Help & Advice

By Josephine Shaw

Preparation is essential even if the presentation will take only two minutes. 

Think through these questions until you have satisfactory answers.
·               What is my objective?
·               What sort of people are the group?  What will be their objective/s?  How shall I get their interest and co-operation in achieving my objective and theirs?
·               What facts do they need in order to meet their objective/s and, if desirable, to discuss the topic constructively?
·               What detail, if any, is needed to elucidate the facts?
·               In what order shall I give the facts?
·               How shall I begin?  What facts provide the meat of the topic?  How will I end?
·               What techniques shall I use – eg explanation, demonstration?

You may find it helpful to have cue cards to hold.  They can be on a ring or file tag so that they can be turned over easily.  Write the first sentence of your talk in full. Write key facts in capital letters with key details under each heading in small letters.  Write the last sentence in full.  Write large enough to read comfortably.  Number the pages.  If you prefer to write your presentation in full to get you going, reduce it to key word notes.  Never read from a script. 

When you have completed your notes check the following points.
·               Is the objective clear and is the content relevant?
·               Is the content clear, adequate, complete and sufficiently detailed?
·               Is there any unnecessary information or detail?
·               Is the content structured?
i            Does the introduction ‘set the scene’ for the listeners?
ii            Does the middle present the facts in a logical sequence?
iii            Does the conclusion summarise the content and indicate what is expected of the members eg questions, discussion?
iv            Include a joke if it s relevant and really humorous.
There is a golden rule which is helpful.
i      Tell them what you are going to tell them
ii      Tell them
iii      Tell them what you have told them.

Gaining confidence
Rehearse your presentation in front of a mirror.  If possible ask one or more friends to be an audience and then give you feedback.  This enables you to check the timing.  You may have to add to or reduce the content and perhaps restructure it a little.   Ensure that there is no duplication.  Review your choice of words and hone the phrases.  Practise deep breathing.   

Wear comfortable clothes in which you feel good and comfortable shoes.
Breathing - take a deep breath before you begin and then breathe from the diaphragm.
Posture - standing is better than sitting so that you can have eye contact with the listeners.
Stand up straight with feet slightly apart.  Find the most comfortable stance for you.
You may wish to ask that mobile phones be turned off or put on silent operation.
Say that if members wish to ask questions you will be happy to hear them and answer them after your presentation.  This avoids interruptions that can throw you off track.
Avoid mannerisms such as waving arms and hands, ‘fiddling with hair’.
Speak distinctly.  Vary your speed but do not speak so quickly that you slur your words, modulate your voice (breathing from the diaphragm helps), talk to the people at the back of the room.
Pause before making points that you wish to emphasise and after important points.  This gives listeners time to ‘digest’ them.
Establish and maintain eye contact by looking around the faces.  This helps to make each listener feel that you are talking to them as an individual - difficult to achieve but great if you can.
Speak with conviction and enthusiasm.
Be natural and sincere.  Smile when appropriate to do so.

© Josephine Shaw    (February 2014)

By Jacqueline Pye

Like so much else in publishing, writing and selling articles is an evolving process. However, while some will say that the market is dead, a quick look at the mag section in the newsagent’s shows that there are publications on almost any subject you could think of, and someone has to write the content.
       Agreed, most of the content is written in-house and by a very small staff, but they can’t know everything. An approach from a freelance offering a new idea, or particular expertise, can persuade the editor to
take up that pitch.

Decide and Research
1  Choose an area of which you have special knowledge, or one in which
    you’re interested and are keen to research. It might be your hobby,
    knowledge from your field of work, a looming anniversary, or a biography.
2  Browse magazines on the subject, and buy any that seem promising.
    Note their general tone, the length of the articles and of paragraphs and
    sentences, and whether photos are used. Consult the Writers’ and Artists’
    Yearbook for a comprehensive list - some libraries make this available.
3  When you’ve chosen a market, check the website for info on submitting
    and the name and (if possible) email address of the editor.

Pitch Your Idea
Write a fairly brief email/letter giving the proposed title, the thrust and aim of the content, the likely length, and why you’re the right person to write it. Mention the magazine early in your pitch. Then lastly, thank the editor for his/her time! While you await a response, make a plan of the piece and dive into the research.

Write It
1  If the editor asks to see the piece, you should be ready to write it. Match the
    layout to the house style, start with a concise and irresistible ‘hook’, and end
    with a round-up of the content (maybe bullet points), and any useful links.
2 Judge whether humour is used and write accordingly. Vary sentence lengths,
   and avoid repetition of words/phrases as far as possible.
3  Edit vigorously. Check the word count and don’t be afraid to slash sentences
    or paragraphs if they don’t add much. It hurts you, but not your chances.
4 Finally, proofread from beginning to end, and end to beginning. Then submit.

1  No reply. It’s OK to email a polite query after 3-4 weeks, but only once.
2  ‘Sorry, not for us.’ Approach a different magazine but be prepared to study it
    carefully and tailor the piece to fit.
3  ‘We like the idea. May we see it?’ Send it a.s.a.p. by the means specified.
4  When you’ve sent the piece, ‘Yes, we’ll take it.’ If not already mentioned, ask
    now what the rate would be, whether you need to invoice them, and whether 
    they could let you know when the piece appears in the magazine. Congrats!


Lisa Scullard for Writing Buddies, February 2013

If you have formatted a document for e-book already, it is a good starting-point for your print version (n.b. This does not work successfully the other way around, due to format restrictions in e-books). Otherwise, your original document may be in Word, Works, Rich Text Format or Open Office text (ODT).
Firstly, you will need to decide on your physical book's dimensions. The most popular, and easiest to set up free distribution for, are 'Digest' (5.5”x8.5”), or 6”x9”.
Start by downloading a free template file from Createspace or Lulu for your chosen interior size. The template works in Word or OpenOffice. This sets up your page dimensions, mirror page styles including 'gutter' (the deeper margin that appears in the book's spine to account for page bend), and trim area. Do not alter the formatted page layout, unless prompted to do so by your online previewer later upon uploading (for example, if prompted to increase the gutter margin for books of over 410 pages – you will be told by how much the gutter needs to increase).
Using Ctrl+A, select and copy your document from either your e-book document you created earlier, or your original document if you have not created an e-book yet. Open the downloaded pre-sized interior template with either Word or OpenOffice, and paste your document into it.
If you have previously created an e-book and used it as your source, all of your title page, copyright page, table of contents, page breaks and formatting will be preserved. If you have not created an e-book from your original document before, you will need to do some basic cleaning-up at this stage:
ñ  Left indent: 0cm
ñ  Right indent: 0cm
ñ  First line (special): 0.5cm
ñ  Above paragraph: 0cm
ñ  Below paragraph: 0cm
ñ  Line spacing: 1 line/1.5 lines (according to personal taste)
It is up to you how you set out your justifications throughout. Either left or parallel margin justification looks good in print. Centralising chapter headings, and right justification for other information, is also used for effect.
You will need a title page for the very first/front page – just the title, in the font/size of your choosing, and your name underneath.
The next page is your copyright page. The legal minimum, to protect your rights, is to say 'Book title © (your name)(year)' and on the next line 'The moral right of the author has been asserted'. You do not need to write anything more. If you have given yourself a publisher name, also include it on this page, e.g. First published by XXX Press in (year). You can also list other titles you have previously published on this page.
Then your Contents page/pages should appear, followed by an Introduction page and/or About the Author, a dedication if any, and then your chapters.
Always insert a page break at the end of a chapter or information page. The page break should be immediately after the last full stop of the chapter. This will be preserved if there are any later edits – do not use line returns to move new Chapters onto the next page – this will corrupt at every minor edit anywhere in the book – always use 'Insert/page break' or 'Ctrl+Enter' at the end of the last line of a chapter or information page.
Insert any headers, and page numbers. Your pagination will traditionally start with odd numbers (from 1) on a right-hand page, and even numbers on the left. (N.b, these pages appear back-to-front on-screen while editing – what you will see side-by side on the screen is the right-hand/odd-numbered page on the left, and its reverse to be printed on the right, i.e. the following left-hand page as you turn it in the printed book).
To displace page numbers at the beginning of a book, for example to start with Chapter One on Page 1, click in the footer before the page number on any page, and go to 'Edit/Fields'. In the 'offset page numbers' box, type the number of pages you wish to skip before page numbering visibly starts. So if your copyright page, Contents, Introduction and About the Author take up four pages before Chapter One starts, type '-4' numerically (minus four) in the box. You will need to do this for both the left and right-handed page.
Traditionally, Chapter One starts on the right-handed page (viz, offset as page 1). If you have not enough pages beforehand to offset with an even number, it is perfectly acceptable to have a blank page facing page 1, or an image, or a dedication. It is entirely up to you, and often more visually pleasing to have this 'space' on the left-hand page, rather than a continuation of previous information such as contents or introduction facing the start of the first chapter.
Your headers are also a matter of aesthetics. You may have your author name as one header, and the book title on the facing page – or if the book is part of a series, you may have the series title on the left and book title on the right, or book's main title on the left and sub-heading on the right. Or simply the book title on both pages. Once a header is filled in on an even page, it must then be filled in on an odd page to appear throughout, as the page style in the template is 'mirrored' but information in these fields is denoted as 'right page' and 'left page' entries, so like the page numbering field settings, headers must be done twice, but do not have to match on left and right pages.
Page headers are also a space to be creative. You can use Wingding swirlies either side of your title or name, exotic fonts, experiment with font-size and capitals, or just use traditional text. Remember that what you are seeing on the template viewed at 100% will print in the finished book as actual size, so opt for clarity, whatever you use. The same goes for your title page and chapter headings – have fun with designing them.
Footnotes and endnote positioning from your original document will be preserved. You do not need to worry about these. Endnote pages will usually have a separate header field to the rest of your book, so in your header area there you can have something different if you wish, such as 'References' or 'Articles' – whatever is relevant to your notes, or you can just fill in your book title/author name as before.
Any internet hyperlinks behind text residual from your e-book version will need to be changed to actual internet addresses – remember that there is nowhere to click in a paperback book yet!
Some things you can of course do differently in paperbacks, compared to e-books. You can use line returns for spacing and positioning on the page – every page will be printed as you see it on the template document, so you have more freedom. You can use as many different fonts and sizes as you like, special characters, smiley faces, foreign text – whatever takes your fancy.
Any images should be added last, using 'Insert/Picture/from File', and in order from the front, as they will shunt all text and corrupt the layout of pages following, which will then need any formatting issues corrected. Pictures will only print grey-scale if you opt for black-and-white interior printing (pencil drawings and pen-and-ink look wonderful). Short books can be printed with colour interiors, although the pages will all be 'shiny' as in a cookery book, even those with no images and only text on them. The only decision to make there is cost, as they are very expensive to produce, so you may find it cost-prohibitive to produce a colour-interior book of more than 50 pages, which may be around £20 per copy to order.
Format your pictures using right-click/Picture to resize or crop. Do not drag the corners of the image to re-size – they will distort, and no longer maintain aspect ratio or picture quality. Use the 'percentage of original' re-size control in the Format Picture 'Crop' window. Vertical and horizontal should match – ensure that if you insert 30% in the vertical, you also put 30% in the horizontal instructions to maintain proportions.
Once you have finished adding to your interior, proofreading it and dealing with any problems, such as hanging sentences at the end of a chapter (where a single line appears in a lonely fashion at the top of the last page in a chapter before a page break – the best way to deal with this is to either give it some company by breaking up a few longer paragraphs in that chapter to move it all down a few lines, or to bring it back a page with some editing – some of my best edits/additions have occurred while dealing with end-of-chapter hanging sentences!), you can page-number your Contents list, which is very pleasing to see in a printed book. If your contents list is still hyperlinked from your ebook file, you can find your page numbers easily by navigating your way through the list and noting down each page that every chapter starts on. Keep a note at this stage of the total number of pages in your document. If you edit at any point after page-numbering your contents list, and it gains or loses you pages, you will have to re-page-number the contents list of every chapter after the loss or gain.
The neatest way to create a numbered contents list in a print book is to use an invisible table. Just insert a table two columns across and with as many lines as you need. Drag the centre line across to the right to make room for longer chapter headings. Cut and paste your chapter headings from the original list into their positions in the table. Then insert your page numbers. Left-justify the chapter headings in the left column, and right-justify the page numbers in the right column by selecting the column, and clicking the appropriate justification button on the toolbar. While the table formatting box is visible, select the entire table, and change the line-style to 'none'. You will see in your print preview that the lines are invisible. You can also adjust the spacing above and below text in the boxes using Format/Paragraph – this one below is set to 0.05cm, both above line and below line:

About the Author

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

If your chapter headings, or any headings/text elsewhere in the book still contains navigable hyperlinks, it is now a good idea to right-click on each and remove the hyperlinks, as they may otherwise appear blue, underlined, or in different fonts after saving and exporting to PDF.
Remember to save your work ('Save as/Book title', so you still have a copy of your blank template) in whatever file type you are using.
To export as PDF: In OpenOffice, a text-only book will save perfectly using 'File/Export as PDF', and following the prompts. Open the new PDF of your book after saving, and check it to ensure you are pleased with its appearance (and for typos!)
For illustrated print books, or to export from Word, you will need to download a free unlimited-use third-party program called 'doPDF' and install it on your PC or laptop. This is required to address problems in illustrated documents corrupting during export, such as images shunting to overlap text and blank pages appearing, and also works beautifully when exporting PDFs from Word, Paint, and other programs with no automated PDF creator. It is a small file size and has had no issues in the last two years I have used it. It works by setting itself up from the 'File/Print' menu. Once installed, go to 'File' on the toolbar, then select 'Print...' and in the control window, select the printer 'doPDF' from the drop-down printer choice menu. Click on 'okay' to proceed. It will say as usual 'printing' but is not actually printing, but converting the file. Once finished, it will open your new PDF automatically for you to check using your own previously installed Adobe Acrobat. Make sure your Acrobat viewer zoom setting is re-set to 100% to see your new PDF at actual size. You may find yourself having to search for its saved location in your documents afterwards, but it's worth it!
You now have a complete interior to upload onto either Createspace or Lulu, or both. Lulu makes lovely dust-jacket hardcovers, so if you have made a 6”x9” interior, you can use it for both hardcover and paperback versions.
Cover image:
You have two choices – you can use the high-quality online cover creators on Createspace or Lulu, using their templates, and add your own high-resolution images, or free non-copyright images (e.g. from These cover creators will calculate the spine width for you automatically and give you a range of font styles, backgrounds and layouts to use. Or you can create your own complete wraparound cover file from scratch. You will need to know the spine width and dimensions required by typing in your page count, trim/book size, and paper quality choice into the Createspace calculator or Lulu, and downloading a cover template to follow, which will have the trim area marked out as well. The cover you create for one site will not be the right spine width for the other, as the paper used by each is of different gauges. The best tool I've found to create these single covers is OpenOffice Draw, which exports files as PDF, although you could also use MS Paint or Photoshop, using 'doPDF' as your exporter via the Print menu as before. You may find creating a single wraparound cover can be hit-and-miss – I have done so for four of my books and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was very time-consuming, as covers have to be precisely actual size. I also use the cover creators for other titles and Lulu, as I can use a single image created myself for the front cover, and the rest is just selecting background and font colours on the back and spine to match, and adding a small author image for the reverse.
Createspace is owned by Amazon, so you only need your Amazon details to set it up, and like KDP for Kindle, it is free to publish, with ISBNs, and to distribute to, Amazon UK, and Amazon Europe. You can also pay a one-off $25 fee to list your books elsewhere such as libraries and academic institutions and for direct shop ordering, but it will require you to raise your cover price slightly. You will need to add bank details for any royalty payments.
Use the step-by-step method to publish and follow the prompts. It will issue you a free ISBN, listing Createspace as the publisher. If you buy and supply your own ISBNs, then you are the publisher.
Use the online previewer to review your book after uploading the interior file – reviewing your book by ordering a print copy, before approving it for distribution, can take up to two months just to arrive from the U.S.A. - so it is worth it to go through the online previewer pages as well as quite fun to watch the virtual pages turn and load.
If the online previewer detects problems with your file, address the ones such as 'insufficient gutter' or 'insufficient trim area'. Ensure that if you increase your gutter area, that you decrease your outer margin area by the same amount – or you will narrow the middle text area and increase your page count, forcing you to re-format and re-page number again. A bit of adjustment either side usually does the trick, but a gutter deficiency of a couple of millimetres won't spoil the readability of the book.
Problems such as low image resolution (as low as 72dpi) do not affect book printing or distribution, and there are perfectly good image reproductions at low-res in print books. Low resolution is generally fine for small graphics and scanned artwork. Photographs print better at a more optimum resolution, 300dpi, which is the recommended resolution for all images in a print book.
Once you have approved your file, ignored any minor issues and moved on, created or uploaded your cover (a great fun part to do online, as you see it appearing before you!), you will see a summary and a button to 'submit files for review'. You now wait up to 48 hours, biting your nails, for the human reviewers to quickly check the files as well. Reasons for rejection can be things like the author name and title of the book on the title page differing from how they appear on the cover, or another ISBN appearing on the copyright page – I had my other books listed here with their ISBNs, and was told those ISBNs were 'not correct for this title' and to update them. I ended up removing them from my book-list altogether, as it was quicker than pointing out their oversight in not realising they were the associated ISBNs for a list of my other books. But usually they just highlight minor issues such as image resolution, which can be ignored. You then approve your file by going back onto the site and confirming it for distribution, selecting your sales outlets, adding a description and author blurb, and it will appear on Amazon within a few days. Order a print copy to review as well – it is very cheap, will take a while to arrive, but you will have a copy to proof-read and mark-up for any changes.
Createspace will offer to forward your paperback file to the KDP site to publish as an e-book for you. Say no, especially if you have already published it as an e-book on KDP. This is because you have no idea how your book, optimised for print, will appear on an e-reader. There may be blank e-reader screens, and there will definitely be no linked table of contents or nice hyperlinks elsewhere. Use the e-book formatting guide to optimise an e-book version and publish on Kindle separately.
You can upload new versions at any time, and go through the review process again. Always select 'Interior' and 'Change/upload new version' from your product's dashboard on Createspace to upload your new edits. Don't delete the book and start from scratch, or upload it again from the start, or you will have multiple versions available with different ISBNs. Always make changes to the existing book. This will ensure that the old version is updated with the same ISBN, and the same product page on Amazon.
On Lulu: A similar step-by-step process is used, somewhat clearer, to publish books and make available to the public on Lulu. I find it easiest at present to have my Amazon version published by Createspace with their free ISBN, and to make special editions, hardcovers, and easy-ordering copies for author events printed by Lulu, as paperbacks from Lulu only take two days to arrive. Once you complete the process, there is no reviewer stage, and your book is available instantly. Look for coupon codes on their homepage, which are a regular feature – you can get up to 30% off coupons, or free postage, all of which adds up to considerable author savings when ordering copies for your own events. You will have a Lulu product page to share with the public and on your website or blog, and your book will be visible via search and browse, unless you make it private and available only to you.
You can have ISBN versions distributed from Lulu as an alternative to Createspace, but the last time I checked into this, the process requires you to have your PDF created by an 'approved' agent – so unless you want to pay for this, stick with Createspace for distribution and ISBNs. You can use Lulu as well as Createspace, for identical books for your own purposes – you are the self-published author and maintain control where your publishing platforms are – but you cannot add your Createspace ISBN as your own on Lulu, as it is not transferable.
An alternative print-on-demand company is Lightning Source, which have a very good reputation, distribution reach, and have the option of matte covers for paperbacks if you like the slightly rubbery tactile effect rather than the traditional print-on-demand gloss – but they are expensive and slow to set up, and you have to have a business bank account in your 'publisher name'. It can cost over £475 to publish one book through them, and spotting a single typo could cost (at last report) £88 to upload a revised version. Remember that it's 100% free to use Createspace and Lulu for the same, and there are no limits on the number of revisions you upload to either of those.
A note on uploading illustrated print books: Files of over 15MB will take a long time to upload, and may time out or crash if the site is very busy. Keep persisting, try uploading at different times of day, and close all other work and windows. If there is an apparently insurmountable problem, which so far I only encountered once on Lulu with a file refusing to upload, I looked on their advice page and downloaded an FTP client program which allowed me to transfer the file directly onto their server. It took far longer, three hours via FTP, but when it finished and I signed back into that author's account, the illustrated PDF was available to select from their 'My Files on Lulu' at the interior stage of publishing, so it can be done. I have not had the same problems with Createspace – you just need a little patience while the bigger files upload.


Lisa Scullard for Writing Buddies, February 2013

Your original document may be in Word, Works, Rich Text Format or Open Office text (ODT). The best and most reliable format to save it as and upload into Kindle for sale on Amazon is as a webpage file (HTML).
Firstly ensure that there are no manual reasons for corruption in the end product. Different fonts are not supported, so your e-book should be set in either Times New Roman or Arial, and no larger than 12-point font size (the e-reader devices support zooming-in of font size for easy reading, so having larger fonts in your original document is unnecessary).
For clarity, set your paragraph formatting like this:
ñ  Left indent: 0cm
ñ  Right indent: 0cm
ñ  First line (special): 0.5cm
ñ  Above paragraph: 0cm
ñ  Below paragraph: 0cm
ñ  Line spacing: 1.5 lines
It is up to you how you set out your justification. Both left and parallel margin justification is supported, so it is your choice depending on your preferred aesthetics. Centralising chapter headings, and right justification for other information, also works.
Always insert a page break at the end of a chapter or information page. The page break should be immediately after the last full stop of the chapter.
Remove all headers, footers, and page numbers. These will not convert.
You can use bold and italics in e-books. These convert well into e-reader format.
Most readers of Kindle prefer a hyperlinked/reverse hyperlinked table of contents, and for other converters including Smashwords and Lulu for Nook and Apple, it is compulsory for distribution. If you do not know how this is done, we will cover it as well.
Automated footnotes[1] and endnotes[i] always convert to appear at the end of a document in e-books. The links will not convert unless you manually hyperlink them – they will be numbered, but not navigable otherwise. Remember to link the endnote back to the start of the text where it originated as well. Use the same method to hyperlink them as you do for the contents list and chapters.
You can use internet hyperlinks in e-books, as most e-readers are browser-enabled. This is useful to direct readers to your website or blog, to online references in non-fiction, or to research articles. Put your personal links in your author page at the beginning of the e-book. Distributors like Nook and Apple will reject books where outgoing links appear at the end of the book.
Straight apostrophes (') and speechmarks (") look better in e-reader screen format than predictive curly ones (“”) and you will also have no problem with them appearing back-to-front as typos. Use 'Find/Replace All' to change them – remember to search for both (mirror) versions of each.
Some important DO NOTs:
ñ  Do not use multiple returns for line spacing. E-readers convert multiple returns at the end of paragraphs, or at the top of pages, into completely blank e-reader pages. For a text pause, use one return and then '*****' as a break (see above), which is the accepted format. You may use a single line return only before a chapter heading following a page break, for aesthetics.
ñ  Do not use space bar hits for indents, spacing or positioning. Again, these will convert into blank pages or empty lines, depending on the size of screen your book is viewed on. Phrases positioned using space bar strikes will not preserve their position when converted into e-books, but will simply 'shunt' phrases unevenly. Always use paragraph formatting settings (as described above) to create indents. A paragraph indent should never be more than 0.5cm – larger indents, such as 1.5cm, will push the first line of your new paragraph too far across the screen on smaller e-readers, such as the iPhone. You can use 'Find/Replace all' to remove multiple space bar hits – simply search for two spaces and replace with one space, and repeat until no more double spaces are found. This ensures that only one space at most appears between words, or in error. You can also use 'Show Non-printing characters' to scroll through and find spaces inserted in error at the start of a new paragraph.
ñ  Do not insert an additional blank line/return at the end of a chapter – this will convert into an empty e-reader page between the chapters.
ñ  Do not include hyperlinks leading to other e-book retailers – for example, e-books containing links to Amazon, including your Amazon author page, will be rejected by Apple, Kobo and Nook etc. Link instead to the 'books' page of your blog or website, to direct readers to find your other work, on your 'About the Author' page at the start of your e-book.
ñ  Do not include pages and pages of reviews and comments at the start of your book, unless they are by celebrities! (This is a Kindle audience preference). A few comments are fine, should you wish, or a single page 'Introduction'.
ñ  Do not use Wingdings, smiley faces or other non-typographical characters, even if they appear predictively through key-strikes. These do not convert into e-reader format. On my first attempt, I found these converted into empty square boxes on Kindle, and Chinese lettering on Smashwords! If you want to insert a character which is not on your keyboard, use 'Insert/Special character' from your chosen font only (for example, when writing the word pâté) and if you want to insert a smiley face or swirly shape as an artistic form, use 'Insert/Picture/From File' – there will be more on inserting pictures later, as the saved file format and layout is more complicated.
ñ  Do not leave a hanging space bar strike at the end of a paragraph. This will insert a blank line under the paragraph.
Once you have cleaned up and formatted your file as above, there are a few inclusions to add. You will need a title page – just the title, in Bold, and your name underneath. This is usually centralised, and should have no more than one line return above the heading for aesthetics. Do not try to position it halfway down the page using line returns, or the first few pages of your e-book will be blank on smaller e-reader screens. A page break should follow immediately after your name.
The next page is your copyright page. Some authors write long-winded copyright pages. The legal minimum, to protect your rights, is to say 'Book title © (your name)(year)' and on the next line 'The moral right of the author has been asserted'. You do not need to write anything more below that. If you have given yourself a publisher name, also include it on this page, e.g. First published by XXX Press in (year). Do not say 'published by Kindle' – they are not your publisher, just your distribution platform.
However, when publishing on Smashwords for Apple and Nook etc, and accepting a free Smashwords ISBN for distribution, they are your publisher. In this instance, you must have 'Smashwords Edition' on the first (title) page, under your name, to be accepted for distribution. If you have paid for and supplied your own ISBN, then you are the publisher.
The ASIN e-book identifier that appears on your Kindle copy is not an ISBN, and not transferable – likewise, you cannot list your Smashwords-supplied ISBN on your Kindle version.
Lulu do not require to be referenced in your e-book as the publisher, when issuing their exclusive free ISBN for distribution.
Following the copyright page is the Table of Contents. This should be hyperlinked. Your chapters can be named or numbered, standard numeric or Roman Numeral, or simply headed by title, e.g. all of these are acceptable:
ñ  Chapter One
ñ  Chapter 1
ñ  One
ñ  Chapter I
ñ  Ch. 1: A Mysterious Event
ñ  I – A Mysterious Event
ñ  Chapter One ~ A Mysterious Event
ñ  A Mysterious Event...
Or any combination of the above. A chapter heading should be long enough to understand and to navigate via hyperlink on a touch-screen, but not too long that it takes up several lines on a smaller e-reader. For example, the longest chapter heading I have in the Zombie Adventures series so far is 'Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Leg of Extraneous Genito-Urinary Medicine' – in the contents list, I only used the titles, not the chapter numbers, and it still took up two lines!
The way to hyperlink your chapters for Kindle and Smashwords is to insert bookmarks above each chapter heading, thus:
^Top of Contents page following page break^
(Insert bookmark in blank line here: Position cursor, Insert/Bookmark, e.g. 'Contents')
About the Author
(^Hyperlink to bookmark 'Ch1'^)
Chapter Two: Another Event... etc.
^Top of new chapter page following page break at end of previous chapter^
(Insert bookmark in blank line here: Position cursor, Insert/Bookmark, e.g. 'Ch1')
(^Hyperlink to bookmark 'Contents'^)
Where the bookmark is positioned determines the top of the e-reader page when the link is navigated. You can have the bookmark on the word 'Contents' but having it in a blank line above is aesthetically pleasing, and less overcrowded at the top of the screen.
Then hyperlink your chapter headings in the Contents list to the start of the corresponding chapters, by selecting the text to link and then using, from the toolbar, or by right-clicking: 'Insert/Hyperlink/Target in document/Bookmarks(show list)+/(select appropriate chapter bookmark)' and reverse-hyperlink the chapters themselves as shown above by selecting the chapter heading at the start of each chapter, and using 'Insert/Hyperlink/Target in document/Bookmarks(show list)+/Contents'. Click 'Apply' before 'close' on the hyperlinks window, and your links should appear as above. Remember this style of contents list formatting is compulsory for Smashwords, for distribution to Apple, Nook, Kobo, Diesel, Sony and other outlets. They do not currently serve Amazon.
If you are using Lulu for your Nook and Apple distribution, the chapter list is linked differently. Simply ensure that the rest of your document contains no 'Heading' styles, and format the title page heading (your 'book title'), the 'Contents' heading (but not the chapter list) and each chapter title (at the start of each chapter only) all as the style 'Heading 1'. Then save as a Word 97/2000/XP doc. This is much simpler and quicker to do, but they do not distribute to Amazon – only to Apple and Nook. But they pay regularly at a minimum of only £3 revenue gain, which is nice!
Once your linked Table of Contents is complete, and you are sure there are no other potential conversion corruptions in the file, you are ready to save and upload. All of the below options are 100% free:
To save a file for upload to Kindle ( – you will need your Amazon account details to sign in and set up, and a bank account to receive royalties). Click on 'Save As...' and save it as Webpage (complete) – .HTML.
To save a file for upload onto Smashwords ( – you will need a Paypal account to receive royalties) save it as 'Word 97/2000/XP' - .DOC.
To save it for upload onto Lulu as an e-book ( – you will need a Paypal account to receive royalties), save it as Word 97/2000/XP as above - .DOC.
If uploading to Smashwords, you will not need to use Lulu, and vice versa. Neither distribute to Amazon, so you will have to use KDP for that.
In all three cases, you will need a separate JPEG cover file, high resolution, aspect ratio 'portrait' minimum 1400x2000 pixels to ensure reduced image quality. Do not insert these images into your e-book file – the online converter will do this for you, and you will be asked to add it via a separate instruction. The cover file and image is entirely your taste and choice, but for Lulu and Smashwords ISBN distribution, they must contain the title and your author name, as they appear on the book's title page (i.e. no alternative spellings or extensions). It is recommended that they appear eye-catching in both thumbnail and full-screen, but there is no tried-and-tested style guarantee.
Thousands of free photographic images without copyrights attached or credits required, are available on, which you can customise and adapt any way you like, and appear in a range of resolutions and sizes. Search their site by keyword, e.g, trees, rainbow, cocktails, church, clouds, military etc.
So far I have only had success creating illustrated e-books on Kindle format, because the accepted file type ( supports inclusion of an image file. After creating your e-book document as above for Kindle, add your images where you want them to appear in the text, right-click each image, and in 'Format Picture' ensure that 'page wrap' is set to 'none' and the image is centred. You can also crop at this stage.
Images should be no more than A4 in original size before inserting, and should be saved once inserted, using image menu 'Format/Picture/Compress' as '96dpi/Apply to all images in document'. This reduces the file memory size to a manageable one for uploading. Images can be landscape, portrait or square (in fact anything), but remember they tend to appear at the top of a new e-reader page due to shape and size, so the previous e-reader page may cut off early, as it shunts the image to the next page. For this reason, do not place images in the middle of a sentence or paragraph, where a large gap in the previous page would make no sense. They work best at the beginning and/or end of chapters.
The e-reader conversion means that larger images will automatically be sized to fit the screen being viewed on, while tiny images will stay tiny. This does not always appear to be the case in Amazon's 'Look Inside' preview, which is quite scarily random as the page boundaries are not set, but on the e-readers you can trust that your images will fit the screens.
Once complete, save as 'webpage' (HTML) as before. Then right-click on the icon for your HTML document, and select 'Send to... Compressed/zip file or folder'.
A folder with a zip logo on it will appear under the same name, e.g. 'Mysterious'. Also a new separate folder will appear with the same the name as your book, e.g. 'Mysterious Events files' in the same location. This contains the tagged image duplicates required for your Kindle book. Click on the new 'files' folder containing these duplicated images, and drag it over into the HTML '.zip' folder so that it is inside the zipped folder as well. You now have a complete zipped HTML file with tagged images to upload as an illustrated e-book. When you sign in to KDP, select the '.zip' folder as your file to upload.
The previewer for 'Kindle Fire' and 'iPad' on KDP will show your illustrations in colour, but remember the basic Kindle has a grey-scale screen only, so the previewer will only show what your images will look like in black-and-white. This does not affect your original file.
Always check your conversion previews. On KDP there is a good online previewer, while the best way to preview and check your Smashwords or Lulu version is to download your converted .EPUB file for Nook from your finished product page, and view it using Adobe Digital Editions (free to download and install from Adobe). The online-reading viewing file for Smashwords strips out all your links and paragraph formatting for simplicity, so it is not true to your final version – it is only meant as a sample, so don't take it as your final conversion. The .EPUB file on Adobe Digital Editions will show you the final version, fully-converted and functional.
KDP Select:
Your e-book must be exclusive to Amazon Kindle to use this. If the same e-book is available elsewhere, your book is not eligible for the scheme. But you can publish the book in print, have samples available online on your blog, continue to submit to agents, or have your book serialised in print magazines and journals. You can also publish 'special editions' elsewhere as e-books – with bonus material, or omnibus editions, without risking your KDP Select status. So long as the content of the book and its title enrolled in KDP Select is not identical to other e-books available on Nook, Apple etc, you will have no problems with it. For example, you could have 'Mysterious Events' on Amazon Kindle and enrolled in KDP Select, and also 'Mysterious Events: Omnibus Edition' available on both Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, but not enrolled in KDP Select.
If you enrol your book in KDP Select, it allows Amazon Prime readers to 'borrow' your e-book rather than purchase, should they wish, and also gives you five days you can list your book as free every three months in any order you choose using 'Manage promotions'. Wet bank holidays are good uses of this, and will gain you a number of downloaders looking for freebies.
However, this is no indication of actual reads, these free promotions tend to attract no reviews, and then often negative ones, or 'one-star review' protection racket-style scams, whereby you are then spammed by pay-per-review promotion schemes. You may attract one or two follow-on sales, and I mean literally one or two!
But you may be lucky, and find readers keen on your subject who continue to share and promote it on your behalf.
Smashwords promotions:
Smashwords allows you to set up free promotion codes any time of your choosing, by generating a 100% off cover price coupon for you to share privately or publicly with friends, family, customers, blog followers, or in contest giveaways – simply select your published title and set up a coupon for your chosen time period, which will email you a code. There are no limitations of usage for this facility on Smashwords, and your book does not have to be 'exclusive'.
Amazon is the only site so far I am aware of which sets up competitive pricing. If your e-book is cheaper on Smashwords, and it is reported to Amazon by a customer as 'cheaper elsewhere', Amazon will also cut the price and thereby your royalty. So it is best to have your prices congruent. Having a coupon code available on Smashwords will not affect this, as the 'for sale cover price' visible on your product page online will remain the same, and the coupon details remain private to you and those you share it with.

[1]    A footnote appears like this in a document, but will convert to an endnote in an e-book.


by Josephine Shaw

Before you start writing your short story, novel, non-fiction, article, poetry contact the publisher to ascertain how your manuscript (MS) should be presented.  Many publishers provide detailed guidance on their websites so use this source first.  Compare with the list of  points below.  Not all of them may apply depending on the type of literature you intend to write.  When reviewing your MS for the last time check that you have followed the guidelines of your publisher.

Margins – Top and bottom margins minimum 2.5 cm (1 inch).  Left-hand margin minimum 25 cm.  Right-hand margin, same as left-hand margin if justified, ie all lines ending at the same point, or if non-justified it might be slightly smaller.

Font style  – Most publishers are happy with Times New Roman but check whether they use any other font..  Highlighting  a word/ phrase may be achieved either by emboldening,  italics or underlining.

Print size 11 or 12 is usually acceptable with bigger type being used for headings.  Larger type would be chosen for childrens’ books.

Page numbering – Pages may be numbered centrally at the top or bottom of the page or in the top right hand corner.  If the latter, alternate pages have to be numbered on left and right-hand corners, assuming two-sided printing as for self-publishing.  Cross referencing of page numbers should be shown as 00 until page numbering is finalised at proof stage.  It is useful to embolden the 00 so that it is easy to pick up when you are able to put the page number in.

Line-spacing – Publishers usually require double line-spacing although some may accept 1.5 spaces.  In either case paragraphs do not need to be separated by an extra space as they are usually blocked, ie the first line starts at the left-hand margin.

Indentations  - The paragraphs in stories and chapters in books begin with an indented first line with all subsequent paragraphs blocked.

Boxes may be used to encase objectives or quotations at the beginning of a chapter, for summaries at the end of a chapter and for specific sections within a chapter.

Content and writing
It is now common practice to allow one space after a full stop.  Use commas sparingly. Check that apostrophes are on the correct side of the letter s.   

Except in dialogue text should be grammatical.  Split infinitives are intrusive, because the flow of ‘to adverb verb’ is not rhythmic.  ‘To fearfully wait’ instead of ‘to wait fearfully’ is disjointed. A preposition should not be used at the end of a sentence.  However there are situations when not to do so would be awkward to read. An adjective describes a noun eg ‘a black book’ or ‘corrugated cardboard. Adjectives and adverbs are frequently confused. eg ‘they will do it quicker’ should be ‘they will do it more quickly’. If you are unsure of your grammar browse the bookshops and internet to find a book that would help.

Preferred Spelling – There are some words that can be spelt in two different ways, both acceptable.   Consistent use of one way must be maintained throughout the text.  Examples of such words – recognise/recognize, fulfil/fulfill. In each example the second version is American which would be used if the intended readership is in the USA or any other country using American spelling.  Publishers may have a preference for a particular spelling. 
Be aware of confusing spelling eg effect (noun) and affect (verb), advice (noun) advise (verb).

Abbreviations – The first time an abbreviation is used in a text it should be followed by the full version in brackets eg  UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).  Commonly used abbreviations such as eg (for example) and ie (that is) are now written without full stops in English but are retained in American text.

Numbers – Figures are used in textbooks but generally not in fiction and non-fiction.

Acknowledgements – Include the names of every individual and/or member of an organisation who has provided photographs, permission to use quotations, excerpts from printed material and assistance of any kind. 

Contents  - A contents list should consist of chapter headings and page numbers.  There may be sections within the chapter in non-fiction books and they should be listed under the chapter headings with individual page numbers.  It is best to leave page numbers until the you receive the proofs as there may be changes.  This would not apply for self-publishing but it would be sensible to make it the last task.

Illustrations – In auto/biographies photographs may not be listed.  In a textbook or ‘how to’ book it is useful to have a list of illustrations – photographs and any other type of artwork.

Index – Try to decide at the start of the project whether an index will be desirable or needed. Some publishers like to have an index prepared by a copy editor.  This may not be satisfactory
as the indexer may not have sufficient knowledge of the topic to identify what words/phrases  should be included.

Editing – Many authors ‘bash in’ their first draft.  Others write a good text that does not need several edits.  In either case there are four checks that are essential.
1.     Structure – If the text does not ‘flow’ it is not too late to rethink it.  If the sequence of chapters does not seem right, identify the reason and rewrite as necessary.
2.     Content - is it accurate?  Are quotations correct word for word?  Is the source quoted correctly?  Are specific facts clear and exact?  Are dates correct?  Are names spelt correctly and are qualifications and honours correct and in the right sequence – (Orders of chivalry, civil honours and decorations conferred by a Head of State, Military decorations, Academic and professional  achievements)?  Many of these points relate to non-fiction articles and books but should not be overlooked for any type of text.
3.     Grammar – see under Language
4.     Spelling – see under Preferred Spelling

It does not matter how you choose to edit but it is essential to cover all four checks.

Proof reading – Spell check is a very useful tool but is far from foolproof.  Having completed checking structure and content, the work becomes proof-reading.  It needs concentration. Ideally after you have done your checking, ask someone who has not been involved with the creation of the text to help..  If this is not possible put the MS away for at least two weeks and then read again.  This time you are reading it as a reader. As writers we don’t see our own mistakes because we see what we know should be there.

If you have not already contacted a publisher about your work, now is the time to do so.  Go on line to get details of how to contact a commissioning editor.  If necessary email or phone to explain your work briefly and ask for the name of an appropriate editor.  Many publishers now include a submission form on their website. Before completing the form, study it carefully.  Some research additional to that you did before starting to write may be necessary.

You are now ready to submit your opus. Check how the publisher wishes to receive the work.   It can be sent by email or an agreed digital device.  Usually a hard copy is also required.  It should be printed on 80 gms A4 paper with a cover sheet and pages in the correct order.  A pristine MS says volumes about the care you have taken to present a perfect piece of work.

The cover sheet should contain the title of the work, your name or pseudonym. Your full real name, address, telephone number (landline and/or mobile) and email address should appear that the bottom of the cover sheet..  It may be useful to show the total number of words.

Write a brief and concise covering letter addressed to the individual.  Refer to any previous contact (letter, email, phone conversation).  State what you are sending

Place a blank sheet of paper behind the last page of the MS before packing the precious work carefully in strong wrapping so that it cannot be torn open.  Send by recorded delivery and track its progress.

Having done all the right things and produced a splendid work, don’t be disappointed if the publisher rejects it.  Most authors could paper their walls with rejection slips.  Some publishers give guidance as to why they rejected your work.  If so, read and digest it.  DO NOT GIVE UP. 

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