17

Things I wish I knew as a First-Time Author | #BlogchatterEbook

Things I wish I knew as a first-time Author

It was around the same time last year when my relationship with Blogchatter started. They had announced their annual BlogchatterEbook Carnival, which transforms a blogger to a self-published author. Since I didn’t have much time to create new content for the Ebook and I desperately wanted to test publishing waters; I decided to edit and compile the existing top blog posts from my blog ‘The contemplation of a Joker’ and give this activity a real chance.

Today I can proudly say I am an author of a ‘self-published’ book. This year Blogchatter has given me an added responsibility. They took from a blogger to an author and now they are converting this author into a mentor for the people who would be participating in this years’ carnival.

I am proud to be considered a mentor for this year’s #BlogchatterEbook and I am here to help you out with your doubts and queries. Since the last years’ affair was so rushed for me there were many questions and things that bothered me right before compiling and putting the content in a book format. There are multiple questions that pop up from what font to use, what should be the order of the content, how to go about formatting the content, what is the ideal word limit and so on.

Based on my experience from last year and the questions I have been getting, I am writing this post on the ‘Things I wish I knew as a first-time author’.

I want to begin by saying; this is YOUR book and is a reflection of you. You are here to have fun and make sure you enjoy the journey from a Blogger to a published Author. There are no set mandatory rules, just a set of guidelines to help you come up with a better version of your book. Many people get scared because of the guidelines and never publish the book itself.

Just remember – Every Criticism is good criticism if you are a writer. Reach out to as many people as possible and ask them if they can give feedback for your work. That will certainly help in boosting confidence and correcting errors. Even if you aren’t finding people to dedicate time for you, do a couple of thorough self-reviews.

To begin with I would say just pick up a random book and go through the look and feel; how the content is formatted, how the chapters are starting, what the margins look like on each side, how many lines are there in a page and how many words in each line and so on.

Let’s start with the cover page:

Do include a cover page, with a pic, title and your name and/or any tagline. You can use Canva and Snapseed to design and edit. If you are looking for free pictures; Canva, Unsplash and Pixabay are good resources. Since it is an Ebook, you can choose a picture in either a vertical or horizontal format. I consider it a mistake since I chose a horizontal picture that might not ideally look like a book cover.

Length/Size of the book:

Personally speaking, there is no defined limit – It’s not an essay contest. Just make sure whatever story you are conveying and the central plot are complete. Don’t worry about word count – still, try to keep it around 15k at least. The more the merrier. If you are going with a compilation of let’s say recipes or travelogues then try to focus on each chapter and make it complete. In that scenario, keep a healthy count of somewhere around 12 and more.

About Content:

It will be best if there is a central theme around the work. Last year I compiled random short stories and that worked too. A theme gives an insight to the readers about what they are getting into. Sometimes, since it is the first time, the book might have two themes – then also go ahead with it and divide it into two sections. Remember there is no right or wrong here.

Title

I wasn’t sure what the title of my book should be – when I looked around it was right in front of me. It was the same as my blog’s title. When you have a THEME, it becomes easy. If it’s a compilation, my advice is to pick the title of most imp story and write ‘other stories…’ If the book has more than one theme, then the title should focus on the theme with more content or importance.

Formatting

It is always about the content in a book and not fancy fonts. Try to keep any ‘serif’ font – Times, Courier, Century Schoolbook, Palatino.

Size – ideally 10 or 12 points (also depends upon page formatting n font)

Indentation

Well, it’s not important but if you want your book’s content to look like a regular ones’ then indentation gives that look and feel.

Select-All (Content/Chapter) and then Control+J. Your content is perfectly done.

Margins

Margins give better readability. Usually, keep half an inch as margin.

Page size – I have mostly worked on A4 so I can recommend that. If you want to convert it into paperback later then A5 for a 6*9 layout is good. Try to keep 250-300 words on a page. I have seen the regular books have somewhere around 20-25 lines on a page. Try to keep that depending upon the size of the font and page.

Header and Footer

Try to keep the name of the book as header and a page number as footer. Start page numbers from the first chapter. I kept the author name too in the header.

For page numbers – go to Insert – Page numbers and then format. Insert only page numbers and not Page1, Page2… The beginning pages like Title, preface, acknowledgment should be devoid of page numbers or if you really want then go for roman numbering.

The order of the book

There is compulsory order but the one that is usually followed is – Cover Page – Title Page – Copyright page – dedication (optional) – Acknowledgement (Optional) – Table of contents – Chapters – About the author (it can be placed before Index as well). If you are writing non-fiction or content that requires a lot of references, then you can add the list of references at the end. If the book has more than one part then you can also add a teaser for the next part in the end.

How to save as pdf

Everybody is not tech savvy and since I received a couple of questions on this – After you have put everything in order – verify the order of chapters and pages. Close the file, open again and re-check. Go to ‘SaveAs’ and then in the format or file type change it to pdf from doc or docx. Save it and your ebook in pdf format is ready.

Headings

Try to keep consistency in the formatting of heading throughout the book – it looks very professional. It is not pleasing to the eye to look at different fonts on different chapters. Similarly, for sub-headings, if your book has them, then keep them same everywhere.

How to reduce the size of a picture

It is not advisable to stack-up your book with a lot of pictures as it will dramatically increase the size of your book and might not meet the maximum size criteria provided by the platform. Hence if it is unavoidable then you can follow these steps to reduce the size of any picture. I use Mac – in that when you open a pic in preview – Go to tools – adjust size, there you can reduce by percentage or pixels or cms. It definitely reduces the size in MB by 50% in one go itself.

Just remember no question is a silly question.

All the mentors including me are here to help you out to get your book ready.

All the best of love’n’luck for your journey.

For all the first time authors,

For all those bloggers who will take the plunge,

For all those who found this helpful,

And

For all those who now know things as a first-time author

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Advertisements
1

10th India Digital Summit

10th INDIA DIGITAL SUMMIT – IAMAI

India Digital Summit

India Digital Summit

The biggest annual gathering of Digital leaders in India – 10th India Digital Summit (IDS) hosted by – IAMAIInternet and Mobile Association of India was held on 9th and 10th day of February of 2016 in the heart of our national capital, New Delhi, at the Lalit hotel. The event was a unique opportunity which saw many huge names, the smartest minds in market from the Digital and Marketing Ecosystem along with some new ones that have started surfacing and started knocking on the doors of success.

Continuing with the current government initiative of ‘Start-up India Stand-up India’, the event covered a vast range of topics aligning with the government’s agenda and with the current technological and digital space in the country. The top CEO’s and CMO’s addressed a variety of topics including;

  • Smart Cities Mission: A step towards Smart India
  • First Steps to Entrepreneurship – launching of a start-up
  • How health tech is on a roll?
  • Why Food tech industry is moving towards a new ceiling?
  • What the state of internet in rural India?
  • What is the future of Internet?
  • Education Tech – the revolution has added a new dimension to the education industry
  • Financial Inclusion – Advancing financial inclusion in India
  • How to scale up start up: Analyze, Attract, Implement and Grow
  • Travel Tech – The road ahead
  • What’s the state of Internet and women in India: technology to aid for gender parity
  • Mobile touch points across brand marketing
  • Marketing automation: Transforming the way the marketers work
  • How India is moving towards a cashless economy
  • Apps Development innovation required in India
  • Building a killer team – Ways to Attract, Hire and retain the right people
  • How is the technology giving a leap to financial institutions
  • The power of content marketing to drive Digital Media Campaigns
Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip with Amarjeet Singh, OLX

Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip with Amarjeet Singh, OLX

The Lalit provided the perfect setting for the event where the complete Hotel was covered in the flavours of India Digital Summit. There were four major halls where the leadership talks and discussions were taking place and a designated Exhibitors section. This time IAMAI – IDS gave an exciting opportunity to young budding entrepreneurs to come and present and pitch their ideas and start-ups in front of a panel of investors and market leaders.

Chairman TRAI at the 10th IDS

Chairman TRAI at the 10th IDS

The Exhibitors section had stalls of the major sponsors explaining their key offerings but the buzz was majorly generated by the ‘Startup Zone’ which was again a glorious opportunity for some start-up to set up their stalls and explain to visitors what their offerings were. It was great even for the new technology curious visitors as they were complimented with food and tea coupons depending upon the passes they were holding.

The Summit commenced with a welcome address by Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO, FreeCharge & Chairman IAMAI. It was followed by many speakers in different auditoriums including Umang Bedi, MD Adobe, Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman TRAI, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO Indiamart, and Deep Kalra, Founder MakeMyTrip. The first day concluded with the CEO’s dinner which posed as a terrific opportunity to connect and network with the key figures in the business.

Dinesh Agarwal of Indiamart at 10th IDS

Dinesh Agarwal of Indiamart at 10th IDS

Second day witnessed equally huge names from the digital ecosystem. Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO CONSIM and Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha got the day underway. Nandan Nilekani graced the occasion with his presence and strategic inputs on how he is shaping the future AADHAAR and its inclusion in every aspect of life and hence economy. The day also saw the likes of Dippak Khurana, CEO Vserv, Amit Jain, CEO Cardekho, Kirthiga Reddy, MD Facebook India, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder Paytm, and Rajan Anandan, VP & MD Google SE Asia & India. The valedictory address was given by Shri Jayant Sinha, MoS Finance government of India.

Nandan Nilekani at 10th IDS

Nandan Nilekani at 10th IDS

The second day concluded with the 6th edition of the India Digital awards which definitely glamorized the event along with recognizing the hard work of the techies for their contribution in the Digital universe.

Excerpts from the 10th IDS:

“Every Entrepreneur is a Social Entrepreneur in India. Popularity shouldn’t be a metric for success. Entrepreneurs should create value so that the VCs chase them. Our Favourite sport is jumping to conclusions. Great Entrepreneurship should not be like coaching classes, don’t always look for mentors.” – Kunal Shah, Founder & CEO, FreeCharge & Chairman IAMAI.

Nandan Nilekani with his mission on AADHAAR

Nandan Nilekani with his mission on AADHAAR

“Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. The real differentiator is Customer Experience for products and services. Every Experience should be consistent and continuous. Experience is the new brand and customer journey is the new product.” – Umang Bedi, MD Adobe.

“Software should be made available to everyone as commodities for us to grow. Digital India vision can only be achieved if there would be connectivity all across infrastructure and internet.” – Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman TRAI.

Dippak Khurana of Vserv at 10th IDS

Dippak Khurana of Vserv at 10th IDS

“Scaling up is very individual and intuitive. Accelerators and Alliances are two very different things. It’s about repeat usage (churn) not new usage. Don’t try to provide solutions to everyone, be focused. It’s not about the ideas… It’s about the execution and Execution is a series of small ideas.” – Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMart

“It’s totally about perseverance with your startup. Don’t have a plan B when you embark on your journey of a Start-Up. MakeMyTrip’s success is because of its TEAM. Please be aware of competition but don’t obsess over them. Competition is equally important…If u don’t have competition that means you are in the wrong space”. – Deep Kalra, Founder MakeMyTrip.

Irfan Khan Ceo Blogmint at 10th IDS

Irfan Khan Ceo Blogmint at 10th IDS

“Language support is very crucial for Internet in rural India. Affordable smart devices and affordable data is the key to take the Internet to rural India. We need the REASON for the person to come on Internet in rural India. Problem is content generation in regional language and because the content is in alien language there is very low discoverability Ambiguity is a key issue when it comes to translation. There should be standardization in taxes across country to support Internet in rural India. Consistency in network, spectrum n infra require for proper Internet in rural.” – Internet for Rural India.

Blogmint at work

Blogmint at work

“Constantly remind people of your mission and right Co-Founder is critical.” – Dippak Khurana, Founder & CEO VServ.

Chaaipani stall at StartUp zone

Chaaipani stall at StartUp zone

To summarize the couple of days of Digital summit; It focused on how digital transformation can help and give a tremendous boost to the Indian Economy both in urban as well as rural India,  which was in coherence with the current government’s initiative of ‘Start-up India Stand-up India’.

I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank IAMAI and Blogmint for making it possible for me to attend the event on both the days.

FlockChat at StartUp zone

FlockChat at StartUp zone

Selfie with Umang bedi, Adobe MD

Selfie with Umang bedi, Adobe MD

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

0

The VILLGRO Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Rich-Poor Reality

Rich-Poor Reality

I remember giving a presentation on 11th five-year plan during an academic session as a part of MBA curriculum and I don’t know how but I stumbled upon this pic while searching for an appropriate title slide and used it. I used this pic mainly because it is self-explanatory but how it subtly signifies that the governments have failed over the years to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. Though for the past several plans one of their underlining objectives was ‘Inclusive Growth’ – Growth of every stratum of the society simultaneously…The rich getting richer but the poor also getting better. But instead of continuous efforts and so called plans I personally believe that we have come to a stage that the middle class has virtually diminished and has gone nearly extinct. The reason for this is that the rich is getting richer while at the same time the poor is getting poorer. Hence one of most prevailing questions arise how can we change this…how can we make the state of poor in our country from the current suffocating one to at least survivable.

Statistically speaking where majority of the poor population resides in our country…it’s mainly in the rural lands. There may be many ways but one of the ways that I believe is by starting more and more rural organizations where we can employ a lot of locals as well as the end beneficiaries at large should also be them. I know that there are many NGOs and government organizations working towards achieving the same but still the work isn’t reflecting in the number of success stories that we should ideally hear. I recently heard a bunch of guys coming up with an initiative of rural BPO and I thought that it was a great move. Neither everyone can be a farmer nor is every land that is rural, futile and fertile enough to bear crops.

There are more and more visionaries who are coming up with social enterprises whose main objective doesn’t lie in creating wealth for just them. They are surrounded by a more holy motive of betterment of the poor and how they can be empowered, how they can become the controller of their destinies than mere the rain gods.

But sadly to say the infrastructure, in every regard, I don’t think is that conducive and encouraging, where we can say that the environment is suited for such entrepreneurs and such enterprises. Most of them struggle with a lot of issues and one such issue is how to move ahead with such an enterprise and such a motive. Since there is not much that has already happened in this area…there are very few mentors and experts in the same field and category. But wouldn’t it be a boon for everyone who wants to dedicate his business and life to such a cause that he gets a platform to showcase his/her enterprise and on top of that get mentors and if possible investors for their mission. Someone to understand their idea and make it kind of their own and incubate it and take it forward like a corporate company.

The Villgro Fellowship

The Villgro Fellowship

Villgro is one such non-profit institution, which is giving a platform for social entrepreneurs and enterprises with innovative and technical ideas, whose underlying theme should be the betterment of society as a whole especially the underprivileged and the poor. They have come up with an awesome Fellowship program where they encourage people from all walks of society to be a part of it and showcase their innovative idea. They will provide total support and whatever guidance is required right from the incubation stage of the idea and project. They will nurture your idea like their own and in return teach you also the key aspects of running a social enterprise so that after the fellowship you can on your own run it in a sustainable manner which achieves its objectives and goals with which you wanted to start on the first place.

Fellow success stories

Fellow success stories

On the other hand in return you will learn a lot, since the program is designed in such a manner that you will get a lot of exposure through the other fellows, which will be a mix of international students with similar passion and such ideas. There is no dearth of recognition also, Villgro has won a lot of awards and appreciation for coming up with such a foundation that instead becomes foundations for other organizations and hence the credibility about Villgro and its Fellowship program automatically follows.

In the end I would like to mention a line from their website…’Change starts with ideas…when ideas become reality, they transform lives’. So, if you have an idea which you believe can change a lot of lives…Villgro is the place to go.

For more info please check out these links about the fellowship:

150318-Fellowship Posts-Rachana

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul