Inspiration for writers

There’s something rather inspiring about listening to other writers share their process.  I am a morning writer so, often of an evening, you will find me curled up with my tablet scouring the internet for writerly inspiration.

Here is one such gem that I stumbled across.  It is short but very, very beautiful.





The book trailer is unveiled….

Here is the book trailer that I cobbled together using Movie Maker.  I have watched it too many times to be objective but I do like it.

What do you think? Would love to have some feedback…

Review of guides to formatting your ebook for kindle

scaredSo it has reached that point in my ebook self publishing journey where I have to face the inevitable.  I have resigned myself to the fact that this is the week where I must face down my demon and grapple with the dragon that is FORMATTING.  Yikes even typing the word fills me with dread.

Why?  Because I have read so many articles and posts which tell me that this is all going to be a bit of a nightmare.  Anyone who has been reading my blog will know that I am not what you might call tech savvy.  I have an amazing gift for making ‘ten minute’ tasks turn into three hour monsters.  It doesn’t come easy to me this stuff.  I prefer to think of myself as floating round in summer dresses, picking flowers and scribbling down beautiful words in moleskine journals.

However, the reality is that I spend my day hunkered down in my ugg boots and big cardie, punching out words on my laptop, drinking coffee (too much) and generally finding creative ways to procrastinate.  Everything I have learned about the whole self publishing thingie has come through sweat and many many tears(both of frustration and occasionally of joy!).  But I am afraid the time has come to format the manuscript of my book “Change Your Life From the Inside Out”.  Formatting Dragon, I can avoid you no more.  So, with respect, I have spent many hours “researching” how to format for kindle and here is the result of those lost hours:

A Review of Free Guides to formatting your ebook for kindle

Using Scrivener?

If you are using Scrivener to produce your ebook, you can find a really clear guide as to how to format your book using that software on The Book Designer website.  I should warn you that it says it only takes minutes so, if you are anything like me, that means “hours” but the instructions seem really clear and there are some screen shots which are always helpful.  As a newbie Scrivener user, I was seduced by the whole formatting promise so I will be using this guide with my fingers crossed and will let you know how it goes.  You can access that guide  here.

Not using Scrivener?

Then you will need to use Word and don’t worry there are plenty of great resources out there to help:

Catherine Ryan Howard

My GoTo woman on all things self publishing/printing is Catherine Ryan Howard.  I love her no-nonsense style and she is so clear on instructions. If you haven’t already got a copy, I wholeheartedly recommend her book “Self Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide To Self Publishing” available on Amazon which is a steal at $4.99 and so packed full of wisdom and cold hard facts that you will be praising the heavens that Catherine is on this earthly plane.   Alternatively Catherine has created a really clear post on this which you can see here.

There is also a really good and clear guide on Declan Conner’s blog here.  I know that this is for fiction specifically but I imagine that the rules are pretty similar for non fiction.

Struggling to create a table of contents? 

Dark Neon has a good guide to that right here.  Lots of pictures to help the visual learners and nice clear instructions for those of us in the remedial internet row.

Want your guide in a printable format?

The site is great for this and their guide to formatting can be printed off which, if you are not quite proficient at juggling your windows (like me!) then can be super helpful.  You can get that guide here.

Using Open Office?

Open Office can be easily used to convert to kindle apparently.  I found this guide on (which I first thought was called makketty cheezier…) and it seems really thorough and relatively (!?) simple.  Get the guide here.

Want to go straight to the source?

Of course there is always Amazon‘s own guides which are really clear and straight from horse’s mouth.  They are available here.

So that is it.  My roundup of the wisdom that is out there and of course this can only mean one thing for me.  I need to format my book.  Today.  I have all the knowledge I need.  Time to put the pedal to the metal.  Although I must just have a little break and a coffee first.  I think I might have some ironing to do too…. or maybe I need to clean out the garden shed…..

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How to find your authentic writing voice

You’ve read it a thousand times: “write with your own authentic voice”.  According to some it is the key to engaging readers and creating books that sell.  But what exactly is “Your authentic voice”?  It’s a tricky one to pin down as a writer.  We begin to second guess every sentence, question every choice of word, analyse every exclamation mark!  The trouble is that telling yourself to write authentically can sometimes have the very real effect of creating the exact opposite.

You know the drill.  You sit down to write.  The words are flying down onto the keyboard.  You are on a roll, baby!  You have banged out two thousand words and your Writer’s high is … euphoric.  But then you read back through what you have written.  This time however you read back with your reader’s hat on, or even worse, your editing hat on…  The questions are racing through your mind.  Have I expressed that idea correctly?  Is my grammar correct?  And then, the killer question:  am I writing in my authentic voice?  Ouch.  She’s a chilly comedown, that one.

Sometimes, second guessing yourself can be a good thing.  It is important to check that your writing communicates your idea properly.  Checking spelling and grammar are what a professional writer does.  But how do you test for an authentic voice in your writing?  Tricky one this.  One thing I have noticed is that when I write as myself, from my heart and imagine myself speaking the words that I have written, then I have written authentically.  When I go into academic, dictionary gobbling, essay writing mode, my authentic voice is way off in the distance, dancing with the fairies and poking her tongue out at me!  You know when your tone is authentic because it resonates with your heart.  Reading it through, just feels right.  Sorry to be flighty and woo-woo.  Sorry to be so unscientific about the whole thing.  But authenticity is unscientific.  It comes from the heart.  It is allowing your voice to find itself through your writing.  Get out of your own way for a minute.  Stop second guessing yourself.  Write as if you were communicating with your very best friend.

my ideal reader

Another free printable to get to the heart of your reader and help you develop your authentic voice

A great way to do this is to be a little business like in your approach to your writing project.  Create an Ideal Reader Avatar.  Give them a name, a full identity – spend as much time getting to know your ideal reader as you would getting to know your main character.  Know where they hang out online, what they read, what they love, what they fear.  Drill down into their emotional truth and hold that knowledge in your heart.

When you know your reader so well, communicating them is like speaking to a friend.  You know the details that they are looking for, you read the book through their eyes, you answer the questions that they are asking for themselves.  Knowing your ideal reader and communicating with them through your writing is the key to authenticity.  It is how you write from your heart using the language and images that your reader wants to read.

I created yet another printable to help me with this (I know, I know – I am printable obsessed!) so here you go – another gift! Just clicky HERE to get the pdf.

And yes, it is unscientific.  It is esoteric.  But so is the creative act of writing.  And remember, science is just another story that we tell ourselves.  Consider my words to be just another theory of Authenticity. That’s all…

So how do you get to understand your ideal reader?  Do you have another way of finding your authentic voice?  Let’s share our ideas because, y’know, it’s nice to share!  Leave a comment – I am learning so much from you guys!

And have yourself an authentically beautiful, and productive, day.

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How to make a header for your blog for free

When I first made my blogsite, I had fanciful visions of what it would look like.  I was determined that it would look professional and clean.  Only problem was – my budget for website building was ZERO.  I knew that I needed to learn this stuff myself otherwise, as a newly hatched entrepreneur, I was going to be in the Red at the bank until the year 2030.

Ultimately my philosophy that everything is figure outable meant that Google became my best friend and that the words FREE SOFTWARE would feature heavily in my search requests.

So, without further ado, here is my easy peasy lemon squeezy guide to getting a great header on your website for free:

1. Google xheader pro. or click here to go straight to the site.

2. Download the free software. it involves clicking on the box with the smiling lady on it.

3. Watch the tutorial when prompted – it’s great, really clear and inspiring

4. Spend far too long playing at creating new headers.

5.  Save about a million different options for your header. They save as jpegs just by double clicking the quality that you like.

6. Note to yourself that most of them look exactly the same.

7.  Have a cup of tea and a biscuit

8. Go back and pick, probably, the first design that you created.

9. On your blog upload the header into your appearance section. nb, I just clicked download as is, rather than cropping it.

10.  Marvel at how clever and professional your new header looks.  Aren’t you a clever bunny! Now go and have another cuppa – you have earned it, my friend1

Look there is a professional version with about 5000 headers to choose from.  I haven’t got this.  It’s probably awesome but I only need one header and ‘free’ works beautifully with my budget.  Also I am not “monetized” on this blog so I have no motivation for sharing this apart from the fact that I am such a nice person and it feels good to share.

So there you go.  Free header for your website? Done! You can check out my handiwork over here.  Look at the smiley face and the zesty colours – aaaawwww!

Kettle’s boiling.  Got to go

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