Tip #1: Avoid the "me first" mentality. Always put the other person first.
Example: My sister and I went to the store.
Tip #2: Homophones - words that sound the same but are spelled different.
They're (contraction for they are).
You're (contraction for you are)
Too (meaning also)
Two (the number 2)
To (denoting motion toward something).
When writing, take a moment to check to be sure you're using the correct spelling of the word.
Tip #3: The "As" Trap
Avoid the overuse of the word as.
If you find that you are using as a lot, you might want to find another word and change it up a bit.
Use words like when, while, then, or because to make clear time and cause.
Example: When I was in the tanning booth, someone stole my wallet.
Example: Because I was talking my, soon-to-be ex-, wife left the room.
Tip #4: Than vs Then
Than is a comparison word.
ie: She is prettier than her sister.
Then denotes time.
ie: There was a flash of lightning then the crash of thunder.
Tip #5: Writing Numbers
- Always spell out number at the beginning of a sentence.
- Spell out numbers from 2,100 to 9,900 when they are expressed in hundreds.
Example: twenty-one hundred
- Spell out ages of persons and things, centuries, street numbers (up to twenty), military bodies, political divisions and sub-divisions and sessions of Congress.
- Spell out the time of day when A.M. and P.M. are not used.
- Use numerals when doing technical writing, siting a page number, house numbers and streets above twenty, measurements, hours of the day when using A.M. and P.M.*
(*printed matter uses small caps for the abbreviations A.M. and P.M.)
- Spell out the dates when the day precedes the month or the month is omitted.
Example: The fifth of May....
Example: On the fifth the revolution....
Tip #6: Capital Rules
-If words are directed by a person to himself or are merely unspoken thoughts, capitalize the first word but do not use quotation marks.
Example: He said to himself, Here we go again!
-Do not capitalize words indicating position or occupation when they are not used as titles.
Example: The architect, Riley, and the treasurer, Chuck, were always at odds.
-Do capitalize titles used in direct address expect when they can be applied to a wide class of people.
Example: Yes, Your Honor, I understand.
Example: The lords of the land rode into battle.
There are different formats for an eBook and a paperback. I, personally, use a formatted template for paperback publication when I'm writing. That way when I am finished, my manuscript is ready for publication.
Then I go to Draft2Digital.com to convert my manuscript to eBook format. It is extremely easy.
However, if you are not using a template, there are some key features you will need to keep in mind.
Running Horse Author Services
Indie author Pam Bainbridge-Cowan assists authors with formatting manuscripts for print and eBooks. Check out her website for her fees and her availability by clicking on the heading .
A crucial step in indie publishing is to hire an editor. This may cost you but it is worth every penny. Nothing will kill your book sales faster than to have a reader to leave a negative review about the typos they found in your book.
However, equally critical is to find the right editor. There are lots of people who claim to be editors who will take your money but not do a thorough job. Be sure they have the credentials to back up their claim. Don't be afraid to ask either.
Below are some editors I know and have used:
Rainbow Dog Editing - Provided excellent feedback and quick. Reasonably priced.
BOOK COVER DESIGNERS
We've all heard the saying, you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, that's a lie. Your cover is a reader's first impression. It needs to motivate a potential reader to pick it up and take a closer look. Make sure your book stands out by having a quality cover. It is worth every penny.
Tip #1: Be sure the title is legible from a distance and when your cover is made into a thumbnail on the web.
Tip #2: If you can't hire a graphic artist, be sure your artwork is of the highest quality and looks professional, otherwise the message your book will scream is 'amateur.'
Tip #3: Make sure your name is proudly displayed on the cover. A common mistake indies make is to "hide" their name by using a small sized font. Look at the best sellers from publishing houses. More often than not, the author's name is larger than the title. Which impression to you want to give people?
Tip #4: Make sure your cover fits the genre. Take a look at the top selling books in your genre and see how your cover stands beside them. You may like your cover but does it reflect the current trend people expect of a book in that genre?
Below are two designers I have used and recommend. Check with them for availability.
Farlands Publishing has designed covers for several indie authors. Her pricing is reasonable and her work is impeccable. She is extremely knowledgeable about genres and what is trending. Contact: Roslyn McFarland at email@example.com
J Caleb Design has designed covers for
Crissy Moss & James M. McCracken/A. M. Huff
"Extremely knowledgeable about genres and making your book stand out. Fast, reasonable and easy to do business with."
ISBNs are important for your book. You will need a separate ISBN for each format you intend to publish:
WHERE TO PUBLISH
Amazon Kindle & Select - user friendly interface and helpful formatting tips. KDP Marketing promotions available if you agree to publish your eBook exclusively through them for 90-days. These promotions have varied success.
Draft 2 Digital - simple to use. Sign up for an account and follow the steps. At step 3 you can download a .mobi and/or .pdf file of your book. You may choose to continue but if you are going to publish through Amazon and intend on enrolling in their "Select" program, stop at step 3. Use the .mobi file to upload to Amazon.
Smashwords - user friendly interface, free isbn, formatting guide. They make your eBook available for multiple eReaders. Offers ability to create discount/free coupons to assist your marketing promotions.
Amazon Kindle - when publishing through Amazon Kindle, you have the option of publishing a paperback version of your manuscript. The books are excellent quality. A couple of things you should know: the system can be quite finicky. Be sure all fonts are properly embedded in your .pdf file. Another downside is: Amazon does not offer a return option for bookstores and vendors. This will make it near impossible to get your book in a brick-and-mortar store.
Ingram Spark - easy to use system putting out an excellent quality product. Ingram is one of the major book distributors used by brink-and-mortar stores. They do offer a return policy making it easier to get your book into local stores.
Marketing is the hardest piece for all authors. This is the part where you have to put yourself in front of the public and sell your book. It isn't easy.
A helpful tip: Do NOT compare yourself to other indie authors. You will only become discouraged. Keep in mind, they may not write in your genre or they may have been doing this a lot longer.
Why not, find out how they built an audience and see if you can do the same. But remember: there is no magic format for being a successful author. What worked for one may not work for you.
I struggle with this piece and I found help by joining a group called Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). Their focus is more on improving the quality of indie books and marketing. Through them I have had a large measure of success. Check out their website:
Mission: Serving Pacific Northwest writers working to achieve professional standards in independent writing, publishing and marketing.