5 Vital Keys for Effective Manuscript Writing

Earlier this year I wrote on the topic of Manuscript Writing – providing author’s an overview of the process and provided a set of standards for a properly formatted manuscript file.

As mentioned in that earlier blog post, a simple way to think of the overall book design process is:

  1. Write your manuscript
  2. Edit (structural, copy edit, fact-checking if needed, proofing)
  3. Cover design
  4. Interior layout design (samples as templates)
  5. Pour the manuscript into the interior layout design (templates)
  6. Proofread again

It all starts with the manuscript file.  The effort placed in making sure this is done well, can yield benefits down the road – relating to the interior layout, editing and final proofed product.

5 Vital Keys for Effective Manuscript Writing:

  1. Utilize a word processing application (ex. MS Word) that allows for effective revision control automation, for editing and proofing purposes.
  2. Create a manuscript file following proper standards for maximizing editing, proofreading and layout.
  3. Do not attempt to design the layout of the book while writing the manuscript.
  4. Do provide “design notes” that provides information about key design features to be implemented during the interior layout design (ex. pull quotes, image references).
  5. Focus on your manuscript content – get your thoughts into words, tell the story or share your message.
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Top 10 Reasons To Use PDF Instead of Word, Excel or PowerPoint

I love to use Google Apps – Google’s equivalents to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.  All of these tools can directly create PDFs all while in the cloud (Google Apps being cloud apps).  PDFs are my favourite method of sharing documents and information, all while preserving the physical layout of the original design (this is particularly useful in the publishing & IP design world).

Now that Adobe have moved to the cloud as well, with its new Adobe Creative Cloud, I receive regular information direct from Adobe.  I ran across this recent article on PDFs and thought I’d share it…

PDF iconThe Top 10 Reasons to Use PDF

Working with PDF formats allows professionals to edit, share, collaborate and ensure the security of the content within digital documents. Now, the PDF can do that much more. Here is the top 10 hit list of why it is the best format.

1)    PDFs are Universal.  Editing documents in Word can be easy and useful, but if you save a Word document on a Mac, it may not visually transfer properly to a PC; whereas PDFs are viewable on any device.

2)    Trusted Security. Even legal professionals trust PDFs as their preferred file format. According to Legalscans.com, for an electronic document to be admissible in a court of law, it must be created in a file format that cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint. PDFs satisfy that need.

3)    Quick and Easy to Create. Whether working with Word, Excel or PowerPoint, documents are easily converted into PDF, and with Adobe Acrobat XI you can easily convert them back if need be.

4)    Decreases File Size. Professionals can convert any file into a PDF without sacrificing quality. You can even merge multiple documents, such as spreadsheets, photos, and presentations, into a single PDF file.

5)    Reading is Free. Most PDF Readers, including Adobe Reader, are free to the public.  This ensures that anyone you send the file to will be able to see the full version of your document.

6)    Interactive Documents. To create a fully interactive experience, the latest version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to add hyperlinks, rich media, music, movies, and many other advanced features to your PDF.

7)    Mobile Access. Adobe Reader is available on any device, so people can read your PDF files anywhere they want, while still accessing a lot of the same functionality they would get on a desktop. 

8)    Completely Searchable. Users can easily find what they are looking for through a quick search. PDF documents can even be organized with a table of contents that link all sections to the appropriate pages in the file.

9)    Password Protection. Many industries deal in sensitive material or intellectual copyrights that need an even higher level of security.  The password protection option allows both recipients and those receiving the file to know that their information is secure.

10) Document Analytics. Recipients can also view who has access to the information. If the password is breached, the appropriate actions can easily be taken.

Bonus) Collaborating with Teams.  Colleagues can markup and comment on documents, leaving you in control of editing the original, even if they only have Adobe Reader.

[Source: Adobe]

6 Ways Twitter Lists Can Help Build Your Author Platform

6 Ways Twitter Lists Can Help Build Your Author Platform

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Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins

Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins

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The Business of Public Speaking

The business of public speaking

The world of public speaking is one tremendous giving and receiving – giving your message/passion and receiving the satisfaction that comes from a well-delivered talk on stage.

Sure, if you’re a speaker you will give a lot – running a business, delivering compelling talks from stage, teaching, training, educating – everything it takes to provide value to your clients.  After all, you are the perceived authority and you give all you have, exuding passion every time you step in front of the microphone!  In my 20+ years of working with and helping public speakers, these are often common elements of what drives one to become a speaking professional.

But is that Enough?

Having success in this industry comes from two very important things:

  1. Loving what you do
  2. Enjoying a thriving business

Having great stage presence is critical in public speaking (yes, I’m also including teaching, keynotes, coaching, etc. – when I say “public speaking”), whether you are in front of a huge 5000+ audience, a gathering of 50 or so people, or even one-on-one (ex. as with coaching). However, being a great speaker on its own, is not enough to make it long-term in this fast-paced and every-growing industry. I’ve spent the majority of my professional career helping people understand both components that are needed for success:

  1. Business
  2. Operations

Introduction to the Two Core Elements

What I have seen happen time and time again, is that it is tough for one individual to handle both – and do them both well. This aligns with what I personally believe and what I see many experts teach – it is important to focus and expend the majority of your time/efforts on the things you do well and are passionate about (Dan Sullivan calls this your Unique Ability).  But it doesn’t end there, the second part of this is to surround yourself with talent that fills in the voids (ie. to do the things that you do not do well and don’t necessarily like to do).

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1. Business

This represents all of the business development, technology and key strategy for providing the content, or IP (Intellectual Property). The business side of things is often where the details reside, details that typically should not consume the time and talents of the entrepreneur. These are “back of stage” activities that aren’t directly involving contact with your client(s).

The purpose of this article is to simply introduce the structure for success and not all of the details. Business elements will include things such as:

  • Content
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Each of these elements has tremendous value in attaining success, but knowing how to implement them correctly can often be the struggle.  Something as simple as understanding how modern technology has revolutionized this industry can totally affect the implementation of a successful business plan.  But how do you get this information?  Do you try to become the expert?  No, the answer is to seek guidance from an expert in the area – a person who has a vested interest in your success and is in alignment with who you are and what you represent.

2. Operations

This represents the core activity of executing your business plan.  Usually this is where the unique ability of the public speaker shines through. These are the “front of stage” activities that the public speaker loves to do and needs to spend the majority of the time and efforts executing.

Elements of operations includes:

  • Mission-Vision-Values
  • Relationships
  • Speaking
  • Sales

Most likely, it is for these items and the love of doing them, that the entrepreneur became a public speaker in the first place. Their passion about the message they deliver, executing their delivery, working with people, and engaging new clients (and how they can provide value to them) – are all categorized as “operations.”

Where do You Go from Here?

The first key step is knowing – knowing that there are two core elements for success in the public speaking (keynotes, teaching, coaching…) industry. The next step is to seek out the solution for your success.  Develop a relationship (it may already exist) or partnership with someone that fills in the void of your needs. They need to be in alignment with you and your message, in addition to having the skills and experience to execute the back stage elements of your business.

If done correctly and with the right person, you’ll have success.  Your IP will be protected, developed and delivered by a passionate and driven “you.” After all, didn’t you get in business to speak?