Evelyn Chartres Author
Evelyn Chartres – Page 57 – Author (Nom de Plume)

The Email Holy Grail

featured_email_reading

7 Tips for Getting More Responses to Your Emails (With Data!) on blog.boomerangapp.com.

Came across this article from +Laurie Varga​​’s feed and it’s an interesting read. There is excellent advise within and statistics to back up their claims.

Not all of it translates well for posting on Google+ and their ilk (i.e. Long comments probably will get you a TL;DR.) though some certainly applies!

While the title of the article says 7 Tips for Getting More Responses to Your Emails, only six are outlined in the summary! I included the summary below for convenience:

  1. Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.
  2. Include 1-3 questions in your email.
  3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.
  4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone
  5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.
  6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.

Once More Unto the Breach

The_Grand_Bravo_SeriesI just began my second review of The Grand.  This is another intensive review of the project and this time, I aim to keep better records on the amount of edits and reviews done.

So far, the Synopsis (33) and my Prologue – One Small Step (207) has been completed, resulting in 240 modifications.  In time, I will get a better feel for this edit and figure out how drastic this revision will be when compared to the last.  Updates were made on both Google Docs and Wattpad. The Google Docs version allows for comments and revisions; so please make use of this capability.

Another Tool in the Shed

featured_ePub_generator

The Redsy Book Editor: A Powerful Writing Tool on reedsy.com

Came across this link on my Google+ feed.  Always a good idea to keep an eye out for new tools. This one may be cloud based, but it might have a must-have feature that people would kill for!

Notes and Variants

Dressing up the Cover – Part 6

This is Part 6 of the Dressing up the Cover tutorial and previously we covered Taglines and Layer Styles.

t_21-Tagline-Inserted.pngNotes on Bravo

Bravo was originally released along with two (2) other variants and was by far the most popular of the three (3). Feedback shown below led to the creation of other variants.

Bravo caught my attention better than the others.

Bravo looks the most professional, although the fonts are kind of sterile.

I’m not a fan of any of them. They all scream —self-published— in the worst of ways.

None of them say horror to me.  If you’re sold on using the image, I’ definitely try to bring it out in the fonts.  Look at some popular horror titles and see what they use.  That will give you an idea of what communicates —horror— to readers.

Overall, the points brought forward were related to the choice of font and how the cover did not fit the ideal horror cover. The Portrait does not subscribe to the modern ideals of horror, at least in terms of gore playing a large part.

People expected to see streaks of blood, fangs protruding from the lady’s mouth or vast amounts of gore. This worked against the story of the premise where the supernatural settings are concealed for most of the novel and would potentially spoil the surprise!

There was a noticed distaste for the red borders employed with this particular variant. While I initially believed that they infused the cover with a bit of colour, people predominantly disagreed and preferred to have no transitions as all.

Over all I managed to pick up a few points to work on:

  • Keep some distance between the outside edges of the image and the font. Text elements are more likely to remain visible if the image needs to be truncated or applied to a printed cover;
  • The use of red for fonts to add in colour may not work out as expected. Red does not display well in black and white images;
  • There is a strong preference for covers to use an image covering the whole of the visible area. This led to the development of Hotel and India variations which are covered later;
  • Font selection is key and has been discussed before. There was a strong push for Trajan Pro as a general-purpose font.

Some  recommendations were applied to Bravo which created the variant below.  While it does not address all of the faults, it does provide an incremental improvement.

A Hotel Visit

Hotel was a variant that aimed to make use of different fonts that would grab the attention of a potential reader.  This version also made use of transparencies and the outer glow effect which differs from other versions.  While Hotel universally reviled in comments it does have certain features that were fun to explore.

You will need to make use of the Lady Normal Base, to proceed with this aspect of the tutorial.

The cover size is longer than the original image allows . To achieve this we needed to create a mirror image copy then join them at the seams. This increases the space above her head to prevent the Author’s Name from obstructing her face.

From the Image menu, select Canvas Size.

30-Canvas-Size-Select.pngA new Window appears, which permits you to adjust the Size of the canvas. Increase the Height of to 16000 pixels then ensure Placement is set to Bottom, Middle as shown:

31-Canvas-Size-Options.png

Click on the OK button, which adds an empty space above the image found.

32-Canvas-Size-Result.pngUsing the Selection Tool, make a copy of the top portion of the Base then Paste as a New Layer. You up with two copies of the Top with the new selection that needs to be flipped.

From the Image Menu select Flip then Flip Vertical.

33-Flip-Vertical.pngLine-up the images as though they were part of a mirror image. Once satisfied with the merger, right-mouse click on the layers then from the Merge Popup-Menu select Merge All (Flatten).

This operation will merge both layers together. You may need to experiment until the connection is seamless.

Next add the Author, Title and Taglines. As mentioned previously, Layer Styles for Author and Title employ of Outer Glow, Emboss and Transparencies to get the desired effect. To reproduce the effects showcased on the cover the following fonts were used.

  • Title — Bebas Neue Bold
  • Author — Oleo Script
  • Tagline — Cinzel (Bolded)

For Layer Styles adjust until settings match the options below:

35-Layer-Styles-Emboss.pngThe next step is to adjust the Outer Glow, set it to match those shown below:

34-Layer-Styles-Glow.png

While there are a lot of ways to adjust transparency, you can do so from the General Tab of the Layer Properties window. Copy the settings found below then save it for later use. This ensures consistency when applying it to other layers.

The Tagline only makes use of Emboss, copy the settings below to match our style.

35-Layer-Styles-Transparency.png

The Tagline only makes use of Emboss, copy the settings below to match our style.

36-Layer-Styles-Emboss-Tagline.png

You end up with a cover which looks roughly like our sample.

A Trip to India

India was not one of my designs. Ironically, an acquaintance used a phone app to whip up a design she felt worked well. This formed the basis for cover design used on The Portrait.

Other than making use of Lady Ethereal as a base, this design uses techniques which have been explained before.  To the following fonts were used:

  • Title – Cinzel (Bolded)
  • Author – Cinzel (Bolded)
  • Tagline – Cinzel (Bolded)

In Part 7, we will talk about making a Cover Swatch.

Normalising Your Manuscript Using Microsoft Word

The Find and Replace capabilities within Microsoft Word are impressive. However, the interface is not always intuitive and some of features can conflict with others. Once aware of these limitations, we can use this capability to perform a series of tasks quickly and efficiently.

This tutorial will reference the same text throughout.  A sample is available through Google Docs.  Set Microsoft Word to display formatting to get a view similar to the one below

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,·→the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Normalizing your Manuscript

Large works of prose are prone to having formatting inconsistencies introduced over time.  Quirks in your word processor may lead to unexpected behaviour. I.e. Google Docs interprets a series of spaces as tabulations during a paste operation.

In other situations, people will either single-space or double-space at the end of a sentence. While a single author may be diligent in applying their preference, this type of diligence is hard to enforce in collaborative works.

In the sample text, we have instances of tabulations and varied spacing.  Using the Find and Replace capability, we will normalize spacing using a series of steps.

Note:  Spaces ( ) have been replaced with an underscores (_) for clarity in the text.  Screen captures will were taken with valid input.

Replacing all Tabulations

Note: This portion assumes that you are not using tabulations as a legitimate formatting option. If you do use tabulations then select the area you wish to cleanse prior to using Find and Replace.

Replacing all tabulations should be your first step, since this reduces the number of steps. From the Home Ribbon, click on Replace as which will pop-up the Find and Replace window.

01-Search-Replace-Ribbon.png

Click in the Find what text-box to make ensure the cursor placed there. Next, click on Special and select Tabulation from the pop-up.

10-Find-a-Tabulation.pngThis inserts ^t and tells Microsoft Word to search for tabulations.  Alternatively you could simply type in ^t yourself, saving a few clicks.

Place a single space (_) within the Replace with textbox which replaces all tabulations with a space.  When satisfied, click on Replace All.

11-Find-a-Tabulation-Replace-With-Space.pngSince there was one (1) tabulation within our sample, you should get the same results as below.

12-Replacement-Results.pngThe document should look as follows with formatting in place.

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,··the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Occasionally documents contain more than a combination of spaces and tabulations. Some manuscripts may contain non-breaking spaces, a type of space that does not permit the word processor to break to the following line. Instead, words connected by a non-breaking space will stay together as though part of a larger word.

Instead of selecting the Tab character option, use the White space selection instead.  The special character set is ^w and will match all types of white space within a document.

Note:  Replacing all types of spacing to a normal format is time intensive.  For a large manuscript you can expect it to take minutes!

Confirming Spacing after a Comma

For this step, we make use of wildcards, so from the Find and Replace window check the Use wildcards option. Wildcards are incapable of using special characters that were used in previous sections, so the Special button displays a new set of features.

Attempts to use special characters will result in the following error.

17-Feature-Not-Supported.pngInsert ([;,])_{2,} into the Find what text-box and \1_ into the Replace with text-box.

13-Normalize-Single-Spacing.pngThis is cryptic at a first glance, so time to break it down.

[;,]

This portion provides a list of characters to start off our match within the search. In this case the coma and semi-colon are searched for. Once found, search will attempt to match the rest of the sequence.

()

Anything within a parenthesis may be referenced in the Replace with text-box.

_{2,}

Find instances of at least two (2) spaces to make a match. We set this at two (2) to cover instances which deviate.

\1_

Replaces the matching text with whatever character was matched followed by a single space.

Click on Replace All to look for instances where there are too many spaces after a comma or semi-colon.  Our sample will yield one (1) result with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·thie·
puzzle.¶

Confirming Spacing after a Sentence

This tutorial assumes that double-spacing is used after a sentence, to proceed insert ([.\!\?””…])_{1,} into the Find what text-box then place \1__ into the Replace with text-box.

14-Normalize-After-Quotes.pngAgain, this may seem confusing, so let us break it down to explain.

[.\!\?”"]

Provides a list of characters to begin our match criteria. In this case, the period, exclamation point, question mark and end quotes are searched for. The backslashes force search to treat preceding it characters literally. i.e. the exclamation point and question mark are special characters.

()

Anything within a parenthesis may be referenced in the Replace with text-box, in this case it would be \1.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

\1__

Replaces the matching text with whatever character was matched followed by a double space.

Click on Replace All to normalize spacing at the end of a sentence.  Our sample yields several results with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”··Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·ths·
puzzle.¶

Looking for Dialogue Transitions

If you have instances in the manuscript where a comma is followed by a quote, then you need to run with the following in Find what, (,[“”])_{2,} and \1_ Replace with.

14-Normalize-Double-Spacing.pngNote: Microsoft Word will not match smart quotes when a double quotes are provided in the Find what field, hence why we look for both.

Click on Replace All to correct instances of spacing during a quote transition.  Our sample will yield one (1) result with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Erroneous Spacing

Erroneous spacing refers to misplaced white space located at either end of a paragraph.  The sample we have been working with has an example for both.  To correct spacing at the end of a paragraph we insert _{1,}(^13) in Find what and \1 in the Replace with text-boxes.

15-Spacing-end-paragraph.pngWhile this string is simpler than previous entries, I will break it down to explain.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

(^13)

Special characters used to refer to a paragraph mark.  Do not use ^p as this will not work with Wildcards. The parenthesis will preserve the formatting of that specific paragraph mark.

\1

Replaces spaces and the paragraph mark with a paragraph mark.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following result with formatting:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

To correct spacing for the beginning of a paragraph insert (^13)_{1,}([!^13]) in Find what then\1\2 in Replace with.

16-Spacing-before-paragraph.pngHere is a breakdown of the string.

(^13)

Find an instance of a paragraph mark.  The parenthesis means this can be referenced later in Replace with using \1.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

([!^13])

String will instruct Microsoft Word to match any character that is NOT a paragraph mark.  This element will be referenced in Replace with using \2.

\1\2

Drops the paragraph mark and non-paragraph mark back in without the spacing.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶
The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·a·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶