magically fix everything, but if nothing else, you’ll know you’re not alone. A big thanks to Positive Writer for the inspirational post.

One thing that I play around with are the subplots. I love taking a chance with a risky theme or a quirky character in a subplot. But there are limits, because I don’t want to destroy a good story with a terrible subplot. Here is an excellent guide for those subplots. A fantastic article from Live Write Thrive.

We’ve been told prologues aren’t good, but why? Kristen Lamb details the pros and cons in her excellent post: the seven deadly sins of Prologues. So enlightening!

Everyone has their own way of writing, but if you’re into plots and outlines, here‘s a guide on how to do that well. A big thank you to The Beginning Writer for the great post!

If you’re dreading that first scene and just can’t find the words, here‘s a few tips on how to do just that from Jodie Renner. A big thank you to Crime Fiction Collective for the great post!

For those of us who are having trouble getting into that chair and writing, a great tip to find that focus before you write from Writerology.

Finally, one quote to inspire you,

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And one to make you laugh,

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Indie Writers: Make MS Word Work for You Instead of Against You

Tips, hints and dark secrets of Word revealed in this excellent post. What a great post! A big thank you to JM Manus! I’m keeping this one close by so I can use it next time I’m trying to format my document.

And here‘s another great post by the same author on Clean Source Files. It’s a how-to for formatting any manuscript into something that can become an ebook.

QA Productions

A Quick Primer for Fiction Writers in using Microsoft Word in the Digital Age

It always saddens me a little when a writer sends me an overly formatted Word doc to turn into an ebook or print-on-demand. It’s not that I have to clean it up–I can strip and flip the messiest files in less than an hour. What bugs me is how much thought and effort the writer wasted on utterly useless manuscript styling.

Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled. Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled.

The majority of writers I work with use Word. The vast majority have no idea how to use Word for their own benefit. I understand. I was a fiction writer for over two decades and even though I have been using computers and a variety of word processing programs since the late ’80s, it wasn’t until I started learning book production that I figured out how…

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A to Z Day 18: Revision

Another amazing post by Gene’O. I particularly loved how he broke down the editing process. I’m in the middle of it right now and this was so helpful. A big thanks to Gene’O for the great post!

My Former Blog

I think the three most important parts of the writing process are:

Click for A to Z blog list. Click for A to Z blog list.

1. Actually finishing a draft.

2. Revising the draft (which is different than editing).

3. Finding someone else to read it and give you feedback.

I talked about the importance of finishing drafts on Saturday. Today’s post is all about revision. Understanding the writing process in a general way is important, but understanding what works for you is even more important. Once we get down to details, every writer’s process is unique. I suggest finding a writing process that allows you to play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

I outlined my own writing process in detail not long after I started this blog (apologies for the awfulness of the graphic). The first thing I do to a draft before I even think about real revision is cut words…

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Adding humour–a serious job

I add humour to my novels…but how? Well, I asked myself that question and found out that explaining how or why something is funny is actually really, really hard. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how on this green earth I write humour into my tales and all I came up with was this little example.

It’s something I wrote for Olivia’s Choice:

“She had not gone more than a handful of steps when the wind picked up and the rain started. It seemed Mother Nature had a sense of humour. A macabre one.”

That last part was the funny bit. That last part. The…No? Not even a hint of a smile? Rats.

Time to bring out the professionals.

Annie Binns wrote a great post on the blog Write to Done with great examples and much greater in-depth analysis on how to write something funny. She’s got it down to a science and did a much better job than my teenie-tiny example. Check it out. I was in awe.

Blogging tips

Okay, I’m reading Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley because I couldn’t wait for the release of ‘Fire Inside’…and I’m so hooked I’ve skipped supper, left the dogs out all day and haven’t showered (ew)–instead I’ve read all day. Kristen Ashley is awesome, incredible…in her words: she’s the bomb. Love this book. Love it. So good!

Still, I needed a post today. With some sort of topic that has a scrap of dignity.

I found this site. It’s just full of ideas and resources. The tips have step-by-step how to with links if you get stuck (I get stuck a lot) and with all sorts of different types of help. From getting more traffic to plugins to tips specially for wordpress. Just awesome.

Marko Saric runs this blog and it looks absolutely incredible. Check it out: http://howtomakemyblog.com

Let me know what you think!

P.S.  I gotta go back and read…this book…Man alive! Soo good! Oh and I better let the dogs in!

My latest #socialmedia antics, and everything I know about Twitter

What an amazing post! A big thank you to Gene’O for this excellent resource! I’ll let him do the talking because this is so worth the read.

http://sourcererblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/my-latest-socialmedia-antics-and-everything-i-know-about-twitter/

On editing

I’m editing. And it’s hell. I don’t think I’m alone when I curse and grumble about it. But, really, let’s just say it. Editing sucks.

All those wonderful chapters that seemed written by Shakespeare only days ago, have magically turned into a mess. I blame my brain. Back when I wrote them, I had my Creative Brain on and I thought the stuff was pretty good. Now, with my critical Editorial Cap on, it’s just awful. 

I have to re-read it, change words, then ask myself what the sweet heavens I was trying to say in that convoluted, unending, tongue-twister of a paragraph. Somehow, I have to transform that soup of words into actual English so people will want to read it and not burst into tears. I curse, grumble, pray for inspiration and write away. I cut things, add words, change adverbs and add plurals when needed until I can read it. Until it flows and it says what it was supposed to say. With pizzaz.

Then, I go to the next one.

Today I chomped my way through an entire chapter. But most days it’s one scene at a time. The worst is coming though. I know I’ll have to go through this process a couple of times before the book is remotely to my standards. Perfectionism sucks.

Then I had a thought: What would it be like to write perfectly? What if we could write without having to edit? Do the Greats manage that? Does Nora Roberts type flawlessly on her computer in one endless, grammatically-perfect, flowing example of immaculate fiction? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Just imagine…no editing…Ahhh.