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Critique Partners and Groups

My advice, find a critique partner or group, preferably with writers who are more accomplished than you. Critique partners are invaluable and I highly recommend them to all writers––especially newbies.

So now you’re done and all the time you’ve spent writing and polishing your book is about to pay off. Don’t let hidden coding from all of those changes destroy your masterpiece. Below are some more formatting tips. Remember, the internet has changed the book industry. Ebooks rule, so make sure your formatting works. Whether you use designers or self-pub your own books, the magic comes from a clean format. If you don’t have a clean manuscript, HTML and Javascript can transform your story to a digital drama mess.

Follow these formatting steps and your wonderful words will flow off the pages just as you intended.

16) Hyperlinks

When you create an ebook, web addresses become clickable hyperlinks in HTML and Javascript readers. Use hyperlinks judiciously. People have short attention spans, so if you give your reader too many chances to read something else, you’ll lose them. Even if your hyperlink isn’t live in your ebook format, the reader will still have information they need to visit your link.

17) Designating chapter breaks, page breaks, and section breaks

WHAT EVERY AUTHOR NEVER KNEW About Pushing Send Part 2If you insert page breaks into your Word document (Insert: Break: [choose one]), the PDF and .RTF versions will honor them, but these commands will be lost in most other formats, which strip page breaks and section breaks. Loss of page breaks is okay in an ebook, because you can’t predict the font size or screen size the reader is using, and you want to have continuous re-flowable text anyway. The worst thing that will happen is paragraphs may become artificially too close or too separated.

If you use paragraph breaks, be sure to enter a paragraph return or two before and after the break so that when the break disappears in some formats, your paragraphs don’t smash together.

18) Remove all section breaks from your document

For some reason, section breaks create unnecessary blank space in your ebook. If you want to separate chapters, insert a consistent number of paragraph returns (maybe three or four), or use a combination of a couple paragraph returns, followed by centered text characters  like this: * * * * followed by a couple more paragraph returns and possibly chapter headings if you have them. Do not use solid separator bars.

The general rule for formatting is “simpler is better.” DO NOT use a long series (more than four or five) of paragraph returns anywhere in your book to try to arrange words on a page, or to designate page breaks, because not only will this cause your book to be rejected from most catalogues, it’ll also create a lot of awful looking blank space in your ebook.

19) Working With Images

If you have images, they should be embedded in your Word file, usually via the Insert: Picture File option. If the images are critical to your book, then when you publish your book uncheck the checkbox option for “Plain Text” because photos and charts don’t translate into plain text. If the images are a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have, then go ahead an allow the Plain Text option.

Do not use floating images (If you can click on the image and drag it, it’s floating) because your image may appear in unpredictable places after the conversion.

Images work best if you keep them small. If your current image runs the length of a 6 inch wide page, it may not display properly on the smaller screens of some reading devices. Restrict images to widths of 500 pixels. Before you import images into your manuscript, use a photo editing tool such as Photoshop, pic monkey, or Canva to reduce the dimensions and file size.

20) Text Justification

Text converts most cleanly if it’s all left justified. Centered text works well, especially for your title and copyright page. But don’t use Word’s “Justify” command, which attempts to spread your words evenly from margin to margin without leaving spaces at the end of each line. The PDF conversion can sometimes look odd for justified text. If you love justified text, then go ahead and try it––the results may still be acceptable to you.

21) Different Font Sizes

Minimize font size variation in your book, otherwise your book will look ugly. Some of the best-looking books on eReaders use 12pt for the body text and 14pt for the book title on the cover page, and for headings. If you must use different font sizes, minimize the range of their variance. For example, if you normal body text is 12 point, don’t use a 20 point header. We recommend you keep your largest font size to 14. Dramatic variations in font sizes can cause unwelcome glitches in some of the conversions, such as causing the large point text to bleed onto the smaller point text. Most ebook formats support multiple font sizes, but Javascript online readers make everything the same font size (though it has other great online reading qualities so you’ll want to offer it to your readers).

22) Style formatting and symbols

Italics, underlines, strikethroughs and symbols (such as é î ® © Ω ∑) translate moderately well into most formats. Headers and footers generally remain in PDF and RTF versions but disappear in other versions. Remove headers and footers and definitely remove auto-page numbering because it can trigger a text-box error.

For margins, try to format your book to adhere to Word’s standard margins for printing, otherwise your PDF and RTF files won’t print well or present well on screen. Authors often ask if they should format for American-style pages (8.5 X11 inch) or A9. About 60% of eReader customers are American, so it’s really up to you.

Final Important notes !!!

Front matter is what publishers call the stuff that goes on the first and second page of your book. If you add too much testimonial content to the front of your book, it can actually decrease readership because the reader doesn’t want to have to flip multiple pages to start reading.

Most authors who add blurbs put them at the very front of the book, before the Title & Copyright page. If your book has received rave reviews from readers, consider adding a couple short snippets on the first page, so readers who sample your book will feel more inclined to purchase it. These should be real, honest reviews.

The End

Most authors end their book with a period and give the reader nothing more. Don’t squander this opportunity. If your reader makes it to the end of your book, reward them! First, add a ### centered on the next line to signify the end or simply say The End. But consider adding a personal message too. Put yourself into the mind of your reader. They just finished your book. They loved it. They want to read more of your material. This is an opportunity to connect with them.

Now you know…


About Pushing Send!



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WHAT EVERY AUTHOR NEVER KNEW THEY NEED TO KNOW About Pushing SendWriting a book is a great accomplishment. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say they want to write a book some day––but for most, that day never happens. So if you’ve accomplished the formidable task, you owe it to yourself to release your masterpiece. Looking for agents and publishers can be daunting, but you’ll experience few better feelings than to receive a contract. Don’t sell yourself short––go for the gold and don’t give up. But first, read on so youw’ll know WHAT EVERY AUTHOR NEVER KNEW THEY NEED TO KNOW About Pushing Send!

Here’s your caveat: when you think your book is done and you’re ready to send out queries, take a breath. This is where your success or failure hangs in the balance. You must go back to word one and read through your entire manuscript––ALOUD! Reading aloud lets you hear what you’ve written and you’ll catch mistakes you silently read over. Delete sections, phrases and lines that don’t move your story along. It’s not easy to delete your babies. You’ve worked hard, written such fabulous words, and dumping them won’t be easy, but trust me on this one.

This is where you become an author…

Look at the big picture and keep your target audience in mind. As great as your writing is, saying too much is the kiss of death. I believe the best authors paint a picture in the minds of their audience…just enough to spark imagination. Let your readers fill in gaps with their own frame of reference. That way, the story becomes a more personal experience for each person.

Dump the fluff, and then, as a fabulous author once said to me, weave golden threads throughout your manuscript. Your first book is a milestone and you’re so anxious to let the world see your masterpiece, but don’t jump the gun. When I finally completed the first draft of my first book, I was so ready to release my manuscript to the world. [Oh my gosh…looking back at that first draft…I was such a novice]

In reality I had merely completed what I now call the “mind dumping” stage. For almost another year, I tweeked, polished, dumped, added and delteted. The end result made a world of difference! Check out this editor’s video.


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 What Every Author Needs To Know: About Formatting [Part 2]


First, make a backup of your manuscript. Next, copy and paste your entire manuscript into Windows Notepad (usually found in Programs: Accessories) or any other text editor. This will strip out all your formatting. Close Microsoft Word. Then reopen it to show a fresh empty document. Next, in Notepad, type CTRL+A for “select all” then CTRL+C for “copy” then paste into a the Word document. From here, reformat the book per the style inforamtion above.

8) Reformat normalized text

After you do everything above, you’ll need to go through and re-check the formatting. Some items may have shifted because of the steps above. Bolds may disappear, centered items may become left justified, font sizes may have changed, and spaces between paragraphs may have disappeared. Just go back and fix, but make sure everything is Normal text and make the font sizes, line spacing and text justification consistent. If you find you change the normal text and suddenly Word labels it something other than normal text, then it means you didn’t successfully disable Word’s nasty auto-format features above in Step 3.

9) IMPORTANT Never Use Tabs

Never use tabs or the space bar to create indented paragraphs. An indent is the space in front of the first line of every paragraph. Indents are important visual cues that help guide the reader from one paragraph to the next. If you use tabs or space bar spaces instead of a proper first line indent, our HTML and Javascript online readers will automatically remove the leading spaces or tabs from your text. To create a proper first line indent, follow either steps above, or use Word’s “ruler-bar” indent feature (see instructions and image a few paragraphs down). Never never use tabs or space bar spaces. Always make sure you have “show/hide” activated, per instructions above, otherwise you won’t see these tabs and spaces.

10) How to automate the removal of tabs and spaces

If you try to manually remove, one by one, the tabs and space bar spaces that comprise your improper indents, it can take hours. Luckily, Word’s search-and-replace feature takes only a few seconds. If you used tabs, press CTRL+H to “find and replace,” or from the menu select Edit: Replace. Then for the “find what” line enter ^t (the “caret t” is the symbol for tab) and then in the Replace space don’t enter anything (If instead of tabs you have multiple spaces, then determine the number of spaces you use, then click to the “find what” field, and hit your space bar by the same number of spaces you’re currently (improperly) using your indents, and then hit “replace all”).

To eliminate all your tabs, enter ^t in “find ” and leave  “replace ”  blank. Then click the “Replace All” button.

11) How to Code Normal Paragraph Style

Next, assuming you haven’t already followed the step above to code your Normal paragraph style to automatically apply first line paragraph indents, you’ll can manually apply indents to the entire document, all at once, using the ruler bar feature.

12) Apply Indents

You nailed the hard part. Now, to apply indents to the entire document, type CTRL+A (to “select all” and highlight the entire book; or, from the main menu, click Edit: Select All) and use the manual indent bar thingy to click on the top slider with your mouse and slide the top piece of the indent bar to the right to the proper position, usually about three ticks. That will become your indent (Note: before you do the above procedure, make sure you’re not using tabs in other bad-habit ways, like to center text.

Eliminate all tab usage in your ebook. If you’re using Word for Mac, the ruler-bar fades almost to the point of invisibility after you click CTRL+A (but it’s still there). Next, review your document to clean up any remaining anomalies. If you apply the ruler bar indent to the entire book be sure to go back to your title and copyright page and remove the first line indents and then center the text for a good-looking title/copyright page. You may also need to manually remove the first line indent from other paragraphs or lines that don’t need them.

13) How to create block paragraphs

Some authors prefer not to use indents. Instead, they use block paragraphs like this page. Block paragraphs are paragraphs separated by a trailing space after the paragraph. To create the trailing space, go to Format: Style: Modify: Paragraph and then select the trailing space you want. Most people do 6 or 10 pts. Select 6pt, then click OK, then click the Apply button to apply it to all your Normal paragraph style.

The first paragraph return is after the period of your last sentence of the paragraph, and the paragraph coding gives you separation between paragraphs. If you’re writing fiction, I suggest you DO NOT use block paragraphs. First line indents will give you a better looking book than block paragraphs.

14) Line Spacing

Make sure the line spacing is set to single. Never set it to double (that will make your book look ugly), and NEVER set it to read “Exactly” followed by a point size specification under the “At:” box. This usually renders your book completely unreadable because it can cause lines to overlap on top of one another.

15) Paragraph Returns

Make sure you only have paragraph returns at the end of a paragraph, not at the end of each sentence or every line (unless of course you’re doing poetry). A paragraph return, created by hitting the “Enter” key on your keyboard, tells the reading device it’s the end of the paragraph. They look like this: “¶” To view the location of your paragraph returns, activate Word’s Show/Hide feature, covered in Step 2. If you do not have the show/hide feature activated now, stop what you’re doing and activate it, because without show/hide, you’re editing blind.

Do not use multiple consecutive paragraph returns to force page breaks or to arrange text on the screen, because they’ll create a poor reading experience by creating blank pages or unsightly gaps in small-screened e-reading devices. They will also disqualify your book from distribution in some catalogs. Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns at a time to arrange text on the page.

If you’ve made it this far, congrats… now take a breath then Click the picture below for part three!


Oh, and my deepest thanks to Ross Murphy for providing me with these guidelines!


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What Every Author Needs To Know: About Formatting [Part One]

What Every Author Needs To Know: About Formatting [Part One]Writers Write Countless Hours–Create Amazing Stories––That Readers Devour––We Promote Endlessly––So Where’s Our Income?

Everyone wants a piece of the cake. The problem is by the time the decadent dish gets back to us, there’s little left. In this series, Awesome Bewitching Authors discuss how to submit a perfectly formatted manuscript. If you’re a new author or published, this is what I know about you, because this is what I know about me … every author needs to know … about formatting.
Technical issues can morph your shiny new manuscript into a scrambled mess. What’s worse is you can’t even see. What? That’s right. The culprate is formatting and the issues sneak into your pages through the back door. Formatting can totally destroy the appearance of your book during publishing. If you transfer a manuscript into a galley and proof, you’ll have weeks of laborious editing you could have avoided if you only knew a little Microsoft magic. Here is some valuable information that just might save you a ton of time and unnecessary editing.

Before you trust your work to anyone, make sure your formatting is clean and ready to go.

Check out this quick video then scroll down and read on to learn …

What every author needs to know about formatting!


Submitting a Manuscript

First, if you’ve never submitted a manuscript to a publisher or agent, you need to know the basics. And even if you signed a contract and your publisher is ready to submit your edited manuscript to designers, there are a lot of hidden pitfalls that can derail your progress. Before you offer your baby to anyone, format first.

Writing a book takes time. Along the way, we edit, cut, paste and pull ideas from a vast array of our scribbles and notes. The manuscript evolves, and along the way each page retains hidden coding from the very first draft. I had no idea the font I finally choose wasn’t the only font I used. Note: If you try to read this and remember it, you’re doomed to be overwhelmed!. You can come back to our site or try clicking File then save as a PDF. Go through each step with your manuscript next to you. It’s not overwhelming when you take baby steps, and they are all here.

Make your Microsoft Word behave

My word program has a hidden default font that is coded in the background, hiding beneath the surface of my pages. Not only that, there is hidden formatting and automatic programing that can wreck havoc on your manuscript. If you plan on releasing an ebook, your even more at risk for formatting foes. Here are some tips my publisher sent me that will help you make your Microsoft Word behave. This is just part one of my 2-part, step-by-step series on formatting foes.


1) *Super Important*

Activate Word’s Show/Hide Do this BEFORE you start formatting, otherwise you might as well have a blindfold over your eyes. This is one of my favorite editing features in Word. The show/hide feature is designated by the “¶” mark in the toolbar.

When clicked, it exposes your paragraph returns, extra spaces, tabs or strange formatting. It’s a great tool to help polish your document for the cleanest possible conversions. If it’s not in your toolbar, you can usually find it in Tools: Options: View and then under Formatting Marks click All.

2) *Super Important too*

Turn off Word’s AutoCorrect: AutoFormat As You Type and AutoFormat features. If you have them engaged, Word will try to guess what type of formatting you want based on how you write the paragraph, how you manually format the paragraph, or by how you formatted something before it. If you upload a Word file with paragraphs formatted inconsistently, like some paragraphs formatted as “body text” and others formatted as “normal text,” the book may look horrible as an ebook.

To turn off the features, go to “Tools”: “Autocorrect,” then click on the “Auto Format As You Type” tab, then uncheck most of the boxes. After that, click on the “AutoFormat” tab and uncheck the four boxes under “Apply.” The reason you need to turn off these auto-formatting options is because in the next steps, you’re going to try to simplify and normalize your text to prepare it for conversion. If you don’t turn off auto-formatting, Word will cheerfully and automatically mess things up again as you make the corrections below.

3) Eliminate “text boxes.”

To find out if you have text boxes, from your Word menu choose View: Print Layout, then simply click on your pages and if the shaded dashy lines appear around your text, that’s a text box. Text boxes will corrupt your ebook conversions by inserting a paragraph return at the end of every line. The easiest shortcut to eliminate the text box is to save your document as plain text (.txt), then close the document, then re-open it in Microsoft Word and reformat the book per our recommendations and then save your document as a .doc file.

4) Managing/modifying paragraph styles

Check your document’s style. Just because your book on screen looks like it has a font of Times New Roman, the book may appear to others in Courier, Helvetica, or some other font. How does this happen? The answer is in Word’s default styles. If Word thinks your default style for “normal text” is 11pt Courier, even if your document is saved as 12pt Times New Roman, the book it passes on to eReader will be 11pt Courier.

To prevent this from happening, and to ensure you send to your publisher what you intend to send, follow these instructions: Within Word, click Format: Style:, then on the left click “Normal” if it isn’t already highlighted. In the center pane of the window, under “character preview,”

Word will show you sample text and tell you the default font style for “Normal” text. If it’s what you want, then close the window. However, if it’s different (as it was in my case when I uploaded my novel), then click Format: Font: and then select the font and font size you want. We recommend Times New Roman unless your publisher asks for a different font. Don’t use exotic fonts because they will not translate well, and they could even cause your conversions to fail.

5) Coding for first lines

How to code for first line paragraph indents (and other paragraph coding). While you’re here, also click Modify: Format: Paragraph, and then view the contents. Make sure the numbers under “indentation” are set to zero. To define a first line paragraph indent for the body of your book, select Special: First line: By: [enter .33 inch. Don’t do indents greater than .5 inch], then click OK then Apply).

Under “Spacing,” set the “before” and “after” spacing to zero (BUT, if you’re using the “block style” of paragraphs, as opposed to first line paragraph indents, then the “After” can have a spacing of up to 6pt). Make sure the “Line Spacing” is set to “Single” and under the “At:” heading it remains blank. WARNING: NEVER NEVER allow any entry into the “At:” field, otherwise your book will be unreadable in the HTML reader. If you set “Line spacing:” to Single, the “At” should be blank. Then click OK and then APPLY.

6) Normalize the text in your raw

Microsoft Word document

You probably have body text, normal text, and heading text in your book and don’t even know it (often caused by Word’s annoying habit mentioned above of changing your formatting to what Word thinks you want, rather than what you really want). If you make all the text “normal”, it’ll convert much better. To do this within Microsoft Word, press CTRL+A (or choose Edit: Select All from the menu) to highlight all your text, and then select “Normal” from your option bar up above. This will allow you to standardize on a single font, single font size, the same line spacing, and the same text justification (left justified is best).

Note that depending on your formatting, when you change the text to normal you will lose some formatting (what was centered may become left justified or your italics may disappear, for example, as well as other changes, so be sure to carefully re-apply necessary elements)

7) Eliminate fancy formatting

To eliminate all fancy formatting, this is a great trick: From the main Word menu, click Format: Styles and Formatting: and then select “Clear Formatting” from the menu at right. This will help put everything into Normal text. Also note that if you previously used auto-numbered chapters, the numbers will disappear and you’ll need to manually re-enter them. It will also cause bolds and italics to disappear.

SHORT CUT HINT (only for straight form narrative such as novels): Here’s one quick option to clear out your junk formatting and corruption. My publisher named this method:

Click for the next step:



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 What Every Author Never Knew They Needed To Know

 What Every Author Never Knew They Needed To Know

Whether you self-pub or have a great publisher, keep your cash … don’t take years to learn what every author needs to know from day one. You’ve got talent. You’re writing a book. Or maybe you already completed your masterpiece and have a contract. Congrats! You deserve to reap the benefits of all your hard work. So what’s next?

Before you move forward, make sure you know the ropes. You can avoid traps a lot of published authors fall into by arming yourself with the knowledge of experience. So join Awesome Bewitching Authors for this series. We’ll start at the beginning and walk you through each step … for free … so you’ll know what every author never knew they needed to know.

There is no magic wand, but a lot of authors have forged this path before and along the way we had to figure out the ropes––the hard way…by trial and error. If you’re lucky enough to sign with a good publisher, or find an online promotion and marketing group, you’ll have an invaluable source to funded you through the dark caverns you’ll face ahead. Author’s Corner will tell you what every author never knew they needed to know.

Our Author’s Academy is FREE

and throughout the pages of this site we’ll provide you with some wonderful online groups to join. Authors have an amazing network if you can find your way into the realm. Author’s Corner Academy will light the way. We’re the cosest thing to a magic wand you’ll find and we want to help…we’ve been in your shoes, and most likely have worn through the souls. That’s good news for you, though, because we want to guide you through the potholes and endless carverns that may lay ahead.

what every author never knew they needed to knowSo welcome. Enter the realm. We’re waiting for you. Lesson one takes you back to the beginning to save you hours, weeks of deiting nightmares with our formatting secrets … Click here for your genie in the bottle, and discover what every author never knew they needed to know!

What Every Author Never Knew They Needed To Know:

About Formatting.