It’s here! After much editing, followed by several mindless days of formatting the manuscript and wrapping my head around the details of production in the e-book world, my first mystery, UNREASONABLE RISK, has arrived in amazon.com’s Kindle Store. It’s been uploaded to smashwords.com as well, and will be available there—and at other e-tailers—sometime soon. Woo hoo!! And I do have to say that, especially when compared to the $27.99 + tax pricetag on the hardcover, the e-book price of $2.99 is quite the bargain. (And for those of you who don’t own an e-reader yet, you can still read this book at $2.99 by downloading the free apps at http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sa_menu_karl3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771. You can read it on your PC, your Mac, your phone, pretty much anything that has a screen.)
The cover, which I think is fabulous, was designed by a great illustrator, Kate Brennan Hall. Notice the similarity in names, did you? Yes, we’re related. She’s married to my brother John, but that doesn’t make her less of a talent in the illustration world. Check out her website at www.katebrennanhall.com. And when you do, wander through her blog for a moment; there’s always something interesting going on there. Anyway, here’s the cover:
Cool, isn’t it? Wait until you see Kate’s cover for my next book, THROUGH DARK SPACES, coming soon to e-book world now that I know how to make that happen.
If you’ll forgive the allusion to childbirth (about which I know little, having never done it myself), bearing the e-book was much more like labor than the hardcover was. I’ll be talking about production of the perfectly formatted manuscript for the rest of this blog, so if that makes your eyes roll back into your head, just reply with praise for the cover design and check back again another time.
If you’re interested in how to format your own manuscript for e-book retailers, however, read on. Begin with a Microsoft Word document. If you have Word 2007, though, please save yourself a ton of trouble and save the manuscript right now in an older version of Word. At least one of the major e-tailers won’t upload a file with a suffix of .docx. Done? Okay, now it’s time to confront your formatting.
If you use Word’s Styles and Formatting function, you’re probably in better shape than you think. If you don’t, it’s time to learn about it. If you use the Tab key to create paragraph indents or if (heaven forbid!) you space over five space using the Space Bar, you’ve got a lot of work to do. If you’re not sure, go to the toolbar at the top of your page and turn on the little button that looks like a paragraph symbol (¶). It’s called the “Show/Hide” button. When you turn it on, a whole lot of little characters will appear in your document. If there are any arrows (→), you’ve used the Tab key. Grit your teeth and take them all out. Yes, out of the entire manuscript. If you’ve used the Space Bar, there will be little lines of dots (…..) instead of arrows. Take those out, too, all of them. In their place, use the Enter key to separate your paragraphs.
How SHOULD you indicate a new paragraph then? Use a Style. Go back to the toolbar at the top of the page and look to the left of your font name, which should read “Times New Roman.” There’s a box there that probably says “Normal.” If you pull down the options, however, you’ll see a list of formatting styles. Click on “More” at the bottom of the list and a window will pop open at the right of your screen. (If the option for “More” doesn’t appear when you pull down the Normal list, go to the button immediately to its left, the one that looks like it has to capital A’s on it, and click on that. Same result.)
To make a style that indents automatically when you hit the Enter key, click on “New Style” that’s located just under the top white box. You’ll see a series of boxes. Under “Name” select something you’ll recognize and type it in (like My Paragraph). Leave the second box at “Paragraph” since that’s what you’ll be formatting. You can leave the other two alone, too, at ¶ Normal and ¶ Style 1. Make sure your font is Times New Roman (preferred by many e-tailers) and the font size no larger than 14 – I used 12. Then click on the Format box at the bottom left of the window. The results will be familiar to you when you click on “Paragraph.” You’ve most likely been to this window before. Under Indentation in the Paragraph window, go to Special. Pull down the menu and click on “First Line” and under “By” type in 0.3”. Under “Spacing” just below that, make sure both Left and Right are at 0, and set Line Spacing to Single. When you click OK back to the main screen, your new Style will show up in the list under “Pick formatting to apply.” How cool is that? Now you can highlight all of your manuscript using Edit/Select All, then click on your new style, and wow! All the paragraphs indent three tenths of an inch miraculously.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about smart quotes, chapter headings and breaks, symbols, and all the rest. But now, I’m going to go read my very own e-book, UNREASONABLE RISK! I hope you will, too.