Archive for June, 2012

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