Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Tools for the Writer's Toolbox. Part 1

In my last post I said I would share what I learned on this journey in print-on-demand publishing. The first tool I'm going to talk about is one that I believe is crucial to anyone who is submitting manuscripts to editors today: the Kindle Previewer.

Note that I wrote PRE-veiwer.

I'm not suggesting every writer needs to purchase a Kindle, or a Nook, or a Reader.

However, I do believe writers who are trying to break in with a traditional publisher should consider using the Kindle Previewer tool prior to submitting a manuscript. It is available as a FREE download at Amazon through their self-publishing/e-store link.

WHY the Kindle Previewer?

I'll give you 3 good reasons.


1. In the paperless age, most editors now request manuscripts to be submitted via email. But what they see probably isn't what you see on the computer screen in your standard word processing program. Based on what I've heard at several conferences, many editors now upload submitted manuscripts on to their digital readers, which puts your manuscript into digital book form. And believe me, viewing manuscript pages as "real" book pages, makes typos, strange formatting, poor grammar, long sentences, etc., stand out. ....It gives editors all the reasons they look for in considering whether to reject a manuscript, or not. Digital readers show editors how well you have done your job as a writer, and how hard or easy their job as an editor would be if they were to take on your manuscript.

Sound like bad news? More work?  Maybe, considering that just because a manuscript looks "clean" in Word, it may show errors on a digital reader due to hidden codes in the document.

2. Here's the good news. Editing your own manuscript has never been easier, if you use a digital previewer. Typos, wordiness, orphans, unnecessary tags, etc., jump out at you.

In years past, one of the steps I used in editing was to view/print my manuscripts in a font other than what I typically used. For example, Times Roman is my standard font. Thus, during editing, I would print my manuscript out in Comic sans, or Courier. This helped errors stand out, and tricked my mind into reading the story with a fresh point of view, probably because I was seeing it in a different form.

As writers, we are all readers. Uploading and viewing your manuscript with the Kindle Previewer immediately gives you a reader's point of view in examining your story, because it puts the story in book form.

3. If the editor of your dreams happens to be one of those editors that uses the Kindle or the Nook as a tool for doing their job, then going through this extra step will not only help you fine-tune and copy-edit your manuscript, it will also help assure you that your submission is formatted appropriately for easy viewing, giving the editor one more reason to love you and your story.

Comments? Questions? Post them here. ;)
  

3 comments:

  1. Seriously now--this is a great idea. I've never even heard of the PRE-viewer. I'm so excited to use it because it's so much more efficient to submit a clean copy, plus it helps the editor have more confidence it your writing.

    Thanks.

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  2. It IS fabulous. To find the previewer, go to the "get started" link under the self-publishing option, then click on the folder that says "simplified guide to building a kindle book." Follow the steps. Doing so won't take you to uploading your book in the estore. That requires an extra step.

    But having the MobiCreator and previewer programs will let you edit view your ms in book format on your own computer. and print it out.

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  3. Great blog topic, Shaunda. Thanks for the heads up.

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