Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

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Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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DRM or Not for Amazon

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Lit World Interviews

When you load your book up to Amazon you will get to choose whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management.


It is important to note here that this particular choice cannot be undone. Short of unpublishing and republishing this cannot be changed. Once you have some nice reviews and lots of sales on any particular book unpublishing it is not a great idea, so give some thought to this before setting it in stone. So, what is DRM?

Amazon says that Digital Rights Management “is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files”. While this sounds great in terms of combating piracy, in reality it’s about as effective in this regard as a straw hut would be at keeping you dry in a hurricane. My African Me & Satellite TV was published with DRM enabled and it is my most pirated book. Stripping DRM is…

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What To Leave Behind?

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Lit World Interviews

Should we be thinking about money when we write? This is one of those questions that scribblers like to ponder, and occasionally have heated debates about. Are we writing for the love of writing, or to earn a living? Certainly not everyone who writes fiction is going to be able to live off the proceeds. If that was the case the whole world would be reclining under an oak, holding forth to their readers and sipping absinthe. No. There is a small percentage of the planet’s population who can be considered career writers of stories, who have their scribbles pay for their homes and vittles without them having to go without. The rest depend on various things. Luck and being visible in the right place at the right time are pretty massive factors in whether or not some really genius and gifted writers ever get their amazing books read by…

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Life is Live and a Freebie

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Life isn’t always fabulous, but it is mostly very interesting. Waiting for things to be perfect is never going to work out, so here I am – blogging away before being totally caught up with everything. It’s taken me a while, but I get that particular thing now – that I’m not likely to ever be totally caught up. Ha – who knew! Anyway. I am pretty close to being caught up again. Getting there with it all no matter how much I would not have believed it possible a couple of months ago.

Life has been particularly insane, and I admit, particularly terrifying for quite a long time. Finally I figured that I’d just do things scared. It was either that or hide under the bed for ever. Funny thing with fear though. The minute you turn around from running like hell and face it, it often turns out to be just a silly old thing, and not half as scary as it pretended to be before you decided to eyeball it. Not always, but often enough to warrant a bit of bravery.

I can no longer afford to be a perfectionist, which is a good thing. Learning to take things on the chin has – well – kind of hurt my chin, but it is rather fabulous to realise that even though everything this past year has most certainly been so far away from perfect as to be on different planets, at least I’m still standing, smiling, and doing the best that I can. I’ll be back to blogland every Thursday regardless of what’s happening in life. It’s my mission in life now to get to answer every comment ever written!! (On my blog that is – have fun with yours yourself)

As always, before life got a little dangerous, I celebrate my birthday on the 15th with a free story. While zooming around Amazon to set this up I saw that Echoes is almost at the end of a Select cycle, so I decided to use the final couple of days of this to give it away now instead. If you don’t already have it please do head over and download it. It will be free from right now to the 10th of March. Click on the cover image below to go to your particular Amazon site.

The Colour of Life – Pigeons by Geoff Cronin

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Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Over the coming weeks I will be serialising my father-in-law’s books that are out of print. The first being The Colour of Life which is a memoir and a raconteur’s recollections of life in Southern Ireland during the 1920s onwards.

colour of life

The Colour of Life – Pigeons

In my early childhood, my family and I lived over our Bakery Shop at number 12 John Street, Waterford, which my father owned. Being the beginning of the city’s main street, it was a busy place, and one of the features of it was the Apple Market. This took place in a large open area, bordered by small shops, where the apple farmers who were mostly from the Kilkenny side of the river Suir, assembled every Saturday morning.

Their horses would be tethered around the Fountain Clock, at the north end of the area, and their carts, full of apples, would be “shafts down”…

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How to Format Bullet Size

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Lit World Interviews

Microsoft Word is powerful software and generally the Indie author’s friend, but sometimes its intuitive automatic tweaking can cause headaches that can take days to get to the bottom of, and at other times lead to giving up on certain looks we want for our books altogether. Non-fiction books in particular regularly have bullet lists in them, and if you have lots of bulleted lists in any particular book you can end up with dodgy margins, among other unattractive changes.

It’s common knowledge among self-publishing authors that Word generated bullet lists and Kindle books are not the best of friends. The easiest ways around this are to either to manually insert bullet symbols at the beginnings of each sentence of the list, or to create the lists as images in software built for the purpose, or to use Canva or some similar online image creation site. Here’s an example of…

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A Little Hook

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Lit World Interviews

Every writer has his or her own process. Ideas come, sometimes in the form of virtual Mack trucks that appear out of nowhere, usually at the most inopportune of times, creating the need for you to stop whatever it is that you’re doing and run away to write all that good stuff down before it disappears back to wherever it was that it came from. Kind of thing that gets us scribblers labeled as odd, at the very least. The inspiration for new stories is the easy part of writing—I have PILES of fabulous story outlines that are unlikely to ever see the light of day. Getting them going is what’s needed for them ever to become real books. Just those few first paragraphs are often all that we need to give us the push to write on through to the end.

Those first paragraphs are probably the most important…

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