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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How to Get Rid of Those Pesky Bolded Section Breaks in Word 2010

I love Microsoft Word, except for the hidden commands feature, like where those pesky bolded moving section breaks are hidden within Word 2010 docs. Those unintended and unwanted breaks show up as a bad surprise in my own writing, plus I see them occasionally in my copyediting projects. Removing them is a time-consuming "try this and that" approach. Maybe it is something of a learning curve too as fighting these off is a rare occurrence.

Anyway, while you can find various ways to kill these on the Internet, I think I've got the easiest and surest fix: modify your Normal Style within Word to include the Keep with Next feature for paragraphs (and unclick the Widow/Orphan feature). You have to select your whole document first (Ctrl+A, held down together, then Enter). This technique does add in the requisite little black box before all your paragraphs (noting a Style was applied there but which symbol does not show up in print), yet it deletes the bolded margin-to-margin breaks in your document, which is the ultimate goal. Yippee!

Hope this helps y'all and saves you bunches of time and aggravation.

Enjoy Turkey Day!

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Penniless Publishing: How to Indie Publish for Free (or Almost Free)

I was leaving one of my author group meetings earlier this month when one of the guys mentioned that all my books were e-books. I told him how I was the queen of the budgeted Indie-pubbed authors. He thought I should share my tips with our group. He got me thinking. Maybe I should share my tips with y'all here. Even though I'm on a very restricted budget, I do the best I can with what I've got at the time. You can too.

Anyway these all seem fairly obvious to me, but who knows? Maybe they're not. Let's begin.

  1. E-Book Versions Only. I publish e-books now, with every intention later, once I'm a "rich and famous" author (which means, to me, able to pay all my monthly bills with my monthly royalty check), that I'll offer CreateSpace paperbacks (and have one for my home library too) and even Audible versions of my books as well.
  2. Covers. Out of my eighteen current online offerings, I've created twelve of my own covers from scratch, using various routes, with intentions later to have professional artwork done on some of them. My Good Ole Boys cover was done by a professional artist, whose great talents I enlisted via a good ole boy agreement between me and him, as he was my son's friend. I paid a pittance for his art. I hope to repay him somehow in the future for the true worth of his skills. The three-book and four-book collection offerings sporting 3-D covers were also designed by my son's artist friend. The cover for my stand-alone short story Down South was a royalty-free and payment-free option I found online as long as I gave the artist an online mention. Which I've done for all the artists I've used (including my son's kindergarten artwork replicated for my Checklist series, using differing colors for each book). For my short story collections #1 and #2, I used another royalty-free and payment-free photo. For my quotations series, I arranged the photograph myself. For my Catch Me novella, I drew a freehanded whimsical cover for that romance story. For my upcoming fiction series, I plan to freehand another cover, one that'll be used as the main background art for all the book covers in that series. For my latest upload, Stress Less: 365 Tips, I used bright colors for the text and one repeated keyboard symbol to style that cover. At the time of each book's publication, I selected my cover art, then added in the appropriate title, my name as the author (or as editor for the quote collections) and a tag line as needed, all via the free GIMP software. It comes with a lengthy downloadable instruction manual, but you may find it easier (and faster) to check out YouTube's various videos on certain GIMP functions instead.
  3. Storytelling. Obviously, as the sole author (no ghost writers involved), I've written the books (both fiction and nonfiction), which is the biggest time investment. Some involved research too. Plus Microsoft Word's spell-checker helps to catch most of the grammar issues and misspellings. But you still need the human touch of two kinds of editors.
  4. Two Kinds of Editing. Thankfully I'm both a developmental editor (the big-picture plot doctor aka the DEing) and a copy editor (the grammar and spelling police aka the CEing), so I currently do my own DEing and CEing of my work, along with some help by my two primary CPs. When I doctor my own books, it does work best if I let the book lay dormant for at least one week before I first do a DE, finding and fixing plot holes, etc., then I can follow that with a CE in a couple days.
  5. Formatting. I'm not a professional formatter, but my layman's formatting efforts serve me well when I preview via KDP. I may not (yet) be able to do drop caps, but I can present a clean and easily readable book. I give credit mostly to the use of Microsoft Word's Styles for chapter heads and subheads, and using autoindent functions under Paragraph for text. For those not familiar with Word, you'll find numerous videos on the subject by searching YouTube. Also I have a recent detailed formatting post here on this blog.
  6. Brainstorming. In the past, I brainstormed by myself, hoping for revelations to get me unstuck as I unloaded the dishwasher or worked in the yard. Now I have a few authors who help me brainstorm. Plus I like to think of my four (to date) quotation volumes as thousands of writing prompts, each volume containing over one thousand. So when I get mired in my plot, I visit one of my own e-books for inspiration (plus I have a manila folder with pictures and sayings and whatnot to spur me on too).
  7. Marketing. This is where I bow out. I only blog or enjoy pinning to Pinterest or the occasional tweet now and then. Otherwise I believe in basically four mantras: (a) that the opening of each book sells that book, while the ending of each book sells the next book by that author, (b) that the best marketing tip is to write your next book, (c) that series are a great boon to authors, and (d) that your intended readership finds you once word of mouth gets around, usually after the third to fifth book in your particular series. I hope so as I'm working on my Book 1 of my first fiction series. That may make a big difference in my royalty checks. If so, I'll let you know.
And that's it. I've spent close to zero dollars on my eighteen e-book releases (not counting my time involved). So it can be done even when the author is penniless. But the beauty of Indie publishing is that, when we Indie authors have more money, we can upgrade our covers, our text formatting, our various book options (hardcover, paperback, audio, e-book). If we really have some extra money to throw at our marketing, we can hire a publicist and a social media secretary.

So I hope I've proved that this writing gig can be done with little to no money to start out. Don't let a lack of funds stop you from writing if that is your big dream, your goal. Go for it!

And a happy and safe Thanksgiving to all you US residents!

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)