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Friday Features’

Guest talks

Formatting

by

Marci Clark

(writing as Marci Boudreaux and Emilia Mancini)

As an editor/designer, I see manuscripts come at me with all kinds of crazy, wonky, how-the-hell-did-you-do-that formatting. Be kind to your editor/designer, peeps. Clean up your mess a little before submitting it.

Some houses provide a style guide. Double check for any submission rules before sending your book and risking a default rejection. If the house is relaxed on their formatting, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother cleaning up the formatting any less than you’d bother cleaning up the content.

If they don’t have a style for submissions, a pretty basic format is appreciated. Centered chapter headings, .3 to .5 indent on new paragraphs, 1.5 spaced lines, all black text in a basic font/typeface (making it “pretty” won’t impress your editor), and no all capped or underlined words (use italics for emphasis). Something like this:

Prologue

Jessica closed her eyes as the candles on her birthday cake flickered just a few inches away. Eleven of them. Eleven candles meant her wish was even stronger than last year. Just like last year, she took a breath and thought the one thing she’d thought on her birthday for as long as she could remember—I wish I had a mom.

Opening her eyes, she blew the candles out with one big breath. She smiled as everyone cheered like she’d done some great thing.

She wasn’t sure if it was because she was the only kid in the family—the only biological kid anyway, there were plenty of what her dad called Grandma’s strays—or if it was because she had Down syndrome, but everyone always seemed to overreact to what she did. Blowing out her birthday candles didn’t really call for applause. She rolled her eyes and sat back in her chair but couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face.

Here are a few shortcuts when it comes to cleaning up your manuscript. Note: I have a PC, so I don’t know if these translate to a Mac.

Extra Spaces:
We are no longer a society of the double space after ending a sentence. One space. One. But if you have a habit of adding two, no problem. There’s a quick fix. Open up your find/replace option. In the find box, hit the space bar twice. In the replace box, hit the space bar once. Then select replace all. Do that until the find/replace reaches zero.

Tabs:
No. Just no. Do not use the tab button when indenting. Go to the top of the document, select the page layout tab an set your indent for the document there. Sometimes hitting the tab is natural. You can fix that as well. In the find/replace option, find ^t and replace with nothing. Leave the replace box blank. Replace all. Then select all on your document and set your tab as indicated above-through the page layout option.

Spaces Before or After Paragraphs:
These hidden spaces may seem innocent enough, but if you are self publishing, these extra spaces can cause the designer a lot of stress depending on which program they use to convert your document. Remove extra spaces by again using the find/replace option. Find: space bar^p, and replace with ^p. Replace all. Do the same, but with the space on the other side of the paragraph break. ^pspacebar, replace with ^p. This will give you clean returns throughout.

Soft Returns:
These also are pain when formatting. Find/replace ^l with ^p.

As for the document, please, please, PLEASE do not hit the enter button multiple times to start a new chapter. Nooo!!! Use a solid page break. Ctrl+Enter will break the page and give you (and your designer) a clean start on the next chapter. The problem with hitting enter over and over is that while it may push the chapter heading to a new page on your computer screen, it doesn’t always work out that way on your editor’s screen. If not, your chapter headings end up in all kinds of crazy places. Just do a page break, and nobody has to wonder WTF.

There are a dozens of little things that could also be done, but this really hits the big ones. Follow these tips, and your editor/designer will love you just a little more.

Marci Clark is a freelance editor, book/cover art/promo materials designer, published author, and all around publishing nerd. She’s worked for Kensington Publishing since 2014, as well as several indie houses over the years. She is proficient in self-publishing and would love to help you with all your publishing needs, including premade or custom cover art.

Reach out to her at marci.clark.editing@gmail.com if you’d like to discuss your project with her.

Sample taken from Jessica’s Wish (Stonehill Romance Book 4)

Jessica's wish2

There is nothing Jessica wants more than to be like everyone else, but between her Down syndrome and her colorful family, “average” isn’t part of her vocabulary. This year when she blows out eleven candles on her homemade vegan cake she makes the same wish she’s made for as many birthdays as she can remember: she wants a mother.

Jessica’s father Phil has worked his entire life to create a more stable childhood for his daughter than he had. But a supportive mother, a recently returned father, rainbow pancakes, and princesses can’t heal the dark void left in Phil’s heart which he won’t even admit is there.

When Mallory’s mother’s life unexpectedly turns upside down, Mallory realizes her dreams come second to her heart, and she leaves her dream job in a big city to return home set on helping her fiercely independent mother recover. After forming a unique bond with Jessica—and a friendship with Jessica’s hot father—Mallory finds that in coming back to Stonehill she might just have found a way to make all of her dreams come true.

But as their families start pushing Phil and Mallory together, old insecurities and Phil’s worst fears threaten to break up the happy trio and catch Jessica in the emotional crossfire.

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

Streamlining Your Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Process to Become a More Profitable Author

2016 was a tough year for a lot of indie authors, with people reporting everything from flawed reporting and not getting credit for page reads in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program to no longer being able to get Bookbub ads to no longer being able to afford Facebook ads due to their increasing popularity with authors. Every year, there’s more competition, with more ebooks than ever for readers to choose from. Where the Kindle Store was once flooded with mediocre covers and blurbs full of typos, we’re now seeing lots of self-published books that look as good as (or better than!) trad published books.

The industry has matured, and a lot of authors are finding . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

http://lindsayburoker.com/e-publishing/streamlining-your-writing-publishing-and-marketing-process/

 

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

The Real World vs. the Writer’s World


The Internet offers plenty of distractions from writing. Tons of websites provide viewers with a steady stream of world news. Some news is positive. Most news is negative. I try to be savvy about current events and yet still shut out the world so I can focus on my writing.When I feel anxious about world events, it’s hard for me to create my own world—one for my characters to live in.
I need to focus. It’s important that . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

https://nightsofpassion.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/the-real-world-vs-the-writers-world-by-stacy-hoff/

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

Author Assistants – What Are They and Can I Have One, Please?

Several months ago, I realized that with a day job, a non-profit foundation to run, and two books under contract, I needed some help. The book review submissions, the book tours, the social media posts, the contest submissions, and all the other PR and marketing that comes with being an author today left me with little to no time to write. What’s a poor, overworked author to do?

I turned to an author assistant. And before you think . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/author-assistants-what-are-they-and-can-i-have-one-please/

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

Reader vs Character

Okay, not in a fight club, battle to the death with Original Star Trek fight music blaring in the background type of way–but still, a fight of sorts.

Writers need to always keep in mind what the reader probably knows from the real world. This can be a problem of focus: don’t step by step me on how to start a car unless there is something new or unique about it, or the car is going to blow up, fly, or vanish. Most people know how cars work. When an author focuses on a mundane, everyday thing, I’m waiting for something NON-mundane to happen. When it doesn’t, I become peeved. Peeved readers bad.

Another problem with reader knowledge is . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

http://faeriesdragonsspaceships.blogspot.com/2017/01/reader-vs-character.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+FaeriesDragonsAndSpaceships+(Faeries,+Dragons,+and+Spaceships)&m=1

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Three Wishes Bookstore

Jeanne De Vita and Marci Clark are talented people with a combined twenty-five years of experience in the writing and publishing industry. These experienced ladies are in the process of opening a new online e-bookstore that satisfies writers and readers alike. Here’s a peek at their logo.

Three Wishes Bookstore is slated to be an interactive site where readers can store unlimited numbers of audiobooks and e-books, engage with their favorite authors through interviews and featured content, and most of all, access their favorite books in a user-friendly, attractive online store with competitive pricing and perks for enrolling in their book clubs and programs. Learn more about this exciting new venture on kickstarter. You may well discover an exciting opportunity.

Jeanne De Vita attended her first RWA Conference at age 14. Jeanne has a B.A. in English from Iowa State University, and the MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Notre Dame. Jeanne has taught writing and rhetoric/composition at the college level as well as corporate courses in written communications. She has worked for a literary journal and spent more than 15 years in private industry. Jeanne has personally edited and acquired more than 50 books in almost every genre. Jeanne has hired, trained, and mentored several dozen interns and editors and has overseen the day to day operations of a publishing company. When she is not editing, Jeanne writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and has published under the pen name Annie Anthony. Jeanne has presented at writer’s conferences and participated in panel discussions on various topics related to publishing and writing and is available for in-person speaking engagements, online classes, etc.

Marci Clark, who writes as Marci Boudreaux, is a freelance editor, book/cover art/promo materials designer, published author, and all around publishing nerd. She’s worked for Kensington Publishing since 2014, as well as several indie houses over the years. She is proficient in self-publishing and would love to help you with all your publishing needs, including pre-made or custom cover art.

Reach out to her at marci.clark.editing@gmail.com if you’d like to discuss your project with her.

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

When You Realize Your Character is More Interesting Than You

October 30, 2016 BlondeWriteMoreWhen Your Characters More Interesting Then You-3

This can be an awkward moment for any writer and definitely worthy of a blog post.

There are several stages connected with realising your character is more interesting than you – the writer. . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

https://blondewritemore.com/2016/10/30/when-you-realise-your-character-is-more-interesting-than-you/

 

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