Creating Custom Templates in MS Word

QA Productions

I have come to the bittersweet conclusion that y’all don’t need my formatting wizardry much anymore. At least not you fiction writers. The good news is the reason why: The major sites for self-publishing have caught up with the tools most commonly in use (mostly, Word), and the conversions are better than ever. You can upload a formatted Word doc to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Direct2Digital and, if you’ve followed the basic best practices for ebook formatting, the results will be professional. You can even use Word to lay out a print edition for Amazon. (And if your version of Word has the capability, you can export a pdf that will work for IngramSpark.)

The biggest problem Do-It-Yourselfers run into isn’t ability, but lack of experience. I do multiple ebook formats and print layouts every week. My routines are down pat. But when you’re only doing one format a…

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A Hanukkah Miracle!

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Leah has had to listen to her mother’s nagging for months. It’s getting so much worse now that the holidays are approaching. Her mother seems bound and determined to find her a husband.

Leah, on the other hand, is determined to live life on her own terms. But it’s that time crazy of the year, a time for menorahs and candles, latkes, big family gatherings, cute guys, bad blind dates, and old-fashioned holiday fun.

Mix together a sexy Jewish delivery man, a dental chair, a sudden snowstorm and a latke competition and you get, just maybe, a Hanukkah miracle.

Amazon

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

 

The ‘Zon is just okay for the writer me, a home run for the consumer me.

Aside from a couple of my collections and a short story or three, I didn’t enroll my books in KU. (Kindle Unlimited)

After KU’s inception I did give it the old college try~ two go-rounds. Did not work for me. I didn’t get enough page reads to make it worth my while, despite the fact that if a reader starts reading one of my books, more often than not he or she finishes it.

Besides, I’m a fan of wide distribution and good old-fashioned competition, so I use D2D. I’ve downloaded my books to D2D for distribution for 18 months now. D2D is killing it. I sell five times as many books on D2D (Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc.) than I do on Amazon.

Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s because those readers who shop on other outlets are looking for books to actually read, rather than downloading freebies and 99-cent-ers that they never get around to reading? Again, I have no idea. Any notion I may have as to the why’s and wherefore’s is mere speculation.

There are quite a number of authors making big bucks on Amazon. I ain’t one of ’em. I do all right. I do much better via D2D.

On the other hand, when it comes to shopping no one compares to Amazon. At least for the stuff I need.

Let me explain. Well, perhaps I’ll provide an example or two…

I recently needed ear drops. I swim almost everyday. I love swimming and the exercise has helped speed up my recovery. In fact, the exercise is essential to my recovery. But my right ear has been bothering me so I wanted to purchase some swim ear drops – to dry out my ear canals after swimming. Easy, right? One would think it would be easy to purchase swim ear drops in the Napa Valley.

Four pharmacies later, I realized it was not easy to purchase swim ear drops in the Napa Valley. I drove to four separate pharmacies. No luck. I accomplished nothing more than wasting gas and my valuable time, and increasing my stress level.

I drove home, flipped open my computer, checked Amazon, and bought a four-pack with one click.

It’s the same with dog food. Jake has food allergies. (Yeah, he does…) We have two local pet stores. One doesn’t carry the brand he eats, the other maybe carries, if I’m lucky, a  couple cans, zero bags of dry food. That’s it. That’s my entire local selection. Therefore I order dog food from Amazon. I also order bird food from Amazon because although the food my two parrots eat is totally common, the one local pet store eliminated their bird section altogether while the other is always out of the food I want to buy.

Bottom line: Believe me, I’d love to shop local, but I don’t want to drive all over town, stopping at four or five different stores, only to have to buy an item online anyway.

So yeah, the ‘Zon knocks it out of the park when it comes to shopping. For me as an author, not so much. But then I guess doing okay there is… okay. 🙂

Peace. Out.

Cormac McCarthy~

I got set next to this woman… She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I don’t like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well ma’am I don’t think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin’ I don’t have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin’ to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

One of my favorite authors. Reading All the Pretty Horses carried me about as close to heaven as one can get.