The Bow of Destiny

Strategic Usage of Snapshots in Scrivener

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

Scrivener LogoI don’t normally write about Scrivener more than once a week so I won’t bore everyone with the same topic. But a situation arose that I thought I should really address.

Yesterday, someone who reads this blog asked for assistance with a Scrivener problem via Twitter. I was very humbled to be asked so I responded with a few suggestions as to what might be the fix (not knowing the precise details). In the end, the issue was resolved on the other end which was great.

Frustration stress and writers blockHowever, the problem brought up a subject I had planned on addressing in the near future regarding snapshots. Basically, the snapshot function works as a point in time backup of a document in which you are working. While Scrivener does make backups when you exit (unless you change this setting) and you can make backups whenever you want, a snapshot serves a more immediate purpose – a quick backup of current work to which you can easily rollback if necessary.

So, if you are going to make big changes to a document it might be worth your while to make a snapshot before doing so in order to get back to where you were without much trouble. Likewise, when adding blocks of content or trying to fix a problem it might be wise to make a snapshot to prevent lose of any current work.

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So how does it work? First turn on the Inspector by clicking on View, sliding to Layout and clicking on Inspector in the flyout menu. You can also turn it on via your keyboard with this command: Ctrl + Shift + I. The Inspector will appear on the right side.

Scirv Turn on Inspector

There are six buttons on the lower border, click on the second one from the right the get to Snapshots.From there you click on the + button to add a snapshot of the document in which you are working. It will show the snapshot with a date/time stamp. This is important should you make more than one snapshot. Before attempting to fix a problem it Scirv Inspect Snapshotsmight be good to take a snapshot. Should the fix work a second snapshot might also be good to have just in case it is needed. In that case you would use the – button to remove the oldest snapshot after highlighting it. Finally, you can use the Rollback button to go back to a previous document version.

So next time you’re about to make major document changes, take a snapshot. Then if something unexpected happens you don’t need to panic, just rollback to the original version.

The Black Bag by P H SolomonPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Guest Post: The Advantages of Discoverability

Today’s guest blog started as a post last week entitled, Book Sales Ruminations & Why You Need A General. Recently featured author in “Fantasy Authors Unplugged”, Autumn Birt, responded with a few cogent points of her own to the post. I invited Autumn to write a guest post and she kindly churned one out on short order. Take it away, Autumn!

The Advantages of Discoverability

Businessman Speaking Through MegaphoneI realized writing, at least a career in writing, was going to be a long haul when I met a woman with numerous books, multiple publishers, over twenty years of publishing experience, 35,000 followers on twitter, and yet she was promoting her book just like every other Indie author out there (well, with a bit more panache). That is when I switched my marketing enthusiasm from short term to a more steady pace for the long term. And that is when I took a hard look at what worked.

I very much agree with P.H. Solomon’s four points on his post Writing Ruminations. Social media has completely changed how writers (or anyone) markets. You can engage readers one on one. Some authors even allow readers to help guide the plot of a story. And because of the power of the internet, anything a writer posts can be linked back to the author. After a security breach at home, my husband freaked to see the first four and a half pages of a Google search on my name were all on me. I was thrilled! But that means the content I post, be it a Facebook comment, blog post, or released book is listed under the ‘flagship’ of my name and who I am as an author.

On one hand, we as authors should strive for social engagement. On the other, we have to be careful what we say and how well we say it. You thought politicians were the only ones with media problems…?! Because the other issue is that marketing should be social engagement, not social media spamming. That means not saying and promoting the same thing over and over and over. It means paying attention to media feeds and answering questions, thanking people who help you out, and helping out other authors because we aren’t competing against each other. Readers read MANY books. I’ve gotten new readers because I was nice to a friend of a friend or handled a bad situation well. How is that for marketing flukes?

So writing the book really can be the easy part. Which is a good thing because another strategy to getting noticed and increasing book sales is writing more books.

It is an easy deduction to make based on statistics. If your book is one of one billion on Amazon, or one of a thousand being marketed on twitter this second, your rate of attracting attention is… yup, one in a billion or one in a thousand. Ouch.

If you have two books though, and maybe some friends tweeting, or fans – lets go with fans! – talking about the book, a search will bring up both of your books. You can link them together under blogs, author pages, and in book content. Two for one marketing! One solid book can sell another. Fans and mailing lists on new releases (high recommended as well!) work BEST when you have multiple things to release and read. So write more books.

I’ve heard the ‘magic’ number for steady sales is five novels. I’m at five, but I consider the three that make up the core of my epic fantasy series as my main books (of the other two, one is a real life travel compilation and the other is a companion to the fantasy books going more into the world and its history). So I consider myself at three books. A few more to go yet to steady sales based on this theory. But…

What I didn’t expect was how much having a complete series would enhance my book sales. I don’t remember hearing about that when I was researching marketing. When Born of Water was released, I was happy for a sale a month, if I managed that. With book 2, Rule of Fire, I found similar expectations though actually met them a bit more frequently. When Spirit of Life, book 3, was released, I quickly averaged a sale a week. When I managed to get Born of Water permafree on Amazon, those sale numbers quickly increased. Yes, increased by giving away a book – and I’m not counting the free downloads of book 1.

Thanks to a marketing boost from my more promotion savvy publisher, Born of Water hit #2 in epic fantasy on Amazon and the sales of the other two books picked up quickly. I usually see purchases of the second two books at the same time or with a lag of a day to a week between them (it helps when it is an odd country sale so I can really track what is most likely one reader). Now I average at least one sale a day over a week, frequently more. If I counted the free downloads of book 1, I’d get too giddy, so I simply choose to exclude that figure from my mental tally!

There is much debate out there about whether to write a series or a stand alone novel. I think it depends on the genre you write in and what is expected. BUT, I’d council anyone writing in fantasy to write a series and release the books in quick succession, maybe three to four months apart. The interest level and new marketing that this allows will help increase author visibility and hopefully attract readers.

Which is why my marketing plan before I signed with an Indie publisher included releasing short stories that are a prelude to my next trilogy for free in a very short time span, approximately two to three weeks apart. I planned to use Smashwords as a distributer plus Wattpad and Goodreads. Then combine the short stories for a 99 cent novel only available on Amazon and THEN release book 1 about a month later. It is a marketing strategy which relies on releasing quality writing that is captivating (I hope!) for free.

One final important reason to write more than one book besides making yourself so much more discoverable: how much your writing improves.

The author I mentioned at the beginning of the post often makes the comment she is glad she wrote her first book under a pen name because it was so bad. So think about how much you aren’t improving if you stop at one book. I hope that I never am embarrassed by Born of Water, but I will admit that if I started writing it today it would be a completely different novel, recognizable but different. I’ve learned so much since then.

Autumn BirtSo my plug for an author marketing plan: write a lot, write well, market new works while mentioning the existing, give away a lot of content (blogs, stories, and novels), and be nice to each other!

Thanks for sharing your insights, Autumn. Take a look at her books and other links since she’s been kind enough to volunteer her time and effort for this blog post:

Media Links

Facebook (me)  Facebook (writing page)  Website

Writing Blog  Travel Blog  Guild of dreams (another blog I write for)

Twitter  Google+  Wattpad  Goodreads

What other ideas do you have about the fluid world of book sales? What has worked for you in the past? What’s changed for you – good and bad? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Splitsville: Using Scrivener to Split Content

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

Scrivener LogoFor some reason Thursdays are becoming Scrivener question days that translate into a Friday blog post. However, that’s fine with me, I can re-arrange my schedule and go with the pitch. I received a question via Twitter asking how to split one chapter into two within Scrivener. It’s a good question so I thought I’d share it today.

First of all, as with all major changes to your manuscript, I advise making a snapshot so you can rollback easily. It’s a small detail but it can really save you some stress if you make a mistake.

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Scrivener basically recognizes individual folders as a chapter and the sub-documents as scenes. So there can be several ways to organize a chapter. You may have one chapter’s content in a single document. You may also have several documents within your chapter-folder representing several scenes.

In the first scenario you can use this procedure to split the chapter. Click to the location in the content where you want to split the chapter so that the cursor is blinking – presumably at the beginning of a paragraph. Next, click Documents slide down the menu to Split and choose “at Selection” off the fly-out menu. This will give you a new document with the content split.

Scriv Split

At this point, if you want the new document to be a folder that’s easily done. Just click Documents again, slide to Convert and choose Convert to Folder from the fly-out menu. The folder will be at the same level as the original document so make sure to move it to the left in the Binder (right-click on the folder, got to Move on the context-menu and choose Left).

Scriv Convert

In the second scenario where you have several scenes, you basically want to re-arrange your manuscript some. Create a new folder at the same level in the Binder as your other chapter folders and name it accordingly. Then just drag individual scene-documents into the new folder. If you need to split a scene-document use the same procedure as the first scenario to do so. However, don’t convert this split scene into a new folder, just drag it into the new chapter-folder you’ve created.

If you make a mistake – and assuming you’ve made your snapshot – just rollback to the original and start over. Remember, the Binder is your basic organizational tool in Scrivener and it’s what makes this software so incredible – you can make structural changes like these very easily.

CouldBook Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - Copy the Split command be the answer to a major change in your manuscript? What tips do you have to re-structure in Scrivener? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.