How I published on Createspace and Kindle

After several months of writing, rewriting, locking myself away in hotel rooms and a fair amount of angst I have published the first part of my story based around the KGB headquarters in Riga, Latvia.

I wrote the novel in Word, formatted as a Kindle book, and then transferred it onto a Createspace blank template with fully justified margins. This involved pasting the text in chapter by chapter in order to fully regulate the chapter headings and layout.

This done, I then created the interior contents, dedication and acknowledgement pages. I made the cover in Photoshop using my own images and a stencil font, saved the image as a JPEG and exported it to a blank PowerPoint slide in portrait orientation. I saved the PPT as a JPEG and a PDF.

It was then a matter of going through the process of following the online instructions to upload all to Createspace. When I got the message to say the document met the requirements, I did more proofreading and uploaded a corrected version.

I allowed Createspace to convert the document to a kindle file (it messed up the contents page a bit).

The novel is now available on Kindle and will be available as a paperback in a few days.

It took a few days but I am impressed with the result.


Great Apps for writers

This Easter weekend I have taken myself off to a hotel again to concentrate on finishing my novel about the KGB headquarters in Riga. Originally, I planned to cart my widescreen Asus laptop, charger, USB extension hub and mouse with me as usual but balked at the weight of my laptop. Much as I love working on my laptop, I hate dragging it around. I already have the manuscript backed up on my external drive, so that goes everywhere with me, and have emailed it to myself. The thing is, I need a good way of writing and editing on my iPad mini which is dinky and lightweight.

I have tried working in Pages but the App does not recognise the type font I have chosen which causes formatting and downloading issues. In addition, the native formatting of Pages does not sit well with the way I have formatted the manuscript in a Word. I set up my layout and forest before I do anything else do I am ready to convert when the manuscript is done. I need to retain that formatting.

With this in mind, I have downloaded DocsToGo and linked it to my iCloud account. This App allies me to upload Microsoft-made files and work on them as I would on my laptop. So far, things are looking promising. I downloaded the App, paid for the I loud upgrade and emailed my manuscript to my iCloud email address. From the email, I downloaded the manuscript and then sent it to DocsToGo. I opened the document and it looks pretty much like it did on my laptop. So, I am travelling to Lille with my iPad and a lighter bag.

An other useful App for the iPad is Storyist. This is similar to a Scrivener, a program for Macs and PCs, which allows the writer to write and plan books then bring everything together at the end. Storyist allows you to create index  cards, separate chapters and make notes in one package. It is not as useful as Scrivener but fills the gap until an iPad version of Scrivener is available.


It is useful to have the samples as illustrated above, if you are a novice writer or would like to have a template. I have used Storyist and Scrivener to write my shorter books but have gone back to a whiteboard, post it notes and Word for the longer ones. It is just the way I work.

Several of my writing space comrades use journals or creative writing guides to get ideas flowing and practive writing techniques. If the wish to ditch the paper there is an App which combines journal writing and creative writing. Now, I am not a fan of the Virginia Woolf style free writing activities, and I did give up going to an otherwise excellent writing course because we had to free write, but they are popular among the creative writing fraternity.  The following App comes recommend by as a useful bit of software and as it is not expensive and has a journal function am going to download it. The Roller Journal could be the think to kick off ideas and for general journaling. It is available on the App Store.

For those who just want to type cleanly, I recommend the Hanx Writer. This is a basic word processor type App which mimics the sound of an old fashioned typewriter. It is great fun to play with an is ideal foe a basic text.

Since I have managed to disable my keyboard, I am learning to type slowly using the on screen keyboard. I could be lucky and having to think more often about where the letters are I might produce better text.


Writing Spaces

For the last few weeks I have been attending a writing space. A writing space is just what is says on the tin: a space where writers can write.

What exactly is a writing space?

It is a place outside your normal living and working environment where you go to write. A writing space can be a room in a hotel or other suitable building, a garden shed, a cotgage by the sea, a hotel room or an empty office. The writing space set up could be organised, adhoc, temporary, permanent or movable.

Writing spaces can be cheap (a rented space in a local community facility) or pricey (a writer’s retreat) depending on location and set up. Some places charge for room hire and some places do not. On a retreat the writing space is bundled in with other useful extras such as a reading group, writing group, writing workshop. tutorials, feedback sessions, eating and drinking. The kind of writing space a writer chooses probably depends on needs, time, money and location.

What is the purpose of a writing space?

A writing space is a place where writers write. In my experience a good writing space has nothing to distract writers from the task of writing beyond themselves. There are no interesting art installations, no in/external noises, no mobile phones ringing, no internet access and no one in the room who is not there to write. The purpose of the writing space is to provide that empty, calm  space in which writing can take place. At the writing space I attend the writers often get on with writing or planning their writing. There is no conversation apart from at the beginning and the end. In between, everybody gets down to what they are there to do.

How useful are writing spaces?

Not all of us have access to a writing space at home so an organised writing space meets that need for someone quiet and calm. I find that going to a regular writing space means that I set aside time for my writing regardless of the other demands on my time. I also find that when I am in the writing space then I am able to concetrate on the writing and block other things out.

Many professional writers have writing spaces away from their main residence. Maya Angelou, Jeanette Winterson and Joanne Harris spring to mind as I write.

What do you need in a writing space?

A table or several tables, a chair for each participant and adequate lighting. The writing space I attend has a large table we all sit around, chairs, notepaper, pens and lots of light. Everyone brings their own laptop or notebook. We site and the table and write. The hotel bar provides drinks and snacks for before and after sessions.

How to set up a writing space

I think the first thing to do is to find a suitable venue and then advertise it. I found my writing space through You could also advertise in your local library or college.