Tag Archives: Teaching

Technology and those who DON’T use it!

I love technology. I had always wanted to be a computer tech, however my parents thought computers were a FAD so I wasn’t allowed to take computing at school in the 1980s.  This was also prior to public internet. I loved every class and I was good.  Never mind I eventually got my way over 25 yrs later when my husband went to college.  Computer access was important.

Since that time I have developed some excellent skills and though I still have people help me out on odd occasions, I find I am now helping others and get called a tech expert – which I’m not. I just happen to know my way around various things and can teach others a few tricks I have learnt along the way.

Then you get those who aren’t interested in computers, those who can’t or won’t learn and those who would love to learn and should really take a course to get them on the right track. 

I have a client who took a computer course – WOW she is so much more confident in what she does on her computer now. It is wonderful to see her take control and understand what I am talking about, without either of us getting frustrated.  Mean while my parents still refuse to have a computer in their home, they dont’ even have cell phones.  A lot of their friends do, so they actually see more about my family than my parents do. Sadly I doubt they will change. We do manage to get them on Skype on odd occasions at my sister’s house.

My sister is one of those who keeps getting computer issues and viruses. She also asks how to do certain things and makes me want to pull my hair out at times. Thank god my brother is easier to deal with. Mind I don’t see either of them very often to talk with online.

One of the technologies I have learnt along the way is building and setting up WordPress Websites. I love it.  It is fun and I dont’ mind sharing my knowledge even though it is only basic – well to me.  Another I have learnt a little about is JAWS – Screen Reader, which is for blind and partial sighted people. I looked into the technology due to having a couple of blind clients and friends. It was an interesting learning curve to be sure.  The other type of technology I learnt was helping  a client run a bed and breakfast – I had to learn how to use the booking websites where consumers book rooms. Each and everyone is different to use, different specs, different ways to enter data and places to upload photos. It is totally amazing how complicated it can get.  Solving problems though is another area I can excel at – sometimes I have to wait for the lightbulb to click, other times it is working through several ideas until the right one turns up.

Over the last few years I’ve had several lightbulb scenarios. Daft ones having me saying DUH me and research ones which you win and grin with delight at your success.  Then comes the question. Do I share with others or hold on to my info?  Generally I share, I just can’t seem to help myself.

My next learning curve – is to work out how to use Flipboard website correctly so I can share my site with everyone.  After this I really need to concentrate on those who don’t use technology and give them a gentle push in the right direction, by which I mean a computer course to a level suitable to them. Then I may go see my parents and try to set up a tablet for them to use.  I will need lots of luck with this last idea.  I already know my dad loves Skype from my last trip to see them.

Good luck with your technology and give me a shout, you never know I might be able to help. There again I might not.

Tutorial for Auto Indents

It seems to be that time again.  A learning curve for me a couple of years ago doesn’t mean all authors and writers are aware of how Auto Indents work and are made.  I still see some Indents in eBook which are way to big.  To me this shows lack of learning and professionalism of the author or writer.  If I find it difficult to read as a publisher…think what your readers will fell like.  Personally I have stopped reading some eBooks due to the lack of professionalism in formatting.

Here is a short tutorial for those who wish and those who participate in my Anthologies or are clients.  This is how AUTO INDENTS are made in WORD.

Open your word document.  Look across the top bar with STYLES.  Inside the red line is a small ARROW.  Click on it.

It will open a side bar on your document similar to this.  You probably won’t have many STYLES until you make them.  You will make AUTO INDENTS using the NORMAL STYLE

On the bottom right are three squares.  Teh one in the read circle will open a box to make a new style.

In the next screen shot is the style box where you can create a new style.  In this instance it is INDENT.  Next we go down to the bottom left of the box to the second circle FORMAT and click to open it.

You need to click on Paragraph as highlighted in the next image.

You will find open another box looking like the image below.  

In the first red circle make sure it says JUSTIFIED.  This is so all text is straight on either edge of the page – just like in a book.  In the second circle is where you create your INDENT of 0.5mm.  In the third circle you need to make sure it is on single line or blank (unless you are sending a synopsis to an agent where you need double lined spacing).

Click OK and the box will close.  Look at the next image and TICK  Automatic Updates. Next click OK and the box will close and you can start typing.  

In the STYLE box on the right you will find the INDENT style you made.  Each time you need an INDENT (speech etc) then click on the INDENT tab and it will do the work for you automatically.


Createspace – Formatting & Uploading

Selling your Book Online

Formatting your book for different websites can be a right pain for those who haven’t or don’t want to have the technical skills to do so.  Where a cove may fit on one, it may need a different DPI for another site.  This is where we will look at Createspace, one of the biggest and cheapest POD (Print on Demand) there are today.  They are also FREE to use once you supply your TAX details of which you have to do at some stage for all the different websites you upload your book too.

Createspace deal with Print Books.  They have teams who have expertise to help you, though you do have to pay them for this.  I am self taught.  I have got my formatting down perfect now and Createspace does’t reject mine or clients work unless i do something silly like get the page numbers wrong.  Easy to do, easy to undo – well most of the time – naturally we all learn from our mistakes.

After you have signed up with Createspace and filled in the Tax forms you can upload your book file via the members dashboard by clicking ADD NEW TITLE, this will take you to a new page – and you follow the instructions.  You can pick Guided or Expert Upload.  Like most, if not all I started with Guided, though when I finally picked up the courage to use Expert, I found it a lot easier and less irritating to use.  Why you may ask.  Due to the fact it is all on one page, other than the Cover Creator.  Here are some screen shots of the Expert Form you will be filling in.

Remember the DPI I mentioned.  This is the resolution of the book cover you will use in Cover Creator, if you are making your own from scratch.  Once you click on Cover Creator it will open a box of templates.  You can use any of these and you can use their photos as well.  I know I took advantage of this until i learnt how to make my own.  these days i flick to page 4 of the templates and use “The Palm.” This is the one you need to have a front cover and back cover to upload.  There are certain factors you need to have for it to be accepted.  The main two are all words should be 5 mm inside the edge of the cover and the cover itself needs to be 300 dpi.

I use Photoshop Elements to make my covers and set the dpi.  I have found, however that for some reason the dpi on PSE is lower than the dpi on Createspace.  I have no idea why.  These days I set dpi at about 350 to cover the difference.  Once you are done you click SUBMIT and pray – well keep your fingers crossed anyway.  It will take a while to get used to at first, though it will work and the books do look stunning.

If you are a client of mine, then all your book covers will be set up to fit Createspace, Draft to Digital and Smashwords. (Smashwords are very fussy)

The next part is picking what type of cover you want, glossy or matte, the description, author bio, BISAC and of course pricing.  Once this is filled in you can SUBMIT FOR REVIEW.  Createspace tends to get back to you within 24 hours, after which you will have to proof your book.  To proof your book you can Launch an Online Reviewer or purchase a Proof to look at.  Once you approve your book you press APPROVE and your book is published online.  You can now buy your own copies to sell from your members dashboard.  If there are errors, you need to work out how to solve the issues.  More screenshots below.

Once again if you are my client your books will be fine.  Createspace may come back with two errors though both can be ignored, always check with me first though!  Sometimes it is something I have missed or you have found that needs changing, always make sure you proof your book properly.

Ordering and holding your first ever published book in your hands is awesome.  Don’t forget to get a photo and share it with your online writers group.