How many errors can you spot?

This paragraph was written with several intentionel mistakes to see how many my word processor will spot and to test some free online programs.   Some times I type to fast and put three spaces after a period, that effects my layout. Lets’ see if Microsoft Word or Grammarly spot at least 7 errers.

A professional editor would spot 8 errors; how many did you spot?

Microsoft Word spotted 4 errors: 3 possible spelling mistakes and one grammar.

Here are the results when I pasted the paragraph into some free online programs:

  • Grammarly.com spotted 3 spelling errors and 1 style error (was written) in the free version; the paid Premium version may have spotted more.
  • Ginger Software spotted 6 errors: intentionel, many, Some times, to fast, effects, errers.
  • SpellCheck.net spotted 3 errors.
  • Reverso.net spotted 3 errors.
  • FreeSpellCheckers.com spotted 3 errors.
  • SpellCheckPlus.com spotted 3 errors.
  • PolishMyWriting.com spotted 4 spelling errors and 1 grammar error (was written)

A professional editor would spot 8 errors:

  • 2 spelling errors: intentionel, errers
  • 5 grammar errors: was written is passive voice, Some times should be Sometimes, effects should be affects, to fast should be too fast, Lets’ should be Let’s.
  • 1 Typographical error: 3 spaces after a period should be 1.

 Conclusion: We still can’t rely on software programs or apps to catch all mistakes; nothing tops a good editor.

How about you? Have you tried any online spell checkers?

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My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

My-Top-10-2015If you haven’t read some of these posts yet, now is a good time. I have three different blogs, so narrowing it down to my favourite 10 blog posts was not an easy task.

  1. 32 clever ways to get notice in a Facebook newsfeed

http://www.sterlinged.com/Get_Noticed.html

  1. Top 10 mistakes businesses make on Facebook http://www.sterlinged.com/Top10FacebookMistakes.html

  2. 8 ways to get viewers to scroll downto view your whole email

http://www.sterlinged.com/BlogScrollEmailNewsletters.html

  1. Use your book to gather email addresses and social media followers

http://fanson.net/use-your-book-to-gather-email-addresses

  1. Look for speaking events in less obvious places

http://fanson.net/look-for-speaking-events

  1. Looking your best in author photos

http://fanson.net/looking-your-best

  1. Nametags are an essential networking tool

http://fanson.net/nametags

  1. Add fresh content to your website

https://sterlingedblog.wordpress.com/add-fresh-content

  1. 9 types of social media posts guaranteed to attract readers

https://sterlingedblog.wordpress.com/9-types-of-social-media

  1. Submit upcoming events to newspapers

https://sterlingedblog.wordpress.com/submit-upcoming-events

I have 3 blogs; subscribe to all 3:

Promoting Your Book           http://fanson.net/blog/

Writing and Design               https://sterlingedblog.wordpress.com

Computer and Design Tips  http://www.sterlinged.com/computips.html

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Use Find and Replace to remove extra spaces

Word Find ReplaceYou can use the Find and Replace feature in most software programs to spot extra spaces. Sometimes, if you type too fast, you can get an extra space or two. Professional book publishers and designers use one space after a period.

If the text is justified—aligned on both sides—the extra space shows up even more.   A professional designer aims for consecutive word spacing—the space between words.   Why should some spaces be bigger than others?

Did you notice the extra spaces? There are 2 spaces after the word “two” and three spaces after the words “more” and “words”.

After typing your story and running a spell check, do a Find and Replace.

  1. In Microsoft Word, choose Edit > Find > Replace.
  2. In the panel, click in the first text field and press the Space bar on your keyboard twice.
  3. Click in the second Replace With text field, and press the Space bar on your keyboard once.
  4. Click on the Replace All button to replace all double spaces with one space.
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Wider margin in print book not desirable in PDF version

PDF-with-wide-margin-web4By Barbara A. Fanson
I was reading the PDF version of a book recently and realized that every time I scrolled down to the next page, I also had to shift the page left or right. After some time, it became a little annoying. Why can’t I just scroll down to the next page? Because there was a wider margin on one side of the page, but on the next page, it was wider on the other side.

Often, we make the inside margin a little wider in a print book because we know it will be bound and become slightly smaller. The binding edge or gutter or inside edge is the left side of a right-hand page, but the right side of a left-hand page. The binding could make the inside edge 1/8 inch smaller or so, so we often make the inside edge a little larger.Page Margins

It’s acceptable to have a wider margin on one side of the page of a print book, but do we need this on the PDF version or e-Reader version? No. Why not copy and paste the story into a new document with identical margins and use this new document to create PDF and e-Reader editions?

Usually, left-hand pages have an even page number and right-hand pages have an odd number in reader’s spreads—the way a reader views the book. That’s how books have been laid out for decades, but now we have more writers laying out and self-publishing their own books without realizing the industry standard.Word Margins Mirror sm

You can change the margins in Microsoft Word by clicking on the Layout tab at the top of your screen. Click on Margins and you can choose from several pre-formatted margin sizes. If you choose Mirrored, the inside margin will be wider. If you’re on a right-hand page, the left margin will be bigger. If you’re on a left-hand page, the right margin will be bigger.

My newest book Tragedy on the Twenty is a standard 6”x9” novel with inside margins of 1” and an outside edge of .75”.

In Adobe InDesign, you can change the size of the book and the margins when you create a new document.

InDesign New Doc Margins Print sm

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Use your book to gather email addresses and social media followers

Sterling-FB-Book-Email

In his book Creative Writing Career 2, author Justin Sloan shares his advice on becoming a professional writer of movies, video games, and books. He also does an excellent job of collecting email addresses of his readers, encourages them to connect with him on LinkedIn, and boosts website visits. You should read his inspirational book for the practical information and interviews he conducts, but also how he is able to gather email addresses from his readers. You can use the techniques in your next book or social media post.

Collect Email Addresses of readers

Right at the top of his introduction page, he encourages you to sign up for his newsletter and receive a free story and audiobook, as well as future updates. At the end of the Introduction, he suggests that if you would like a free PDF to print for your writing career plan, email him at (his email address) with the subject line “Writing Career Plan.”

Do you have a worksheet or free eBook that might interest your readers? Entice readers to get the free download by going to your website. You can have a pop-up box to get readers to subscribe to your blog. The title page of my book From Desktop to Book Shop encourages readers to download our free eBook: “Free eBook: 100 Headlines for Promotions and Social Media. We’ve compiled a list of catchy headlines that you can use in ads, email promotions, and social media. They’re organized by month and by topic. Download our free eBook from our website: http://www.SterlingEd.com”

On the title page and the last page of my book Tragedy on the Twenty, I wrote: Visit our blog for tips on publishing your own book: writing, designing, marketing, or self-publishing. http://fanson.net

LinkedIn

Author Justin Sloan also encourages you to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date: “View my profile for some ideas on how to present yourself as a writer, and feel free to send me an invitation to connect while you are there.” And now he’s your friend in social media.

Website or Blog

In his book Creative Writing Career 2, author Justin Sloan interviews Tomiko Breland who recommends building your readership before your book is published with a blog or social media. Hopefully those readers or followers will buy your book once it’s published. Create a blog that provides useful or interesting content that will attract followers. The blog should also be related to the book you plan to publish.

My blog is updated twice a week with stories about promoting your book, which is the title of my upcoming book Promoting Your Book (or Business). If I write a short blog at least two days a week for one year, I will have 104 blog posts or pages for my next book. Be sure to subscribe to read the blog for free, before the book comes out: https://sterlingedblog.wordpress.com

Sloan also suggests that your website should list what you are currently working on, and include a writing resumé if you’re looking for a job in writing. PDF versions of your book can contain a hyperlink to connect the reader to your website with just one click. Justin Sloan’s web address is: http://www.creativewritingcareer.com

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Speed up promotions with a page of bios and summaries

Bios-on-Paper-on-DeskCreate a page of biographies about yourself in several different lengths. Sometimes, you’re required to submit a bio of 25 words or 50 words. Why not take your time and prepare several bios in advance?

While you’re at it, create some summaries of your book—and memorize them. The next time someone asks what you do for a living, you’ll know what to say. Here are a few samples:

Tag line: Barbara Fanson is an author and graphic designer. She has just released a historical fiction book called Tragedy on the Twenty.

25-word bio: Add awards, books, and publications. If you don’t have any awards or your book has not been published yet, don’t say anything.

50-word bio: Add more words such as more awards and speaking events that are relevant.

100-word bio: Building on the previous, add more fun or interesting facts and details.

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Shortening a link in Microsoft Word

You don’t have to show the entire hyperlink in your blog or promotion. Most software programs allow you to shorten the amount of text in your sentence, but the link to the website will still work.

Why type:

http://fanson.net/writingpublishing/9-types-of-social-media-posts-guaranteed-to-attract-readers/

When you can type:

9 Types of Social Media Posts

Both links work. You can shorten a link to the name of the website or one word, such as Fanson.net or Posts.

In Microsoft Word:

  • In your Internet Browser such as Safari or Internet Explorer, copy the web address of the web page you want to link to.
  • Highlight a word in your paragraph that you want to add a link.
  • Choose Hyperlink from the Insert menu across the top. A dialog box appears.
  • Paste the web address into the Link text field.
  • The word you want linked is in the Display text field.
  • Click on the Choose button at the bottom.
  • Test your link.

Hyperlinks in MS Word

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Has someone used one of your images without permission?

Google-Image-URL-smYou can check Google Images to see if someone is using one of your pictures

If you’re an illustrator or photographer, you can do a Google Search to see if the image is duplicated on another website or social media page. It’s a great way to see if any of your images have been stolen or used on other websites.

  1. Open Google images: https://www.google.ca/imghp
  2. Click on the Camera symbol on the right side of the search text field. You will see two options: Paste Image URL or Upload An Image.
  3. If you want to use an image URL, open a new web page that contains the image. Right-click on the image on the web and choose copy image address.
    Go to the Google Image search field and paste the URL you copied
    Click on the Search by Image button. You should see your image and similar images.
  4. You can also click on Upload an image. If you have an image on your local hard drive, you can upload it.
    Click on Choose file and select an image from your computer.
  5. Click on the Search by Image button. You will see if someone has used this image or a similar one.Right Click Save Image
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Don’t steal images

For your book or social media promotionsHandprint-No-Steal

Google has made it very easy to borrow an illustration or photograph. First, you can Google the topic you’re interested in and then right-click on the image to choose Save image as from the context menu. Whether the image has a © symbol or the word copyright or no notice at all, it is protected by copyright law and you can be sued for violating the law. The photographer, illustrator, or designer is the owner of the image and you can’t use it without permission.

We’ve all been tempted to use an image we’ve seen on the Internet, but if you do not own it, you cannot use it. If the artist has Google Images working for him, you could get caught.

And please, don’t use an image that has a white © symbol or any other words over it … you’re broadcasting the fact that the image was stolen.

If you need artwork, you can purchase royalty-free images from a stock illustration or photograph websites, such as Shutterstock.com, iStockPhoto.com, Dreamstime, CanStockPhoto, and BigStockPhoto. Or, there are several free clipart sources such as Pixabay.com, openclipart.org, classroomclipart.com

You could also hire an illustrator from http://www.torontoillustrators.com, http://www.bookcentre.ca, http://www.illustrationweb.us, Fiverr.com for a reasonable price.

Remember, some clip art has a low resolution for online promotions only; other websites offer high-resolution art for print promotions.

I drew both of the images on this page in Adobe Illustrator and they both have white type over them to reduce theft.Pine Cone Don't Steal.png

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Look for speaking events in less obvious places

Author with bookWhether you self-publish a book or use the traditional publishing route, you have to promote it. Speaking engagements are an inexpensive way to increase awareness of you and your book. If you sell a few copies, you get to keep all of the money, as opposed to a bookstore keeping 20–40%. Most authors will telephone, visit, or email libraries first, but here are a few less obvious places to look for author readings or events.

You’d be surprised how many hidden speaking topics are lurking in your book. First, make a list of possible topics that you could discuss, besides your book. Secondly, make a list of groups that you would like to contact.

Check online for the groups you would like to speak to and get their telephone number, email address, and street address. How would they benefit from your presence?

If there is a death in your book, you might want to telephone a grief-counseling group to talk about how the remaining characters coped with the loss. Can you team up with a Funeral Home to do a special presentation?

Contact associations and health organizations if you’ve written a book that contains an underlying health issue of interest to them. Even some church groups will have guest speakers discussing how to detect diseases or prevent them. I know that my church group has had two speakers talk about two different cancers and early detection.

Historical fiction book authors could contact historical or heritage societies about speaking at a future meeting. You may need to keep presentation and questions to half an hour; they may have a meeting after your guest appearance. You could speak about how you researched the book or ask trivia questions about newsworthy events of that time period.

Is there a home show or toddler show coming up that will have a relevant audience? I have been a speaker at several computer shows with a relevant topic. If you want a booth or table, you will have to pay to exhibit, which you can claim as a business expense. If you contact the organizers well in advance, they may be able to schedule an interesting talk. If you’re a children’s book author you might be able to do a Story time to entertain children while their parents look at displays—with a table of books and business cards nearby.

Church groups, like the Catholic Women’s League, might be looking for speakers to encourage attendance by their members. Many organizations have lunch & learn get-togethers or meet once a month.

Book Clubs—especially those that meet at a library—may welcome an author visit. If the library buys several copies, book club members could borrow them and discuss the book.

Public libraries offer a number of author visits and activities, but don’t be surprised if they are booked well in advance.

School libraries try to arrange an author visit at least once a year. Children’s book authors and middle school authors should contact the school library. Well-known authors usually charge a fee for their visit. If parents know soon enough, they may send money to school to purchase a book.

Mom to Mom Sales or Baby Shows often have guest speakers who are speaking on a relevant topic to mothers. There are several mommy groups that meet weekly or monthly that may welcome a guest speaker, if the topic is relevant. Can you include play and activities to make it more interactive and memorable? Coloring pages, mazes, and word searches that are related to the book’s topic entertain children and can be taken home, which provides a second exposure to your book.

Children book authors could contact day cares or preschools for an end of day discussion. Children will not have money to purchase a book but if you have a table set up for 2 or 3 hours at the end of the day, you may see their parents when they pick up their child. Be sure to prepare flyers to be given to parents a week in advance so they’re aware.

You’d be surprised how many hidden speaking topics are in your book. How about you? Have you done an author visit that you can add to the list?

This is an excerpt from Barbara Fanson’s next book Promoting Your Book (or Business). Follow her blog on promotion, design, and selling books: http://fanson.net/blog/

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