15 Steps to Writing a Successful Book. Step 5: Writing a book in Microsoft Word? Do This!
“I get a lot of letters from people. They say, “I want to be a writer. What should I do?” I told them to stop writing to me and get on with it.” - Ruth Rendell.
(A few years ago I created The System of Actions. Once I started implementing it, my #self-published book GIRL, TAKEN, became a #bestseller. The book was talked about on TV, on pages of magazines, and discussed on radio shows. The book’s sales went up so as the book recognition. I want to share with you everything that worked for me.)
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Today we take a look at step #5:
Writing a book in Microsoft Word
Writing your book in #Microsoft #Word is an excellent idea since you will have to properly #format your #manuscript later, when sending it to an #editor, a #literary agent or to #beta readers. The most common program for #writing and #formatting is Microsoft Word, preferred by many literary professionals. I don’t remember how long I’ve been utilizing this program. To me, it seems like forever, and I can’t imagine using anything else.
If you are not familiar with the Microsoft Word #software, I would like to stress some advantages. Its main purpose is to create and edit text documents. Word lets you use all sorts of tools to design and structure text. You can create various tables, beautifully arrange text, add pictures, and use different fonts. Among other amazing things, it has wide text #formatting capabilities.
To send your manuscript to an editor or a literary agent, format the entire text using #Microsoft Word. Most editors edit books in Word. The Track Changes feature makes text-based communication with the editor easy and stress-free. You will see what changes an editor made to your text. You can easily accept or reject the changes.
To turn on the Track Changes option, choose the Review tab at the top of the document and click on Tracking. Switch the Track Changes button to On. Make sure that you also change to All Markup from the drop-down bar, next to the Track Changes button.
Word is the default word processor, but it’s not the only one available. I’m sure there are many other great software tools for writing out there, but by force of habit, I personally put my worded thoughts into Word
•Format your text before you send it to the editor
In order to properly #format a text, always start with removing all of the previous formatting first. One option to clear all formatting in Word is to select the entire text by highlighting it with the cursor. You can do the same by choosing Edit on the toolbar and selecting Select All. It will highlight the whole document as well.
After you have your entire text highlighted, click Edit on the toolbar, then Clear, then Clear Formatting. This action will remove all formatting.
The second option for removing formatting is by using the Text application. First, select all the text in the manuscript, copy and paste it in a new document within the Text application on your computer. After that, select the entire text again and Save it as a plain text – that action fully removes all previous formatting. Select All text again, copy and paste it in the new Word document.
After all the previous formatting has been removed, you need to format your manuscript again to improve its appearance, to add styling information and make it easier for reading.
There are a few #standard #rules that apply for the purpose of sending your manuscript to the editor.
•Use double spaced lines
•Use Times New Roman 12-point black font, with a 0.5” indentation in the first line in some cases
•Page size 8.5” x 11”
•Set alignment to left
By default, a new document in Word opens as a US Letter page, size of 8.5” x 11” with margins set up to 1 inch on all sides. To set margins in Word, go to Format, then choose Document. You always want to make sure that your page size and margins are correct. To set the page size in Word, go to File in the toolbar, click Page Setup, and choose US Letterfrom the drop-down menu.
Formatting is very important. Besides the purpose of improving #readability, formatting can give cues to the reader for where to concentrate their attention or highlight important messages that the writer would like to send. This can be achieved by using different elements, for example Bold or Italic.
I start the formatting process with font. To change the font of the entire text, select the whole document by highlighting it: click on Edit in the toolbar, then Select All. After that, choose Format, then Font from the toolbar.
Select Times New Roman from the drop-down menu. Choose Regular as the font style and 12-point size. Click OK. The whole manuscript will appear in the selected font and size. Save your document.
•Use single spacing after a period
I have a habit of typing two spaces after each sentence. I do my best to get used to one space but sometimes, the power of habit wins. If you are like me, and can’t utilize one space consistently, don’t worry. Keep using two spaces and change it later. When you’re finished writing, simply use the Find and Replace tool.
In order to make a change, you have to highlight the text, then choose Edit from the toolbar, click on Find, click on Replace. This will open a window where you can see the Find and Replace boxes. Press the space bar twice inside the Find box. Then, press the space bar once in the Replace field. To make the final change, click Replace All. When you see the change, save the document.
The next things to format are your #paragraphs. To make the process of reading simple and enjoyable, readers need to be able to easily distinguish one paragraph from another. First-line-indent type paragraphs are usually used in Fiction, Narrative Non-Fiction, Historical or Religious Non-Fiction. Format your paragraphs according to genre standards.
Select the entire text again by highlighting it and choose Format from the toolbar. Click on Paragraph. Under Indentation and Special, choose First Line from the drop-down menu. Type ‘.5’ in the By box. In the Line Spacing drop-down menu, choose Double. Click OK and save the document.
After you have finished formatting the entire text, you can add special formatting to particular words to emphasize them if needed or highlight chapter titles to make them stand out. You can add styles by changing the font, font size, color, etc.
To change the style of a single word, you can just highlight it by clicking on that word or by pressing and moving the cursor over it. Repeat the same technique we discussed in the above paragraphs. Do not forget to Save the document after any changes are applied.
•Use Page Breaks
To begin a new chapter, don’t just keep pressing Return until you reach the next page. Instead, use the page break option: place the cursor at the end of the chapter, then go to Insert in the toolbar at the top, choose Break in the drop-down menu, then Page Break.
•Save your text as a single file
When you are sending your manuscript to the editor, send it as a single Word doc., attaching it to your email.
If you have any questions about Microsoft Word, don’t hesitate to contact me:
Next Blog Post: Hire an editor
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