Some useful tips and tools for authors

  • I'm on the final straight with my fiction novel, The Last British President and a couple of days ago, I reached the point of formatting the manuscript for publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), in both paperback and E-book.

    Microsoft Word is superb for writing and editing, but the formatting tools can be daunting. Fortunately, KDP have numerous free tools for preparing your book, one of which, Kindle Create Add-in for MS Word makes the job of margins, headers, footers, trim sizes and everything else, very simple indeed. It uses industry standard book templates which greatly ease the job of getting the book looking professional and ready for publishing. (I'll probably write a how-to in DCT when the time is right)

    I also have a book cover designer lined up and so, hopefully I'll be publishing early in the new year.

    Here's a training video for the MS Word add-in, which some may find very useful. I know I did.

    And I particularly like this video, because the publishing industry has changed completely since independent publishing has taken off over the last ten years.

    50 rejection letters and you had to wait up to 12 months for them to land on your welcome mat? And not all of them replied anyway?

  • Why are you publishing direct to KDP and not looking to find an agent Splint?

    You're right about MS Word, it is excellent as a document app but it is easy to get lost in its formatting tools and features.

    Getting a manuscript accepted by a literary agent is very difficult Semigoodlooking

    I submitted my work to around 50 agents in the UK, and over the course of about nine months, I received rejections from most of them, or at least those who bothered to reply from their so called slushpile.

    About 99% of submissions are rejected. This doesn't mean you're a bad writer, either.

    It's also worth pointing out that, even if you land a publishing deal, the entire process can take years. Yes, years. This is because the agent has to find a publisher who's prepared to take the risk. Furthermore, you and your work practically become their property once you've signed up with them.

    The publishing industry has changed in the last few years and self publishing doesn't have the stigma that it once had.That stigma has now left the building.

    This may sound glib, but writing the book is the easy part. It's the preparation that takes the time. For example, it took me nearly six weeks to prepare pitches, opening letters, synopses, taglines, elevator pitches, my biography and God knows what else. It's like preparing for an interview that you know you'll fail.

    On the other hand, you have self publishing where you can pay for a publishing package and have someone do all the work for you and your book would be out in a couple of months. That can be expensive, though.

    Amazon/KDP is a different animal.

    It's free, print on demand and you can receive up to 70% royalties. Obviously you have to do the legwork and preparation, but to my mind, it's a much more democratic option than waiting on the whims of a literary agent.

    Here's a very interesting article on just this subject.…r-traditional-publishing/

  • Splinter

    I agree with everything you said. I just wanted to know if you had already tried the agent/publisher route as I still believe self-publishing should come after these. You did that and I agree not finding an agent (which itself is no guarantee of the book being sold) does not reflect on the writing as many marketing conditions are considered. Let us know when you publish and you will have a sale from me.

  • To Mr. Splinter:

    I heard from another source that your book is related with my country, Argentina.

    Can I read your previous version? I always were and I am interested in all that relates the UK with my country. Thanks for your attention on this matter.

  • Hello Carlos

    Yes, my current book, which is fiction by the way, is based in Argentina.

    My previous book which I self published in 2007 is non-fiction, being an account of my life from 2001 to 2005, taking in the UK, Spain and Argentina.

    It's no longer in print because the publisher went out of business, but I do have one or two hard copies (books) left and of course the PDF version.

    I would be very happy for you to read that version, so perhaps you could email me?

  • Euphemisms are so lame. For example, passed away or he passed. Wtf?


  • Some may be interested to know that Amazon have removed the Kindle Add-in for Microsoft Word and replaced it with a standalone editor called Kindle Create.

    This is all very well, but many of us prefer to use Word, especially me, since I now have Office 365. Anyway, having installed the new Office 365, I also removed Office 2010 rather foolishly, thus removing the Kindle add-in at the same time. I then couldn't find the installer on any of my PCs and searched online to no avail. I then did another search on my workshop PC, finally found it and installed it again.

    The add-in is very useful for preparing books for publication on Amazon as it sets the book size and many other features with superb templates.

    It's quite a big file, so I'm going to upload it somewhere because I'm sure there are many people who can no longer get their hands on it.

    Here it is:

    Kindle Add-In for Microsoft Word.