Tag Archives: Direct Publication

Author Spotlight – Megg Jensen

Hunted_Revised2_CVR_MEDI met Megg Jensen through a Facebook connection. I begged her to be my guest. I wanted all her secrets of success. LOL.  Like Dorothy in the Wizzard of Oz, I think she gave me the answer I always knew. I am posting this today in celebration of Opening day of #Dragoncon14!  Shhh I think I heard that C.L. Wilson is going to be a guest there on the writers tract!!!

 Megg tells us: “In the summer of 2012, I sat at a dealership, signing documentation to purchase a new car for my husband – one I was able to purchase in full with money I’d earned from self-publishing. The form asked for occupation and I was proud to write “Author.”

 The salesman saw that and gasped. He looked me over, then asked if I was Suzanne Collins. My rather snarky reply was, “If I was Suzanne Collins, I’d be at BMW, not Hyundai.”

 We both had a good laugh over it, but the moment wasn’t lost on me. Not only was I contributing to the household, but I was buying a freaking brand new car with cash I made from turning my imagination into words. How crazy is that?

 I went from that high to a drop in sales in the fall of 2012, only a few short months later. I can attribute the dip to many things – the end of a series, a change in genre, medical and household emergencies – but my income didn’t recover from the drop.

 I find myself in 2014, not despairing, but working my butt off to get back to the top. That’s the one of the best parts of self-publishing.

 If I had a drop in sales like that with a traditional publisher, it’s pretty likely they wouldn’t send another contract my way. I’d have to fight for anyone to notice me. Not in self-publishing. I can take my career into my own hands.

 2014 has been a year of learning and rebuilding. I don’t expect to make as much money this year as I did in 2012, nor is that my aim. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, success rarely comes from luck. Hard work is the basis and this year I’m rebuilding that base.

 I’m writing books faster by managing my time more efficiently. I’m consolidating my editing process by booking pros. I’m hiring out work that distracts me from my main job of putting words to paper.

 Most importantly – I’m learning. The business has changed drastically since I began self-publishing in 2011. Back then, success was easy. Now there are thousands of books going live on Amazon every day. Visibility is the number one priority, whether it’s through ads, blog tours, or word of mouth. The smart indie will do her research before publishing another book.

Writing is art, but publishing is business. Success doesn’t come just to those who write well – it is earned through hard work and perseverance. I plan to be on top again, even though it may not happen until 2015 or 2016. When it happens, people will ask, “How did you rocket to the top so quickly?” I’ll just nod because I know that all overnight success requires a lot of hard work.



 Bio: Megg Jensen is a bestselling author of high fantasy.

No stranger to top ten lists on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore, Megg’s novels (Anathema, Oubliette, Severed, Sleepers, Afterlife, The Sundering) have garnered millions of downloads, attracting thousands of fans all over the world. In April of 2014, her compilation ebook, The Song of Eloh Saga, hit #42 overall on Amazon and #9 on Barnes & Noble.

Growing up on the amazing fantasy and scifi of the 1980s, Megg’s influences include Madeline L’Engle, Robert Jordan, and Terry Goodkind. She lives in Chicago with her husband, kids, and two miniature schnauzers.




Instagram – @meggjensenpix

Twitter – @meggjensen


Lessons Learned in Direct Publication: Kindle Format

Kindle format. or ebook if you will requires a little different skill than what we’ve learned for print publication.

I’ve noticed or should say that I believe that my publisher uses a pdf for submission to ebook formats. So far I’ve only stuck my toe in the waters of Kindle. There may be more blogs as I branch out…later. LOL

So I chose the option of transferring the book from print to Kindle. Not surprising that didn’t work very well. The main reason is there are different format components required for Kindle. Like a table of contents.

So start with your final word document. Re-name it something immediately so you don’t accidentally save over your print formatted copy.

FRONT MATTER:  This stays pretty much the same as the print document. However, I remove any empty pages. You needed them in print form to make sure your work was positioned on the correct page of the leaves of the book.  E-books scroll so you don’t need the empty pages.

Table of Contents: Now, you will also need a table of contents so that readers can advance through the document with links to the various chapters.

Make sure to place your curser on the page in your document where you want your “Table of Contents” to be placed. I put mine right after Disclaimer / Copyright page.

To insert this look at your word tabs and click on “References”. At the far left you will see “Table of Contents” Click on that. Choose the option “Insert Table of Contents” at the bottom. Then, unclick the option on the middle left for “Show Page Numbers” you don’t need them. Make sure the box for “Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers” is clicked. It is at the middle right side of the pop up box. The next thing is how many levels to show. That is found at the bottom under general. I chose one level because I only want the chapter heading to show.

You don’t have to name your chapters. It can be simple as “Chapter One” just be sure you follow the same style for each chapter.

To finish this up you can “Modify” by clicking that and “Modify” again so you can choose font, size, and line spacings between all your components of the table of contents.

Once you ok, ok all the way out the program will insert your table of contents where you placed your curser at the beginning of this instruction.

Blurb: Something else to consider. Since you don’t have a full cover like print. You might want to work the back cover blurb into the front matter.


E-books don’t have headers or page number footers so strip those out.

BODY: You also loose your pretty formatting for the beginnings of chapters and at the scene breaks. It automatically converts the small caps at the beginning of each scene into caps.

So, for reader convenience I run through using the “Navigation” tab and reinsert symbols at the change of scene.  Some people use four bold asterisks **** I chose a symbol that fits into the story line.

To navigate the document in Windows, you can find the bar by clicking find to bring up that panel on the far left. The tab on the far left is the Headings in your document tab. If you used the styles function as discussed earlier you will see all your sections and scene breaks to navigate your document easily. I pop to each scene and paste that symbol to break the scenes.

END MATTER: The End matter gives you some pretty exciting options in an E-book. Remember not to get carried away with how much stuff you put back there. Folks don’t want to have 30 pages of “junk” at the end of their ebook that inflates the page count any more than they want it in a print book.

However, I did choose to put a brief blurb of my next book coming out in the series. Where you have a back list of work is the place that the party happens. I listed my past back list of work and hot linked each title to the sales page at Amazon for that work. As I use other publishers for the e-book I will link to the books that are for sale at their cites. I also hot linked book trailers for each work.

What this mean in application?  Okay, I just finished reading my ebook from the famous (infamous – LOL) Eden Glenn. I liked it (I HOPE) and I see she has another menage story. Without having to go get on my computer I can click and immediately watch the trailer on the book. I like what I see!!! so I can click the purchase link and buy that puppy. Immediately….almost automatically.

Then, because I don’t have the benefit of the back cover. I make sure I have my About the Author page in the back and again, I made a hot link to my website for the reader’s convenience.

Now the whole thing is read to go. Save it as a “Web Page” It is in the drop down box  under the “Save as” down at the bottom. That makes the document into HTML code. It doesn’t look as pretty to the “Naked” eye this way but it uploads beautifully and is one of the suggested formats from Kindle.

That’s about it for the internal workings of formatting for Kindle. I’d love to hear your comments on this series. Have I missed anything? any questions?

Check out my other articles on formatting in print:

Front Matter; Body; Scene Breaks; Headers/Footers; End Matter; Value of Advanced Reader’s Copy

Lessons Learned in Direct Publication: End Matter

We’ve been discussing formatting a manuscript for direct publication to print. I’ve spent time going over Front Matter, Formatting the Body of the text, Scene Breaks, Headers/Footers, and the value of Advanced Reader’s Copy. Today we discuss End Matter.

I did a review of books out there for sale in stores and with book vendors. There were some things in common with those books. The end of the book contained several components referred to as End Matter.

There were usually a couple of pages dedicated to a preview of books the author will have out for sale, their to be released information. This is often followed by a page that expands a bit on other books the author has for sale. Usually a title and a short blurb. Sometimes art work from the cover. I used both of these in my forthcoming manuscript.

Then often there will be a short excerpt from that forthcoming to be released title. I didn’t do that because I wasn’t ready to release that excerpt. It may be a marketing opportunity missed.

There is a great video that I gleaned some of this information from. I learned a few tricks beyond what the video had to offer but it is still a great listen to pick up the specific how too’s for some of the things I’ve discussed in these articles.

Next I will be talking about how all this print format stuff relates to the Kindle e-book publication.

Lessons Learned in Direct Publication: The Advanced Reader’s Copy

I’m putting myself out here pretty vulnerable today. I’ve been working very hard on my first direct publication release. I can’t tell you the countless hours I have spent editing, (my partner has spent, my critique partner has spent, … get the idea.  Lots of people…lots of read through time, out loud and on the screen.)

Now I want to preface this by saying that this Direct Publication project is actually my eighth release. The previous titles were handled through a publisher. So, I’m not the new kid on the block but still in my toddler-hood of publishing.

I couldn’t resist taking a peek and reading some of the finally published book last night. Imagine my horrrrrrification when I found an error, and another, and another. Little things perhaps, huge in my mind. My baby has a flaw. It’s not perfect, it’s freakin messed UP!~

Oh what it done is done. What can I do now. Learn from it is the best advice I can give myself.

First off I am going to fix the errors.

Next, learn that no matter how many times I’ve edited…me and my crew…there are going to be mistakes. Accept that as part of life. The Navaho create beautiful art and leave one tiny flaw on purpose so as to not mock the Gods…human’s aren’t perfect.

Second, never under estimate the value of advanced reader copy.

Perhaps I would have found those errors by printing the whole smole from the Create Space final proof.  Certainly if I had allowed time in my process to order one printed copy of the book to read one FINAL time myself, I would have found the errors.

Some how the words do look different in print compared to the computer screen.

If I had budgeted my time, planned better then those typo errors would have been found. Maybe? most of them? perhaps. But I let myself get pinched on the end. I took two weeks off when my daughter had a horrible motorcycle accident. That wasn’t in my time budget and it caused me to crimp things on the end.

I didn’t take the time….have the time…make the time… to order that final advanced readers copy. Now, I’m sad.

I’ve exposed myself here and made myself very transparent. I think it’s important to talk about those hard things.

So, learn form my mistake. I hope I do.

See my other articles on this wonderful creative process of direct publication:

Front Matter; Body; Scene Breaks; Headers/Footers; End Matter; Formatting for Kindle

Lessons Learned in Direct Publication – Headers/Footers

I’ve been discussing all the things I’ve learned in the course of formatting my manuscript for direct publication in print. I’ve discussed Front Matter; The Body of the Manuscript; How to handle Scene Breaks.  The value of Advanced Readers Copy shouldn’t be overlooked.

I was slightly familiar with Headers and Footers but I didn’t know quite how that might apply to my manuscript.

What I did notice in my review of books out there for sale pertaining to headers and footers might seem confusing. Lets start with page numbers. The page numbers can be at the top of the page or at the bottom they can be centered or on the outside corner of the page. They are not usually on the inside corner of the pages. Wherever they are they are contained in the headers at the top or footers at the bottom.

I placed mine in the center of the bottom of the page…In the footer. I found a cool symbol that tied in with the theme of my manuscript to use around the page number. It was part of the footer set up application.

That left my Header tool (top of the page) to use for other purposes. I programmed it to print my manuscript title on the even pages and my author name on the odd pages. The lettering font was different from the manuscript text but the same choice as the page numbers at the bottom. Nice crisp and clear in capital letters. I chose the Calibri 10pt font for this purpose.

Its able to be programmed for different information on the even pages vs the odd pages. That’s how I could do the title on one and the name on the other.

I will be talking about End Matter next and then more about formatting for Kindle.

Lessons Learned in Direct Publication: Scene Breaks

I’ve been talking about how to handle formatting a manuscript for direct publication for print. We’ve discussed Front Matter; The Body of the Manuscript. Today I’m discussing Scene Breaks.

In reviewing books out there for sale I noticed something very interesting about how publishers formatted the breaks between scenes. When the scene’s change at the bottom or very top of a page there is a symbol inserted to indicate the change of scene. Because when that change occurs at the ending of a page or the beginning of the next it’s important to warn the reader of that transition. It doesn’t matter if the symbol is at the bottom of the page or at the top.  Often four **** formatted in BOLD are sufficient. I found a symbol that ties into the theme of my story. The symbol was followed by an extra empty line.

However, when the scene changed in the middle of a page there was a different treatment. The change was preceded by an empty line. Then the first few words of the first sentence of the new scene was formatted through the font drop down function where you check “small capital”.  Then those words selected would change to small capital letters.

Naturally any formatting of this nature with scene breaks etc has to be the last touch of formatting. If anything else changes after this it might change where the scene break is positioned thereby changing whether you need a symbol to mark the break or just the change to small capital font.

More later on Headers/Footers and End Matter also the value of Advanced Reader’s Copy as well as formatting for Kindle.

Lessons Learned In Direct Publication: The Body

Last time I discussed how to handle Front Matter in formatting your manuscript for Direct publication to print. Continuing on with that theme. The body of the manuscript. I learned a whole lot about MS-Word in the process of this project. One of the most interesting things was about “Style”. Setting up the “Style” tabs for various parts of your manuscript builds the table of contents automatically. It also allows you to make global changes with a couple of clicks. The third advantage is being able to move around the manuscript from the headings bar on the left with one click. IT is a beautiful thing!!

I set up one “Style” Tab for my chapter headings. It allows me to program how many spaces down the page it will appear. How many lines between the heading and the body of the text. I can set the size and choice of font as well as placement. I set up another style for the body of the manuscript text. I was also able to program at what level I wanted the various “styles” to set out at.

The next thing I noticed from my earlier review of books in print was the way the manuscript was handled within the body of text. At the beginning of each chapter there were several words emphasized in a different font.  I liked the look of the Copperplate Gothic light.

More later about how to handle scene breaks, the headers/footers for formatting a manuscript and the end matter, the value of Advanced Readers Copy and getting everything ready for Kindle.

Lessons Learned in Direct Publication – Front Matter

In a review of currently published books I learned a couple of things to apply to my own direct publication project.

I looked at quite a few copies of books for sale at my local book store. So for the purpose of this article we will be talking about books in print and the summation of what I saw when thinking about style and formatting.

First off the results of my review of front matter at the beginning of the book. Many of the books would lead off with  a pre-title page with the series name and the particular volume name on it as the right hand facing page. The back of that page would be a page listing other books by the author on the back of the page or left side page. Often that would contain the copyright and the ISBN numbers at the bottom.

The next page or two often had some words of praise for past work by the author, set up front and back or right facing and then turned…left facing.

Next came the main title page with author and often a publisher seal at the bottom. Those title pages are right facing. The back of that page now left or back side would contain all the disclaimers, notes, copyright penalty etc. along with a note of cover design credit and then the edition number.

The next right facing page is acknowledgements and comments of a sort. The back of that page left facing is left blank on purpose.

I had need of a glossary of words and terms with my book being a paranormal so I placed that next covering the right facing page and the back of it…left facing page.

This varied a little bit but next I put a Dedication page right facing and the back of it left blank on purpose.

This was the end of the front matter. The body of the manuscript started after this with Chapter one.

I will have future articles that discuss the things I learned about formatting the body of the manuscript; how to handle scene breaks; headers and footers; end matter, the value of Advanced Readers Copy and additionally how to format for Kindle.