Posted in Uncategorized

Createspace page numbers

Okay so many of you will find this boring but, if like me you’ve spent hours on trying to get this to work you’ll appreciate why it’s important to me at least.  So this isn’t so much a blog post as an aide de memoire.

Every print book needs page numbers and the industry standard is for the numbering to begin on the start of the first chapter, which is all very well if you’re a typist but for the rest of society it’s a puzzle worthy of Mensa.

This is Ideal Girl, my second book and probably my second favourite. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with Createspace to be honest except that in December it was best-selling for a while so off I went all geared up and wham bam I came across the page number problem. I’ve searched Google, YouTube and other bloggers posts on this issue in addition to Createspace forum and pooling the information and through trial and error I’ve come up with this set of instructions. But thanks first to all those sites I’ve visited. I can’t list them all as there were hundreds but Jo Robinson’s post was perhaps the most helpful, so thank you Jo.

  • Write your book in Word
  • Include all the usual preambles and chapter headings
  • Save and use for Kindle
  • Clean up doc by going to view and then outline. You need to remove any page breaks or section breaks. Save as new doc
  • Open blank word doc. This will be your Createspace version that you’ll need to populate with your clean book, but not yet! First…
  • Pop into Createspace and check the size of your book. Then go into Page Layout, and size drilling down to more paper sizes and enter. You can do this after if you like but it proved to be a real pain with the breaks I’d populated my doc with.

Now we have a blank doc of the right size but with no words or the important sections. You need to accommodate the waffle pages that won’t have numbers like title page, contents etc. Count them up, in my case 5. These first 5 pages

  • These each need a section break = page layout, break, next page

Chapter 1 (or prologue if you have one)

  1. On the first page of what will be the first chapter insert page break ( insert, page break)
  2. Click the header, footers tab as ‘Same as Previous’ must be unchecked for each of the previous pages in your doc

You’re now ready for page numbering – yippee. Go to the page you want the numbers to start, on mine it’s page 7. Double click and insert page numbers starting with 1 ( number formatting)

You now have a completely formatted document to copy and paste first your preamble and then, from the first numbered pages your story.

That’s it, hope you find it useful.

Ideal Girl is awaiting Createspace’s final tick before appearing on Amazon. In the meantime just for today it’s free



Posted in Uncategorized

Facebook for writers 

Last post I talked about Twitter for writers, so now it’s the turn of Facebook. I’m sure I’m in the minority but as a writer I prefer Twitter probably because I have difficulty in sharing personal stuff with people who in fact I’ve never met. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve a lot of good friends on Facebook but the truth is I haven’t met any of them face to face so to speak. 

What does FB offer writers ?

A platform to display a dedicated Facebook page where you can exclusively post about your writing exploits. 

Access to thousands of writing platforms, which makes networking with like minded souls easy. 

The ability to link your blog so that when you update, the content automatically appears on your page

My tips

The same goes with Twitter as it does for Facebook in that I’m no expert. If you do a search you’ll find lots of people more knowledgable on the benefits but below is my take.

  • First one should go without saying. Be polite. Manners matter and there’s nothing worse than someone shouting off. Before you post take a deep breath and read back through your words. I’m always replying to posts and then deleting them before pressing that little button because I write from the heart but post with my head – remember what you write can’t be unwritten. 
  • I mentioned that there’s lots of public writing groups to join. On the other side of the coin there are lots of private writing sites that don’t appear on FB searches; these are by invitation only. These are the groups you want to be invited on to and the only way is by being nice. 
  • All groups have rules, and they are there for a reason. Break them at your peril because you will be barred. 
  • Professional cover photos with decent images do attract attention and are all part of the writer’s advertising package. 
  • Did you know posts with images have (so I’ve heard) a 70% increase in reach, so it’s a no brainier really.
  • As I mentioned in the introduction it’s also a no brainier not to link your blog to your Facebook account. For 2 minutes work you save yourself a lot of bother and time with having to post across all social media accounts. 
  • Just posting about books, book sales is boring and that unfollow button is so easy to press. On your Facebook profile page most posts should be non-promotional. I said about the 80:20 rule for Twitter. For Facebook it should be 99:1. This is networking in its truest form. These people are your friends even if you may have never met them. They deserve a safe place to chat that is primarily away from book advertising. One of my friends posts a good morning message each day, taking the time to add photos – it’s the first thing I look for now and I’d miss it if it wasn’t there. 

I haven’t mentioned advertising because I’ve yet to pay for any book publicity and that includes Facebook. I hope you’ve found this useful and not too preachy. I’d like to hear your comments and any tips you can add…


Posted in Introduction

Twitter is the bar, Facebook the restaurant. Twitter for writers

Jenny O’Brien, writer

Okay I’m not putting myself up as a Twitter expert, far from it but I do get disgruntled when I hear writers bashing this very useful Social Media platform.

For me Twitter is like the bar of a large hotel, whilst Facebook is the restaurant. The bar is where you hook up with strangers, pass the time of day and swap stories and other nuggets of wisdom. The restaurant, or Facebook is where you forge these new links into online friendships. Let’s begin…

The basics

Your name, or handle: use your writer’s name or a near variation so that people can actually find you. I didn’t and now with 7,000 + followers it’s a huge regret.

Use keywords in your bio as these will help other like minded people find you. Writer, blogger, country of origin etc

Ditch the Twitter egg motif with something more personal – a photo etc, same goes for the header. I never follow anyone that hasn’t at least made an effort.

Don’t buy followers. A, it doesn’t work. B, they won’t be interested in what you have to say and will ditch you as soon as they discover it.

Add your website, or blog to your profile and make sure it links to an interesting page.

Let’s get to it

What are you trying to do? Promote your book? Find more followers? Some tips.

Search for like minded writers (similar genres) and rather than just following them start to retweet their posts. Who do they follow? Who follows them?

Twitter etiquette is important. Mindless tweets about ‘buy my book’ etc do not work. Yes, of course it’s okay to tweet your book news and if you’ve got specials and even the odd (up to 3 a day promotional tweets) but after that people will just get bored and will unfollow you. I read once about the 80:20 rule. So only 20% of posts should be self promos.

Don’t follow everyone back that follows you. As a writer you have a platform you want to cultivate. For example If you’re writing for children do you really want to follow someone with x rated posts? What would this say to your followers? There’s no and fast rules on this but all I’m saying is be careful of your image and what you want to see on your feed.

If someone says ‘no dm’s’ (direct messages) then respect that.

Auto messages: lots of people use them and they really don’t work. I’m not going to click on an external link in a DM, that would be foolhardy. Just because I follow you doesn’t mean I want your full works including the 230 essays you’ve written in how to flush the toilet. I think you’ve got the message!

Pinned posts: many writers have a post pinned to the top of their feed and this is what new followers tend to retweet so make it useful to you. Your latest book with links. A new blog post etc.

Photos: use them, lots of them. It’s proven that people retweet more posts that have photos included.

Hashtags, you know the funny # before words that streams them together? Cultivate a list that works for you and use them. People do use them to find tweets of interest

Finally I’m Scribblerjb and here’s my favourite tweet x

That’s it, hope you find this brief intro useful.

Posted in Uncategorized

Things I’d like to tell my former self

As I hurtle into 2017 I’ve been thinking about the last few years slogging away on my laptop trying to actually write something worth reading. Here’s a few things I wish I’d known in 2009, when I first put pen to paper to anything other than my checque book.

1, Buy a decent coffee machine, it will become your new best friend.

2, Always save your work to somewhere else other than your drive. Been there, done that, lost the book…

3, Writers, alongside coffee machines are nice people. Be nice back.

4, Don’t believe everything you hear about the humble adverb. It has its place.

5, Show not tell means very little to the new writer – it comes with experience.

6, The writer without a cat is a rare thing and someone to be very wary of 😉

7, Social Media will sap your strength and fill your mind with other people’s junk;  treat it like medicine – necessary in small doses.

8, Writing is a solitary occupation but hygiene and actually getting dressed are a given.

9, Although it’s hard to believe cake and chocolate aren’t actually super foods…

10, Drooling over notebooks and pens is perfectably acceptable. Trips to Paperchase will become a real treat.

11, When your laptop goes in to be serviced it is necessary to tell the repair person that searching for the best ten ways to kills someone with a toothpick is perfectably acceptable as is how to land a flying horse on the tube 😳.

12, When your other half catches you checking out that good looking bloke it is all in the name of research – honest!

13, It is perfectably acceptable to write about people you know, and even kill them off if they annoy you that much. But remember to change their name, their looks, their personality and character traits and any other identifying marks or details.

14, The delete button. You know; that thing on the top right covered with dust? Use it liberally.

15, Same goes for  Roget’s Thesaurus.

16, If you don’t enjoy reading, writing and spending long periods with only your cat and coffee maker for company writing may not be for you.

17, Discussing plot ideas with your cat is sensible and not the first, second or indeed the last sign of madness. It only gets freaky when they answer you back.

18, You don’t need to cause physical harm to make someone cry, a pen works just as well with the right words.

19, Never be scared to write – just do it.

20, Good writers know there are no rules when it comes to writing. The best books break all the rules…

Posted in Uncategorized

5 ⭐ The Christmas Promise: Maxine Morrey 

Book Blurb

Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O’Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren’t her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour. Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

My review

I bought this because of the cover, I didn’t put it down because of the sterling writing and laugh out loud plot. The Christmas Project is to help handsome but stubborn, set In his ways even Irish architect sort out his pig-sty of a house into a welcoming home to host his family’s Christmas party. Michael is the archetypical Alpha male with all the personality and physical characteristics needed to curl up with on a cold night, figuratively speaking or course. Kate is the organiser put upon by her best friend, and Michael’s sister to help him turn both his life and his house around.

I adore Christmas books at this time of year, well at any time of year really. This is about the twelfth I’ve read and it’s right up there as a good solid read that ticks all the boxes for a few hours out of reality and into another person’s life where a Happy Ever After is a given. To purchase click here

About the author

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first, she won a handful of book tokens – perfect for a bookworm!

As years went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, aswell as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities. In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s Fairytale’. Her next book, ‘The Christmas Project’ is out in November 2016, and available for pre-order now. Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words, can be found tackling her To Be Read pile, sewing, listening to podcasts, and walking.

About Jenny O’Brien

To find out more about me and my books, click here