Category Archives: Virginia S. Anderson

How To Set Up An Amazon Giveaway

Just what I needed! I was hovering over the Amazon Giveaway screens for King of the Roses and discovered I didn’t know how the odds-setting worked. This post, from February of this year, explains it! This is Nicholas Rossis’s “secondary blog” that shows a reblog button, but you can access the original, with many informative comments, here. Now watch for my Giveaway, coming up next week!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon has recently started offering everyone the opportunity to offer a giveaway. What’s interesting about this is that you can run one for pretty much any item in their inventory – except for ebooks. So, you can run a giveaway for your print edition, but not your Kindle one.

Alternatively, you could go all the way and offer people, say, a Kindle. Or, indeed, an item that is somehow related to your books. For example, if you’ve written a cookbook, you may give away kitchen gadgets or aprons. The key here is to be imaginative and original.

So, how would you go about it? Here’s the complete how-to.

Step 1: Find your book

Right after the reviews, you will see a “Set up an Amazon Giveaway” button. If you can’t find it, press Control-F (for Find) on your browser and enter the word “giveaway”…

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, Contests, ebooks, Free Books, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Marketing books, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Self-publishing, Tech tips, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

My Inerview is up at Don Massenzio’s site. Go admire my sweet Paddy!

Paddy, my horse.Check out my writer’s interview, now available at Don Massenzio’s site! This was a lot of fun to write.

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Filed under blogging, Blood Lies, ebooks, indie publishing, Interviews, King of the Roses, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, Self-publishing, style, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finishing Up, Part I

This is part of a series. Here is a complete list of current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet.

In this post: Part 1 of some follow-up moves you can and should make in InDesign as you format your POD book interior.

***CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE FULL-SIZED VERSIONS***

Creating Additional Styles for Chapter Titles and Numbers

Just like Word, InDesign works best if you create a style for each element you use often and apply that style consistently across chapters. So you need a style for whatever elements—for example, chapter names—that you plan to include.

Create these additional styles exactly as you created your original main body style.

  • Select the text you want to style, for example a chapter title.
  • Format it to look the way you want.
  • Click “Create New Style” in the Paragraph Styles panel.

The new style, called “Paragraph Style 1” (or “2” if there’s already a “1” in the list, possibly for a style you never developed) will appear in the panel. In the figure below, I’ve created several new styles, renaming “Paragraph Style 1,” for example, “Chapter nos.” for chapter names.

InDesign page with Paragraph Styles Panel open

I created additional styles for my “Part” and “Chapter names,” as well as for the numbers of sections within chapters.

  • Double-click this new style in the Panel list to open the Paragraph Styles Option dialogue, where you will see the features you’ve selected, such as font, font size, and justification.
  • Make any adjustments using the menu on the left of this box.
InDesign Workspace with Paragraph Styles Options open.

In this example, I formatted a style I’ve called “Experiment,” clicked “Create New Style” in the Paragraph Styles box, renamed the style “Experiment,” and double-clicked to open the Paragraph Styles Options box, where I can see the Style Settings I’ve chosen.

A Consideration in Creating Additional Styles: “Before” and “After.”

When formatting elements like chapter titles, you will need to decide how much space to require “before” and “after.” Just as when formatting an ebook, say, for Kindle, you want to avoid long stretches of returns.

Creating a specific style with appropriate “before/after” attributes is optimal.

  • Double-click on the style name to open the Paragraph Styles Options dialogue.
  • From the menu on the left, choose “Indents and Spacing.”
  • Locate the fields for “Space Before” and “Space After.”
  • Use the fields to indicate the spacing you want.

It appears that your choices here are limited by defaults that you access by clicking the up and down arrows. I’m not sure why you can’t type in any value, but I’ve never been able to do so.

InDesign

Set “before” and “after” using the small arrows to the left of each field. Your choices seem to be limited to preset distances.

For your main body styles, by the way, you generally want these fields to be set to zero—no extra spacing between paragraphs. (This is one of the annoyances of recent versions of Word: extra space between paragraphs seems to be the default, and people often do not know to go to “Format>Paragraph” and turn this default off.)

For the book I’m currently formatting, Blood Lies, I have a style for “Chapter nos.” or names, and one for “subset numbers,” or the little numbers between sections in each chapter. Because I place the text chapter by chapter, I can then “Select All” (CTRL/COMMSND + A) and apply my main body style. I then do have to change the style of the chapter title and go through the chapter to find the “subset numbers,” select them, and apply the style. You may find a much faster way to apply your styles. If so, please let us all know!

Creating Character Styles

I discovered that if I wanted to italicize a single word in a paragraph, I couldn’t do so—the whole paragraph would be converted to italics.

Solution: Create an Italic “Character Style.”

Like the Paragraph Styles panel, the Character Styles panel will appear in the right-side menu. (It can be called up via the “Window” menu if necessary.) It works exactly the same as the Paragraph Styles panel:

  • Select the text you want to change.
  • Format it.
  • Click “Create New Style.”
  • Double-click the new style that appears in the list, and you’ll get the now-familiar dialogue box showing your settings.
  • adjust your settings from the left-side menu in this dialogue box.
InDesign Workspace with Character Styles Open.

In this close-up, I still need to rename my new style, and to click on “Basic Character Formats” in the left-hand menu to choose “italics.” I also need to adjust the font size slightly.

You have a great deal of control over these styles. Conversations with readers of my developing design suggested to me that the italic that came with Garamond, which I was using for my main body style, was too ornate: crabby and hard to read. I experimented with a number of italics and finally created a Character Style using Book Antiqua with a slightly reduced font size. Again, I do have to locate italics in the text and apply the style manually.

By the way, I have not found InDesign’s Find/Change box to work well when asked to locate italics, perhaps because I haven’t always specified precisely the attributes it needs to search for. I make double-checking for italics part of my proofing process when I’m reading my pdf.

InDesign Workspace with Character Style application illustrated.

In the final version of this character style, I’ll reduce the Book Antiqua font size slightly to match the Garamond body text, and then apply the style manually to italicized words in the text.

Next: Part II of Finishing Up!

Please visit other posts in this series! Your feedback is welcome!

Formatting for IngramSpark in InDesign: You’re Almost Already There!

InDesign for Book Formatting: Cheat Sheet I

InDesign Cheat Sheet 2: How to Get Started

InDesign Master Pages: No Big Deal!

InDesign Cheat Sheet! Add Some Text!

Finally! Formatting Text in InDesign, Part I

InDesign Obstacle: When Smart Text Reflow Doesn’t Work

InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finally Formatting Part II

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Filed under Blood Lies, book design, business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, self editing, Self-publishing, Tech tips, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

New: Works in Progress Page! Your Thoughts Invited!

Please check out my Works-in-Progress page and let me know your thoughts. Interested in swapping beta-reads? Contact me!

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Filed under novels, Publishing, Reviews, Virginia S. Anderson, Works in progress, Writing

Amazon Pricing Confusion Resolved!

Brittneysahin (below) got it right (unless I am misreading again :-))!

Here is the text:

“But if you choose the 70% Royalty Option, you must further set and adjust your List Price so that it is at least 20% below the list price in any sales channel for any physical edition of the Digital Book.”

Obviously the operative word here is “physical” edition. In other words, a book can be priced the SAME as a DIGITAL edition at any other sales channel. The 20% reduction is only necessary if you have a print edition (I assume this includes POD editions but that is not clear).

In my defense for missing this word, I was taking in a lot of information at once and was probably not attuned to the idea of a physical versus digital edition, since “physical” versions of my books are out of print. Of course, they’re being sold by used book dealers at all sorts of prices, but presumably this is not relevant since I earn nothing from these used book sales and have no control over them.

If you’re tempted to buy a copy of the old paperbacks for like $0.01, or some such price, let me know and I’ll send you a Smashwords coupon for a cheaper (yes!) edition. Both books have been revised, Blood Lies a fair amount.

Thanks so much to Brittneysahin and others for input on this. If anyone gets any new information via direct communication with Amazon, thanks in advance for letting us all know. And I’m going to change my royalty rate to 70%.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon pricing policy, ebooks, Money!, novels, Self-publishing, Smashwords, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson

Off to Upload to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK LAUNCH DAY at Smashwords! And the day I bite the bullet and upload to Amazon! So far it looks a lot more complex than uploading to Smashwords. If any of you have been through this process and have any advice for me, please let me hear from you! In the next day or two, I’ll report back on my own experiences. King of the Roses coverIn the meantime, you can now order the books at Smashwords.com in addition to ordering them through any of your favorite ebook retailers, including Barnes and Noble and iBooks. Blood Lies coverLet me know if you run into problems. I may not be able to help, but I will try! Also later today I will post some direct links on my web site, www.virginiasanderson.com.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Blood Lies, ebooks, King of the Roses, novels, Self-publishing, Smashwords, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson