Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Tools for Self-Publishing

WritingTools
I wanted to post, and also make a page, of actual tools that writers can use for self-publishding. I love lists because lists are easier to use and has step-by-steps to follow, instead of fishing through a lot of blog posts.

NOTE: The majority of the software below can be downloaded all at once at Ninite.com

NOTE of NOTE: After reading the list below and you’re still needing help, check out my Tools Page. It has step-by-step videos on formatting your novels for printers, Smashwords and Kindle.

1) A writing software

– I’ve used Microsoft Word because that is what majority of people use and that’s what came with the laptop. But you can also use Open Office (free tool) for those who can’t stand Microsoft or don’t have the money for it. My current and most favorite tool now is yWriter (another free tool). yWriter helps me jump around from scene to scene; keeps track of: locations, items and characters (with character descriptions); and I can find almost anything, anywhere, so much more easier. It’s a great thing! I have tips on how to get your MSWord document ready before importing into this software. It’s long, but it’s well worth it. Though the software is free, I donated because it was THAT useful to me.

2) A PDF converting software

– Adobe Professional is what I use, but you can get a cheaper version (a poster told me about) that’s hundreds of dollars cheaper called Serif Page Plus X5. Either way, they both are learning curves, meaning you do have to learn the software to know what you have to do…which is basically for all softwares. Want something FREE! Try DoPdf. You can size the pdf to the specific print size of 6×9 (which I couldn’t figure out how to do in CutePDF) and embed fonts. It won’t work for Lightning Source, since they have specific PDF requirements dealing with PDF/X-1a:2001, but you can try it with CreateSpace printer. I looked into PDF995 (also free), but it had like four (4) separate parts and I couldn’t easily just “click a button” to get it working. I’m sure there’s someway to get it to work, but I just couldn’t figure it out. DoPdf was easy and quick. And I’ve heard Open Office conversion worked well with authors too. It has a button that you just click. Give the Freeware a try in CreateSpace first before going to Lightning Source, to save some $$. If it works in one place, it just might work at the other.

3) A photo software

– Here’s where my GIMP comes back in for me. It’s help edit everything that’s a picture, and it’s also free. Need to cut your pictures to 800×600? Use FrameSize. You can NOT keep the entire image when you turn it into this size without skewing the picture, but you can view what will be cut out first before sizing it with this frame tool. This helped me with my Book Trailers. Oh! And make sure to have a photo of yourself, because you’ll need it to post…EVERYWHERE!

4) Web Design Program

– I first learned webdesign on FrontPage and moved on to Dreamweaver. I’ve also read good reviews on a Free software called Kompozer. I downloded Kompozer, exported it to my desktop, and it worked great! I took the code in my Kindle Template, pasted it in the Source tab of Kompzer in the “body” section, and did the Preview to see what it would look like. Watch the Step-By-Step videos on how to use it. There’s also SiteSpinner that’s cheap to buy (less than $60.00).

You should get something faster to upload your files from your PC to your domain, however. I use CoreFTP. Need to learn HTML or remember an HTML code? Go to W3Schools and self-teach. If you’re not much into web designing, just go to Blogger and you don’t have to worry about domains and hosts and html. You just need your Google ID (same login used for YouTube, Analytics, Adsense and Feedburner). A lot of authors have pages with {authorname}.blogspot.com. For more about Web Design stuff, go to my blog: Design a Website for Us Beginners. Oh! Forgot! I purchased my domain name from Namescheap and my host is ICDSoft.

5) Audio software editor

– Whenver I get to this point, I’ll be looking into Audacity (free) for recording audio books. PodCasting 101 has a great list for beginners and what to get, and there’s a Podiobooks 101, so to speak, to help as well. If I ever have another 4-5 hours a day, this would be next on my list to get into, but until then, this is waaaaayyyyy down the list for me.

6) Flip Page software

– You might want to give a nice way for people to get a free peak inside your novel on your personal website. CodeBox and Flip Builder (I use this but it only gives 20 pages) and BookBuzzr are some good options. They use pdf files. Also note, that Kindle and Smashwords allow for a free sample…if you use the checkbox option for it. With Smashwords you can just link to the page that has you book preview and you don’t have to worry about one for your site. You can also make a separate sample page of your novel on your website.

7) Website Statistics

– It’s time to get narcissistic! The best tool to know how many times someone visits your webpage is Google Analytics. I look at this everyday. WebStatChecker is pretty cool as well. Just type your domain in, and click on the underlined hyperlink number for the Yahoo Backlinks. Headkeys gives you an idea of the popular Key Words your website is using that people will search for and possible click to come to your site. Reverse Internet can give you some ideas of who is linking back to you.

8) Book Trailer Tools

– I used Windows Live Movie Maker, which is free, but MAC users can use iMovie. You can get stock photos (images you can use that are royalty free and where someone won’t have a problem with you using their picture) from Dreamstime and your music from AudioJungle. Places like that. Then when you’re done with the Book Trailer, you can post them everywhere like this list below (NOTE: I’ve only done the first five because you get tired of having to create YET another profile/login/password again and again…). Check it out:

  • Your websites/blogsites
  • Your Facebook Page
  • Your Smashbook Book Profile Page(s)
  • Your Amazon Author Profile Page
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Your Myspace MySpaceTV
  • MetaCafe–You have to deal with commercials though
  • Yahoo Video–If you already have an login for Yahoo, then no problem here on having to manage yet another login ID
  • Google Video-But if it becomes popular on YouTube, it will list here. Your google login/Password works here and YouTube and Analytics
  • Media Photobucket
  • Blazing Trailers

9) Backup Your Work Tools

– I use an external hardrive that can plug into my laptop, but mostly I depend on DropBox. After I make changes, I drop everything in here. It’s FREE! And if you don’t have your laptop, but can get access to a PC with internet, you can always access your work.

10) Writing Process and Marketing

  • Help with words

    – Online Dictionary and Thesaurus are my best friends. But TheSage is my blood-brother. Don’t have to be on the internet for this one, though it can work with online help as well.

  • Critique Group

    – Join an online critique group such as CritiqueGroup. I write Science Fictin and Fantasy, so I found a group specific to my genre: Critters.org. For fairness, these sites make sure you critique others and keeps up with your amount of critiques. If you keep a certain average/amount then you can upload your work for critique. If you want to meet physically with someone and/or work with other writers in your area, a local group, try finding one with MeetUp.

  • Getting it Done

    – Have Writer’s Block or just can’t start that book? I HIGHLY recommend NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It takes place mainly in November, but there are writing stuff to do throughout the year as well. It helps you forgive yourself for not being talented, not knowing grammar, and not knowing what to write. Just write without anything stopping you that you think normally would. It has helped me complete several novels. Need a quick boost before sitting down to write? Try OneWord. It’s fast, 60 seconds to write about One Word and it gets the juices flowing.

  • Community of Writers

    – Find a community, rather it’s online or in person. You’ll need the support. You’ll need to talk about writing with those who understand. Find a forum. I enjoy KindleBoards. You can find a community in a critique group as well. Currently, I no longer have a face-to-face critique group, we disbanded after many years (Nothing negative; it just people move one, lives change. That’s the way life goes, you know? A new season…a different reason.). However, I got SO MUCH help from them. They were wonderful people! I now keep track of them on Facebook. I haven’t submitted my work for critiquing for the entire year of 2011, but from 12 years of being in critique groups, I know what to look for now. I also have a reader to look at my novels as well as an editor that I pay for her skills.

  • A Laundry List of Marketing and Promoting

    – See this very long list of things to get into: How To Find Readers and that will keep you busy for a few years while time and more time will get your spiraling to your definition of success!


That’s it! That’s all the brain, downloading/dumping, I can do. Hope it helps!

Later!

How to find readers for your novel–ACTUAL STEPS! Honest Answer

SeeMeEvery time I’ve searched for information on how to get readers and/or how to market or promote my novels, I find a “great title” but absolutely NO REAL INFORMATION on what I should do.

That’s been my frustration and one of the main reasons I started this blog. No one provides REAL steps on how to accomplish things. Either that, Or maybe the majority of people don’t know HOW to give steps, like providing driving instructions– they give just pieces of what to do and where to go and you have to try to make sense of it all or figure it out like a puzzle.

Now granted, I understand that if you follow someone else’s steps that it may or may not work out for you, but at least provide something that DID WORK and give some kind of direction, STEPS, on how it got done. If you do find a site that claims they have the actual steps on how to get fans and/or how they self-published and sold thousands of books, you then would have to pay for it, and usually (though I haven’t paid for any information…but I know this is what would happen because the first part of information offered for free isn’t anything useful) it would be just some “workshop-generic” stuff that just wouldn’t help me, because I found that information, FREE, online somewhere else.

So, what if you’ve already done this list below, which seems to be the basic of what I always find online:

  1. Create a blog
  2. Create a website
  3. Put RSS on your sites
  4. Social media outlets
    1. Create a Facebook page
    2. Get a Twitter account
    3. Sign up for LinkedIn

Then there’s this list that’s practically very hard to do:

  1. Get Book Reviews
  2. Begin an email newsletter
  3. Setup a Book Tour either online or locally

In the beginning, I did dip my toe into sending out to have my books reviewed (just to three places, and yeah, I know that isn’t enough. Like I said, I dipped my toe…and then stopped). And…you know…it reminded me of sending a query letter all over again to publishing houses and agents–the long wait, the rejections, the silent unresponsiveness, the uncertainties. Just like publishing houses and agents, these places that do Book Reviews are SWAMPED. So it’s hard to break in, or to get anyone, to review your book, and to accept you for a Book Tour (You can pay for one of these too, if you like, but see my Slush Pile fear further below). Then, if you DO FINALLY get one or two book reviews, it would take awhile before it’s posted, and they just might not like it, or what if you get a bad review?

I’ve changed my idea on trying to get Book Reviews. And besides, I had always HATED when I went to the bookstore and saw a cool cover, turned the book around and all it had was Reviews and NOTHING to tell me what the book was about. I don’t know who these Reviewers are unless it’s a big name like Stephen King. And the statement about “Best Seller…New York….” review?…this has been sssooo overdone, I’ve just ignore them. I figure, if/when my book starts to get a fan base, my fans will put reviews down for me, and word-of-mouth would be the review. And they did: See Going Free on Amazon…And Book Reviews.

I got confirmation on my new belief on not getting Book Reviews from this person: Brian Spratt. On Number 6 on his page, Letter B, for his Advertising advice, let me quote:

Reviews-They really don’t do as much as one would think. If so, my books wouldn’t sell for The Unsuspecting Mage, my free book, has been eviscerated repeatedly by reviewers. Yet, it is the one that drives all my sales.

Think of it this way, no amount of good reviews will mean squat unless someone can find you to read them. Even then, the climate for reviews is suspect.

Now back to the three-item list above. The item regarding the “newsletter” advice….uh DUH! You need a fan-base FIRST to send them to? Unless you PAY for your novel to be sent by someone who already has a subscriber database. I’m always scared of those because I’m thinking that they would be sending my novel and everybody else’s novel to the SAME PEOPLE (Same Blog sites), and, again, my book would just get lost in the Slush Pile.

However, you can slowly build a email distribution list by having a field/option on your website to subscribe for notifications whenever you get a new novel out. Make sure to add where they can subscribe to the back, or end, of all of your books. However, you do need to have people actually BUYING your book in order for them to want to subscribe…sigh.

Then there’s these additional items to do:

  1. Join forums
    1. Kindle forums
    2. Barnes and Noble Nook
  2. Post comments on blogs
  3. Have friends and family post USEFUL reviews on Amazon
  4. Go to the Author Central on Amazon and sign in to make your Author Profile
  5. Create a Listmania! list on Amazon
  6. Get Car magnets
  7. Do Search engine optimization (SEO) on your website/blog
  8. Make a Book Trailer
  9. Do the LINK thang

I’ve joined author and writing forums, and then realized, though they are also readers, I wanted to now reach people who weren’t authors and writers. I mean, authors and writers got enough on their plate and probably have a back-load of books they’ve been meaning to take time to read…that is, once they get that next chapter finished…and that next novel completed. Plus, they’re doing the same thing I’m doing, and that’s to sell their books. That’s like two salesmen trying to sell the same product to each other. So, I continue the forums to learn something new, but now I’m turning my focus to finding readers. That was the theory anyway. But then I learned something NEW and my theory of selling to other authors changed. Other authors and writers can help to promote you, they can write reviews of your book, they can give you guest posts and interviews on their blogs, share your stuff with their circles and help reach other readers as well. They can help push your book FORWARD. Staying in touch with these forums keeps the sales going.

As for commenting on blogs…if the blog isn’t already FULL of other comments, who’s to say that yours would even be looked at. Besides, the blog-site might have high traffic or even low ones, but don’t want you posting your URL there. You can try to get around it with spelling it out, but people can see what you are doing. The only thing that will benefit is having your link on a popular blog that will help make your website become more popular by the search engines for having your link there.

Friends and Family? Trying to get your friends and family to post USEFUL Reviews besides “it was great! buy it!” is kind of hard. I mean, I feel like I’m dictating to them on what they need to say and how to state it (Now, children, remember to answer the Who, What, When, Where and How questions when completing the review). And more than likely, that would delay them from commenting because that would take too long to type and they would have to find time to type it. Speaking of delay, they may just be that type to delay anyway, late on everything…especially delaying to read your book in the first place (heh. heh.).

The car magnet idea? It might give me some curious bystander once in a blue moon, to come over and inquire, which has actually been pretty fun :). And the Amazon Author Profile is only useful when someone actually finds you. And the Listmania! is useful if people like what you list, which might be connected to what your write. And doing the LINK thing to increase your site’s popularity, goes along with SEOs. You could also create another website on another topic that you are interested in and post LINKS back to your novel’s website as well. But that’s another topic and readers might not be interested in your novel if it’s not related. Or, they might like your personality and be curious about you and buy your novel…that is, if your novel’s topic happens to be another one of their interests. This also goes along with posting on forums (in your signature is your Link Thang) and comments on other blogs. If you write Reviews for anything that you buy, link it back to your Author Name–that is, spell out your first and last name and post it at the end of your review, and put your URL in your profile (i.e. Amazon products that you’ve bought). Don’t put your website at the end of your review because that just changes the mode of your posting–making it sound as if you WANT something and not GIVING something. If someone likes your review, they would Google your name and/or look at your profile to see who you are. Then, BOOM, your URL is right there for them to see.

As for the SEOs? Please don’t pay anyone or anything for it. I’ve got four (4) pages as “top ranked” and I didn’t do anything but post on my blog information that I just didn’t find anywhere else and no one was talking about it. That’s how you do it. Put the search words, you know, words people would type to find sites on Google, and put them in the Tag lines (NOTE: Google Analytics gives the search words used that direct people to my websites and I put those exact words in my Tag listing), but mainly put it in your Title of your site or blog. And that’s it! That’s all I did. No hard-coding html, no looking up of “keywords” or anything. I just posted up simple things that I wanted to share because I couldn’t find it on anyone else’s site. I did the work to do the deed and shared what I found out. Also, my blog has AGED enough (being that I started it in the latter part of 2008) for the search engines to know that my site isn’t Spam. The obvious about getting “top ranked” is that your site just won’t get there if it’s information that’s already saturated. Example: Science Fiction Author. Those keywords just ain’t gonna cut it. So ::shrug:: gottah find another way out of the slush pile of the internet of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, and that is posting something unique that people might want to read about. My unique things was posting stuff about things I could not find readily on the internet to help me…so I figured it out myself and posted it up.

The Book Trailer, though, was pretty fun to make for me. See my posting about it Book Trailers here. But we’re back to square one–people need to know you’re out there for them to view it. I would recommend Fiverr and do a search for jerrylittlemars to get help on increasing your audience on YouTube. He has some ideas, being that I was a newbie and all, that I had no idea about. Some of the ideas may seem like “cheating” to some people, but the tagging thing on Amazon that some authors take part of (Google: Author Tag Exchange), or “liking” each other Facebook pages, or adding Followers on a huge, already populated list of authors for Twitter… all of that may seem like “cheating” to others as well. Just do what’s comfortable to you, which mean, you can use the tools as it’s intentional purpose–it will take longer, but you’ll benefit from it nonetheless. I, for one, will do a little of this or that (more this than that). And I don’t like to support other Authors if I really don’t like what they write…which makes my list very, very, very, very slim. But does Book Trailers bring readers? Not really. It’s one of those “nice-to-haves” for those who want to know a little bit about your book…when they do hear about it. I wouldn’t pay thousands to have one made…it would be a waste, unless you’re already have a huge fan base and you have that kind of money to support your art.

Advertisements(below): let’s not forget the list suggested for that. Most of them you would have to PAY for (and You know I don’t like that word):

  1. Google AdWords $$
  2. Projectwonderful.com $$
  3. local community/city newspaper $$
  4. prlog.org FREE
  5. prweb.com $$
  6. Pay-Per-Click: Google, GoodReads $$
  7. Facebook Ads $$

I’m not using two dollar signs to say it’s expensive, I’m just saying that it costs money. I guess advertisement won’t hurt, but I always go for the FREE stuff (See what I said about PrLog). And then there’s that thing of trying to get the reader’s attention (Hey! Marcel! Are you listening to me!… Heh. Heh. I think that AT&T U-verse commercial is funny). You, again have an ad in a slush pile of other ads. AND from what I’ve read, PAYING for advertisement, just doesn’t quite work most of the time. You end up wasting money. But it has worked for others….

Then there’s the other social stuff that requires a little less effort for those who love to read books where you can do GiveAways and ARC.

  1. GoodReads
  2. Shelfari
  3. LibraryThing

You get involved in these communities and also suggest your book and/or provide free books with GiveAway promotions. Just don’t put up only your books on your read list and only have YOUR BOOKS always on the forefront of your entire profile/login and in your ENTIRE conversation. Be a part of the community because you’re also reading other works. Learn about the community in order to become a part of it. For me, however, I barely have time to write, let alone read books. So, this will come later for me…when I have that time again, to really get into the community, I think it would help–but I did sign up. I listed some books I’ve read 20+ years ago on Shelfari (I used somewhat the same list I have on Listmania on Amazon), only because Shelfari is connected to Author Central. See my “What the Heck” blog on what happened when I did that. I also exported the Shelfari list and imported into GoodReads and LibraryThing. Easy Peasy. Writers are Readers–we love books! So, reading and talking about books you like makes you a part of something fun!

You can also do the GiveAway by providing coupons to people through Smashwords. Do the coupon instead of using your own money of gifting in Amazon, which, though you get some money back, you have to pay taxes on it. And, if you do use Amazon for gifting, use a limited credit card–i.e. gift credit card you can buy from a store. Do not use your personal credit card, to buy it. It helps manage things better, and keep the Credit people from thinking someone stole your credit card (one author posted) for buying items for people overseas. Offering ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) to readers is something you can do too. ARC is a proof of a book prior to full distribution. They are usually not the final copy of the novel and are uncorrected. It’s used for promotional purposes–NOT FOR MONEY. You don’t sale ARC books. But getting people to WANT your ARC is the same as trying to get a Book Review.

Then comes the bottom line about getting readers….

If none of this is working for you, then the last thing you need to do, the online “helpful” people state, is:

  • Make sure you have a polished book (grammar, edited, good cover etc.), and a well written one, because that might just be the problem

What if you’ve already did this (hired the editor, great cover book artist) and you know your book is professionally done and there’s still no one buying your books and there’s still no traffic coming to your blog and/or website?

How do you get those readers darnit!

Sooo…how do you do that?

You might be a bit disappointed of my answer because you wanted answers to that MAJOR question…but if you’ve looked everywhere like me, you’ll see that there isn’t one. You might feel jilted and bamboozled because you read this entire thing for an answer, and that’s exactly how I felt doing this research. THERE IS NOT AN ANSWER. That’s the bottom line. No answer. Nope. No answer. None. Zip. Zelch. Nada. Nothing. Nooooo.

And when I can’t find an answer, then I come up with my own. That’s what you do, and that’s how things happen. During this journey, I’ve come to the end and seen the answer; and though all the things that I’ve stated above sounds negative and pessimistic–and that’s only because none of it will guarantee ANYTHING–my answer on to how to market and get your book notice…?

DO IT ALL!



Do every thing that you can possibly do to be seen. DO EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!

My personal example…

In 2009, I didn’t sell a single book..the ENTIRE year.
In 2010, I didn’t sell but ONE book, and that was in December.
From December 2010 – February 2011 I was selling one (1) book a month on Kindle.
Then starting March 2011, there were four (4) books on Kindle.
In April, it went to three (3) books sold on Kindle.
In May 2011, there were three (3) books sold on Kindle.
In June 2011, there were six (6) books sold on Kindle.
In July 2011, there were seven (7) books sold on Kindle, along with my new book I just added this month, making four published books total.
In August 2011, there were 40 books sold on Kindle, because Irid, amazingly, went free. See my What The Heck! posting. I had lowered my pricing to $0.99 as well to encourage more buys. And at Diesel, through Smashwords, sold six (6) novels. I then raised the price again back to $2.99 before September.
In September 2011, there were about forty (40) books sold on Kindle..and the sales kept up a few weeks after my book stopped being free. (Any sales for Smashwords this month, I have to wait on reporting because they have to wait on the other stores to send them their report).
In October 2011, sales have trickled down to 19 on Kindle, so far this month.

It might sound like very small potatoes and numbers to you…but for me IT SOUNDS GREAT!! I don’t know where these readers came from or how I did it (I didn’t sell anything in 2009 or 2010–well, one book in 2010). It might be when I started giving my books for FREE on Smashwords (i.e. Nook as well), and going FREE on Amazon definitely helped. I have no idea. But, I highly suggest you do that, being a new author, make your book Free, because who can’t pass up a Free Book? And who wants to spend money, and take a wager, on someone they don’t know? Give your book away…for FREE. I know, you want to get paid for all that hard work and all that money that you put into this project, but to get money, you have to spend money/loose money…and build a fan base.

BETTER YET, think of this strategy as NOT HAVING TO PAY FOR ADVERTISEMENT. This is how Word-Of-Mouth helps you out. FREE is a marketing tool. You’ll reach a lot of people this way, and it will save you hours and hours of trying to market it yourself. It’s worth it. Also, just because it is Free doesn’t necessarily mean people would be interested in it–so, don’t be fooled. They might not like the description, or sample, and pass it up. OR, they just might like it enough to actually purchase one of your other books. If you don’t want to do the FREE thing, do the $0.99 thing. Call it a PULL (as Role Playing Gamers call it when positioning a Boss Monster for the kill). Pull your fans to you. Give to Receive. Provide service in order to be served. The yin and the yang. And with each hard step, or fun one, you will reach your goals.

I’ve reached my goal!

Yep, I sure did. These small potatoes of sells have MET MY GOAL! Yep. Yep. All I wanted was a few “strangers” to read my stories. That’s it. I didn’t have a number of “how many,” I just wanted someone to be interested.

And someone was…interested. YEAH! WHO-YAH!
Take that FATE! Take it! Take it!

Yeah! I’m EXCITED with a capital E.T. !

I’ve done the deed and met the goal without the “formula” to do it–because there is no formula.

JA Konrath

Chance. Luck. Randomness. We hate these things, because we want to be in control of our careers. We want to believe that working hard will make us winners.

That isn’t necessarily true. But working hard can improve your odds at success.

No one has a formula of what will be popular. If one Book was popular, someone could take another book, do the exactly same things for promoting it and it bombs. You don’t have to be popular or famous or already in the marketing to know this. Just look around at music and TV shows and movies. Ideas are started, and those who started the idea become shocked with the results when it becomes popular. Case in point: Married… with Children (TV show) and The Simpsons.

Then there’s shows that I really, really liked: Witches of Eastwick, Journey Man, John Doe, Stargate Universe, WitchBlade, The Dresden Files, TheBackYardigans…and they were all cancelled before I was ready for them to go. But shows like Smallville goes on for years (I like Smallville, but not as much as I liked those others I listed that were cancelled). And look at The Bee Movie. Great animation, great line-up of actors, but the story and so called “comedy” was horrible! And how about that famous photo V-J Day in Times Square. Who knew that a photo like that would last for lifetimes! And those other iconic photos: The Kent State Massacre and the Vietnam War, and Marilyn Monroe’s flying dress, and the raising of the U.S. Flag on Iwo Jima. So, you get what I’m saying. No one knows and no one has the golden key. So…

DO EVERYTHING!

DoEverything

And that’s what you have to do. Increase your Odds.

Increasing the amount of stories for consumption would help too.

WRITE MORE BOOKS

Yep. Increase your odds. Get working on those novels, short stories, novellas…. The more works out there, the more consumption, the more readers, and more of keeping it NEW.

And make a few of them FREE!

Aaannnndddd…lower your expectations. Yeah. lower them. Start with small goals and when you meet them, then start another. My goal?…To reach a few strangers who might like my book. DONE! My next goal? I wanted (Past Tense “wanted”) to see those FREE Books on Smashwords numbers continue to increase. I wanted them to keep going until they’ve reach 5,000–for one book, not a combination of them. That was my goal.

It didn’t happen.

What did happen was that I surpassed the 5,000 downloads goal when my book IRID went free on Amazon. Over 8,000 downloads!

Goal met!

My next goal? To keep my trickle of buys per week…UP. How to do that? I’m working on an idea and we’ll see if it works.

Back on topic on goals: Small accomplishing goals. Think Small. Any other way of thinking, you might as well be thinking of winning the lottery (see this blog on Publish your book or play the lottery?). So, really? You’re gonna win the lottery? That’s what is means to be as “successful like Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and Amanda Hocking” is all about. You have to change your mindset…and build gradually…and define your own success. But You CAN make a living, according to Dean Wesley Smith on his blog: You CAN Make Money Writing Fiction. All you need is dozens of books for your store instead of having a store and only selling ONE (1) item. Having a store with MULTIPLE things for purchase can help you make money.

Read: So You Want To Become A Bestselling Author–Here’s How (Part 1)

It might redirect your mental aim a bit and get you where you need to go. Because running after the Lottery would only smother your spirit. And you give up. You stop. And become bitter. Instead of concentrating on increasing your merchandises for purchase, you just stop.

So, continue to do it all. DO EVERYTHING. And after you’ve done everything, then there’s TIME. Yep, time. You have to wait. Let things build up. Just like webpages have to age to be accepted as legitimate sites, so does your name and book titles. You have to wait and wait and wait. And while you’re waiting, you’re writing; and while you’re writing, you’re blogging and socializing. DON’T SELL–SOCIALIZE! Do the things you love to do online and become social. The more you’re out there and become a part of many different communities, the more people get to learn about you and what you do. Then you wait some more, and get more novels out there, and wait some more, and communicate to the online communities, and wait some more. Some writers state it takes anywhere from 9 months to 2 years before your books starts getting noticed and bought.

I don’t mean to disappoint anyone, but that’s the Honest Answer….so don’t go paying for one, because it’s not out there.

You might say, “Well, you’re not successful! You’re not selling thousands of books!” To me, that’s the same thing as saying, “Well, you’re not a millionaire! So, you’re not successful!” And to both of those statements I’ll say, “Successful? Why, yes I am!” Because I met my goal. I have a house. I’m debt free (meaning, no credit cards and everything paid in cash); both cars paid off, student loan is history, a little savings, a daughter, a cat, and a wonderful husband who cooks my breakfast, lunch and dinner (I do the cleaning); and I can travel twice a year for vacations; and we’re not living from paycheck to paycheck. Now that’s successful in life for me. And it took years to build it–from elementary to college to temporary jobs to professional experience, to giving up cable, to saving and not spending on things that are not “needful”, and doing a lot of stuff myself (my hair, my lawn–though now we can afford someone else to do the lawn–ironing instead of dry cleaning, etc. etc.). This is the same as self-publishing.

My novels? I have a few strangers buying…and it’s slowly building. And I got a few more books that I’m working to release. I’ll let you know if I’m still not successful in a few years, and even then, I’ll tell you the same thing: “Why, yes I am!” Because I wrote my first book in 1997 (finished two years later) and didn’t decide to self-publish and do the “Do It Yourself” project and get it out there until 2008. I wrote books over the years, and today I can afford to pay an editor and a Cover Designer, when I couldn’t 12 years ago. And my book is being bought! Something that wasn’t happening several years ago.

You understand what I’m saying now? Remember your first job? I do. Mine was at Del Taco. Am I still working there? Heh. Heh. Not in your life. So that’s why I can honestly say, if you ask if I’m successful in a few years… my answer will still be: “Why, yes I am!”

Your goal is to be successful, and to do that, you have to make your own way and find and define your own answer, because it’s the uniqueness of things that are popular.

JUST DO IT! DO EVERYTHING!

And then let time take its course.

Until Next Time.

What is my website’s popularity?

Want to find out how many people are viewing your website? Or even who put links back to your website from their personal sites? I got a few little places and tips you can use.

Google Analytics
This is the best one yet to view how your website is doing with popularity (do you like me?). You have to copy/paste some code to your website, but it’s worth the bit of effort.

WebStatChecker
WebStatChecker is pretty cool as well. Just type your domain in, and click on the underlined hyperlink number for the Yahoo Backlinks. But for Yahoo Backlinks, the below method will pull the same results.

Advanced Search Operators
You can use this method that’s in all of the major search engines. For example, in Google search box, I would just type: linkdomain:zhollis.com, and it will give me a list of sites who have my site linked on them. I can type it in Yahoo, Ask.com and search.aol.com. But for Bing (this is also MSN search engine), I had to actually enter and search for my site name FIRST, then press the “Advanced” option menu. It used site:zhollis.com, which I didn’t want; so I did -site:zhollis.com (see the negative sign says “exclude”, meaning “Don’t look for this”) and also retyped zhollis.com to see if it will displays sites containing zhollis.com without finding my actual site. It looked like this [-site:zhollis zhollis.com]. It didn’t bring up much 🙂 .

HeadKeys
Headkeys gives you an idea of the popular Key Words your website is using that people will search for and possible click to come to your site. Not sure how this will help, but it might tell you how strong your site is with the key words people normally search for.

Reverse Internet
Reverse Internet can give you some ideas of who is linking back to you as well.
It didn’t show much for my websites though. But I tried a different website and it displayed a lot of information. So that’s why I’m listing it on my blog.

That’s about it. Go ahead and try some stuff out and see which ones work for you.

Happy Narcissism!

I’m not PC Literate…Can I still Self-Publish?

If you’re not very PC Literate and you want to Self-Publish, then… well….

I really, REALLY tried to find a positive answer for that kind of question, and I couldn’t find one for you. 🙁

UPDATE (November 19, 2011)!!! I’ve now concluded that you can go to Smashwords and they can give you a list of companies that would format your book for you. Then Smashwords would upload to all the different formats and platforms. Easy Peasy! Otherwise, you’ll have to find services like I’ve stated below, and still learn how to personally manage your business…which is what it is…a business.

WhatsAPC

Unless you have a lot, and I mean A LOT, of money to pay five (5) or six (6) other people to do all of the work for you…then I would head to a local community class and take some PC courses.

There were a few different discussions on the Absolute Write Water Cooler Forum site about people who don’t have much PC skills, or asking for help in this or that area. And the same answer came back again and again.

You have to learn it.

You need to try to save as much money as you can by learning and doing what you can for yourself. That’s the first word in self-publishing…self. You have to do it yourself.

And please read the below one hundred times

Please do not undertake Self-Publishing in a light manner.
Writing IS the easy part.
There is a horrible stigma among authors and readers looking down on those who self-publish because they put together a terrible book. It makes all self-published authors look bad.

That’s basically what someone stated in the forums and I’m reiterating. It needs to be as professional looking as you can make it. It’s a label on yourself, and you really want yourself to look good, right?

So yes, there’s A LOT of time of trying to put just the beginning steps of self publishing, in line, which I listed on my Blog Page: My Steps To Self Publishing. And I’m STILL doing things to perfect and add my books to places. It’s been three (3) years and I still haven’t started on my marketing, which I think I’ll do on one of my next novels that I publish. It might not take you that long, however. Life caught up with me…being a new parent, commuting, more responsibilities at the job…etc. etc. So, it’s taking me some time to get to the right spot.

But as I take my steps, I’ll jot them down for you. In the mean time, get going and take some PC classes. You’re gonna need the skills to help you through this.

And also, Be Careful out there! If you want to pay someone, then be aware of companies who make their money, NOT from selling books, but from the authors themselves. Checkout any company you want to use at SWFA’s website of Preditors & Editors

Until Next time!

My new buddy… yWriter (tips and tricks)

I wanted to share some tips and tricks of yWriter. Stuff I’ve learned and had to research and find out to make my life a bit more easier, though yWriter is making it is easy enough (and more fun) for my writing.

Importing from MSWord
Prepare your MSWord Novel for importing into yWriter. Doing these steps would make things a bit easier.

  • Open your MSWord novel/project
  • Make sure there’s a chapter, the word “Chapter 1” for each chapter. If you’re using Headings to automatically number your chapters, these are okay, but the words/titles beside the chapter will not be pulled over to yWriter. I recommend just put the name of the chapter on the next line down.
  • Do a search for the word “Chapter” throughout your entire manuscript and make sure to replace them with a different made-up like {achaper} or something like that, and put it inside brackets–MUST USE BRACKETS. You can then highlight the first Chapter imported into yWriter; go to SEARCH > GLOBAL SEARCH AND REPLACE and look for that particular made-up word {achaper} and replace it with the word “chapter”. I use the brackets so that there would be no mistaking it. It won’t replace any partial words anywhere else in the novel. For instance, as the software states: If you use HAL to replace BAL, it will also change HALF into BALF
  • Put a * * * ( three asterisks with spaces in between) before each scene. A scene is anywhere that you have a double-space to show a passage of time or a change of scenery. Put the * * * in every place before your scene. NOTE: In MSWord Click CTRL+H, and in the “Find What” box put three ^p or two ^p to find paragraph marks. Then in the “Replace With” field put ^p^p* * *^p. For those area where you want to keep the * * *, replace those with # # # instead. yWriter ignores the # symbols. You can use yWriter and do the SEARCH > GLOBAL SEARCH AND REPLACE and change it back to asterisks once the novel is imported
  • After the asterisks, make two RETURNS/PARAGRAPH spaces and Type a line for the scene description
  • Then make another RETURN and Type a line for the scene title
  • Go to FILE > Save AS, and make sure to save the document as a RTF
  • Open yWriter5, click the PROJECT> IMPORT INTO NEW PROJECT > IMPORT A WORK IN PROGRESS
  • Choose the RTF file of your novel/project
  • yWriter will import the novel and then prompt you for new project file name
  • Open up each scene and highlight the Description that you typed after each * * * in MSWord. Then RIGHT-Click and select “Cut selection for Scene Description”. This will take the highlighted words out of the scene and put it in the “Scene Description” field automatically.
  • Highlight the Title of the Scene and RIGHT-Click and select “Cut selection for Scene Title”, and you’l have your “Scene Title” in its field

AND YOU’RE DONE!!

Quickly make Characters, Locations and Items while you type.
Or this can make things quick while your read through an imported document. Simply highlight the word, RIGHT-Click and make your choice

  • Create character from selection
  • Create location from selection
  • Create item from selection

Then go to the tab for the selected item and update the description

Automatically add characters for each scene
In the Main View, click the Scenes pull-down menu and select “Automatically add characters to scenes”. You can do this for locations and items as well. I do this all the time as I go back and forth to scene to update my lists.

How to write in full screen mode in yWriter
I didn’t see it at first, but there is a way to write with a larger screen to have your work just flow as you write in yWriter. Just Right-Click inside the Scenes area when you have it opened and select “Full screen text editor”. It doesn’t have rulers, but you can select “Full screen test editor with margins” if you want to have the writing area in the middle with white space on the sides. Click the ESC button on your keyboard to exit out of this mode. You could also, in the Main View, RIGHT-Click a scene (don’t open it) and select “Open content with default RTF editor” which would open your MSWord, and you can edit your scene that way. !! THIS ISN’T RECOMMENDED!! Because you can easily loose your work if you don’t follow these steps EXACTLY when you’re done editing that scene.

  • Save the RTF File. Just click SAVE in the MSWord document
  • Close the RTF File. FILE > CLOSE in MS Word
  • RIGHT-CLICK the Scene again in yWriter and select “Finished with external editor”

!! If you don’t do these steps, all the editing and new work that you’ve done would be lost. !!

How to make a Scene or Chapter Unused
Simply Right-Click the Scene or Chapter in the Main View and select “Toggled Used/Unused”. An Icon will display the state of the what mode to remind you.

Don’t want Chapters?
You can make something else, other than a “Chapter” and change it to “Other”, which would work great to make a Timeline using the scenes titles as days/dates/times.

How to Zoom In Text
I didn’t think I could make my text larger or smaller while I typed, because I didn’t see a VIEW menu AND I didn’t want to use the Font size to change my font anyway (that’s on the Main View SCENES > SET FONT ACROSS ALL SCENES). I just wanted to make the text a bit bigger. Well, while I was showing my hubby my new best first, my hubby (my personal internal Desk Support guy) said, “Just hold down your CTRL button and use the scroll on your mouse.” Really? Yep. Really. I was like, “How you know that would do that?” He said, “It’s Windows” as if everyone should know this.

How to make Single, Double Space Lines
Use CTRL+A to select all of the scene
Use the following:

  • CTRL + 1 for Single space lines
  • CTRL+2 for Double space lines
  • CTRL+5 for 1.5 space lines

Set all the Scenes to Draft mode or 1st Edit mode
In the Main View, hold down your SHIFT key and select the first and last scene (this will select all scenes. To select individual scenes, hold the CTRL key). Then RIGHT-Click and click SET-STATUS > DRAFT

Organize Folders
Make sure to create a folder for each individual project. It will help manage things better. For instance, I have a Book folder and under that a title for each of my books. Then I have another folder called yWriter to place that particular book’s project in there.

  • BOOK
    • TITLE OF BOOK
      • yWRITER FOLDER
    • TITLE OF 2nd BOOK
      • yWRITER FOLDER

That’s all my tips and trick for yWriter that I’ve been using and having fun with. You have anymore? Let me know.

Until Next Time 🙂

You’ll Never! get better at writing!

Some years ago, I got my feelings hurt when critiquing someone’s work. It was sometime before 2002, and it still stays on my mind. I knew it when I wrote it that my observation wouldn’t be taken very well. I could tell immediately because of the how this person wrote his story.

I’ve been a member of Critters for some time (I joined in 2000), and it has shown me A LOT about writing. In order to learn to write, a professor once told me, you need to read. And having to do a critique at least once a week at Critters definitely taught me a thing or two about improving my own writing. In just a year, I could immediately recognize: beginning writers, talented writers, boring writers, teeny-bopper writers, college writers, arrogant writers and everything in-between writers.

I don’t remember the author’s name, so please don’t ask me. Like I said, it was a very long time ago. But, this person had a story that I looked at and saw some potential in it. However, he had like 20 new words for the reader to digest. I mean, he had a new word for a type of food, introduced over five characters, new words for places and other items…and this was all with in the first five or so paragraphs.

So, I listed these words, and I told him that I could not complete reading his story. I couldn’t finish it. I also told him I had just came back from a creative session (or critiquing session) where they tell you how long you have to keep an agent and/or publisher’s attention if you want to submit your work. It’s called “The Hook”, which is only the first sentence. You just got ONE line to keep someone’s attention, and he had it. But then the story got so convoluted with so many new terms and descriptions that I just couldn’t keep track of what was going on.

I explained my reasons why and couldn’t continue reading his story, like I’ve done now, and told him that it wouldn’t keep anyone’s attention and that he needed to cut down on all the new words and introduce characters and places slowly throughout the story. That’s what a book is for–it’s not a short story–you can space things out and provide a good pace of explaining things.

Well, of course, he was pretty upset with me and told me so. He also went on with saying that if I had continued reading the story then blah, blah, blah, and I would have known, blah blah blah, and he hoped I didn’t critique EVERYONE’S story like a agent. And ended his words with a statement: At least you got your 200 word weekly critique requirement met. Or something to that effect.

You know, I was in a critique group where this one particular writer refused, supply refused, to put her story in paragraphs and use quotations. Also, in this critique group, it was required that someone else read your writing out loud to the rest of the group. When someone else reads your writing, you can hear the flow of it, and you can see if the reader is understanding the way you intended your story to be read. Well, she wanted to read her own work because no one else understood how to project and place emphasis where it needed to be. Well, with no quotes, no paragraph breaks, no writing format of any kind, how DID she expect people to read her work? Eventually, we had to tell her that she could not come back to the group.

As I said before, after reading Soooo many types of stories and writers, I can SEE this type of personality. I can see the arrogance. I can see that this person only wants to be praised and NEVER wants to be critiqued.

The guy with the 20+ new words? I shouldn’t have wasted my time. I could see that my critique was not going to go over well. But I just wanted to help by showing him where he went wrong; how he could improve his work. But, you know, I just wasn’t quite sure if I should sent it, but, you know, we’re in a critique group so… I mean, that’s what a critique group does. People critique.

After that incident, I just don’t bother. I read the first line, or few paragraphs, of a story and if I see the signs, I just go to the next story – something I can read without stopping ever-other-sentence and not be able to enjoy the reading. I just hope that those types of people go to the section that explains: “How many reviews should I expect, and when? What if I didn’t get many?“. That will tell them.

My first paper in college, I got a D-, and I think the Teacher Assistant (TA) was being nice when giving me that grade. But he said, in BIG RED INK: “You Can Not Write Like This In College!” Damn. That was hurtful. I mean, it REALLY hurt. I almost got kicked out of college because I couldn’t figure out the difference between “were” and “are” and “is”, and what a darn thesis was. On top of that, I was in a basic writing course that I couldn’t pass. It was called Subject A at the time. I think, that last course, I only passed because after the 3rd time I took it, the students left to take the course had English as their 2nd language. I mean, I was going to get kicked out because I couldn’t even pass a simple, basic, writing course!

I put in some hours to stay in college. I went to tutor after tutor after tutor on every term paper I wrote for my first and second year of college until I got it figured out. It was hard and tearful work! But I finally figured out the formula for what was acceptable for college and I figure out the difference between “were” and “are” and “is” because another professor told me: “If you want to know English grammar, learn a 2nd language.” So, I had to take a 2nd language course anyway, and sure enough, Spanish helped me. (I’m not bilingual now. You don’t use it; you lose it). I finally began to get B+ and A-. I even found out that I got better grades in my courses when term papers were the focus (in-class writing tests that also required memorization…I didn’t do so well, but I LOVED multiple choice!)

I recently joined the WritersBeat and I conciously put down a critique of someone’s story there. It was just re-emphasizing what someone else had said earlier. If the other person didn’t say something, I would have just avoided it and went to another story.

But you know what that author said? The author said:

“The point is duly noted and I shall learn from it.”

TAH-DAH!!!

Now, THAT’S a writer!!! And he’s only been writing for up to 1 year. And you know what? He’s going to get better at it!

You want to know how NOT to improve your writing? You want to know why you’ll Never! get better at writing? Check out J.A. Konrath’s blog: How Not to Write a Story It’s hilarious and pretty sad. I can HEAR the frustration in his voice with some of these people who submit their stories to people to read. And they expect people to like it?!

You’ll Never! get better at writing! You’re darn skippy! Keep singing in the shower.

Until Next time 🙂

P.S. This blog was my follow up on my comment I made at the end of I Like the Feel of Paperback. No eBook For me! The last part on How NOT to write Novel.

Template to format your MSWord Novel to Kindle

I’ve put together how my book was constructed for the Kindle. I used the preview in Kindle to make sure it looks okay.

NOTE: Want to watch an Instruction Video for the below that has a template? Just go to Deana Zhollis Writing Tools.

The first step for the html programming I found on Critique Circle. I’m not a member. I actually was looking for something else and found this nifty way of getting your MSWord ready for html. If you use the MSWord converter, it just creates a whole lot of garbage html stuff that you really don’t need. Thus, if I had known this neat and quick way to change my MSWord to html WITHOUT loosing my italics, I surely would have used it instead of copying and pasting each-and-every-chapter into my Dreamweaver (for FREE html software, try out Kompozer. I downloaded it and it works great!), and then I had to compare my MSWord document to the HTML to put the darn formats back in. Not fun. But this now saves me a lot of headaches.

I’ve edited Critique Circle’s instructions to make it more general.

STEP 1

You can convert bold, italics, underline and centered text in MS Word to html formatted text before copy/pasting your text into your html programming/code window. In this way, you will not loose your italics, for example, when you copy/paste. The below instruction explains how to do this with bold and then you can use the same steps for the other formats

To do that, open up MSWord document and then open your find-replace option (CTRL-H), and make sure you are working in a throwaway copy of your manuscript so that you don’t accidentally save over it.

In the find-replace dialog, make sure you have your focus in the “Find What” text box (just click it) and then click on the “More” button, at the bottom of the dialog. There is a “Format” drop-down button. Click that and select “Font”. Now, select “Font Style” and then “Bold” and click OK.

NOTE: There is an easier way. You can press CTRL-B to toggle bold, CTRL-i to toggle italics, CTRL-u to toggle underline and CTRL-e to toggle centered. Just remember to have your focus on the “Find what” box and use the “Clear formatting” or “No formatting” to clear out previous formatting before entering a new one (ex. it might say “Not Bold”, which is not the same as not searching for bold text. In this case you should hit CTRL-B again to clear the bold flag)

Under the “Find What” text box, you should now see “Format: Font: Bold”.

In the “Replace With” text box, enter [b]^&[/b] and click “Replace All”.

This will find every piece of Bold formatted text and encase it with [b] and [/b].

Do the same with italics, underline and center (that’s in the “paragraph” option group). In every case, make sure that the option you had before is no longer selected, so that only bold, italics or centered is shown below the “Find What” text box.

Even if you have text that is italics _and_ bold you use the same method.

Here are the codes you want to put into “Replace With”:

Bold: <strong>^&</strong>

Italics: <i>^&</i>

Underline: <u>^&</u>

Centered: <c>^&</c>

STEP 2:

This part includes the following supported html coding the Kindle needs in order to look properly in their viewer. It will include the following things:

<a name=”TOC”/> for Table of Contents right before your Table of Contents

<a name=”start”/> for Go To Beginning where you want people to go when they first open your book

<a name=”cover”/> for Go To Cover where it will display your beautiful picture/cover of your book

<mbp:pagebreak/> for Page Breaks, which I mentioned in an earlier post

I researched if I needed to put the cover (<a name=”cover”/>) in my book or not. I couldn’t find anywhere where people were leaning more to the “to do” or “not to do”, so I left the cover out in my Kindle version. I can always insert the picture later on if I want. I read somewhere that I could put the cover at the end of the book, so that’s where I put it in the example below.

It also includes:

  • Table of Content in HTML
  • A bullet list in HTML
  • Dropped Case in HTML (The first letter of a chapter enlarged or larger)
  • A Glossary
  • A Prologue
  • About the Author
  • And stuff to put before the story begins (ISBN Number, Dedication, Website etc)

So, here goes my code. Hope it’s helpful.

<head>

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html;charset=iso-8859-1″ />

<title>{Enter your Title of Book here}</title>

</head>

<body>

<center><h2>{Enter Prologue Title Here}</h2></center>

<br>

<p>{Start the prologue text here}</p>

<p>{And keep on typing it all up}</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br />

<p>This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.</p>

<br>

<br>

ISBN 10: {Enter Number}<br>

ISBN 13: {Enter Number}<br>

<br>

{Title of Book here}<br>

Copyright {Date} by {Author Name}<br>

All rights reserved.<br>

Published by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<br>

Cover Design by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br>

<br>

To my family and friends who ….

<hr/>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>{Title of Book Here}</font>

<hr width=”10%” />

<font size=”+1″>by {Author Name Here}</font><br />

<hr />

<br />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center><h2><a name=”TOC”/></a>TABLE OF CONTENTS</h2></center>

<br>

<br>

<a href=”#Ch1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<hr />

<a href=”#Glossary”><font size=”+2″>Glossary of Terms</font></a><br />

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<a name=”start”/></a><h2 id=”Ch1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>E</b></font>lephant went for a swim on a cool day. Begin novel story and stuff here.</p>

<p>Last Line of the chapter is here.</p>

<p> <br />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch2″> Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>T</b></font>he sun went up and then down again.</p>

<p>Last Line of chapter and 1st part of book here.</p>

<p align=”center”><strong><em>The End</em></strong></p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Glossary”>Glossary of Terms</h2>

<p><strong>Magic:</strong> Used thooughout the entire Novel to make things sparkle and look pretty.<br />

Examples of certain techniques:

<ul>

<li>Song ability</li>

<li> Animal ability</li>

<li> Water ability</li>

</ul>

<p><strong>Poor:</strong> An individual in a state of despair and desperation.</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 align=”center”>About the Author</h2>

<p> </p>

<p>Lori Jones is an instructor for elephant painting and dancing

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<h1>Other Books</h1>

Elephant? Where are you?<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”3″>(Coming Soon…)</font></strong><br>

Elephant – Together at Last<br>

Mice and Elephant<br>

<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”4″>The Tusk Series</font></strong><br>

<br>

Tusk – White and Shiny!<br>

<br>

</center>

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”http://www.zhollis.com/images/TheMadewebsite.jpg” alt=”TheMade” longdesc=”TheMade.htm”>

</body>

</html>

Below Code is for Multiple Books within a Novel. It also includes:

  • Table of Content in HTML
  • A bullet list in HTML
  • Dropped Case in HTML (The first letter of a chapter enlarged or larger)
  • A Glossary
  • A Prologue
  • Book I and Book II (Book II has the Chapter Numbers starting from 1 again)
  • About the Author
  • And stuff to put before the story begins (ISBN Number, Dedication, Website etc)

So, here goes my code. Hope it’s helpful.

<head>

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html;charset=iso-8859-1″ />

<title>{Enter your Title of Book here}</title>

</head>

<body>

<center><h2>{Enter Prologue Title Here}</h2></center>

<br>

<p>{Start the prologue text here}</p>

<p>{And keep on typing it all up}</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br />

<p>This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.</p>

<br>

<br>

ISBN 10: {Enter Number}<br>

ISBN 13: {Enter Number}<br>

<br>

{Title of Book here}<br>

Copyright {Date} by {Author Name}<br>

All rights reserved.<br>

Published by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<br>

Cover Design by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

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<br>

<br>

To my family and friends who ….

<hr/>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>{Title of Book Here}</font>

<hr width=”10%” />

<font size=”+1″>by {Author Name Here}</font><br />

<hr />

<br />

</center>

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<center><h2><a name=”TOC”/></a>TABLE OF CONTENTS</h2></center>

<br>

<br>

<p>BOOK I: </p>

<a href=”#Ch1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<br>

<p>BOOK II: </p>

<a href=”#Ch1_1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch1_2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch1_3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<br />

<a href=”#Glossary”><font size=”+2″>Glossary of Terms</font></a><br />

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<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>BOOK I</font>

<hr />

</center>

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<a name=”start”/></a><h2 id=”Ch1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>E</b></font>lephant went for a swim on a cool day. Begin novel story and stuff here.</p>

<p>Last Line of the chapter is here.</p>

<p> <br />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch2″> Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>T</b></font>he sun went up and then down again.</p>

<p>Last Line of chapter and 1st part of book here.</p>

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<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>BOOK II:</font>

<hr />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch1_1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>S</b></font>arah found a wonderful shade next to the elephange</p>

<p>Last line of Chapter here.</p>

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<h2 id=”Ch1_2″>Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>W</b></font>ater fell down from the elephant into her eyes</p>

<p>Last line of Chapter here and last line of the entire book. Hurray! You’re finished! Good job!<br />

<br />

<br />

<p align=”center”><strong><em>The End</em></strong></p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Glossary”>Glossary of Terms</h2>

<p><strong>Magic:</strong> Used thooughout the entire Novel to make things sparkle and look pretty.<br />

Examples of certain techniques:

<ul>

<li>Song ability</li>

<li> Animal ability</li>

<li> Water ability</li>

</ul>

<p><strong>Poor:</strong> An individual in a state of despair and desperation.</p>

<hr />

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<h2 align=”center”>About the Author</h2>

<p> </p>

<p>Lori Jones is an instructor for elephant painting and dancing

<hr />

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<center>

<h1>Other Books</h1>

Elephant? Where are you?<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”3″>(Coming Soon…)</font></strong><br>

Elephant – Together at Last<br>

Mice and Elephant<br>

<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”4″>The Tusk Series</font></strong><br>

<br>

Tusk – White and Shiny!<br>

<br>

</center>

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”http://www.zhollis.com/images/TheMadewebsite.jpg” alt=”TheMade” longdesc=”TheMade.htm”>

</body>

</html>

Okay. So, that’s what I used for my three (3) books for formatting. I hope this helps you guys out there with formatting from MSWord to HTML a little easier.

Note: the image html would look more like:

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”[imagenamehere].jpg” alt=”[ImageNameHere]”>

To see what it will look like, click <<here>>

Until next time…

Smashwords…Here I am! And…here I go…to Researching Writing Software

I’ve took the time to reformat my books to Smashwords submission process. They require a Microsoft Word format using Bookmarks and Hyperlinks for the Table of Contents. So now I have four (4) versions of my book: 1) HTML format, 2) Kindle format, 3) PDF format and 4) Smashword format.

It’s taken months in between to figure out where I wanted to send my books and if I wanted to do the formatting for them and when to do all of it.

I’m hoping a standard format will come soon, because it’s been a pain to re-format my books to each, individual publisher’s requirements. Maybe the standard might be epub (something I just recently found out about a few weeks ago while researching on the web to find some kind of software that, with a push of a button, it would recreate my books to whatever format the publisher wanted).

ePub

What is ePub? Well, from what I found out, ePub is short for “electronic publication” and it’s a format that allows eReaders like Barnes & Nobles Nook and Sony Reader to read it. A list of devices that support the ePub format is at wikiMobileRead. What it is, is a creation of XML files (mostly XHTML) all zipped up together. It basically makes a file for Every-Single-Chapter of your book. Take a look at a picture of it at addictivetips.

I’ve looked occasionally at MobileRead.com to see what the programmers have to say about all these different “e” stuff, and that’s where I begin to hope for a STANDARD eBOOK FORMAT.

There was one particular forum that someone was asking for a software that produced multi-format ebooks. One person replied stating: “…I have to consult my notes each time I do my conversions, to keep the differences in format conversion processes straight. If I worked in large volumes, I could see it driving me crazy…

He went on to talking about keeping up with sooo many formats:

…my biggest concern would be how well this tool could adapt to changing format standards (or how they were used by the end-user) over time. And with multiple formats to be concerned about, any little change in one of a half-dozen formats (or how an e-reader reads them) could require major rewriting of the tool.

A suggestion: Another way to look at this might be from the other end of the conversion process, that is, the reader end. As opposed to a universal SW (software) tool that converts and exports from one standard format (say, XHTML) to multiple formats, maybe there should be a set of clear guidelines for the e-reader of whatever HW/SW type to import and convert 1-2 standard formats to their proprietary format. In other words, rules that dictate how the elements in the original standard format must be read on the end-user’s e-reader, and the e-reader itself does the conversion.

The advantage to this plan is that it does not require the SW tool to adjust every time a new e-reader or doc format comes along, which can be costly and logistically challenging for the standards body, at best. Instead, it is up to the e-reader to conform to the guidelines.

This still allows the consumer the ultimate freedom, that is, to decide which e-reader they want to use based on features. And all that your group needs to be concerned about is the standard format, and the conversion guidelines, and you’re done.

Yeah, I know, I quoted a lot, but I liked the way he put his thoughts out there on a multi-format ebooks. To create a one-for-all type of software to convert everything would be a nightmare for programmers, thus it’s better if everyone just came to an agreement on ONE FORMAT.

ePub Conversion Software

So, then I research the MobileRead forum for software that would help you create the epub format that… uh…I didn’t have to buy.

I came to this listings:

  • Calibre
  • eCub
  • ePubHub

Calibre seems to be the most popular. Adobe InDesign can do it too. A list of other software on “How can I create ePub files from my books?” is at LexCycle.

And why was I looking at ePub? I mean, I already sent my books over in the other acceptable formats for the publishers. So, I don’t need to do the ePub thing (which I haven’t); but I really just stumbled into it.

WRITING SOFTWARE

Storyist

Well, I was first looking for that darn software that can convert my book to all the types of format requirements that all the different publishers wanted. I ran across Storyist that has now added the conversion export for the Kindle format. And as I researched if I wanted this thing, and decided I did want it since it looked like it had so many neat features to keep all your data for your research and files that I make when writing a book (like character listing, a location listing with a field to type the description for each place and also helps me to keep track of them), I found it that it’s only on the Macintosh computer! Then I saw StoryMill, but that was another Macintosh software.

Scrivener

Then I found Scrivener, which, at first was another Macintosh software, but now it can also be used in Windows sometime in 2011 (the above link has a beta download). However, Scrivener doesn’t have a timeline feature, but it sure does have some neat corkboard stuff (look at a YouTube video of it). More on Scrivener down below…

Liquid Story Binder XE

However, Liquid Story Binder XE looks pretty good too, but it seems to be a lot more complex, and I’ll get so absorbed with all the features, and not get any writing done.

PageFour

Then there’s PageFour which looks to be simple and something very easy to use; the same as

WriteWay

or WWV), but WriteWay has a few more features. What I really didn’t like is that certain parts of the software isn’t available unless you pay for it. There’s a standard version and a professional version. It’s the only writing software I saw do that. And the price was really up there. It is quite similar to …

WriteItNow

WriteItNow, which doesn’t look as nice as WriteWay , but I loved the idea of the relationship chart.

StoryWeaver

I saw StoryWeaver, but the look just wasn’t there for me (you gottah scroll all the way down to get to see the pictures on the website).

Dramatica Pro

Dramatica Pro just had too much other stuff (mostly on characters and such) than story, and it costs WAY too much on how the screenshots looked (Liquid Story Binder XE “looks” more like a $200.00+ software than Dramatica Pro).

NewNovelist

NewNovelist looked very nice and it reads your story back to you or you can talk you story into it (says the webpage). I remember years ago when the speech stuff was introduced and it wasn’t very good, but like I said, that was over a decade ago. Things might have improved today (which it has…more about that later down the way).

Pricing as of Feb 2011

  • PageFour ($34.95)
  • Liquid Story Binder XE ($45.95)
  • Scrivener ($45.00)
  • WriteWay (Standard $24.00/Professional $49.00)
  • WriteItNow ($59.95)
  • StoryWeaver ($29.95)
  • Dramatica Pro ($209.95)
  • NewNovelist ($49.99)


FREE STUFF

You know me, gottah research to see if there was some free stuff that might be equivalent to what’s on the buying market.

I found a freesoftware called Jer’s Novel Writer Screenshots, but again, it’s for Macintosh .

Another free software is called StoryBook, but it doesn’t seem to have the actual “writing” function. It’s mainly to help you organize. I didn’t see a main workspace for writing your novel. It’s a great tool if you want to keep the writing and the characters/outline separate though. More on StoryBook below…

I found RoughDraft, but it’s not being updated anymore.

And then there was yWriter, which looks really good for a free software. The video in YouTube definitely explained a lot for me on this software. And this YouTube Video was hilarious (Evil Prompts!!) and was so true to what I wanted, and also mentioned yWriter. So…. I downloaded it.

More on yWriter

I went in and put every scene of my book Creations that I’m currently working on into yWriter. I currently only have 11 Chapters and about 2-8 scenes in each chapter–that took me several hours. I didn’t quite know what a “scene” was, but I figured anywhere that I put double paragraph space to represent time passage or a change of scenery or anywhere I put ***, that’s where I had a scene. A very NEAT thing about importing an entire MSWord document into yWriter is that if I had put a *** break throughout my entire document, yWriter would break out every scene automatically for me (I didn’t find out about this until AFTER I inputted everything in manually), and it would beak out the Chapters if it had the word “Chapter 1” for instance in it. If I opened a scene and it had “* * *”, I could choose “Split scene on ‘* * *'” option, and there you go. It makes a new scene from the stars. I didn’t know if it worked since it looked like it blanked my entire scene out, but when I closed the Scene window, it had the next scenes already in the list. You do have to retype the descriptions and titles for each scene though. But, when I copied and pasted my book Creations into it, I had to do all of that anyway.

More on Scrivener

After playing around with yWriter, I decided to give Scrivener a try. Heck, it’s free for right now anyway with the beta testing. I figure I would take a look. I installed it and it told me it would expire in a week, where then I have to go and re-download another beta updated software. That’s cool. I just wanted to take a look.

It mention a tutorial that would take 30-45 minutes. I was like, ok, I had the time for that. Hmmm. This is a Beta, so you can’t expect very much in instructions. I mean, there was no pictures. Written instructions can only do so much with describing what you should click and where you should look. I found myself re-reading instructions 5-6 times before I accidentally found out what it was trying to tell me. Needless-to-say, it took me about two hours to get through. And when I wanted do a “show-and-tell” and tell my husband about the software after I finished it, I forgot most of what I went through.

Back to yWriter

Bottom-line, going through Scrivener made me appreciate yWriter even more. I didn’t really need a tutorial for yWriter. I just jumped right in. If I wanted to find out more, I did a search for it later. Doing Scrivener tutorial also told me how the other software programs I mentioned Above would need a learning curve as well, LOTS of learning, especially Dramatica Pro

I had so much fun with yWriter, I decided to download StoryBook. Well, just like I thought, I couldn’t find, anywhere, where I could actually write my story. I thought I had missed something, but I didn’t think I did. If I did, please let me know, because I didn’t find it anywhere.

However, in yWriter, there is a way to write in a full screen (Just Right-Click inside the Scenes area when you have it opened and select “Full screen text editor”). There’s also a way to make a Scene or Chapter unused simply by Right-Click and select “Toggled Used/Unused”. An Icon will display to state what mode it’s in. You can make something else, other than a “Chapter” and change it to “Other”, which would work great to make a Timeline using the scenes. Hmmm..I think I’ll just make another post just about yWriter. But as you can see, I’ve chose yWriter as my tool of choice! It’s easy, I can jump right into it, it’s free (though I loved it so much, I donated), and it’s simple.

WOW! A long posting today, huh. It took me several days to get this all in and looking at stuff. But it was fun.

Until next time!

Gonna go play with my yWriter 🙂 My Bestist Friend

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