Author Central – Author Rank and Personal Growth

The next menu point in Author Central (link) is the Sales Info. Below that, you’ll find

  • NPD Book Scan
  • Sales Rank
  • Author Rank

Now, before I explain in detail what that means and how seriously you should take it, I want to say something about the emotions that might come up looking at that data.

And it’s not necessarily good.

Because sales rank and author rank are markers you might confuse with success. And if they are unpleasant, you might get frustrated.

I want to suggest that you ignore these ranks. Or use them for entertainment. And most of all, that you can look at this graphs and simply smile. Because the biggest success is – especially if you are a first time author – that you got a book up available for sale.

Got that?

Good.

Now, NPD Book Scan only tracks print sales in the US, and it is SLOW. But it has one nifty feature and that is a map of where your books sold. Of course, that’s practically useless. But it’s fun to look at.

Sales Rank gives you data on each of your books, and shows you how well it performs compared to all other books on Amazon COM. You’ll see a spike for every sale (or borrow, if your book is in Kindle Unlimited), and then a gradual curve down again. It also doesn’t update quickly.

Author Rank is a little more fun. It’s calculated from your book sales, against all other authors on Amazon, but at least here you can drill down a bit into genre. My personal best was #1,594 in Fantasy.

Does that mean anything?

Not really.

First of all, Author Central is store based, unlike your sales dashboard through KDP. Right now, we’re looking at Amazon COM, and it ignores any sales in other stores such as UK, DE or Canada. Or India. So you’re only getting part of the picture anyway.

Here’s where you get to choose.

You can start getting desperate about the competition, or about the lack of sales, or about your dropping rank – or you can basically ignore it and work on your definition of success.

That means you can look at this once in a while, have fun with the sales and rank spikes, take a gander at where your print copies landed, laugh a little, and just get back to writing your next book.

I know what I prefer.

You see, getting frustrated and obsessing about sales and rank and all that data will hurt you in many ways, but most of all it’ll do this:

It will hurt your writing. It will hurt your creativity. It will make writing the next book harder.

And nothing sells your current book or books better than the next release.

Using Author Central for Personal Growth

Yes, that’s totally possible. Here’s how.

First, I would like you to take another look at that author rank. Go there. Look at it. Look at how many authors are doing better than you on Amazon COM.

Second, be aware of your feelings. Allow yourself to sense them. Don’t judge, just let them be.

And if they are negative (anger, disappointment, frustration, sadness, envy…), watch what’s coming up.

Are you judging yourself?
Blaming yourself?
Getting angry at other authors?

This is awesome tapping material. This is, in fact, what’s holding you back.

Third, use EFT tapping to release those beliefs, rants and feelings. Free yourself so you can be more creative, have more fun, and enjoy writing your books even more.

(And if you want to learn more about how to do this, shoot me an email or write a comment.)

*image source F. Möbius

PS: My monthly newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you overcome mindset blocks and emotions like resistance, fear, frustration or sadness. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

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Author Central and Imposter Syndrome

Buy my book!
Buy. My. Book.

Author Central is an interface you can access and set up on Amazon once you have published your first book through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

There are plenty of reasons why you should do that.

  • You’ll get your own Author Page on the Amazon listings, so people can see all your books in one place. This will help your marketing immensely.
  • You can add your bio, as well as links to your websites etc. so that readers can find you easily on the interwebs.
  • You have better customer service. You can send email through Author Central, and you actually get responses from people who know the author system.
  • You get nice graphics about sales rank, both for books and your author rank. They look pretty. They don’t mean a lot.
  • People can sign up to become your “Followers”, and that’s huge. Trust me. It means Amazon will send out email when you publish a new book. Free advertising. Take advantage of that.

And I know that people have lots of resistance to actually set this up.

The biggest one is Imposter Syndrome.

That’s the feeling we don’t deserve to be treated as a full-fledged author, if we have only one book out, and possibly no sales. Or fewer than ten sales. Or mabye fewer than 100 sales. Or no prize. Or no fans, or no gaggle of fans, or only 20 people on your newsletter, or whatever qualification you want to put on “really being an author”.

The thing is… practically everyone suffers from Imposter Syndrome. Even people as famous as Neil Gaiman. (Check out his story about Imposter Syndrom here.) It’s nothing special.

Set up Author Central anyway. Trust me, it’s worth it.

How do you set up Author Central?

First, you find an author page on Amazon COM – just look at any book and if the author name is blue, clicking that will take you to an author page. Or use mine. Ahem.

Look for and click that link at the bottom of the bio, on the left hand side. This is like the door to the Secret Garden – well hidden, but behind it lies a veritable treasure trove of goodies.

This is your door to Author Central. Open it.
The secret link to set up Author Central.

Follow the instructions and then you’ll arrive at an interface that looks like this.

Author Central Welcome Page
Author Central Welcome Page

Ignore this and click on Author Page. The news below are outdated anyway.

Set up your Profile

Now this is where it gets complicated. *sigh* Oh, Amazon.

You see, Amazon is creating a new system called Amazon Author. It’s all shiny and beautiful, and you need to go there in order to set up your bio and stuff. So hit this link, and make sure you open it in a new tab:

Move on to Amazon Author Central. 
(Yes. They really called it that.)
You get all the good stuff in Amazon Author Central now…

Join Amazon Author, and voilá, you’re at a new interface called Amazon Author. Lots of stuff to do there.

First thing to do is to create your profile. So click on “Profile” (duh).

  1. Upload a profile photo. Very important. It allows readers to see you as a real person. Plus once you have a story in an anthology and you claim that as one of your books (we’ll get to that), your link and photo will appear on that book’s product page. One more door to get reader eyes on your books.
  2. Write a bio. Make it interesting, or fun, or both. Include a cool fact that makes you special. Add your website link – it will appear on your author page on Amazon, making it easy for people to look you up.
  3. Add your blog link. Yes, in addition to the link in your bio, because this will make a thumbnail of your blog article appear on your author page. Free advertising for your blog – and yet another way to engage your readers.
  4. If you have events coming up like book signings or readings, you can add those, as well. I haven’t done that yet, but it’s probably worth a try. Amazon does sometimes send out newsletters to your followers.

Claim your Books

The next thing you need to do is to claim your books – click on “Books”.

You need your ASINS in order to claim your books, so open a tab on Amazon COM and search for your book(s). Find the ASIN (or ISBN in case of a print book). Copy it.

Click on Add a Book, and all you’ll see is a huge search window. Paste in the ASIN or ISBN and hit return. You’ll get an image or four to choose from. Click it, and the book will be added.

Except you won’t see anything just yet, because it takes a day or three to show up in your Author Central / Amazon Author.

Do that with each of your books. Do it now.

Good.

There’s one other link in the menu: Marketing and Reports.

And since this post is getting too long already, I’ll talk about all that and Sales Info as well next week. You’re not missing a lot, and you already have enough to do to set up your Profile and claim your Books.

Now, I talked about Imposter Syndrome earlier.

By setting up Author Central / Amazon Author, you’re not cheating on anyone. You’re not pretending to be anything you’re not. In fact, all you are doing is setting up another part of your little author business. And by doing so, you’re giving your readers a much better chance of finding you and your books.

That’s a smart and kind thing to do. You’re helping out your readers.

And that’s cool.

If that doesn’t help, here’s some tapping.

Tapping Phrases

Even though it really feels pretentious to set up an author page on Amazon when I just published my first book, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to release that feeling and do it anyway.

Even though it feels quite horrible to set up my author page, with a picture and weblinks, oh, my, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see this as a service for my readers.

Even though it feels really weird to create an online presence like that, when I just started out as an author, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see it as opening doors for readers to find me and my books.

Asking you

How do you feel about Author Central / Amazon Author?
Have you already set up yours?
Have you tried the tapping?

Write a comment!

*image source F. Möbius

PS: My monthly newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you overcome mindset blocks and emotions like resistance. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

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Tapping and Setting Up that First Amazon Ad

Creating an Amazon Ad
Creating an Amazon Ad

Yesterday, I set up my first two Amazon ads ever.

It was surprisingly easy, once I got the advertising interface to work – it was an Amazon glitch, so I don’t expect you to run into that problem.

I followed Brian Meek’s guidelines in how to set it up, although I’m fairly certain that the keyword bids are too low and will need fixing. (And yes, this probably sounds all Greek to you right now.) Still, it worked well.

It’s worth buying his book “Mastering Amazon Ads”, as well as joining his FB group. Because this is not something you can do on autopilot. Use that experience, make it available to you. All you have to do is go and get it.

So now I have two ads approved and running now – and no data whatsoever.

Because reporting is notoriously delayed. Fun times.

However, it took me quite a bit to actually be able to do this.

This is the mindset part.

The part where emotions, limiting beliefs and simple fear meld into a nasty barrier.

The part that held me back for weeks. As you may have noticed.

I wasn’t lazy. I went and hunted keywords. I re-read the books. I read the posts in the FB group.

But I just couldn’t find the bravado to go and do it.

Enter Tapping.

Which is what I habitually do to overcome blocks and obstacles.

I look at the emotions I’m feeling and then I tap on them. It’s a simple as that – but of course, the art is in the delivery. And after about ten years of working with EFT, I have enough experience to hone in on the problem.

For me, it’s a reluctance to gamble – and buying ads is basically gambling until you get some data feedback and find the right tweaks. I simply don’t like spending money without knowing what I’ll get in return.

But the blog post was due… so I gave myself permission to do it scared, dug up the instructions and just did it.

That’s the mindset I would recommend for the moment when you set up your first ad. Relax, release your emotions, find your patience and then “just do it”. Even better if you can bring yourself to employ a mindset of curiosity and exploration.

Because that’s what it is: You’re exploring something new.

You’ll find an entirely new interface, and you need to work through it patiently. You need to create your ad copy (with only 150 characters, slightly more than an old-format tweet), and you need to set all the money parameters.

And you need to doublecheck everything.

For the second ad, I was going through it to check, happy and proud for being almost done – and realized that I was setting it up for my paperback rather than my Kindle edition!

Fortunately, the interface kept all the settings when I went back and changed it to the correct edition

So you need a calm, curious and patient mindset for creating those ads.

And EFT tapping can give that to you. Use that method. Make your life easier.

Let me teach you.

Let me coach you.

Asking you:

Do you hesitate using Amazon Ads?
Do you worry about losing money with them?
Do you think they would help you sell more books?

Share in a comment!

*image source F. Möbius

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Amazon Ads – My Keywords

Searching for Keywords
Searching for Keywords

Today, I’m documenting my keywords for my first Amazon Ad, for my book “Dragon Prey” (Hannah Steenbock is my pen name.) Gathering them was quite a chore, because I was a bit picky.

You see, keywords are supposed to drive those people to your ads who have a large chance of liking your book. Basically, you’re trying to guess which keywords they put into the search bar on Amazon, so your book can be displayed to them.

I listed keywords in three different categories in my spreadsheet, to make it easier on myself once I get to tweaking ads – by changing out keywords. These categories are:

1) Author and Series Names that are similar to what my book is about.

2) Positive Keywords, identifiying general features of my book.

3) Negative Keywords, telling Amazon NOT to show the ad to people typing those specific keywords.

Now, I don’t really want to share those author names, but I will share where and how I dug them up – and this was the really hard work.

You see, my book has no also-boughts with other authors. My book page only points to other books by myself. That’s both good and bad, but it certainly doesn’t help me gather keywords for an ad. So I had to use different strategies.

First, I looked at the dragon category on Amazon COM (that’s because you can only set up ads for COM and UK). That was quite a chore because – unfortunately – there are also a lot of shifter and reverse harem books involving dragons in that list. After 79 pages of over 100, I accidentially closed that tab… and had gleaned about 20 names of authors and series that might share readers with my book. I did not go back.

Then I looked at the also-boughts of Pern books. After all, that’s one big inspiration behind my tales. That didn’t really help a lot, though, because 90% of those are other books by Anne McCaffrey. Which tells me that her name wouldn’t be a good keyword in my eyes, as it’s too general. Don’t forget, she wrote a lot of SF, as well, and those readers are not necessarily into dragons.

Finally, I looked at YA. *sigh* I really don’t think I write YA because my books have underlying themes that concern people of every age. But they don’t contain explicit bed scenes, so I thought it could be way to find a few more similar books and series. And that worked better than I expected.

So now I have 68 keywords in the author and series name category. And it was hard work to harvest those. I will keep looking and adding names, of course.

On to the next category. That’s an easy one: general keywords about my book.

Of course, I use those from my book description, as well. They include things like “fantasy, dragons, short read, novella, strong women, war, intrigue” etc. Once again, think about what people – and you! – put into the search bar. I think this is the easiest category, especially when going from general to specific.

Fun fact: When I put “intelligent dragons” into the search bar, there were only 16 results. And six of them were my books. Now that’s rather cool because it means one of my keywords for the book pulls a lot of weight.

I now have 26 general keywords for my book.

Now on to a category most people don’t think of: Negative search words.

These are words that tell Amazon specifically NOT to display your ad when these words are used in a search. They are very helpful in avoiding clicks by people who look for something different (and you pay per click).

My negative keywords include: “shifter, reverse harem, romance, and steamy paranormal romance” – because my story is not that, at all. However, there are plenty of such stories around involving dragons… which I discovered to my chagrin. Nothing against that kind of story, but those readers will be bored by my rather normal, fast-paced, feel-good fantasy adventures. So it’s better not to mislead them, and negative keywords are the way to do it.

So that’s that… next week, I’ll talk about the actual set-up. I will follow the experts in that and do it step by step, so expect a few quotes and screenshots.

Asking you:

Have you set up Amazon Ads?
Can you share tips about keywords?
Do you feel any resistence to working with those ads?

Share in a comment, so we can all learn.

*image source F. Moebius

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What are Also-Boughts, and why do you need them for Amazon Ads?

Also Bot
Also Bot

Also-boughts are the recommendations Amazon gives you when browsing (almost) any product. They are generated from their sales database and try to match your preferences. The full text is basically:

Customers who bought this (whatever you’re looking at) also bought that (and images apper on the product page). Among authors, we also refer to this jokingly as “also-bots”, since they are generated by an algorithm.

You can easily check them by looking at your books on Amazon and see what else gets recommended.

There’s also a nifty tool that actually visualizes your also-bots for you: Yasiv.com Be warned. They have a highly annoying no-robot captcha. But they give you nice visualizations.

However, even as you can choose other stores in the menu, it only works well for Amazon COM, unfortunately. I have no idea how often they crawl Amazon in order to get their data. And if you’re looking for your books, chose “Kindle Store”, for better results.

Now I’m going to show you my also-bots for the book I want to create my ad about. It is a little cringe-worthy…

Now, that’s good and bad.

The bad is that all books that “Dragon Prey” is connected to – are my own books set in the same universe. That means my books are not getting recommended anywhere else. Which means very little visibility. Booo.

At least my readers go on through the series and buy not just one of my books. On the other hand, I have three more that aren’t even connected to these. *sigh*

The good?

They are not connected to the wrong books, either. That can happen easily if you get all your friends to buy your books as a favor to drive up visibility and sales rank. But if your friends prefer to read military SF instead of the feel-good fantasy these are, Amazon’s recommendations will send the wrong readers to your series. They will be disappointed. They won’t buy, and if they do, they may leave bad reviews.

Messing up also-bots is not a good thing. You want the also-bots speak to readers who are interested in your books.

So how do you improve your also-bots? By selling more books to the right people. It’s that simple and that hard. And it’s exactly the reason why I’m working to set up my first Amazon ads.

And that’s where also-bots come in hand. Not mine – as you can see – but yours might look different. If your books are connected to other books in the same genre, you’re hitting a gold mine for your ads. Because those author names make perfect keywords!

But what do you do if you’re in my position? No also-bots?

Easy. Check authors in your genre that write similar books. And then harvest their also-bots for keywords. And that’s what I’m off to do now.

Asking you:
Have you looked at your also-bots?
How connected are you?
How do you feel about also-bots?

*Image source: F. Moebius

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Tackling Amazon Ads

Buy my book!

Buy. My. Book.

Amazon Ads…

My writing self has walked around those for a year or more. Now it is time to actually get into the game, to become visible, and that’s difficult on two levels.

One level is craft, and I will take you through the steps to set up an ad during this month. And I’ll show you how it works with my books and my genre, so you can make decisions about ads with a bit more material at hand. I’ll also tell you about two great books to make this easier.

The other level is, obviously, emotional.

Buying ads means spending money, in the hopes of making it back through sales.

Sounds simple.

But of course, it’s a risk.

I’m planning to keep the risk low while experimenting and playing with the ads.

Playing with ads.

That’s the mindset I want to achieve while doing this. I want to stay in a playful mode and have fun choosing the keywords and writing the copy and then following advice to choose the other settings. And then you send your ads out into the wild and watch them perform.

How exciting is that?

The steps to take are:

Select the keywords.
Create the ad copy.
Set up the parameters.
Check performance.
Tweak.
Keep checking.
Set up more ads.

It’s all doable.

Even though it sounds like a huge challenge.

But each step is just that, one step.

You can do one step, take a deep breath, rest a little and then take another step. That’s how every journey gets done. Step by little step. And each step isn’t so bad if you look at it individually.

Today is about the mindset, because that’s fundamental.

Check back with yourself: How does it feel to think about setting up an ad?

If that’s stressful, tap a little. Allow yourself to feel that fear and then release it. Setting up ads is part of the indie author’s life. We can get used to that.

How does it feel to write ad copy?

Tap a little and remember, this is what writing groups are for. Write a few sound bites. Get feedback on them and tweak until it flows well and makes people curious. Choose the one with the biggest impact.

Those parameters?

The guide books are very specific about that, so simply follow expert advice. Here are the two books I’m using for this journey:

Brian Meeks, “Mastering Amazon Ads”

This is the fundamental, basic book to understand how Amazon Ads work. It’s full of math and statistics, and you’ll probably have to read it more than once. I’m going through it again…

A. Sharpe, “AMS Ads for the Rest of Us: Simple Solutions for Busy Authors”

Much less math – you can’t really get around all of it, though – and a lot of fun. A good read, and very helpful, especially emotionally.

And yes, tap on this, as well, if you feel any negative emotions coming up.

Of course, you have to check performance and that can be tricky. You’ll need some math for it – that’s where you need Brian Meeks. He has a great chapter on performance.  Key take-away: Don’t be in a rush to give up on an ad. (And quite likely, I will write about that, as well, at a later point.)

And then you tweak. You experiment and play.

And yes, that’ll take some deep breathing before I can do that myself, because I learned that playing with money is bad. But doing it scared is how we learn. That’s how we grow. That’s how we become experts.

It’s doable. I’m telling that to myself right now, too.

So here’s some tapping, and believe me, I’m tapping this stuff myself…

Tapping Suggestions

Even though I’m really scared of setting up AMS ads, after all, that’s playing with money, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to do this in a responsible and careful way.

Even though setting up those ads is a difficult and tricky process, simply because I’ve never even done it before, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to test and learn and become an expert in it.

Even though taking this step and moving into working with ads is scary and way beyond just writing stories, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to step into the bigger role of indie author and businessperson.

Asking you:

How do you feel about ads?
Have you set them up?
Did the tapping help?

*Image source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you overcome mindset blocks and emotions like resistance. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

Posted in Mindset, writing craft | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power of Styles

First Line Indent

First Line Indent

Today, I’m going to wind up the series on creating a Clean Manuscript with some words about Styles.

You may have heard about them. If you’re like me, you have ignored them for way too long.

Styles tie in your manuscript with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which in turn are an essential part of ebooks.

Remember I said ebooks are basically websites?

Well, websites use html for content, and CSS for looks.

In other words, you use Styles to determine how your ebook looks. And using them also makes formatting for print easier.

And that’s why I’m suggesting to use Styles in your manuscript even as you write. It’s shockingly simple for a novel manuscript – you need exactly two Styles: Text Body (if you want to get fancy, you can also use First Line Indent, as I do), and Heading 1. That covers the normal text of your manuscript and the chapter headers. Oh, and using Title for your title is kind of obvious, which makes it three.

Every decent word processor uses Styles. And once you define how exactly your First Line Indent and your Headers look, all you need to do is mark the header when you start a new chapter because the First Line Indent becomes the default you get by adding another paragraph.

I’m showing you how to do this in LibreOffice right here.

 

It’s similar in Word, but you may have to look around in their weird menu tree to find it.

Best part of using Styles diligently? You can import your manuscript into Jutoh and create an ebook out of it almost instantly.

(I say almost because you do need to add a copyright page, acknowledgement and backmatter stuff to your plain manuscript to make your ebook pull some weight, but that’s fine. You can copy/paste those pages from another ebook and simply edit them to fit the current one.)

So, are you ready to adopt Styles?
Are there problems?
What else do you need to know?

Let me know in a comment!

Here are handy links to the rest of the series. I’m suggesting to start with Part 1. Ahem.

Part 1: Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript
Part 2: How to Indent and Add a Page Break for a Clean Manuscript
Part 3: The Pitfalls of Quotation Marks in Creating a Clean Manuscript

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The Pitfalls of Quotation Marks in Creating a Clean Manuscript

Curly Quote

Curly Quote

If you’re even a bit like me, you like straight quotation marks. I actually loathed the curly ones, and set my word processor to use straight ones. And it felt really good to have those clean characters in my manuscript.

Until I had to format one for print.

Oh, the pain.

Because, you see, curly quotes are the standard in print. And what’s worse, German print uses different quote signs than English print. *rolls eyes*

In other words, you need to be able to find and replace the quotation marks in your manuscript. Because that beats going through a 100k word novel and changing them all by hand. And you need to prevent them from happening again.

Right?

But straight quotes are just ONE character, front and back. A simple Search and Replace doesn’t work!

So go and watch the video – where I demonstrate the problem, as well as the solution, and where I explain the settings for LibreOffice, since that’s what I use.

Aside: I use LibreOffice because it is free and does everything I need. And because I really, really dislike subscription services.

Okay, before you read on, go and set your Word Processor to use curly quotes. Do it NOW. Trust me. It’s THAT important.

NOW.

And if you’re like me and decided to use the straight ones for your manuscripts, and now feel forced to replace them by curly ones, keep reading.

Here’s the whole formula stuff that I showed in the video. I grabbed it from the LibreOffice help forum – How do I convert straight quotes to typographic quotes? – but you do have to scroll down considerably to find it.

So here’s how I do it – step by step:

Pull up the “Find & Replace” window (hit ctrl+H), click on the + next to “More Options”, and select [x] Regular expressions. That’s very important. This code won’t work without it.

Copy and paste (\>|[,.;!?\]\)])" into the “Find” box.

Copy and paste $1” into the “Replace” box. Use only this.

Hit “Find next” and then “Replace” – to make sure you’re getting the desired result. Do it one more time, and then hit “Replace All”.

You’re almost done. By now, you have replaced all closing quotation marks and made them curly. But there’s one more step to change the opening quotation marks.

Put a straight quotation mark into the Find box.

Put the beginning curly mark into the Replace box.

Hit Replace All.

Done.
(Actually, no. Edit and proofread your manuscript.)

Even better, by setting your Word Processor to always use curly quotes, you will ensure you won’t have to do this again. (Unless you start helping fellow authors with formatting, that is…)

Yes, I know, this tech stuff is tedious. And sometimes scary. And it’s not writing, and that’s annoying. But it’s part of our author life – and by mastering this, you’ll save yourself a lot of work if you format your books yourself, and your formatter will bless you if you don’t do it yourself.

Next week, I’ll talk about Styles…

Part 1: Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript
Part 2: How to Indent and Add a Page Break for a Clean Manuscript

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How to Indent and Add a Page Break for a Clean Manuscript

indent the first line

Indent the first line

Last week, I talked about the importance of a clean manuscript, and why it’s a business asset. Today, I’m sharing the first hands-on video of three.

I’ll show you how to use the paragraph settings of your word processing program, as well as how to add page breaks.

Both are incredibly important for a clean manuscript, and not doing it this way will cause all kinds of trouble in ebook creation. And if you pay someone to format your books, it will drive that person batty – and cost you more.

In the video, I use LibreOffice Writer, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look quite like what you might be used to. The concept is still similar in MS Word, and I believe you can find the settings there. (Actually, mastering those is part of learning your craft. Just sayin’)

So here you go, take a look at how to do it like a pro.

 

That’s doable, isn’t it?

I know, it’s probably not what you’re used to, and it’s annoying to change a habit. But you could set up a template with all those settings already perfectly chosen, and it’ll be really easy. (Do you need a video on how to set up a template? Let me know!)

If you find this difficult to adapt to, use some EFT tapping to release that resistance.

That’s the trick to make change easier!

More on craft next week.

Part 1: Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript

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Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript

formatting mark

Formatting Mark

As you know, Writers’ Dream Coach is about supporting writers and authors. It’s mostly about mindset, but this year, I am expanding into hands-on craft. And I will write about all those pesky emotions coming up when talking craft.

Craft and emotions…

Now, as authors, we should do our work with the final end product in mind. And our final product are books. We want them to look good and read well.

Most of that is the actual writing, the creation of content, of your story. You’re working on that, I know. And that’s awesome and important.

The other part, however, is craft, and that’s often more difficult. Because it involves tech, and trust me, I know a lot of authors who hate tech with a passion. We’re creatives, after all!

And we can have a lot of resistance to hearing and learning about tech, and we have to drag ourselves to it, and yet… learning that tech and making it a habit will make your life so much easier. I promise that few tweaks on how you use all that awesome tech we now have available for writing and publishing will make a huge difference. And I will teach you.

Let’s start with the most fundamental part of the writing craft: the clean manuscript.

What do I mean by “clean manuscript”?

In these days, we authors work with electronic files. And you might be surprised that your writing file on your computer contains more than just letters – they are characters to mark certain parts of your file, like spaces, paragraph endings, page breaks etc.

There’s an actual setting to make them visible. I’ll show that in my video. I’ll also explain why I favor LibreOffice as word processor, but you will find the same icon in Word, as well.

 

Anyway, once you see all those formatting marks, you can make sure you have the bare minimum of them in your file, precisely only those you truly need. Because they can totally screw up the formatting for print and ebooks if they appear in the wrong place. So keep them visible while you write, even if that means having to get used to them.

Yes, I know.

You love writing in a file that looks like it’s a book. It inspires you, and you hate those formatting marks. I get it. Do what works for you, but definitely turn them on once you edit – and then take care of any of those marks running around wild where they don’t belong.

You also should use the program settings for indenting, for page breaks etc (videos are coming for that). Because that makes creating print and ebook files much easier, either for yourself or for the people you pay to format your books. And since some of those people get paid by the hour, saving their time will save you money.

Yup. We’re also businesspeople, and saving money is a good motivator.

And yet… I can sense your resistance.

I can hear you say: “But Frauke, I’ve always done it this way, and it just feels right.”

And I get that. I’m still writing my manuscripts in Courier 12pt, doublespaced (yes, Shunn style), because that’s how I started out and that’s what feels right. I actually know roughly how many pages in my word processor equal how many words. It’s comfortable writing that way. But I do have my formatting marks visible.

The truth is, we’re creatives, but we are also businesspeople. As soon as we finish a story and move into editing, we need to think of our business.

A clean manuscript is a business asset.

It’s that simple.

It’s a mindset thing, and it’s best to embrace all the wonderful things modern tech offers to make our author life easier.

And you know how I shift mindset issues, right?

Tapping Suggestions

Even though I hate having those formatting marks visible, they look alien and ugly, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to wear my business  hat and learn about these things.

Even though I hate, hate, hate those marks, they are so ugly and they totally stop me being creative, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to see these marks as reminders that I am a writer and a businessperson, and that I want to be a successful author.

Even though I can’t be creative with these ugly things in my manuscript, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to take advantage of all this amazing technology and embrace the new manuscript style on my path to being a professional author.

Your Turn:
Did you know about those formatting marks?
Have you used them to create a clean manuscript?
How do you feel about the idea of a clean manuscript?
Help to inspire others and share in a comment!

*Image source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you overcome mindset blocks and emotions like resistance. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

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