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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
3/30/2011 9:02:15 AM
Formatting for Kindle
Update: When I wrote the blog below, these steps were necessary to load to the Kindle Direct Publishing and Pub It (Now Nook Press) sites. Since then, they have changed their process so that they accept Microsoft Word and other formats. However, I still use the process below to make a Kindle version of my book before publication, plug my Kindle into my computer and transfer the book file directly onto my Kindle so I can see what it will look like. Not only is this good for checking formatting, but, when read this way, typos and other problems jump out at me. I typically do this about 7 or 8 times after I think my book is ready to publish and before and after my editor looks at it. I'm pretty sick of the story by the end of this process, but it does make for a pretty clean book.
Many authors have started putting their out-of-print backlists as well as there new stories up for sale on Kindle, B&N, and Smashwords. I will be sharing formatting and uploading instructions (written the way they make sense to me) as I get them typed into files on my computer.
This entry includes step-by-step instructions on what you need to do to format your manuscript BEFORE uploading to Kindle. (Uploading, I'll add later.) I wrote these down while watching my husband do it the first time, but since then, I've done it myself using these instructions. It's not difficult if you just go through them step-by-step.
Formatting for Kindle:
What you need to have in advance: Title page, dedication and/or acknowledgements, table of contents (optional), end page inviting readers to your website and/or Facebook, listing other books you've written and/or upcoming books, etc. (In other words, if they liked your book enough to read the whole thing, you want to give them the opportunity to read your future stories. An example of this is at the end of Not Dreaming of You.) You will also need to have a cover stored on your computer to upload and a sales blurb (description).
-Select all and single space manuscript.
-Remove all extra line spaces, including those after chapter headings
-Remove all extra spaces within document and at ends of lines. (For a simple way to do this, see bottom of page.)
-To have line spaces after chapter headings or anywhere else, go to “paragraph” on home ribbon, click “line & paragraph spacing,” choose “add space after paragraph”
-Create copyright page at the beginning (or end) of document. If at beginning, remember to hit enter once, then go to "Insert" and hit "Page break."
-Create title page with title and author, hit “enter” once after author and go to “Insert” then “page break”
-Create dedication and/or acknowledgement page after title page or at end of manuscript. (Some now have this at end so readers are more likely to read it.) Again, hit "enter" then "instert" then "page break."
-Create table of contents if you want one. (Not necessary for fiction, but up to you.)
-Create page at end of manuscript inviting readers to visit your website, friend you on FB, follow you on Twitter or whatever (optional). Also add any other books you’re selling. “Other stories by this author:”
-Make sure there are page breaks at end of each chapter. Place cursor at end of last line of chapter. Hit enter. Choose “Insert” then “page break.”
-Remove any extra line spaces at the end of document.
-Do a “Find” on the manuscript. Type in the word “Chapter” and make sure all your chapters are styled the same way, i.e. 14pt Bold or 18 Bold italic or whatever.
-Hit save. Your document is saved as word file. Now click “Save As.” In the bottom field, click the arrow (save type) and choose “web page, filtered.” This should create a file ending in “.htm” When next box pops up, click “Yes.”
-Click on Mobi Pocket Creator (if you don’t have, you must download from: http://www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadsoft/productdetailscreator.asp)
-In Mobi Pocket Creator, under “Import from existing file,” click “html document.”
-Click Browse, choose the .htm version of your manuscript.
-Click the Import button
-Click “cover image” at left, click “Add cover image”
-Click Browse button. Go to your cover in your files and double click.
-Must click “update” after image appears
-Click “metadata.” Fill in. (Author, etc.)
-Click “Build” on top blue ribbon
-Choose standard compression, no encryption
-Click “Build” again
This creates a file in “My documents” called “My publications” Inside there will be a “.prc” file of your manuscript
-Double click the .prc file to pull up on Kindle Reader and check it.
Note: This is a great way to do final proofing. Typos that escaped notice by you and your editors/pre-readers may suddenly jump out at you. You can even increase the size of the type so they are even more obvious. Remember to look for unsatisfactory formatting. Normally, this is because you left extra spaces in the document, didn't put in page breaks or line spaces the correct way or left extra spaces at the ends of lines or within the document. You need to go back to your original Word document and fix the problems.
Instructions for removing extra spaces from your manuscript:
Go to find/replace.
1)Type a space then ^p into the "find" field. Type ^p (without a space before it) in the "replace" field. This should find and replace extra spaces at the end of your paragraphs.
2) Type two spaces into the "find" field. Type one space into the "replace" field. This will replace any double spaces in your manuscript with single spaces.
Once you have fixed anything that looked wrong, delete the .prc and .htm files and create a new book (following instructions above) and scan through it to see that your formatting problems are corrected.
At this point, your hard part is done for both Kindle and Nook formatting and uploading should be a breeze.
My Most Embarrassing Moment
In my novel, Not Dreaming of You, Kiki must answer some standard questions for the dating service video. One of them is "What was your most embarrassing moment?"
Truth be told, I've had a lot of embarrassing moments in my life. I spent many years giving presentations and marketing trainings, and teaching classes. When you are in front of people that much, sooner or later, something's bound to happen.
However, whenever I think of my most embarrassing moment, my memory shoots straight back to something I did when I was living with my roommates Francia and Lizette in college.
Francia had met a guy--let's call him John--who was a lawyer. He came by one night to pick her up for a date. I spoke to him for several minutes while he was waiting for her and they left.
The next afternoon, the phone rang and I answered it.
"Hi Nina," I recognized John's voice. "Is F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f Francia there?" he asked.
Wow, this guy sounded fun. He was already messing with me.
"Who-who-who-who-whom may I say is calling?" I replied as Francia walked into the kitchen.
I watched as the oddest look came over her face.
"John," he replied dryly.
Francia's mouth was open and her eyes were wider than usual. She looked...shocked?
I covered the phone. "John doesn't stutter does he?" I asked pleadingly. Her eyes got even wider. She nodded.
"Oh, no! I just stuttered back at him!"
This confirmed her obvious fears, so Francia did the same thing she'd done when we watched the scary part of the horror movie Texas Chain Saw Massacre III.
She burst out laughing.
I was horrified. I'd never been cruel to anyone with a handicap before. The phone suddenly became a hot potato I wanted to be rid of. I held it out to Francia but she waved me off. She had totally lost control of herself and was doubled over with a case of the incurable giggles, holding her hand over her mouth while she tried not to laugh out loud. I'd had a friend in high school who'd told me about getting the stress giggles at her piano teacher's funeral, but this was worse to me because I was there and couldn't get rid of the phone, which was burning a guilty hole in my hand.
I don't know how long it took for Francia to pull herself together, but it seemed like forever. Finally, she took the receiver, and I left the kitchen--mortified--and sat on the couch with a stomach ache.
When Francia finally hung up, I said, "Does he really stutter? But he's a lawyer..."
She explained that he only stuttered occasionally and he wasn't a trial lawyer.
"Please, please warn me if he's coming here again," I begged. "I can't face him. I have to hide upstairs in my room."
She didn't, and a few days later, her sister let John in while I was trapped in the bottom floor of our townhouse apartment. Generally, I'm not a good hostess, but I remember offering to get him all knids of things while he waited for Francia, from a Coke to the kitchen sink.
Strangely enough, the embarrassing story Kiki tells in her dating video in Not Dreaming of You was also inspired by Francia and her sister Lizette. They told me about a friend of theirs who'd embarrassed herself while they were all on a road trip with a car full of people. I changed the situation slightly, but the basic incident is the same.
It doesn't seem to matter how many embarrassing things have happened to me in the last 20 years. I still can't believe I made fun of a stutterer, right in his ear.
Anyone else willing to fess up about their most embarrassing moments? Come on. It can't be worse than mine...can it?
3/26/2011 10:54:15 AM
My Husband--Stalker Bait?
As most of you have figured out, life is a trade off. I knew when I married my husband a couple of years ago that I was trading in any chance I had of being the star of the show in the future--at least when he was around.
I'd always had this dual personality. On one hand, I'm a hermit writer type. On the other, I loved performing or speaking in front of a crowd for many years, despite terrible stage fright before a performance or presentation.
Luckily, by the time I started seeing my husband, I'd put much of the "performing" away and was absorbed in fiction writing. However, I was still often remembered by waiters, clerks, and bank tellers--mostly because I'd create inside jokes with them and make them laugh.
Then Abel came along and totally stole the show. No matter how many times we'd walk into our favorite busy resaurant, the wait staff would look past me and smile at him. Only after they'd greet him warmly would they notice that other person who was with him again. I had become the sidekick.
I couldn't really blame them. Although he's not what you'd call "classically handsome," he's rather striking and you just can't miss him. When I met him, his black hair was down past his waist--he trimmed it to shoulder length a few months ago, but it's rapidly advancing again--he's Chinese-American, but the long hair seems to throw some people off so he just seems intriguingly exotic. He's one of those people that exudes "cool," and can stick silver rings on every finger, put on his yellow-jade pig bracelet--he was born in the year of the pig--and an oval version of John Lennon glasses, and look like it all fits him perfectly. When he walks in, he may remind you of a bad-ass from a Bruce Lee movie, then he smiles and it lights up the whole room. He has the aura of a rock star. Even the crew-cut straight-laced chiropractor started trying to impress Abel with his rock-and-roll knowledge right after we walked in.
So, I understood why people did double takes and remembered him, but then it got wierder.
Just before we go married, the girl that worked at the Blockbuster near my house took an obvious liking to him. Even though he'd walk in with me--and sometimes our kids--she'd say, "Hi Beautiful!" then hang over the counter and flirt with him outlandishly. She got so pushy that Abel was pretty creeped out by her and was glad we were using my Blockbuster card that didn't have his address on it. She seemed kind of "stalkery."
So that was wierd...until we met our new banker.
After we got married we went to open new bank accounts at the same Wachovia where I had my other account. The middle-aged (male) Indian banker had never paid me much notice, but he took one look at my husband and beamed at him like a school-girl.
At first I thought he was just happy for the business, but as he gave us our account options, he continued to focus all his smiles on Abel. Finally, when we were signing the paperwork, the banker couldn't contain himself any longer.
"You know, you're a very handsome man," he said to my husband.
Abel shifted his eyes toward me, unsure how to respond, as I pressed my lips together and tried not to laugh. "Uh...thank you?" he said.
"No really," the man persisted. "You should be in the movies. Are you an actor?"
"No," my husband replied, obviously uncomfortable being ogled and complimented by another guy.
"But he's a really great elecric guitarist," I said, hoping to egg the banker on. "He used to play in a rock band."
"Ohhhh!" the man said, bobbing his head enthusiastically and smiling even more broadly. "A ROCK STAR!"
"Well not really a--" Abel tried to correct him.
"And you should be in the movies too! You would make a great movie star," the banker insisted.
My husband couldn't wait to get out of there, but, of course, that was only the beginning of the fun for me.
"You're going to Bollywood!" I said when we walked out.
So from that day forward, I knew I'd be second banana, just a member of his entourage to the rest of the world.
But as I said, life is a tradeoff. I never have to worry about finding him in a crowded place. I can just walk up to the restaurant hostess, or building security desk, or Walmart greeter and say, "I'm looking for my husband." I wait a beat for the blank stare, then I add, "Long-haired Chinese guy."
"Ohhhh!" they say, and they take me right to him.
I'd really like to base a character on my husband sometime, but he's a brilliant rock star computer geek. I just haven't figured out how to make him believable enough for fiction--haha!
I wrote my finished novels before I met him, but he does have one important thing in common with Mark from Not Dreaming of You and all my heroes. He's a really smart, interesting guy, cause that's how I like 'em.
Not Dreaming of You is available now!
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