Friday, June 8, 2018

Writing for Electronic Books by Sandy Penny

Writing for
Electronic Books

by Sandy Penny,
Fresh Eyes Proofing

I read and review many books on my Kindle, and I often use my read-aloud feature. Once you get used to the sound of electronic speak, it's great to have, and it saves these old eyes. There are some things I've noticed that make the experience less enjoyable though.

If you use page numbers in your file, the auto reader may read out the page numbers in the middle of sentences. Pages vary with the size of the device screen. Kindle files note character counts for finding things.

If you use certain large fonts for chapter headings, it can cause the reading to stop, and you have to manually restart the reading. That's annoying, especially if you read in bed. Just use standard fonts like Times or Ariel with larger headings, using document formatting so all headings will be the same size. If you don't use a standardized format, the file may not keep your settings for headings, and you'll have issues in the final file.

If you use cute art swirls or tiny pictures between chapters, that will also cause the reading to stop, and it gets really annoying to keep starting and stopping the Kindle reader.

If you type in all caps, it will sometimes read it letter by letter and not word for word. It's better to use bold or italics and larger so it reads correctly.

Be sure to follow the free directions provided by Amazon or other electronic options so the file will work properly on the device, especially if you use photos in the book.

Fresh Eyes Proofing - Every author needs fresh eyes.Abbreviations: When you use St. for Saint or Street, it will read street, so it's better to spell out abbreviations for proper electronic reading. Unusual spellings for characters may not be read correctly as well.

If you use Amazon, be sure you save a copy of the .mobi file once it is formatted, in case you want to share the file with a reader/reviewer so they can use their device for the reading. PDFs and Docs are just not as easy to use. Even though Amazon does not encourage this practice, well-known readers/reviewers can still post reviews that are recognized on Amazon.

If a reader/reviewer shares that there are errors in the file, pay attention, go through the file, and correct them. Don't expect the reader to provide you with a list of the errors. Editors/proofreaders charge for that service, and you can't expect readers to do that work for free. If a reader does offer that list of errors, fix them and let the reader know you fixed them, and request they change their review, if that was a factor. Also, show your appreciation by offering a free book to the reader if you have additional titles. That will encourage them to share more with you and to review more of your books. It's a good way to develop a relationship with your readers who love your stories, and readers will often share their reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media sites, and possibly with their book club friends. It's just great marketing.

Whatever happens with reviewers, don't get discouraged. I often don't like violent books and give them a low rating, but my low rating lets readers who like violent books know this is something they may like. So, a low rating is not necessarily a bad thing for an author.

Write On - My Friends.

~Sandy Penny

I love my Kindle Unlimited. I get to read so many great books for one low price. 
Try it for free and see whether you like it ...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Soul of a Page by Adam Rich

The Soul of a Page by Adam Rich

Musing of a Writer ...

Does a piece of paper possess a soul?

Does a lonely sheet wait longingly to be touched?

Does an unopened notebook feel an emptiness that it can't find a way to fill its own pages?

Do reams lay about in an attempt to define themselves, seeking the knowledge of what they are to become?

And are the pages actually blank, or do they possess a destiny from the moment of their creation, perhaps even before that?

Would paper that becomes a poem have become a poem in the hands of another?

Would a tablet be filled with drawings no matter at the point of whose instrument it lay?

And could it be that the pulp itself contains a part of the soul of the tree from whence it came?

And so, do drawings, and poems and stories grow on trees?

If leaves could talk, would they whisper fantastic tales into the wind?
If branches reached to the earth, would they draw majestic works upon the ground?

Perhaps if you look and listen closely enough, they do ...

Comment by Sandy Penny: 

And do the stories of those buried in the earth absorb into the trees through the roots?
And the faces we see in the grain of wood, are they actually those whose stories have been absorbed?
And so then, does the paper made from these trees carry that vibration to the writer who sits with the blank page?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fresh Eyes for Authors

"Avid readers notice mistakes, and it affects whether they want to finish your book, review it or buy another one in the future. 

Fresh Eyes For Authors by Sandy Penny

I read dozens of books a month for my Sweet Mystery Books blog, to review and help promote independently published authors. Unfortunately for those authors, I find so many errors in some of the books that, unless the rest of the novel just blows me away, I don't review them. However, I do let the author know that the poor proofing distracted me from the story. A careful final proofing of a manuscript can save authors the embarrassment of publishing those mistakes and sometimes the additional cost of fixing them after publishing. This is especially true for print books.

Typos, wrong words, missing words, and misspelled words pop out of books like a jack-in-the-box. I hate it when something I write has errors, and just as it happens to others, it happens to me. Every author starts to lose focus after repeatedly going through the same material. You start to see what you know should be there, instead of what is actually there. And, once an author makes a few edits, the likelihood that words are missing, tenses no longer match, or something has been repeated is almost inevitable. That's why I now offer final proofing of novels, to be YOUR fresh eyes just before publishing.

Even if you have an editor and several early readers, you still need fresh eyes at the end of the project. Every writer needs an excellent proofreader. When I was writing for the corporate world, we had designated proofreaders that read every draft after changes were made. We rotated the readers so that no one became jaded.

If you want to successfully market your self-published novel, it needs to be as perfect as possible. There is too much competition for readers to bother with unprofessional books.
Avid readers notice mistakes, and it affects whether they want to finish your book, review it or buy another one in the future.

All those decisions affect your bottom line and acceptance as a professional. Reviews that say, "I quit reading because there were too many mistakes, and I had to keep rereading to figure out what the author really meant," can mean death to your novel. This is particularly important if you plan to write a series of books. The first book will set the tone and expectations of readers. It's like a first date; you want to make the best possible impression, or there may not be a second date.

And, if I really like your work, after proofing it, I have lots of avenues to help promote it, and I do that as a matter of course. My Sweet Mystery Books blog was launched because I was helping an author promote her novel, and many mystery book marketing sites would not accept self-published novels for promotion. I felt I could help her and other indie authors, while building a little book-selling business as an Amazon affiliate. I still only review what I already like. My reviews are not for sale.

I've met some wonderful authors, and I try to encourage anyone who has had the tenacity to complete a novel. I do not post bad reviews unless I think readers really need a warning. I know how difficult writing is, so it is never my intention to trash an author.
Writing is my life. If your writing needs to persuade, inspire, create curiosity or ignite action, every word is important.

If you'd like to know more about my services, go to