The Bow of Destiny

The Great Formatting Conundrum & What To Do About It

I recently received a question over Twitter from someone asking if I provided formatting services. It’s not uncommon since so many independent authors are in need of e-book formatting. I’ve written about this topic in passing before but I decided to cover it in more detail today.

First let me say I do not offer formatting services. I’d be open to in the future if the need arose for more immediate income. However, I’m neither experienced enough yet nor do I have the time to run such a service while publishing my own fiction.

Word Styles

However, having formatted my own short story as an e-book – as well as intending to publish a few more short projects in the future – I do have some insights to offer for newer writers with questions. Most everyone advises that an author farm formatting out to someone who knows how to do it properly. It’s not terribly expensive for a novel and doesn’t require a long turn around time. But for shorter projects you may want to save the money and do the work yourself.

Formatting Resources

In either instance here are some resources for formatting:

  • Want to find formatters? Visit this link by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, for his list of self-publishing related services. It includes people who offer formatting services with their pricing as well as illustrators and editors.
  • Want to do the work yourself? Download Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide. This includes how to format your e-book so that it’s ready for submitting to Smashwords. I also found it effective for uploading to Amazon.

Tips

Scrivener StylesWith that information in mind here are some tips regarding formatting if you decide to give it a go yourself:

  1. Do not use your original manuscript. Create copy of the manuscript from which to work. This way if you mess it up you have no worries about it and can easily start over.
  2. Start learning with a shorter project. Once you have experience try something longer.
  3. Format correctly from the beginning. Read the Smashwords Style Guide for specific instructions on formatting your work with e-book publishing in mind.
  4. To begin formatting, remove all the bad formatting. Copy all of the content to a text editor like Notepad and then back into your word processor software to remove all the incorrect formatting. Again the style guide has detailed instructions for this process.
  5. Learn about Styles and use them when formatting an e-book. Styles are used in Word and are quick way of using preset formatting for different font styles. You can create Styles for titles, first lines, etc. These are also available in Scrivener. (take screen shots of Word and Scrivener styles)
  6. Create and use internal links. When you are formatting your manuscript to e-book conversion you can create internal links. These are important for use in e-book readers so anyone reading can move throughout the book with ease. One of the best ways to use this is to link your table of contents to each chapter heading or title and then each chapter back to the contents.

Final Thoughts

Many people have an aversion to formatting as if they might ruin their book. As long as you don’t work from the original you are free to play around with the process and learn. Once you’ve formatted even a short e-book you’ve gained valuable skill. Even if you do not want to format your novel you certainly know what to expect with a finished product when paying someone else. In the end it’s up to each person to decide what’s best – hiring out the work or DIY – but learn about the process some as well. Who knows, you may find you like doing it and launch a secondary income stream formatting for other authors. Regardless, I’ll follow up on some of the tips with some future posts on this subject.

Have you tried formatting an e-book? What keeps you from trying? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. To find out more about my current novel, The Bow of Destiny, click one of the link banners on the sidebar.

IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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As a note, I do not work for or support any services for Smashwords. Please refer to Smashwords for questions and support.

 

Starting With Scrivener Pt. 2: Expanding Your Tool-Set

Tech Tips 3Scrivener 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.

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Last week’s post addressed the question, “Where do I start?” Hopefully, you’ve taken the plunge and started you first project. By now you probably feel more comfortable with what you are doing in Scrivener just by using the Editor since it isn’t very different from other such products.

You may have toyed with the Binder and found that it’s useful in arranging your project. If you haven’t yet worked in it, take some time to create some folders and documents and move them around. The Binder is very easy to use and is an excellent, graphical feature for organizing your writing.

There are several other features you can begin using in addition to the Binder and Editor. First, you can familiarize yourself with the Format menu which will help you get your document just right. Next, you can write with a customized background rather than seeing all the boring stuff – it’s easy to choose a background and toggle the feature on/off.

Multi-Function Tool - photo licensed via iStockPhoto

Multi-Function Tool – photo licensed via iStockPhoto

Now onto some really good tools you’ll find useful. You can create document templates for your project. This will help you create new documents and quickly jump into your creative work rather than wasting time configuring all the details each time.

Also, learn how to turn on the Inspector bar on the right side and access more tools. You’ll begin to use Notes, References, Keywords, customize Meta-Data, work with Snapshots as well as add Footnotes and Comments.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

 

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomon

Amazon   BarnesandNoble      Smashwords  ibooksdownload      Kobo

IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

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Just as a note: I now have a marketing affiliation with Scrivener. For support questions, pricing, licensing and other concerns please contact the vendor. As such a buy ad for Scrivener appears on the sidebar. I’ve started this program since I like the product so much and want to offer readers the chance to obtain this software. I’m not required to write about Scrivener to be an affiliate; I just like it that much. You can also find my FTC statement on this site’s sidebar.

 

Wrapping Up the Week (And More!) Vol. 2

fall-leavesToday, we close out much more than just a week! Something just happened this morning around 9:20 AM local time that went mostly unnoticed.

It just happened as write this post and you didn’t even notice it. The season slipped away in the matter of a moment, put away to only be revisited in memories. Summer ended with the passage of the Autumnal Equinox and now it’s the Fall of 2016. We just closed the door on a whole season of this year but best wishes to everyone on the upcoming season!

But The Bow of Destiny remains on sale for $0.99 for at least the next week. You can have a look at it via one of the banner links to your favorite e-book retailer on the sidebar.

I’ll spend the weekend catching up on life and try to enjoy the outdoors some as well. Fall is a busy season and this year will be no different. I’m looking forward to completing An Arrow Against the Wind and moving to The White Arrow as soon as possible to close out The Bow of Hart Saga and move onto some other fantasy projects on my creative mind. But no sense in getting too far ahead – right now I’m focused on the daily goals for completing An Arrow Against the Wind.

I’ll try to get out more information about the release of An Arrow Against the Wind next week as I get a handle on my schedule.

Book Cover Arrow Against The Wind Revised (2)


IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

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