Book Review Observations

I read most books on my Kindle Fire. Lately, I’ve been surprised at the quality of ebooks. As an author myself, I discovered that when I use Word, or Scrivener for a manuscript, there are a few things to check before uploading to the Kindle Creator, or whatever you use to upload your ebook to Amazon. Let me share a few of my observations.

I read my Kindle set with a black background. In numerous books, I’ve discovered sections of text that were copied and pasted into the manuscript with a white background around the text. There is nothing wrong with adding and changing text, except in Word, you must do a cut and paste special, and select unformatted text. That gets rid of the background settings you brought forward from your other document.

I double-check my manuscript by going into Word settings to set the entire document with a black background. This is a quick and easy way to find all of the ghosted text. I learned this one the hard way! If you leave the background on your manuscript white, you will never notice the cut and paste issues until someone like me points it out.

Another issue I see are text changes. For no reason, I can discern, the text will suddenly change to another font, often much smaller in size than the original text. It actually overrides the text settings on the Kindle. The only thing I could think of was that the text was copied from another document and pasted correctly, but the font and size were never aligned to the rest of the document. If you do a cut and paste, always check your font as compared to the rest of your document.

Before I upload my manuscript, I always do a command A (I’m on a MAC) to select all the text. Then, I select the correct font for the entire manuscript. I don’t change the size of the text because that will affect your titles and headings. It’s my last effort to make sure all of the text is uniform.

These issues affect your book’s quality and make it seem like you were in such a hurry to publish your book that you didn’t make it the best presentation of your writing. It breaks up the rhythm of your writing, which makes it harder to read. Plus, these formatting issues make it harder to review.

check box

I hope these tips help other authors. Have you discovered something similar when reading a book on your Kindle? Share it here so we can figure out how to correct the issue.

Think you can’t write poetry? Join me, and learn some tips and tricks in writing syllabic poetry. Find the book on Amazon:

When Good Fortune Smiles

Sometimes I truly connect with the universe. These last couple of weeks was one of those times. I’d been searching for a part-time job for some time. I’d basically given up hope of finding something that I could do for a few hours a week. I still wanted time for my poetry and writing. And then it happened when I least expected it! An opportunity just for me… and I recognized the good fortune.

On the Friday before last, I arrived at my local hair salon for my appointment, and there on the door was the advertisement. They needed a part-time receptionist for a few evenings during the week, including five hours on Saturday. My heart fluttered! This was what I’d been searching for. Nothing high stress, no accounting, only a few hours a week.

Needless to say, my stylist and the receptionist were overjoyed that I was interested. I left the salon with my hair—cut and styled, along with the application in my hand, which I returned a few hours later. By Saturday afternoon, the receptionist called and scheduled my interview at 10:00 Monday morning.

The interview went well. I connected with the owner immediately. There were so many coincidences. The salon used a MAC computer for scheduling. I also use a MAC computer. The scheduling program was like one I’d used years before when I worked in the billing department at a medical facility. There were a few other synchronicities that really surprised me. It was a surreal experience.

I worried that I’d lost my mojo. Was I too old? It took a week for the news, but they offered me the job! Every position I’ve ever interviewed for, I’ve gotten. I don’t know how many people can say that, but I can. It’s a gift… a gift from the universe.

when special gifts appear
it's a universal 
time-shifting reversal
of good fortune

© Colleen M. Chesebro

So, if you notice I’m not around as much, I’m still here—just juggling poetry, writing, my home life, kitty time, and answering phones. ❤

Catching Up & a haiku

The last six months have been a whirlwind! We packed up and moved cross country from Arizona to Michigan in January—during a pandemic, no less. Once here, we tackled as many fixer-upper issues as we could in the new house. This will be a process. The dates we received from our contractor have us at Thanksgiving before the kitchen and flooring are done on the first floor. You know, with Covid and all the shortages of products and goods, you do what you can do.

I’ve no idea how I managed to finish Word Craft: Prose & Poetry during this stressful time. All I know was that it was important to write and publish the book. I felt like there was a need for all of us to learn how to write stimulating syllabic poetry. I want to personally thank every one of you for your poetry examples and your encouragement. If you’ve purchased the book, I thank you. I hope it opens the floodgates to other forms of poetry for everyone.

I also felt there was a need to publish a journal of syllabic verse. Many poets do not have the ways or means to publish their poetry. I thought this would present an opportunity for unpublished poets, you know, to establish some poetic credentials.

I also thought the proceeds from the journal sales would be a great way to fund a yearly poetry contest with cash prizes—that is, with a full disclosure of the journal sales figures. I considered asking a fee to enter the poetry contest, but that didn’t sit well with me.

I acknowledge there are many poetry journals and online magazines out there right now. Many ask for a fee upfront before you know whether or not your poem is even accepted. Others accept free entries and if your poetry is accepted, you pay $16 or more for a print version of the book featuring your poem.

Is this a form of vanity publishing? The Alliance of Independent authors discusses vanity publishing in the context of book authors:

“ defines the term as “a printing house that specializes in publishing books for which the authors pay all or most of the costs.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a publishing house that publishes books at the author’s expense.”

What is Vanity Publishing?

Vanity presses publish everything that is submitted by an author. The author bears the costs of producing the book.

In comparison, the Word Weaving poetry journal allows a poet three FREE entries. The entries are vetted. My co-editor, JulesPaige and I decide which poetry makes it into the journal. We will offer a low-cost ebook and print book for purchase. The funds from the sale of the journal will be used to fund a poetry contest with cash prizes (Amazon gift cards). There is no obligation to purchase the journal.

All rights revert to the respective author/artist upon publication. Word Weaving keeps the right to republish work either digitally or in print. No work featured in the journal may be used, copied, sold, or distributed elsewhere without the copyright holder’s permission. If your work is republished, we would appreciate a mention that Word Weaving was the first place of publication.

If you’re interested in submitting to Word Weaving click HERE. Submissions close after July 15, 2021.

Day lilies and Coreposis

Next, we get to my other passion… gardening. It’s warmed up here in Michigan. Today, I was able to work on the blank canvas of a garden the previous owner of this house left us with. I’ve got a lot more to do, but I confess that working in the soil made me feel reconnected to nature and to myself.

There are many out-of-control bushes in the front and on the sides of the house. I have a landscaper coming to get rid of those plants in the next week or so. That DirectTV dish will find its way in the trash pile as well. 😀

Now that I’ve brought you all up to date, here my poem for this week for Tanka Tuesday. It’s Poet’s Choice and a simple haiku gives me joy!

south wind gusts...
temperatures rise
meadowlark sings

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Eastern Meadowlark