Short, Sweet and Sassy

While I was stuck in bed away from my working computer and basically miserable, I couldn’t help but think of writing. Specifically synopsis and what really makes a good one. One that’s interesting, draws you right in but though it doesn’t lie and clearly mentions key point’s also doesn’t give anything away. Brief without feeling like an ad, in short: nothing if not distilled awesome.

In my head if it’s got to be short, sweet and sassy it’s got to be this brief description of the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.

Written Rick Polito for a 1998 TV Guide, this little gem has made the rounds of the internet meme scene for years and it’s entirely true and ridiculously intriguing for a modern audience (on the off chance that there’s someone alive who hasn’t seen the Wizard of Oz) all within the scope of one sentence.

In my fevered state of course I had to try my hand at a few similar snippets for one of my books as well.

Ash of Ambitions

  • Innocent woman gets caught up in the sinister machinations of a murderous family’s plots.
  • Sweet loner has unwanted guests suddenly heaped upon her. Body count rises.

Well that was fun. Got any sassy little blurbs of your own to share? Go ahead and post ’em in the comments.

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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

It’s almost that time of year again. Somewhere between when I’ve finished writing my latest novel and before I stop fretting over it like a fussy hen and start writing my next novel. Into this no-mans land falls several events, MLK day, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

In something like 26 days, all kinds of authors are going to be scrambling for a chance on a very small list that promises to get only smaller as each wrung of the competition goes on. This year I’m contemplating throwing my hat into the ring, if for no better reason than ‘why not.’

Though I’d really like to hear what other Indies think of the contest. Was it worth the effort? Would you do it again? How big was the ulcer you grew from worrying and did it necessitate surgery? You know, that kind of thing.

So leave a note in the comments and tell me your thoughts! Or if you’re a reader and you just want me to tell you when my next book is going to hit Amazon, consider signing up for email alerts.

Book Interior Formatting: Dotting Your I’s and Crossing Your T’s – Final Checklist

Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.

At this point I’m almost done formatting my second paperback book, so it’s time to go back over the whole and make sure I’m not making any glaring errors that would make all the hoops I’ve gone through so far, to save money and appear professional, a waste.

  • Odd numbered pages appear on the right (During the hell of formatting page numbers, double checking them, fixing them, etc; you might notice that you’ve got everything perfect and working, except – all the even numbered pages appear on the right side of your book. Yes it’s worthwhile to go back and fix it as it’s the #1 amateur mistake noticed by book designers and readers alike.)
  • Copyright page (Yes, some indie publishers don’t bother to include one in their paperbacks and the lack of one is a clear give away of an amateur operation.)
  • No page numbers on Chapter pages and other front and back matter and/or appropriate roman numbering for those pages that need it. (First page of a chapter – shouldn’t have numbers on it, you can have numbers on a index page or prologue but they should be roman numerals.)

If you’ve got those three covered – congrats! You should be able to print a passably professional looking (at least from a distance, if you squint and don’t know too much about book design) paperback novel!

Be sure to check out the other steps on formatting your paperbacks interiors with Microsoft Word:

And as always – if there’s anything I’ve neglected to cover that you want to know, just ask in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help.

While You Were Sleeping…

If you signed up for email alerts you already know this but for the rest of you, I went ahead and released “Toxic Ash,” updated the blog, Facebook and all the relevant hoodads – and then just because I wasn’t feeling like enough of an over achiever I went ahead and made this:

Ash-of-Ambitions-Createspace-RC1-for-sharing Continue reading

Book Interior Formatting: The Dreaded Page Number

Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.

The Dreaded Page Number

Dead tree books, unlike ebooks, require page numbers, page numbers that can be an ever loving pain in the all get out to format properly. In order to mimic as closely as possible a book published by one of the big six publishing companies (never mind that the sizes available from Createspace are all wrong for a proper pocket paperback) you’ll need page numbers at the top of each page but excluding most of your front number pages as well as the first page of each chapter and you’ll also want the author’s name on alternate pages from the title of the book, again excluding your front and pack matter pages.

In any other document, page numbers are easy so it always throws me for a loop how hard they are to format for a paperback. Click on images for a larger illustration of the steps.

Section Breaks

First thing you’re going to want to do is open your document and click on “show paragraph formatting” in the ‘home” tab of word. Then you need to go through each chapter (currently I find it’s easiest to do these one at a time) and make sure to delete any Page Breaks you see, in their place you’ll go to the “page layout” tab and select “breaks,” you’ll be adding “next page” or “next odd/even page” Section Breaks where you previously had page breaks.

Author/Title

Once you have those set up you can go ahead and click on the header portion of your document to open up the header/footer editor. Find the first page of your chapter and enter in either your name or the name of your novel, make sure that “different first page,” “Different Odd & Even Pages” and “link to previous” are all checked.

Page Number

Pg-#-Current-Pos-1

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Book Interior Formatting: Getting Fancy

Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.

Continue reading

Book Interior Formatting: Chapter Headers

Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.

Continue reading