Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Edit a Manuscript in Microsoft Word

(Programs used in this tutorial: Microsoft Word )

Step 1—
Learning the Tools: Track Changes
Note: It is always best if you complete the Purge step in the How to Format Your Manuscript for Ebook & Print tutorial before you begin the editing process. This will make formatting easier later.

Open your manuscript in MS Word. On the bottom left there will be a Track Changes option. Click on it to turn it from Off to On.

The Track Changes option will now record all the changes you make by appearing as red text.

Learning the Tools: Comments
Sometimes you’ll need to leave a comment for the writer. To do this, use the comment tool. Click on the Review tab. Select the text you want to comment on and then click on the New Comment icon.

A box pops up to the right of the document. Type your comment into the box and then click on the document to return your cursor there.

If you make a comment, but later decide to eliminate it, just click on the comment and then click on the Delete Comment icon.

Step 2
It’s pretty straight forward. Find all the mistakes you’re great at finding and correct them. Track Changes will pretty much do the rest for you.

Step 3
Wrap It Up
When you’re finished editing and commenting, save the manuscript as something different from the original. I tend to use something like BookTitle_edited.doc. You can send this copy to your clients so they can accept or reject any edits you’ve made. If you prefer to send a fully edited copy, then there’s more to do.

On the Review tab, click on the mini arrow just below the Accept icon. Choose Accept All Changes in Document.

All the edits you’ve made are now in place without the editor’s marks from the Track Changes feature.

Now click inside one of the comments. Click on the mini arrow below the Delete comment icon. Choose Delete All Comments in Document. Now all the comments have been removed and you’re left with a fully edited manuscript ready for formatting.

If you found this tutorial helpful, you might also enjoy the following tutorials:

How to Format Your Manuscript for Ebook & Print in Eight Easy Steps

How to Embed a Font Into Your Manuscript for Publication

How to Create a Navigable Table of Contents for eBooks

How to Embed a Font to your Manuscript for Publication

When sending a manuscript to print or to be published as an ebook, it's important to have the right fonts. If you've downloaded a font or used a font that is rare, the publishing platforms will generally substitute the font for something familiar, like Times New Roman or Verdana. This happens because not all systems have the same fonts installed. To keep this from happening, embed the font into your document so it's available.

Step 1--
Go to File and select Options.

Step 2--
This opens the Options dialogue box. On the left side column, select the Save tab.

Step 3--
Near the bottom, check the box that says Embed fonts in the file. If you've used several fonts or the document is quite long, it might be a wise idea to also check Embed only the characters used in the document. This will reduce the file size of your document.

Step 4--
Click OK.

If you found this tutorial helpful, here are more that you might enjoy:

How to Create a Navigable Table of Contents for eBooks

How to Format Your Manuscript for eBook & Print in Eight Easy Steps

How to Create a Navigable Table of Contents for Ebooks

Step 1—
List your contents.
Just before the prologue or first chapter of your book, create a blank page using a Page Break. Now list all the contents in the book. Put a single content on one line. Here’s an example:

Chapter 1………………………Chapter Title
Chapter 2………………………Chapter Title
Chapter 3………………………Chapter Title
Author Bio

Note: eBooks do not have page numbers. eReaders have their own internal page numbering system, so including page numbers on this document would only cause readers confusion.

Step 2—
We’re going to use the bookmark and hyperlink function to make the TOC interactive. When a user clicks on the interactive pieces of the TOC, they’ll be taken to that chapter or piece directly. Bookmarks serve as anchor points and the hyperlinks link the words to those anchor points.

Locate the start of your Prologue in your document. Select the title (usually Prologue) or the first few words on the prologue if there is no title. Click on the Insert tab on the tool and then click on the Bookmark icon. This opens the Bookmark dialogue box.

In the Bookmark Name box, type Prologue and then click the Add button to the right.

Now select the next item in your table of contents. Most likely that item is Chapter 1, so scroll through the manuscript and find Chapter 1. Highlight Chapter 1 or whatever wording you have used to indicate that chapter. Repeat the process of setting the bookmark, giving it a unique name like ChapterOne or Chapter1. Names cannot contain spaces.

Go through each item of the TOC one by one and create a bookmark for it.

Step 3—
Return to your TOC page and select the first item. In the example above, the item is Prologue. Now return to the Insert tab and select the Hyperlink icon. This opens the hyperlink dialogue box.

On the left side, choose Place in This Document. A list of the bookmarks you created will appear in the frame in the center. Choose Prologue from the list.

To try it out, return to your document’s TOC page. The word Prologue should be blue with a line beneath it to indicate it is now a link. Depending on your MS Word settings for this feature, it may not be blue and underlined. If you scroll over the word, however, your cursor will turn to a hand. Click on the word and it should take you to the beginning of the prologue. In some versions, you’ll need to hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on the word.

Now move on to the next item and repeat the process to link it to the bookmark to which it corresponds.

Once you’ve finished, test each link to make sure all the links take you to the proper locations.

Was this tutorial helpful? Here are some other tutorials you might enjoy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Format Your Manuscript for Ebook & Print in Eight Easy Steps

{Programs used in this tutorial: Microsoft Word 2010, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Notepad}

Step 1.
The Purge—
Open your manuscript in Microsoft Word. Select all the components of your document by pressing CTRL + A on a PC or ⌘ + A on a Mac. Open Notepad. Paste the entire document into Notepad. We're doing this to relieve your document of all its formatting so we can start fresh. Inside Notepad, select all the text again and copy it. Open a new Microsoft Word document and paste your text inside it. Go to the Home tab up top (Version 2010)

On the tool bar, you’ll notice an emblem that resembles a musical note. This is called the show/hide button.

When you click on this button, it’ll show you editor’s marks. These marks will illuminate a good deal of all the “under coding” as I like to call it. It shows where all the spaces are located and what keystrokes have been used to create different formatting aspects. For example, this symbol indicates a paragraph has been started by using the Enter key.

Notice the dots between the words. The dots indicate when the space bar has been used. The following symbol will tell you that the person has used the Tab key to create an indented paragraph.

Both Amazon (KDP & Createspace) and Smashwords do not like the use of the Tab key. There’s actually a really long list of things both of those platforms don’t enjoy, so we’re just going to start with a fresh manuscript, hence the purge. By ‘purging’ our document, we’re eliminating ALL the formatting and creating our own.

Select all the components of your document and click on the Home tab. Click on the grayed-out mini arrow beside the Paragraph option.

This opens the paragraph option dialogue box. Use the following settings:

Step 2—
Eliminating Waste.
The next part is the most time-consuming part of the entire formatting process. You must go through the entire manuscript and eliminate every occurrence of the Tab key. The specifications we used in the paragraph dialogue box has set your paragraphing for you. This step is meticulous, but necessary.

While you’re going through the manuscript, also look for double spaces after periods. You can identify them by a double dot after the period. A single dot indicates one space, while a double dot will indicate two. Having a double space after the period will not deem your manuscript unworthy of processing, but I’m a proponent of consistency.

Pay attention to every time the Enter key has been used. When you find the symbol indicating the key has been used, ask yourself if the mark is there because a new paragraph has been started or if  It's used to make sure a new chapter starts on a new page If it's the latter, they need to be deleted. The only time you should see the Enter mark is after a paragraph. You should never see more than two Enter marks in a row. Several instances of using the Enter key will flag the auto-vetter process of the platforms and cause problems. It’ll also make your ebook look pretty funky. There’s a better way to establish the chapters, which brings us to the next step.

Step 3—
Creating Chapters
When the chapter has ended, use a Page Break to start the new chapter on a new page. Set your cursor at the end of the last sentence of the chapter and then press Enter once. Next, go to the Insert tab.

Now click on the Page Break option.

This sets a stopping point and pushes all preceding text to the next page. Do this after every chapter, even if there’s only one line on that page. When finished, go through and make sure there are no blank pages. Sometimes when a page break is used but the page was full anyway, it’ll create a blank page. If this happens, simply go to the next page and hit the backspace button. It’ll keep your Page Break, but will bring up the next chapter where it needs to be.

While doing this, also go ahead and fix the appearance of the Chapter headings. If you’re using images, be sure to follow the instructions in Step 4. Format your text to your liking, but avoid using font sizes greater than 18. Ebook platforms don’t digest those very well. Avoid formatting text using the Headings options. Also, if you’re using a font you created or a font you downloaded, it’s a good idea to embed the font to your document. If you’re using a popular font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Calibri, etc., there’s no need to do this. How do you embed a font? Find out here.

Step 4—
With your image selected, right click on it and select Size and Position. Choose the Text Wrapping tab and make sure the In Line with Text option is set. Do this for every image in your document. Unfortunately, you can’t use any of the other positioning options per the requirements of the platforms. You’ll want to make sure any image you use is 300dpi or higher. This ensures high quality images. You’ll also want to be sure your image size is kept to a minimum. KDP requires images to be either .jpg or .gif and are 127KB or less in size.

Step 5—
Title Page
The title page is very simple. Scroll to the top of your document and place the cursor at the very beginning. Use a Page Break to create a new page preceding your text. On this page, type in the name of your book and include your byline if desired. Here’s a few simple rules: Format using the text formatting tools. Avoid using Headings to format text. The title page is strictly for the title of your book and the byline, nothing more. For ebooks, use font sizes that are 18pt or less. If you choose to use color in your text, remember that you’ll need to choose the color option for printed books when uploading to your platform. You can also use a graphically designed image on the title page to represent your title. Please see Step 4 to format any images you use on the Title Page.

Step 6—
Copyright Page
Up to this point, everything we’ve done is essential for ALL editions of your book. However, now we’re going to end up saving three (3) different versions, one for KDP, one for Smashwords, and one for a print version. Let me show you.

After your title page, use a Page Break to create a new page.

As mentioned above, do not use font sizes over 18 for ebooks. It will cause you a problem. Just don’t do it. Different platforms will require different information for the copyright page. We’ll start with KDP. KDP is the platform used to upload your book to make it available on as an ebook. The cover page for KDP requires this information:

Name of Book
Name of Author
Name of Publisher
Copyright symbol & date

The Smashwords platform requires this information:

Name of Book
Name of Author
Name of Publisher
Copyright symbol & date

The Createspace platform requires this information:

Name of Book
Name of Author
Name of Publisher
Copyright symbol & date

I’ve noticed that Createspace now has the option to convert the print version to ebook, eliminating the need to upload the ebook version directly. I don’t recommend doing it for many different reasons, but I won’t go into it here.

Some choose to include a license note on the copyright page. Here’s a sample of one if you choose to use one:

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Please note that each edition of your book requires its own ISBN, so you’ll be creating three (3) separate documents at this point. Insert the required information for each document. Click on File and then Save As. For now, we’ll save the ebook versions because the print version will be transferred to Adobe Acrobat Pro for page numbers. I suggest saving using document titles such as these: BookTitle_smashwords_edition.doc and BookTitle_kdp_edition.doc. I recommend saving using the 97-2003 option because Smashwords can’t accept anything higher yet.

Your ebook versions are set and ready to go! They now have the bare minimum requirements. However, generally ebooks have navigable Table of Content pages. If you’re interested in learning how to do that—and it’s pretty easy—pop on over to my next tutorial, How to Create a Navigable Table of Contents for eBooks.

For the print version, there’s two more things needed to reach the minimum requirements: book sizing and page numbers. Go ahead and save an MS Word version of the document containing the required copyright page information for Createspace. You won’t upload this file, but you’ll have it in case something happens. Save it as BookTitle_createspace_edition.doc. For consistency, I’d save it using the 97-2003 option.

Step 7—
Sizing for Print
Right now your document is set to 8.5 x 11 and if you sent it to print, that’s what you’d get… a book that will resemble those mathematics workbooks we used in first grade. Not very traditional….

Createspace provides several templates for various sizes of books. You can find them here:

Choose the size you want and then download the template. Open the template in MS Word and copy and paste the text from your BookTitle_Createspace_edition.doc file into the template. You’ll want to scroll through the entire manuscript to make sure all your formatting (and de-formatting) has stayed as you need it. For good measure, I’d revisit the Paragraph Dialogue Box to make sure none of the options have been altered.

Step 8—
Page Numbers
These templates will sometimes include headers and footers ready for page numbers, but I prefer to use Adobe Acrobat Pro because I can choose what page I want my numbers to start. I can also add separate sets of page numbers. This comes in handy if you're wanting to use roman numerals for the first portion of a book. In this tutorial, we're only going to do the basic page numbering.

Click on File and Save As, but this time, save the file as a PDF. To do so, in the Save As file type, choose PDF. Once it is saved, it’ll generally open on its own inside Adobe Acrobat Pro. If not, navigate to the location where you saved the file, right click on it, choose Open With and select Adobe Acrobat Pro from the list.

Now you’re working inside Adobe Acrobat Pro. On the left side of the screen choose the tab Pages.

This opens a column that shows a mini version of all the pages in the document. Go through them and decide which page you’d like your page numbers to start on and what page you’d like them to end on. For example, I don’t include page numbers on the Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication Page or the Prologue Page. I like for my page numbering to conclude at the end of the last chapter of the book. I don’t include page numbers on any “back” material, such as the Author Biography, End Notes, Epilogues, or Previews. Memorize or write down the page numbers you want to use for your starting and ending pages. You'll need them in the next part of this step.

Select Document from the top tool bar and then choose Add Headers & Footers.

The dialogue box that appears shows two tabs: Header and Footer. Both show three frames. These represent the left, center, and right of the page.

If you’re on the Header tab and you place the cursor in the center box, what you type will appear on the top of every page and in the center position. Many people prefer to put the name of their book in that spot, but some leave it blank.

Click on the footer tab and put your cursor in the middle frame. In the Insert Page Number box, choose the style you’d like to have for your page numbers, then click the Insert button. You’ll see <<1>> appear. Hit the Enter key to start a line below it. Some choose to put the title of their book here if they didn’t put it in the header position.

You can change the font of your numbers and text by using the options boxes in the Font section.

In the Page Options location, use the Page Range drop down menu to choose Apply to Page Range. In the From box, choose the page you identified earlier as being your starting page. In the To box, choose the page that will be the last to have a page number. Check the box that says Start Page Number At and choose 1. Check the box that says Replace Existing Headers and Footers on these Pages.

Make sure the margins are set to the specifications from the image above and make sure the units say Inches. Click OK. Save the document and you’re finished.

Now you have an ebook version for KDP, one for Smashwords, and a print version for Createspace. These are the minimum requirements and do not include any design elements other than basic images. This should make it quite easy for you, but if you don’t have the time or the patience, I will do it for you. The rate starts at $10 per document, so a total of $30. That’s for the very basic. I can design elements that match your cover art for additional fees and provide add-ins, like a navigable Table of Contents.

There’s one last thing. I know some of you are probably wondering, why no page numbers in ebooks? Ereaders allow users to change the size and style of the font, which creates varying page counts, so even if you did use page numbers on your document, it would never be correct. It would cause confusion for the reader. However, the newest ereaders have their own internal system that will create page numbers and will modify with every choice a user makes. This is why I suggest using a navigable Table of Contents page.

I hope this tutorial has helped. If there’s any confusion or something you don’t understand, please let me know so I can fix this tutorial for others. The sharing of information is important and vital to the success of everyone. I sincerely hope I’ve provided a good resource for you to accomplish your publication. Good luck!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Touching Smoke by Airicka Phoenix

Intriguing Story

What really hooks me into a story is not necessarily a story line or even strong characters. No, what does it for me is the feeling I get when reading the story.

I grew up in the 90s and so the whole brooding/sulking vibe is engrained deep in my culture. I enjoyed swooning over the tortured soul of Angel from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the greasy long hair of Jordan Catalono from My So-Called Life, and the lullabies of the Goo Goo Dolls. I think the word “tortured” is the key word here. The character Isaiah from Touching Smoke really brought forth the nostalgia from that period of my life. He’s dutiful, selfless, troubled, and very, very protective… and for good reason. 

Fallon, the main character, is the recipient of his loyalty. Their bond is more than magnetic, more than unusual… more than human. It transcends all lines. Fallon herself has been thrown into situations she not only does not know how to contend with, but doesn’t even understand. What makes it even more frustrating is the one person who can give her the answers is the one person who could demolish her.
Lost memories, dreams of an oddly familiar girl, strange creatures hunting her, chasing her… what is happening? 

I really enjoyed Touching Smoke by Airicka Phoenix. The characters were dynamic, full, and diligently created. It was a carefully thought out plot and there was just enough questions answered to urge you into the second of the series. 

I enjoyed how Phoenix demonstrated certain characteristics in a subtle way and tied it all together at the end. I’d love to elaborate on that, but I’m afraid I’d spoil the story for someone who hasn’t read it yet, but when you read it, I feel certain you’d agree.

I also enjoyed Phoenix’s choice of wording and how she used it to define her characters, especially Fallon. There were several times I found myself thinking, “that is really good imagery,” or “how artistic.”

If you’re sitting on the fence about purchasing this book, I really think you should, especially if you’re a 90s girl who digs protective male characters and intelligent female roles like I do.

Review of The Killing Vision by Will Overby

You’ll Never Guess

I do it every time and I get so mad at myself for it… I always wait way too long after reading a book to write the quality review I want to give. I read The Killing Vision a few months ago and so much has stayed with me. That alone should tell you I really enjoyed it. I read so much that a lot of the time I forget parts of the story. Sometimes I recall next to nothing. Not the case with this one.

I vividly remember the characters, their individual traits, their mannerism descriptions, their expressions and the scenery. I remember the ups and downs of the storyline and getting frustrated when I couldn’t figure out who the freak did it. Just when you think you’ve solved it, Overby sends you a curveball. Then you’re like, “Oh! Now I know what happened!” But no, you’re wrong again.

The plot in The Killing Vision is exceptionally well thought out. I can’t imagine what the outline must have looked like. It had to have taken a considerable amount of planning to set up, reveal, and tie together all the pieces to this mystery. 

When I was searching for a Will Overby book, I had to force myself to choose just one. I’m really glad I grabbed The Killing Vision. It has definitely convinced me to get another. 

You can also find this review at