If you wish to make inroads into writing your e-Book or E-Novel, then this process will require some TIME.! Making the time to write your eBook could be a matter of straightforward time management. Time is the common denominator in all our lives; no matter who you are, who you are a partner to or who you work for, we all have the same number of hours in a day. It is up to you to manage the way you use this precious time. Here is a route you could take to look at your time and find a way to write for about two hours each day.

Initially, you have to make the decision to do it. If you want to write an eBook, don’t just tell yourself you’re going to do it, make it a project; tell others about it. They will obviously become a pain over time by keep questioning you about the progress of your ‘project’, but this will keep you on your toes and hopefully reduce the number of times a day you beat yourself up for not meeting your constantly slipping targets.

Write your work down where you can see it. Having a visual reminder of what you are committed to and the inroads already made can make a big difference to your results.

If you have a busy schedule and who doesn’t, then try writing in fifteen minute increments. Many professional writers find they can write for fifteen minutes without editing what’s just been written. After you have done this for two or three fifteen minute periods you can go back and take a closer look at your writing and perhaps devote some of your ‘quiet’ time to doing a daily edit.

Whether you work from home or have to turn up at the office each day, make sure you mark out and ring-fence some time for yourself that can be used for writing. You can write in your lunch break, on the train to work, staying over at the office for just fifteen minutes a day or getting up that little bit earlier and fitting in a quarter of an hour before breakfast.

When at home, turn off your television! If you think you really must see a particular program, record it and watch it later without the commercials. If time management is a real issue for you, then watching television, when you could be writing, has no part in your life. This may seem to be a harsh statement, but reality confirms that when you’ve made your first million, solely through your writing efforts, then there will be plenty of time for the TV.!

No matter who you are, if you wish to be a successful writer, then you will need to schedule blocks of time to write, like you would if you were setting any other set of time consuming appointments.

By making your writing a priority in your daily life, you will accomplish your main aim which is to get your E-Book or E-Novel written. Be strict with yourself….but have some fun too. Don’t make the mistake of letting writing become a ‘chore’ or one of two things will happen. You will produce poor work or you will give up entirely!

The E-Book Writer

For any agent or publisher without a specific format, you can follow a generally accepted format for novel manuscripts and here are the bones of the set-up required for a Word 2007 Document. This is not definitive, so please do not enter into loads of correspondence on the subject. It does however, provide a pretty well tried format that new writers will hopefully find useful especially if going the ‘self publishing’ route with an E-Book novel.

 Choosing a Font: Twelve point, Times New Roman proportional font is the very popular or, Courier New, mono-spaced font if your agent or publisher specifies a font that occupies the same amount of space vertically and horizontally. Make sure your font is black…no colours. You will find the settings box for your fonts on the ‘Home’ page of Word.

 The Margins: A one-inch margin on all four sides with a paper size setting of A4 is the default margin in Word. A standard paperback book size is 6 inches by 9 inches. Today’s modern standard is to work in metric formats, which makes the standard 6×9 inches convert to approx 15.2cm x 22.8cm. The script area for a standard 12 point font of say Times New Roman, will be approx 10.5cm x 17.5cm. You therefore will need to set your margins all round to 4.5cm to obtain this page layup on an A4 page size. You will normally be able to set to around 37 to 40 lines per page at single spacing. You will find the margins dropdown box on the ‘Page Layout’ page of Word. To set up the number of lines on a page, go to the ‘Home’ page then on the very right ‘Editing’ tab box to ‘Select All’.  This will highlight all script. Then you can right click on the page to see a menu with a ‘Paragraph’ tab. Click on it and under the “Indents and Spacing” tab, you’ll see a “Line Spacing” box. Set this to read, “Exactly” and then in the “at” box next to it, type “13”.  You can adjust this number until you have the required number of lines on a page.

Make sure that the rest of the boxes read Zero, that the alignment is “Left” and that ‘Special’ is either blank or set to “None.” Now, still in the paragraph window, navigate to the ‘Lines & Page Breaks’ tab. Make sure that every single box is unchecked.

 Paragraph Indentations: Default indentations are half an inch or approx 1.25cm. This tab is preset in Word and normally required by publishers. However, if for some reason you need to change this setting, you can do so on the ’Home’ page on the top line of the paragraph tab.

 Line Spacing: You can write in any space set up you like. Most writers set up for double spacing when writing a manuscript, but some write in single space to have an idea as the work progresses, as to how long, in terms of number of pages, the final project will be. Any submissions should be double spaced only. There should be no extra line spaces between paragraphs.

 Alignment: The page should be set to Align left and not justified. The right edges will not be uniform or even but that’s OK.

 Page Numbering: Number pages beginning with the actual story and don’t count or put page numbers on the title page. You can find the page numbering tab on the ‘Insert’ page in the Header & Footer block.

 Scene Breaks: A good way to indicate scene breaks is by inserting a blank line and centering say six ‘Star’ signs normally found above the number eight on an English computer keyboard.

 Title Each Page: In the ‘Header’, place a title of the work and the copyright symbol next to the year and name of the author.

 New Chapters: Begin chapters on new pages by inserting a page break. Center the chapter title, even if it’s only Chapter One (or Chapter 1), at the top of the page in say a size 28 point. Skip a couple of spaces and begin the text of the chapter.

 End Your Manuscript: When your work actually comes to an end, simply write The End as you want agents and editors to know they’ve reached the end and there are no more chapters or epilogues to come.

 Italics & Periods: Use italics for italicized and emphasized words unless an agent or publisher requests underlining, and only use a single space rather than two spaces after periods between sentences. It’s just a good habit to get into, especially for those of you who learned on typewriters and always added two spaces between sentences.

 Title Page: Include one; aligned left and single spaced, near the top of the page. Include contact information: Your real name, address, phone number, e-mail address etc. Follow with the word count. About half way down the page and centered, enter the full manuscript title, all caps or mixed caps.  On the next double-spaced line, type’ by’ or a ‘novel by’ or a ‘story by’ and on the next double-spaced line, add your pen name or your real name plus your pen name. If you have an agent, include the agent’s contact name and information beneath your name. Header information is not included on the title page. The title page is not included in page numbering. For some genres, including romance, you can include the sub-genre, such as ‘Suspense’ or ‘Regency’. Include this information either above or below the word count.

 That’s it, a basic format for novels written in Word, the single most used English WP programme in the world.!! If you do not want the hassle of formatting your work each time you start a new projet, you can of course go straight to Create Space, sign in and download a formatted 6×9 template…for FREE !

The E-Book Writer

Most literary agents are normally happy to read new work from potential clients. Make sure you first browse a list of your chosen agent’s existing authors lists to get a good idea of the kind of work they handle or are comfortable with. The most successful unsolicited approaches to agents are those which have been carefully targeted to a particular agency, rather than a blanket approach to lots of agencies, which is NOT RECCOMMENDED! Normally, the agent will tell you under the ‘submissions’ section of their website, what they represent and specifically what they do not. Make sure you read this section of your prospective agent’s website… in detail, BEFORE making your submission.

Submissions by email: Most agents living in the real world, and there are of course some that don’t,….. prefer to receive submissions by email. You will find individual preferences and email addresses etc listed on a ‘contact’ web page or more often on an individual agent’s web page. You would normally be required to send your submission directly to the agent you feel will be most compatible with your work. Agents will generally read all submissions made to them in order of receipt. It is to their advantage to do so and no one wants to miss the next J.K Rowling…do they? However, most agents will only respond to submissions if they wish to read more. You can safely assume that if you have not heard back from your submitted agent within eight weeks then you can more or less take it for granted that the agent submitted to does not feel that the work is right for their particular agency. Submissions by post: If you can afford it, you can often send your manuscript in hard copy to your agent. Check the website to see if this will be accepted. Again, they will normally only respond if they wish to see more. Do not expect to see your hard copy manuscript back. If they don’t like it, then it’s straight in the bin….or as they refer to the process of binning…..recycled. Some will send your manuscript back to you with an SAE envelope….but they are rare.!

What’s Required… ?

For fiction: For most submissions, you should send in the first 50 pages or first three chapters of your manuscript, (normally, no more) and a synopsis in a single document, (maximum two or three pages) as an attachment to the email, with a covering letter as detailed below. If it’s a picture book, then you would normally need to send the full story. If you are an illustrator, e-mail a selection of JPEGs with a covering letter.

For non-fiction: Again, for most submissions, email a proposal and short example of the proposed work…..a sample chapter, for instance. Include a short note on any competing or comparable literature stating, where possible the author, title, publisher and publication date. It would be helpful to have an overview of possible marketing outlets for your work and a biographical note outlining your background, training and experience. This is an important point of emphasis for a specialist subject whereby the agent needs some initial assurance that you, as the author, have a suitable knowledge of your subject.

The Covering Letter: Write a SHORT covering letter, normally embedded within the body of the email, giving an account of the background of the book and your writing career to date. If you have references from previous writing efforts, then make this clear. If you have had previous correspondence with any other agents, make sure you mention this. Most agents would also appreciate knowing if your project has been sent to or is being considered by other agents or publishers. That seems fair. The more cynical among you may say that if you do, your book goes to the bottom of the review list. Honesty is nearly always the best policy..! Do not use the ‘cast your net wide’ approach as this will no doubt backfire upon you.

The E-mail itself….…

There are many differing conventions used by agents and publishers for submitting work, but nearly all of them require a way of finding your work when it has been downloaded and posted to their computerized storage systems. Most also have some very heavy SPAM filters in operation and so require the ‘Subject’ section of the email to represent certain common information such as the following.

Date: Date of submission as dd.mm.yy. Name: Surname then First name. Title: Book Title.doc

For example: 01.06.12_Whittikar_James_MyBestSellingNovel.doc

Another well used example is: [SUBMISSION DATE]/[TITLE OF WORK]/[NAME OF AUTHOR]

The Manuscript…

For fiction: A normal requirement will be the three opening chapters (double line spaced) and a very brief synopsis of the whole plot, with a word-count of the complete book, combined together in one WORD DOCUMENT. Make sure you provide a title page and number the pages in the submission in case the agent or publisher decide to print it for their reviewers. Use a common font with the most respected being Times New Roman and good sized margins such as 4.5cm all round to give the reviewer the ability to write in the margins when the manuscript is printed out.

For non-fiction: Again, a normal requirement will be to provide a submission all together in one WORD DOCUMENT to include a proposal which tells the agent the date you could actually complete the book, the full word-count, a detailed outline of the story (synopsis) and three chapters (double line spaced) if you’ve written them. Make sure you also do a title page and number the pages in case they decide to print it. You should also indicate how much of the book is available in case the reviewers want to read on some more. The font and margins may vary depending upon the style and type of manuscript you are submitting.

Please make sure that any manuscript or attachment is a word document or PDF and not a link to any ‘cloud’ download format. Also, do not send hard media such as a CD or other storage devices. You will be unpopular.

So, do we now understand the submission procedure for getting your masterpiece in front of an agent or publisher who is about to launch your career as a world recognized Author? Maybe the subject is a little clearer but the best advice will always be to research your chosen agent or publisher and follow their own specific submission rules…to the letter.! Happy scribbling.!

The E-Book Writer

As a first time writer of books, what options do you think are available to you when it comes to having your work published? If you are lucky enough to be a published author and not simply a ‘writer’ any more, what options did you have when looking to get your work published? Well there are a million words out there that will purport to guide you through to victory, most of them written by ‘self publishing houses’ that have perhaps a little more interest in your bank balance than your literary success. In general, getting your book published requires you to walk a torturous route and the first parting of the way needs you to make a decision. The left hand route is via a Literary Agent and the right hand route is via a Publisher. So, what’s the difference?

The Literary Agent – This is a service provider who makes a living by selling your book rights and then taking commission from your earnings. The process is straight forward and well documented. A hard working agent will take the stress out of earning money from your writing efforts, leaving you to become a highly productive asset in his ever growing ‘list’ of authors. Over the years, this literary animal has become so powerful, that nearly all quality Publishers steer clear of accepting any manuscript submissions unless made by an Agent. This simply goes to prove that there is an unashamed wealth of manuscripts floating around out there with a real and possibly unacceptable ‘dirth’ of  interested Publishers desks for them to land upon. On the other hand, it may simply confirm to you that the ‘old boy network’ in the literary world is alive and kicking. If you already have an ‘in’ with an agent and he accepts your work, then you are several hundred steps ahead of the competition. If you don’t, then you will need to find one, find out what the submission criteria may be, send your work off…..and then.. wait!  A good agent will look after your interests well, a bad agent will not. How can you tell the good from the bad? Well, instinct is useful; the authors in their list that produce similar work to yours; the number of successful book launches in a given year and your ability to ‘get on’ with your allocated editor. How can you tell what commissions you should pay to an agent? Well in 2011 it was averaging 15%, plus any relevant value added tax requirement in the country of payment, but that figure can of course vary significantly depending upon what services your agent is prepared to provide to you.

The Publisher – This is someone who takes risks, is used to taking risks and is therefore hard to convince that they should invest several hundred thousand dollars in the launch and promotion of your untried and untested masterpiece. The publisher is someone who will need to spend time editing your book and getting it ready for publication. He will also have to invest in the printing of the first editions of your book and provide the marketing backup to make his investment a success…..and in turn, pay you some money for all of your hard mental and physical efforts over a period of months or even years. The publisher will often only accept submissions from an agent because they both know what kind of work the publisher is interested in and what will make them both…. Money! So, what kind of money is involved and how much would you expect to get for a publishing deal? …….Read on!

If a publisher decides they are interested in your work, they will want to sign a standard book contract with you. This would probably call for you to receive 10% royalties from the sales of your book. Don’t forget that 15% of your 10% goes to your agent, if you have one, for negotiating the deal. The price of your book is normally set at about six times the cost of production. This means that if the first edition of your book is in hardback, the cost will possibly come to about $30.00, for the purposes of this example and that means that for every book you sell, your share is $3.00 less 15% for your agent or roughly $2.55 net to you, less any relevant taxes. An economic print run could be as high as 15,000 copies and if your agent has done a good job for you, you may be able to receive a 50% advance. We will use the number of 15,000 copies as an example for calculating income, but most first hardback print runs would substantially lower. The publisher’s gross income from these sales would be around $450,000 and your share will be 10%, or $45,000 less your agent’s commission of $13,500 leaving you with a very useful $31,500. If you are one of the lucky few who have received an advance, you will obviously not start to receive commission from your publisher until 50% of the book stock has been sold. If your book does not sell it’s first 50% print run, you may be asked to return some of the advance made to you by the publisher….so BEWARE!…do not spend all of your advance as soon as it hits your bank account!
      If your books do not sell and end up on the bargain tables you can find at most major book stores and you can buy your book for a substantially reduced price of say $6.00 or $7.00, then you will actually not make one penny. If your publisher negotiates with one of the large wholesale clubs to sell your book for half price, then you will bear the cost. Of course, you will be likely to sell more copies in those clubs, so it can be advantageous and a really good agent will work on book club deals on your behalf. Publishers generally invest very little in marketing for new authors with no following and naturally save their big advertising budgets for proven and popular authors. You may not want to hear this, but you will not get rich on your first novel. The 90% of value left in your book sale goes to the printer, and the publisher as they are the ones speculating on you and that is simply how the system works. Publishers have to pay editorial staff, lawyers, and many other ‘bodies’ who will be there actually “working” for your book and without question, they do actually earn their money.

The Middle Road – Of course, you do not have to take the left or right hand route as the middle one will eventually take you to the E-Book option and you will learn a lot more about this process within the pages of this blog. One word of warning! Beware of going the self publishing route, commonly known as ‘vanity’ publishing. This will cost you money and you will often see no financial return for your investment in such a process.

The E-Book Writer

There is much discussion surrounding the size of the E-Book market and the rate at which it is growing. For you, the E-Book writer, there are two simple but major factors that affect the growth of E-Book sales. The first one is naturally the number and variety of electronic books floating around out there on the ether and the second, perhaps more important factor, is the sales growth of devices available in the market place, able to read the various popular electronic book file types such as .epub, .mobi, .ibook, .html and .pdf etc. The two biggest ranking sales outlets for E-Books worldwide, as of the date of this posting, are still Amazon Kindle Store and Barnes & Noble eBooks. Amazon have stated that they are now selling 105 E-books for every 100 printed books, including printed books for which there is no electronic edition. The comparison, they say, excludes free e-books, which would tip the scales further if they were included. Barnes & Noble sees it’s sales of e-books rising from about $250 million in 2010 to over $2 billion in 2015, according to CEO William Lynch. While e-book sales are expected to skyrocket, sales of print books through B&N are expected to fall from about $3.6 billion in 2010 to about $2.8 billion in 2015, Lynch reported. As for E-Reader devices, in the United States, across nearly all demographics, ownership of tablets jumped from single-digit to double-digit percentages from November 2010 to mid-January 2011. A similar level of growth has been seen in UK and other major European economies. The table below shows some figures that indicate the E-Book is here to stay and is likely to become the future ‘media of choice’ in reading as a tool for education as well as entertainment.
Country                     Est. Book Market Size     Est. Market Share
United States                    27.9 Billion Dollars                    6.2%
United Kingdom              3.10 Billion Pounds                   6.0%
Germany                             9.60 Billion Euros                      1.0%
France                                  5.60 Billion Euros                      1.8%
Spain                                     2.90 Billion Euros                      2.4%
Netherlands                       1.20 Billion Euros                      1.2%

Research By O’Reilly Media: The Global eBook Market Report: Current Conditions & Future Projections:2011.

Writing an E-Book is now the ‘way to go’ from the aspect of the writer and even the publisher, with new players entering the market daily. Alongside new publishers and new titles comes more competition for your literary masterpiece. So after you have slaved and sweated over your new, or perhaps latest E-Book, read it, re-read it, edited it and edited it even more; found a friend who has knocked you up a reasonable book cover and finally walked casually through the free publishing process, you now have to promote it….and there begins another tale!

The E-Book Writer

This is the first post in a blog that is dedicated to ‘E-Books’. The aim of The E-Book Writer is to provide a no-frills, straightforward source of information for those who write E-books, or simply want to write any type of book….. and…. those who regularly publish E-Books, or simply would like to publish their very first E-Book. The E-Book-Writer Blog will hopefully build up in the coming months to become an unbiased source of information for everyone with the E-Book bug. With an estimate that is thought to be better than a reasonable guess, E-Book sales worldwide, will reach between 9 and 10 Billion units, in one form or another, by the end of 2016. That’s a big, big market…..and it’s simply sitting there waiting for your highly prized initial offering or eagerly awaited next contribution to the fickle world of literary acclaim. For the first time author, the process may be a little daunting; but hopefully, through these blog pages, you will be able to recognise a relatively easy and seamless path to fruition. The new E-Book world can take you to the point of publishing….that’s a straightforward, well documented route on the Internet. However, the E-Book world cannot guarantee that the very first novel you produce, loved and hailed by your close family and friends, along with all your mates down ‘the club’, will in fact be a success in a financial or literary sense. E-Book writing allows just about anyone to write more or less anything across a broad range of subject matter, fact or fiction and E-Book Publishing allows almost everyone to have their written work made available to the public at large. This can be as an electronic file that can be stored and read at will on some type of electronic device or an actual, printed, hard copy book provided to you and your discerning readers through the dark art of POD (Print on Demand).

The E-Book Writer