Instruction Archives - Ryan M. Williams

Category Archives for Instruction

Kindle Ads

How to Get Started With Kindle Ads

It's possible to get started with Kindle ads on Amazon in only a few minutes without breaking the bank. In this post, I'll share a quick look at ads and recommend a book (I'm a librarian, I can't help it) if you want to go deeper.

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Creating Graphs Dashboard

Creating Graphs for Word Count Tracking

Creating graphs is one way to visualize your writing progress. It can provide quick insights, particularly over time as you record more information about your word counts in your spreadsheet. If you're unfamiliar with using Excel, you may want to start with the previous posts in this series, starting with the benefits of writing streaks, demystifying spreadsheets, improving the tracker, pivoting for more information, adding project details, and writing a formula to track streaks.

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Writing Streak Formula

How to Calculate a Writing Streak in Excel

I talked about writing streaks at the beginning of this series, then went on to describe how to set up a basic word count tracking spreadsheet, added improvements to the spreadsheet, created a pivot table summary, and expanded the spreadsheet with project details. In this post, I calculate a writing streak in the word count tracking spreadsheet. I'll walk you through each step of creating the formula necessary.

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Project Details

How to Add Project Details to the Word Count Tracker

I started this series on creating a word count tracking spreadsheet by talking about the benefits of writing streaks, how to set up a basic spreadsheet, added enhancements, and created a pivot table summary. If you haven't read those posts you may want to go back and take a look unless you're already comfortable with Excel. As a next step, we'll add project details in this post, which gives us additional information about our writing.

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Pivot Tables

Writers Pivot Tables Too, Further Word Tracking Enhancements

This series started by talking about streaks, went on to spreadsheet basics in creating a tracking spreadsheet, and then leveled up the spreadsheet with an Excel table. In this post, I'll show you how to use pivot tables for greater insights into your writing. Yes, writers pivot tables too—it's an easy way to discover different ways to look at your word counts.

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Word Count Spreadsheet

Improving Our Word Count Spreadsheet

In the last post, I went over the basics of creating a simple word count spreadsheet. If you're not familiar with spreadsheets, it's a good place to start. As simple as the spreadsheet is, it provides a foundation for other improvements. Recording the data is only the first step. With the improvements to the word count spreadsheet in this post, we'll start to see how it can be used to provide more information about our writing.

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Tracking Word Counts

Demystifying Spreadsheets for Tracking Word Counts

I love data and data tools. Some of my fellow librarians find this amusing—and useful! I find data very useful. This isn't usually considered odd in athletic pursuits. People routinely track and discuss data about their favorite sports teams. If you're a runner you probably know how far, how long, and at what pace you ran. There's a good chance you track that information. Wearable tech has made it easier than ever to track our athletic efforts, visualize the data, and inform our attempts to improve. In my last post, I talked about the power of streaks. Today, I want to share some tips on using simple spreadsheets for tracking your word counts.

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Novel Openings

How to Craft Effective Novel Openings (Even in the Middle of Your Book)

Well-written novel openings draw readers right into the story—and the really good ones convince readers to put aside whatever else they are doing!

Way back in 1993 we were packing up to move. I'd taken on the task of boxing up books (a much bigger task now). This involved sitting on the floor as I packed books into cardboard boxes. In the middle of this, I came across Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. I hadn't had a chance to read it yet, so I decided to take a peek. I opened the book and I began to read.

What did you ask, Andy Bisette? Do I "understand these rights as you've explained em to me"?

I didn't stop reading until I finished the book. This isn't as long as some of his books, but still. Instead of packing books into boxes so we could get moved—and we really wanted to get out of that place—I sat there and read the whole book! Effective openings have that kind of power. It isn't just the first page of the book either. Great novel openings show up at scene and chapter breaks too. They reel you in past all good sense.

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Science Fiction Cover Design

How to Design an Out of This World Science Fiction Cover

I need a new science fiction cover for my book Dark Matters. The last cover didn't work—my artwork probably had something to do with that, along with other factors. I'm working on new editions of my books (including brand new titles never released), and this time I want to create covers that invite readers to pick up the books. There are certain key elements that I want to look at before finalizing my new covers.

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cozy artwork featured

Creating a Cozy Mystery Cover Part 2

I need cozy artwork, images that suggest a cozy mystery experience for my novel The Task of Auntie Dido. In my previous posts, I talked about researching cozy mystery covers, and my process for creating the Kindle cover. This time I'm talking about the process I followed to select and use artwork for the cover.

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