My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Yes, You Can Publish a Book (Here’s How) http://bit.ly/2mRBrcn  #indieauthors #writerslife

Make the most of the Amazon Algorithm. http://bit.ly/2lVJgZW  #indieauthor #writerslife

The Best Advice for Writers in 2017 http://bit.ly/2n5PUOS  Excellent articles with #writingadvice for #indieauthors.

Five Steps to Sell More Books on Amazon – This is an investment worth making. http://bit.ly/2n5BrTb  #writers #indieauthors

Why I’m Turning Trad-Pub Deals Down http://bit.ly/2nelMks  A vote for self-publishing. #writers #indieauthors

Writing Contests in 2017 • Vetted and Curated by Reedsy http://bit.ly/2ne5oAe  Updated weekly. #writerslife

Don’t Write Your Website Copy Until You Answer These Questions http://mbist.ro/2mbpGK3  #writers #indieauthors

How Do You Know What To Cut Out Of Your Novel? http://bit.ly/2n3nnbO  #writetip #writingadvice

Your Author Bio–Does it Help Sales or Stop them Dead? http://bit.ly/2mICSKr  #indieauthor #writerslife

Story Structure | Filling the “Plot-holes” http://bit.ly/2m9qf9F  #writetip #writingadvice

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Format Your Book for CreateSpace

How to Format Your Book for CreateSpace

(updated 12/10/16)

Persnickety

I get a lot of formatting questions, so I thought I’d put it all down in one place. If you find it useful, let me know.

Note: I use Word 2016. Your version of Word might look a bit different, but it should be similar enough for you to figure out.

And now, without further ado, here is how I format a book for CreateSpace.

Ready, Set, Go

  1. Open your Word .doc
  2. Set the margins. Go to PAGE LAYOUT –> MARGINS –> CUSTOM MARGINS.
    1. Under the Margin Tab, make the top 1″, the bottom 1″, the inside .9″, and the outside .6″.
    2. Orientation should be Portrait.
    3. Multiple Pages should be changed to Mirror Margins. That’s it for the Margin Tab. Don’t close the box yet.
  3. Then under the Paper Tab, change the Paper Size to the size of the book you are planning to publish. I like my books to be 8″ by 5″ so I change:
    1. Width to 5″
    2. Height to 8″. Then click OK to close the box.
  4. SELECT ALL (it’s over in the top right-hand corner.) Delete all tabs by using REPLACE (also in the top right-hand corner.)
    1. Go to the Replace Tab
    2. Click More
    3. Click Special
    4. Click Tab Character
    5. Leave REPLACE WITH blank
    6. Click REPLACE ALL (Don’t panic.)
  5. SELECT ALL
    1. Click the corner box next to Paragraph.
    2. Under Indentation, go to SPECIAL
    3. Select FIRST LINE
    4. Under BY type .25 (Now you’re indented without tabs.)
  6. SELECT ALL
    1. Change line spacing to 1.5
    2. Click both REMOVE SPACE BEFORE and REMOVE SPACE AFTER so both read ADD.
  7. SELECT ALL
    1. Change your font and font size. I usually use Georgia 12pt.
  8. SELECT ALL
    1. Justify your margins. (Yes! Don’t argue with me.)
  9. SELECT ALL
    1. Under PAGE LAYOUT, click Hyphenation and Automatic.
  10. SELECT ALL. Make sure you don’t have any double spaces after punctuation. (This is for all us older authors because we were taught that in high school.)
    1. Go to the Replace Tab
    2. Under FIND WHAT, hit the spacebar twice
    3. Under REPLACE WITH, hit it once
    4. Click REPLACE ALL
  11. Make sure the end of every chapter/short story has a new page character.
    1. Go to PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS
    2. Under Section Breaks, click NEXT PAGE (One caveat to this is if you are publishing a book of short stories. You want each story to start on the right-hand side, right? Or some people want each chapter to start on the right. In that case, you would click ODD PAGE.)
    3. There should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on blank pages.

Front Matter Matters

In order:

  1. TITLE PAGE
    1. Use a larger font and make it bold.
    2. Type your book title about halfway down the page.
    3. Type your name at the bottom. (This should give you plenty of room to sign at book signings.)
    4. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  2. COPYRIGHT PAGE
    1. Type in your Copyright Notice.
    2. Example: This is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews.
    3. Copyright © (date) by (your name)
    4. ISBN (Type in your own or the number provided by CreateSpace.)
    5. You can also add your publisher’s name, state, website, and logo if you have started your own company.
    6. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  3. DEDICATION PAGE
    1. This is optional. If you are dedicating your book to a loved one or to an organization, type it here.
    2. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  4. TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. You should have a table of contents to list each chapter or short story.
    2. Go to REFERENCE and click Table of Contents.
    3. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  5. NOTE!
    1. If necessary, add a blank page at this point (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE) so that the first page of your story starts on the right-hand side.
    2. There should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on the FRONT MATTER (or the back matter either for that matter.)

Back Matter Matters Too

  1. Add a page for Your Author’s Bio, headshot (I mean a photo, not an actual… although if you’re writing horror and you’re good with makeup…) website, and email address.
    1. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  2. Add another page for a list of your previous works and where to buy them.
    1. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  3. If you are writing a series, you can put an excerpt of an upcoming book here.
  4. Remember, there should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on the front or back matter (unless you want to use Roman Numerals.)

About Your Headers and Footers

  1. Go to the first page of your story. (Story, not Front Matter.)
    1. Click INSERT.
    2. Click HEADER.
    3. Choose your Header Style. (I usually use Blank.)
    4. Type the name of your book. (I recommend using a smaller font.)
    5. Highlight what you just typed and Right align it. (On the Home Tab.)
    6. Under HEADER & FOOTER TOOLS click ODD & EVEN PAGES.
    7. Make sure LINK TO PREVIOUS is not selected.
  2. Now go to the second page of your story.
    1. Click the Header and type your name.
    2. Highlight what you typed and Left align it.
  3. You should now have your Title on the right and your Name on the left on alternating pages.
    1. Check to be sure the header hasn’t shown up on your Front Matter.
    2. If it has, delete it and de-select LINK TO PREVIOUS on each page.
  4. Go back to the first page of your story.
    1. On the left-hand side of the HEADER & FOOTER TOOLBAR, you will see Page Number. Click it.
    2. Choose Bottom Of The Page.
    3. Choose your style. I use Plain Number 2.
    4. Note: You will have to do this twice—once for the right-hand (odd) side and once for the left-hand (even) side.
    5. Note: You may have to format the page numbers to get them to run consecutively. To do that, click Page Number again and scroll down to Format Page Number.

Easy Peasy

Kill the Widows and Orphans

Widow

  • A paragraph-ending line that falls at the beginning of the following page/column, thus separated from the rest of the text.

Orphan

  • A paragraph-opening line that appears by itself at the bottom of a page/column.
  • A word, part of a word, or very short line that appears by itself at the end of a paragraph. Orphans result in too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page.

Word kills your widows and orphans by default, but the result makes a ragged bottom margin. I’m one of those persnickety people who feel that when you open a book, the bottom margin on both pages should match up. So I kill them manually.

  1. Click the corner box on PARAGRAPH.
  2. Click the LINE AND PAGE BREAKS Tab.
  3. Uncheck Widow/Orphan Control.
  4. Go through each page of your 500-page book and look for Widows and Orphans, adding or deleting words until the page looks right.

And Another Thing…

The first paragraph of each chapter and after a drop should be flush left, meaning don’t indent. Also, the first letter of the first word of that paragraph should be fancied up. I’m sure you’ve all seen the first letter in a different font with scroll work, etc. The problem is that it messes with the line spacing of the paragraph. I’ve seen books that just bold the first letter and leave it in the same font as the rest of the paragraph. I’ve also seen books that bold the entire first line of the chapter (Lemony Snicket does this.) If you wish to have a drop cap, go to Insert then Drop Cap. You can change the font under Drop Cap Options.

Easy Peasy

When all looks good, you need to save the book as a PDF. Word can do this for you.

FILE –> SAVE AS –> PDF

Now you are ready to upload the .pdf to CreateSpace.

See? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3… 4, 5, 6… Oh, you get the picture.

An expanded version of How to Format Your Novel for CreateSpace is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats.

Free eBooks Now Through Cyber Monday

Middle-Grade kids read a lot in school, but that can seem a chore. They need to be able to read for fun.

If your child loves magic, I have two books on Kindle they will enjoy. FREE THIS WEEKEND. The Adventures of the Power Girls takes place on an island in the Florida Keys. There are magic stones, friendly dolphins, and a castle made of chocolate. But beneath all that, the books are about believing in yourself and standing up for what you believe is right.

Keepers framed (2015_12_11 19_18_09 UTC)

In KEEPERS OF MAGIC, Emma Rose is ten years old. She has four best friends and an older sister who loves to play pranks on her. She is as normal as a girl can be. Until the morning when she wakes up with blue streaks in her hair. At first, she thinks it is another of her sister’s pranks. But when she gets to school, she finds out that her friends have streaks in their hair, too. Red, green, purple, white. What’s worse, they all have magical powers. Emma has to get to the bottom of this. An old book leads her and her friends to a secret island in the Florida Keys. There they find a queen in a chocolate castle. The queen agrees to teach them about their new powers. Little do they know that this is just the beginning of the adventures of the power girls.

Get the eBook for free on Amazon.

Island framed (2015_12_11 19_18_09 UTC)

In ISLAND OF MAGIC, Emma Rose and her best friends are leaving for boarding school. This is no ordinary school, and Emma and her friends aren’t ordinary girls. They have magical powers. The Academy of Elemental Magic will teach them how to use their powers. It lies inside a sleeping volcano on the Island of Magic. But when Emma and her friends arrive, they find that the island is being poisoned. The magical fog that protects it from prying eyes is disappearing. Some of the students have gotten sick. Some have even lost their powers. Emma has to find out why. However, when her investigation uncovers a conspiracy among the students themselves, no one will believe her—not even her best friends. Emma is on her own. Her only hope is to heal the island. But the poor island’s weakening defenses has allowed enemies to reach its shores. Her powers are not strong enough to battle an evil sorceress who can control the weather. Can she foil the plot in time to save the Island and the girls who live there before more enemies appear?

Get the eBook for free on Amazon.

You might notice that the book covers look like they were drawn by a ten-year-old. That’s because they were. I wrote these books with the help of my two young granddaughters. They dictated. I typed.

puppy-cover-2015_08_05-22_05_00-utc

If your child’s tastes run more toward puppies, I have an excellent read for them. VIOLET AND THE MISSING PUPPY is my most popular middle-grade book. It teaches the danger of judging people. When her friends lose their puppy after only one week, eleven-year-old Violet thinks they are irresponsible. But as time goes by, she realizes the puppy is in real trouble. She needs to put aside her feelings and solve the mystery or little Snowball might die. The book is also about family values. Violet never wants to include her little sister, but in the end, she must rely on her help to save the puppy.

Get the eBook for free on Amazon.

How to Format Your Novel

Also free this weekend is my popular tutorial, HOW TO FORMAT YOUR NOVEL FOR CREATESPACE. Formatting your novel for publication can be a maddening experience, but it’s not nearly as difficult or time-consuming as writing the book in the first place. Just follow these steps and before you know it, you will be a proud author. And you should be proud. You’ve accomplished something amazing. HOW TO FORMAT YOUR NOVEL FOR CREATESPACE is a writing tool to help you self-publish with Amazon. The step-by-step guide will take you from MS Word to published author—and you don’t have to be a Word power user to understand it. Note: This guide is written for CreateSpace, but it will help you format for other platforms as well. Also, while the tips cite MS Word, they work with most word processing programs.

Get the eBook for free on Amazon.

And don’t forget my science fiction trilogy for teens, COLONIAL SCOUTS, is on sale now through the end of November for only 99 cents each. The Colonial Scouts are an elite group of teenage explorers who seek out habitable planets for the Colonial Expansion Board. They travel through space via programmable wormholes.

AlienWorldsKindleCover (Small)

In ALIEN WORLDS, a brilliant girl with a dark past dreams of escaping the streets by becoming a Scout. Because she is homeless, she feels she must study twice as hard to get into the program. The day before her final exam, however, a transporter malfunction sends her jumping uncontrollably from planet to planet. Although the error could be corrected from inside the wormhole, the Board decides she is too young to understand that level of tech. Will she prove them wrong? Or will she die on an alien world?

ALIEN WORLDS is about trusting yourself and others.

Get the eBook for 99 cents on Amazon.

Alien Jungle Kindle Cover

In ALIEN JUNGLE, a new Scout wants desperately to prove himself to both the Board and to his girlfriend. But when he leads a rescue party to a failing colony, everything goes against him. His estranged father turns out to be the leader of the settlement. The colonists think he is inept because he is a teenager. And his disgruntled teammates think he was named team leader because of his dad. He can tell no one about his secret mission to save only fifteen of the seventy people. Will he follow orders, leaving the rest of the colonists to die? Or will he find a way to save them all?

ALIEN JUNGLE is about accepting yourself and others.

Get the eBook for 99 cents on Amazon.

alien-seas-kindle

In ALIEN SEAS, a girl who is drowning in siblings hopes that if she becomes a Scout she will rise above her brothers and sisters and shine. But when a man dies because of her mistake, she leaves the elite program and returns home a failure. Her homecoming is even worse than she imagined, however. Her twin brother is missing. Despite warnings from the authorities, she searches for him and embroils herself in a growing mystery with far-reaching consequences. Will she save her brother from himself? Or will he save her?

ALIEN SEAS is about forgiving yourself and others.

Get the eBook for 99 cents on Amazon.

These eBooks are on sale for a limited time, so don’t delay. I hope everyone has a wondrous holiday season. Keep on reading!