10 TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

It has never been such a good time as now to write a book that you have long dreamed of. This has always been true, but it has an extra vibration of the spring of 2020 when this is written. Whether you are retired in isolation, quarantined or fully healthy but laid off, it is perfect for taking the opportunity and using the extra time to write. You also make a social contribution by reducing the spread of infection when sitting at home with your computer or pen. There is plenty of genres to go with, but many writers start their careers by writing about something self-experienced. Write your life and publish your memoirs.

1-START WRITING NOW!

Are you one of those who are thinking about writing a book about your life but hesitate? Stop immediately postponing the idea to tomorrow. Take care and write while you can. It is only you who can do it. Everyone has a story to tell. Write to preserve your experiences for the afterlife, as therapy or for fun. Write for the drawer box, for your grandchildren or for a wider audience. Get started and write today!

2-INSPIRED BY OTHERS

The first step to holding your book in your hands is to decide to write it. The second is to think about what kind of book to write. Should it be a fiction book loosely based on a few episodes from your life or an overview of your entire life? You do not need to decide in advance, but this may be something you have in mind while collecting material. In this chapter of the book, it’s time for you to read and analyze books that others have written.

3-COLLECT MATERIALS

It’s time for the phase that is often the most fun part of a book project: to do research! At this stage you do not have to make any tough decisions and do not limit yourself but can have fun. 

If you are so lucky to have written diaries during your life, it is time to pick them up now. Invent your own memory, browse old calendars and look up old letters. Listen to others who were “at that time” and gather everything you think is interesting. Save selection for later. Also, don’t worry if it gets a little thin in some subjects. You will both come up with new ideas and iron out during the work.

In this chapter we have some common tips and exercises like using pictures from places where you lived and drawing a family tree. We will provide you with tools to travel back in time through questions that you can answer yourself or by interviewing other people.

4-ALLOW TIME TO WRITE 

Whether you dream of starting writing or are a seasoned writer, it is always challenging to finish your book. The challenge can be divided into several parts. The first is about time. Writing an entire book is time-consuming and you need to spend the time required. Then it is essential to spend time on the right things and not get stuck. Some perfectionists pill for eternity with small details and, therefore, never get ready. The second extreme is that the first draft is sufficient to publish, although the text is so full of typos that it is barely legible, is also not successful. It is also common to experience writers block, know that it is common for writers to get stuck sometimes.

5-PLANNNIG YOUR JOURNEY

You have decided to write a book and you have collected a lot of material on your subject. You have analyzed other books. You have a plan for how and when to write. Maybe you’ve even started writing? Or are you wondering how to start? In this phase, a synopsis can be helpful. A synopsis is a summary of the major features of your book. It is suggested that you also include other aspects and make a project plan before you start writing. Failing to plan is a plan for failure.

6-DEVELOP YOUR STORY

Have you written a synopsis or first draft now? Good work! Now we will continue to work. We will spice up your story with emotion, add local color and make sure you bring the reader to your world. 

The reader should be able to follow through with your eyes when the events happened. The reader should see the same obstacles as you did and feel the same feelings as you did then. This means that if you write an anecdote from your school years, you will not have the same experience or language as you have after fifty. You were not born omniscient. Every event you select should be a scene in the book. 

Just as in a fiction book, you need to describe details and activate the readers’ emotions. It is this that determines how readable your book becomes. The more common your selected events are, the higher your demands on how you describe them. If you have been cannibal or lived on the moon, the reader may forgive a stylish language and non-existent narrative, to tell you about such unusual events.

This does not mean that only people who have lived a particularly dramatic life can write their memoirs. All lives are worth documenting, then the size of the audience varies depending on the content and presentation.

7-EDIT YOUR TEXT

We have now come to edit the text itself. It is a common novice mistake to worry about the language too soon. Many writers spend a lot of time hunting for the perfect first sentence when they have to solve puzzles with life events. Others focus on finding synonyms or proofreading even before the story has fallen into its place. It is almost always better to leave those details at last. 

There are a few exceptions. It may make sense to determine verb forms and perspectives early. It is a big job to change from a first perspective to a third-person perspective in an entire book if you get it for yourself (probably a bad idea since autobiographies are usually written in first person form). Same thing with verb forms.

8-TAKE HELP 

Does the whole project start to feel overwhelming? Calm, just calm. There is a long line of people who can help you along the way. You can get help from loved ones or various experts. There are author coaches, writing courses and study circles where you can get help if you get stuck. There are lecturers, editors and proofreaders who can help you improve the text. You don’t need to write a word yourself, but you can hire a ghostwriter who writes the entire book based on interviews. You can also hire a research assistant, cover designer, book publisher and project manager – to name a few of the experts available. 

Since it is their livelihood to support writers, it costs a good deal to hire them. The price varies and can reflect what quality you get. The most significant factor, however, is how long it takes. A study circle can cost a few hundred dollars to hire a ghostwriter for a few monthly salaries. If you want to hire the right person, it is good to know a little more about what the different people are doing. 

9-PUBLISH YOUR BOOK

If you have gone through the great work of writing down your story, you should also make sure you keep your story in hand. You should at least print a copy for yourself. Maybe you even want others to read it? The fastest way to make sure you get your book in hand is to publish it yourself simply. This way you make all the decisions. 

10-ENJOY AND HAVE FUN! 

We have one crucial tip left and that is to enjoy. In order not to bump along the road, it is vital to take the time to have fun. Your book project is an excellent reason for a long line of pleasures. Get in touch with relatives, travel around and learn more about yourself. Call old friends you haven’t talked to for years and days. Visit places that were important to you in your upbringing and see what it looks like today. Review old diaries, photos and letters. Browse theater programs, movie tickets, children’s books or other things that matter to you. See if the favorite movie you grew up with. Take plenty of time and use the time to remember and reflect.   

Furthermore, writing a book does not have to be a one-man project. You can do a great deal of research together with others. Why not make it a family vacation to visit places you remember from before? Or start a circle with others living in the same area? Make sure you have fun together when you pinch your books. Enjoy and have fun!

All the best, Melissa.

PICTURES AND COLOR MANAGEMENT IN BOOK DESIGN

Thanks to modern digital printing technology, the placement options for pixels are unlimited. A comprehensive background, images and headings placed out to the border, large images placed beyond the center of the book, and lists along the edge of the page are possible with digital printing.

SUITABLE TYPES OF PAPER

You can choose from the following paper types: white 80 and 90 g, cream-colored 80 and 90 g (80 g is only possible for publishers), matt 120 g paper and 200 g high gloss paper. If your book contains color pages, we recommend that you choose white paper. This ensures that the color of the images does not differ due to the color of the paper. The 120 g and 200 g paper grades are of high quality and are especially suitable for picture books. Note that minor deviations in the colors cannot be avoided with digital printing.

GENERAL RULES FOR GRAPHIC ELEMENTS

RESOLUTION: For an ideal print result, the resolution of the images should be at least 300 dpi. 

GRAY SURFACES: If the pages contain gray areas, you should choose a grayscale that contains at least 10% black color (not lighter). If the pages contain pie-charts or similar images, it is recommended that the gradation of the grayscale is at least 10%, so that the different sectors are clearly separated from each other.

PADDING: If the images are placed to the edge of the page, a five millimeter border should be created on each edge and side. A page with the size 12 x 19 cm will then have the size 13 x 20 cm. The trimmed edge will be cut off during production, but it has a purpose: Even if the book’s contents were moved slightly during binding, no white, unprinted border is left at the edge of the page. This cutting edge can be produced without major problems with professional layout programs, but if text editing software such as Word is used, the size of the pages must be determined and installed already in advance. The crop marks should not be visible in the document.

COLOR SEPARATION: When using a professional layout program, such as InDesign, color separation should not be used.

TRANSPARENCY: Use no transparency but only one level. If you upload files with transparency, all levels will be compiled automatically. This is a complicated process and can change your files. Therefore, you must create a file with one level. You ensure that the files look exactly as you want and thus avoid unwanted print results.

COLOR MANAGEMENT: Digital images are produced using either a scanner or a digital camera and the color setting is always RGB. Let the images remain in RGB format, do not change to CMYK format. However, if your images are already in CMYK format, do not change them to RGB.

COLOR PROFILE INFORMATION: RGB: When uploading files in RGB format without a specific color profile, the default setting is sRGB, as it is used for most image files.

CMYK: The default setting for CMYK files is ISOcoated_V2 (Fogra39) and we print the books with this color profile depending on the settings of the respective printing machine. With the help of DeviceLink conversion, we ensure that the digital print result is as close to an offset print result as possible.

TIP: First, process the images in a graphics program (such as Adobe Photoshop) and determine the final format, size, dpi degree and color format. Transfer the images to the layout program only after you have processed them.

SPECIAL COLORS: It is possible to simulate special colors in combination with process colors (CMYK). However, since many special colors are outside the CMYK workspace, it is recommended that this option be used only to a limited extent.

SIMULATION OF SPECIAL COLORS: To simulate special colors, you can use color palettes, where all existing Pantone or HKS colors are defined based on CMYK colors.

PANTONE AND HKS COLORS: If you upload PDF files with “genuine” Pantone or HKS colors (not simulated), these colors are printed as similar to the original colors as possible, in CMYK using color maps installed in our printing machines.

Thanks for reading, Sandy Kohen

CANVA REVIEW [2022]

WHAT IS CANVA?

Canva is a great suite of graphic design tools not only for desktop but for Android and iOS mobile platforms. You can literally use it to design almost all graphical design types you may want (for almost all listed items below there are tons of ready to use templates):

  • Book Covers
  • Ebooks 
  • Posters, flyers
  • Regular and video presentations
  • Infographics
  • Social media assets like posts, backgrounds, stories, covers
  • Invitations
  • Advertisements
  • Resumes
  • Magazine covers
  • Photo collages/cards
  • Logos
  • Animated graphics
  • Thumbnails
  • Wallpapers
  • Banners
  • Remove backgrounds
  • Mind maps

The best part is there’s almost no learning curve, Canva has a very intuitive and easy to navigate user interface. That’s great if you are not an advanced user like me.

what is canva

If your main business is not graphic design, you probably do not want to spend hours designing, say a book cover or cool looking Instagram Story. You can create one using one of the templates that suits your taste and you are finished in less than 5 minutes. I imagine trying to achieve the same results using Photoshop, well, Canva may be giving me 10X time saving.

The app covers an impressive number of use cases and comes packed with an impressive number of features too, whether you need to add text and stickers to a photo or completely revamp the theme of a brochure. Read on for our full verdict on Canva.

Get Canva For FREE, click here

CANVA FEATURES

As I mentioned before, you can easily use one of the templates for any design purpose you may need but it is also possible you start with a blank slate and build your design up however you want.

Canva includes a huge number of editing and layout tools: from image cropping to blur effects to background removal. Design objects can be easily arranged and layered in a project and it’s quite easy to add extras like text with beautifully selected fonts, captions or stickers on top of your design.

Canva creators are proud of being simple to use for anyone, with or without graphic design experience, and it’s totally true that the templates and intuitive features mean you can create designs that look professional very quickly. Even experienced design professionals can also use it to get a job done quickly, as long as they do not need too much control on what they are creating.

how to use canva

This tool has both handsome free and paid plans. Both types of users have access to thousands of different templates among more than 100 categories to get started. But paid subscribers also get access to millions of stock photos, videos and design elements to use as they wish.

You can literally use it from the simple task of tweaking your daughters photos to putting together a fully fledged social media campaign. Did we mention that you do not need to install any software, it is cloud based (run on your favorite browser) so you can just jump right in and start using creating. I have to admit that sometimes I just use it for fun without any specific job to be finished (did I just say that aloud).

Get Canva For FREE, click here

HOW TO USE CANVA?

Canva’s most appealing feature is that everything really is very well laid out and organized. Just select what it is that thing you’re trying to design, and you will be presented with a wealth of different templates and layout options, as they have thousands of users, they exactly know what you need most and where.  Canva has thousands of templates and even a free plan gives you many options to play with. 

The first step is to choose a template or a blank page then organizing the design object to your liking is very straightforward. You can change the whole design – select colors, fonts, background images – with a couple of clicks, so it will not take too much time to start personalizing the template so it fits with your brand image or your visual taste.

In terms of layouts, Canva is a bit restrictive compared to professional applications – you can take full control over where everything is in a design, but there’s not quite the same level of depth in terms of pixel-by-pixel tweaking. Still, Canva does a great job of keeping everything simple for beginners while also packing in plenty of features to cater for more ambitious designers.

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CREATE AN EBOOK FOR FREE WITH CANVA

As you move design elements on the design canvas, guides popup to help you to keep everything in place and looking consistent, swapping parts of a design (such as a magazine cover or ebook page design) can be done with a couple of mouse clicks. Canva makes the design process stress-free, time efficient and intuitive.

The same ease of use approach is there in the mobile version as well: but creating a graphic design is not very convenient on smartphones due to screen size. Yet you might still be surprised by the quality of work you can create on your mobile. I use it on mobile to quickly create social media posts, especially stories.

how to curve text in canva

Get Canva For FREE, click here

HOW MUCH IS CANVA PRO?

You can start using Canva for free, which is a good way to dive in and see yourself whether or not the tool is suitable for you. Free plan gives you access to some 25,000 templates, 100+ design types, and many of the layout and editing features you may need. To be honest it’s a very generous free plan, and it will be more than enough for some people.

But if you want to use following features you will need to upgrade to paid plan; Create a Brand Kit and upload your own fonts and logos, One-click design, Magic Resize, 420,000+ free templates with daily new designs, 75+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio and graphics free-to-use, Save designs as templates for your team to use 100GB of cloud storage, heck they even have a social media content scheduler for 7 major platforms, how cool is that.

Canva Pro (as of this writing) is US$12.95 per month and Canva Enterprise is US$30.00 Per month for up to 5 people. There are some discounts if you sign up for annual plans.

how much is canva pro

CONCLUSION

If you compare Canva with professional tools like Adobe Photoshop, After Effect it’s nowhere near the level of complexity or number of features, but then not everyone is looking for what Adobe Creative Cloud has to offer. Those professional tools have steep learning curves and are very expensive, they are mostly for those people who make a living using them. But the majority of people need a simple, affordable tool to get a job done quickly, beautifully with no learning curve: that’s the gap Canva fills in for years, thousands of happy customers are proof of that fact. 

What I would suggest is to sign up for a free plan and play with it. If the free version is ok no strings attached and if you need more of what Pro plan offers go for it, it’s worth your money. Today, great visuals are very important whether you are an author, social media manager, marketer or a school teacher (remember Pro plan can be used by up to 5 people, so it is literally 2.6 USD per person per month).

Get Canva For FREE, click here

Let me know if you have any questions about Canva, I will be happy to answer.

PS: I also prepared a Book Promotion Guide that you can combine with your keyword strategy to make your book a success.

PPS: You may find our Indie Author Checklist useful in your self-publishing journey.

All the best, Melissa Mayer.