Welcome

Warmest greetings to friends, accidental guests, and all fellow writers.

You all know the phrase "truth in lending," right? Allow me to bend and adapt that phrase to reflect my belief that fiction should be true-to-life, believeable. No plots with holes in them wide enough to swallow a blimp. The net beneath the plot doesn't collapse so that, right in the middle of the book you think, But that would never happen. "Willful suspension of disbelief" only goes so far.

My stories are inspirational fiction, intended to uplift the reader and glorify God. My plots have resolution and satisfaction by the last page.

So long as we live in the real world, we will have problems. But we also have the option of wise choices and faith in an all-powerful God who wishes for us only good. Walk with my characters through their challenges, knowing that they are designed to be like real people waging life, growing spiritually. That's what I mean by "Truth in Fiction".

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So You've Decided to e-Publish Part 2

   First, an apology to the previous commenters. My blog lets me post, but won't let me comment on comments. Is this normal? I feel I've fallen in Blogger Never-never Land.
   Back to the subject: Why is it so important to go through the steps of the Smashwords Style Guide before e-pubbing, even on Amazon.com? Because our marvelous software programs do TOO many things for us, like automatic spelling correction, aUTO mATTIC caps lock correction, lotsa good stuff. But the things they fix don't necessarily carry over into the final form, and may be undone in the e-pub final form.

   Things to look for:
1. Open your manuscript and click the paragraph sign to make hidden commands show. If you see a little reverse arrow where you've hand-indented a paragragh, remove it and get the indent by using the Enter key from the end of the previous paragraph. Every time. Throughout the whole book.

2. Remove extra paragraph signs. More than 3 confuses the system. You don't need them for an e-reader anyway. The Insert--> Page Break is the correct way to move to a new chapter or force a page move, as in the beginning dedication, acknowledgement, and title pages. Be sure there is at least one space before and after the Page Break.

3. Spaces show up as a tiny dot. Remove extra spaces. Look for them at the ends of paragraphs. Remember when we were taught to put 2 spaces between sentences? Now it's one. Do a Find and Replace: "type" an invisible 2 spaces in the Find blank, and only one in the Replace blank. Since a colon (:) requires 2 spaces, do a Find for :(one space) and Replace :(two spaces). Unless you're sure you don't have a single colon in your book.

4. Got italics? It's possible to have italics run from there to the ever lovin' end of the book! Just insure that there is a space after the italic word/phrase/sentence.

5. Do you use the Styles feature of Microsoft? I never did. I just set up a manuscript every time. Smashwords Style Guide says to select your whole manuscript (Contr-A), take away the style, then set up a new style specifically for your manuscript so the whole thing is in the same style. I found this difficult with Word 10 because each item must be de-selected. I compromised on some of the choices, and it worked out well.
6. Identify each chapter title by going to each one, selecting, and then click on the Style you want--font, bold, type size, center or left margin, however you want it to look. If you want to define a new style and name it "Chapter Titles", use the small arrow toward "New Style" and make yourself happy.

6 b. If you ever decide your manuscript font needs to be changed in font name or size and Select All to make that change, it will change the chapter titles as well. I've had to do them over. Bite the bullet, breathe deeply. It doesn't take that long. Use the number or title search to move quickly through the pages.

Now what type file does your target e-publisher require? For example, CreateSpace needs PDF files. Easy. Just "Save as..." Just so I didn't send them the wrong file, I saved as "LovesSecondVerse pdf.pdf". No changes to the original file, and I can see the PDF formatting with the title. Sometimes I have to trick myself into not making mistakes.

Remember, you have a choice. You can pay someone to do this for you. For Amazon's Kindle file conversion, the price is $69, but that doesn't seem to include all the above formatting. For their CreateSpace, it's $169. For Smashwords, their army of approved freelancers on Mark's List have fees starting at $20/hr, and it will take a few hours depending on what you deliver to them. If you would rather write than format, the option exists. If you really can't deal with your own software to do the formatting, pay someone else.

So much of this has been like learning a new language, which I've done 9 times. I don't remember much Arabic because, when I left Saudi Arabia, I never intended to return. Formatting for e-publishing has been like solving a puzzle, though, and I'd like to do it again.

Questions? Type in a comment. If I can't comment on your comment, I'll just post an answer. That seems to work today.

11 comments:

Audrey Hebbert said...

Wonderful teaching here! I just published an ebook (R U Bullied?) on Smashwords, and it made the premier catalog! A Mark-approved formatter, Miss Mae, went over it after I had done my best. I plan to publish a novel before August ends, and I'll use the same technique--Do my best and then have a formatter finalize. I'm keeping your notes, too, because they add some instruction the Style Book skips.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful. Thank you!

BK Jackson
http://www.bkjackson.blogspot.com

Janet Sketchley said...

Thanks, Lee! Very helpful. I've been resisting a lot of Word's auto-format options, so it sounds like I now have a lot of undoing to do before my files could be ebooks. Lesson learned for next time!

Lee Carver said...

Congratulations, Audrey. I wish you much success. I'll add more notes in the following days, and then these posts will fade into the archives for future access.

Lee Carver said...

BK, are you planning to format a ms? Let me know if I can help.

Lee Carver said...

Janet, you've been resisting the auto-format options? That IS what you need to do. Better yet, stop the auto-formatting by changing your choices. You want to make every correction yourself, not let Word do it for you. That way, you're sure it holds into the non-Word format.

Lee Carver said...

Janet, here's an example: If Auto-format "sees" that you've started a sentence with a lower case letter, it may (depending on your autoformat choices)correct that to a capital. If you leave it that way, the final e-form may not keep the capital. So delete the correction and then type it in correctly yourself. Better yet, disable as much of autoformat as you can, and do your own correcting. Before submitting your ms as an e-pub, go over every page for these little slips.

Janet Sketchley said...

Thanks for the extra insight, Lee. If I'm understanding correctly, we should do as much manual corrections as possible (I do this because if not I'm afraid I'll lose what little typing skill I have).

But we need to set up a Word template to use for our manuscripts. And in that template we should use the styles feature (for left-justify, double-space etc...?)

And we should use the auto-format for paragraph indents? I know not to space-bar the paragraph indent, but I'm fond of using tab.

Line spacing: for an ebook we don't want double-spacing, but should we use the auto-format to add a blank line at the end of every paragraph? That's one of the default things I always turn off but maybe shouldn't.

So many different programs, too bad they don't all work well together.

Lee Carver said...

If I'm understanding correctly, we should do as much manual corrections as possible.

ON THE TYPING, YES.

But we need to set up a Word template to use for our manuscripts. And in that template we should use the styles feature (for left-justify, double-space etc...?

CORRECT. IT KEEPS THE WHOLE MS CONSISTENT.

And we should use the auto-format for paragraph indents? I know not to space-bar the paragraph indent, but I'm fond of using tab.

THIS IS PART OF THE STYLE YOU SET UP. DON'T TAB OR SPACE THE INDENT. LET THE STYLE COMMAND DO IT WHEN YOU HIT THE ENTER COMMAND FROM THE END OF THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. I HAVE WRESTLED WITH THIS SEVERAL TIMES WHEN THE STYLE COMMAND DOESN'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I WANT. SOMETIMES I FIND THE TAB INDICATOR HAS SHIFTED AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE, SO I BLOCK THE OFFENDING LINE AND RE-POSITION THE TAB. SHOULDN'T HAPPEN,BUT IT DOES.

Line spacing: for an ebook we don't want double-spacing, but should we use the auto-format to add a blank line at the end of every paragraph? That's one of the default things I always turn off but maybe shouldn't.

SPACING IS A MATTER OF CHOICE, SINCE AN E-READER DOESN'T CARE HOW MANY PAGES YOU USE. I LIKE THE LIMITED SPACING OF 1.15 FROM THE PARAGRAPH CHOICES, AND I DON'T ADD A SPACE BEFORE OR AFTER EACH PARAGRAPH. I AGREE THAT IT SHOULD BE TURNED OFF. THAT BECOMES PART OF YOUR NEW STYLE CONSTRUCTION.

WHERE YOU FIND THESE OPTIONS DEPENDS ON YOUR VERSION OF WORD.

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Good info, Lee. thanks for sharing

Lee Carver said...

Patty, have you thought about putting your DVD's out as an e-book?