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The Do’s and the Don’ts When It Comes to Raising Teens

Written by   |   Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:21

mother daughterIt’s sometimes not easy to understand how parents forget what their interests were during teen age. Where all those teenage fantasies, madness and memories go when parents face the challenge of raising their own kids can make you wonder. Yet, all the interest scrutiny, probing and yelling a parent directs to their grown little girls stems from nothing short of sincere love. The problem is most teenagers don’t see it that way.

But there are always ways to work out a practical relationship between a parent and their ‘semi-adult’ kids.

Giving your grown little girls independence  

It can break a parent’s heart to come to terms with the fact that their kid doesn’t seem to cherish their company anymore. But it helps to realize that kids need some level of leeway to express themselves in absence of adult supervision. So, you need not worry when you all over sudden-grown little girls seem happier and in positive mood when in the company of their friends than when you’re around. The bottom line is you’re still their rock and the person they know they can count on all the time.

However, don’t let the kid stretch their limits of independence.  This means your voice should be heard when your child strays into bad company or unacceptable behavior such as substance abuse.
Carefully “pick your fights”

You did a great job raising your kid and teaching them how not so ‘cool’ or safe it is to have a tattoo. In that case it’s alright to quarrel you kid for trying to have one. However, it’s not wise to fight over things that have no consequence whatsoever, just because your generation doesn’t identify with them. Small things such as hair cuts are not worth drawing battle lines for.

Balance between self-esteem and guilt

Self-esteem is important for your grown little girls. However, the need to make your kids feel good about themselves should not defeat the urgency to instill discipline in them. Thus, whenever they cross clearly drawn boundaries, you should let them experience their guilt.

Draw your boundaries clearly and early

It’s always proper to have an understanding of what the limits are, in terms of what your little grown girl can and can’t do. This gives you a basis to seek explanations when boundaries are crossed.

Give your child options
A dreadlock between kids and their parents can’t be a good thing. That’s why parents do well to leave doors open for dialogue when there is a thorny issues going.

Lead by example

Raising a teenage girl can be extremely difficult for parents who adopt the “do as I say and not as I do” attitude. The kids need a role model at home who sets a fine example. This ways, kids will learn from watching their parents.

The job of raising your little grown girls needs not be rocket science if you can learn how to handle them in a loving way. Defining clear boundaries for your kids and not overstepping your own limits will go a long way.

Reading the book Grown Little Girls by Shelley Darby relates some experiences and lessons parents can learn as they go through raising their teens.


Factors to Consider when Illustrating a Children’s Book

Written by   |   Thursday, 06 March 2014 23:35

1Children are very visual creatures and enjoy reading books that feature pictures or illustrations predominantly. But, kids are a special kind of audience and that’s a factor to consider when illustrating a children’s book. To an adult, the pictures or illustrations in a book meant for kids may seem plain simple, but these call for a great deal of premeditation on the part of the illustrator.
An experienced children’s book illustrator knows that certain works can have pictures telling the entire story by themselves. In other types of children books, each and every single page has a picture or an illustration. Thus, pictures in a book meant for kids can serve one or more of the functions below:

(1) Illustrations can tell an entire story by themselves: In this case, the book may have very little or no text at all.
(2) Extend the story line: In this case, pictures may add a new dimension to the story covered in the text.
(3) Shed more light on the story line. Pictures used this way expound on the story line, giving words more significance.

What’s in a High Quality Children’s Picture Book?

Relevance to a young audience: When illustrating a children’s book, it’s important to take into consideration topics that can capture a kid’s imagination. For instance, a story that gives animals human attributes such as capacity for speech or even interaction with humans can keep kids captivated.
Also, pictures that can carry some element of fear, fantasy and humor will appeal to kids. However, gross images or illustrations that convey horror in graphic detail should be avoided for younger minds.
Relevance to the story line: If you’re an author of children’s books and wish to incorporate illustrations into your story line, it’s important that the illustrations match your story. The pictures must be positioned within the right context.

Illustrations positioned out of context can be confusing to kids. That’s why pictures should match the setting and plot of your book. Also, character illustrations should match descriptions provided in your story to make sense to kids.
Avoid stereotyping: An illustrator of kid’s book should avoid stereotyping or brainwashing kids. The pictures should be in such a way that they allow kids to think on their own and draw logical connections between facts.

Lessons to learn: Any kind of literature for all sorts of audience should attempt to offer a specific message. Illustrations for children’s book should also try to communicate a specific message and a moral lesson.

Illustrations can be effective in conveying lessons such as bravery, justice, peace, faithfulness, truth etc. Also, an illustration can be used to enhance a story line, by bringing out a message that’s not very clear in words.

Color: Kid’s like colored illustrations more than black or grayscale images. However, black and white illustrations can also appeal if created professionally.

If you’re writing a story for children, there’s a high chance you’re considering ways to make it as appealing as possible to kids. Professionally created illustrations can help your objectives.

The Fast Fingers offers affordable children's book illustration services.

Grown Little Girls by Shelley Darby

Written by   |   Thursday, 06 March 2014 04:04

Tff Cover"Grown Little Girl" is a term commonly used to describe a disrespectful, sassy-mouthed, misbehaved, promiscuous teen or pre-teen. These girls are most often involved in various life situations that they are not prepared to handle; and with little to no understanding for the traumatic outcome these situations produce; several teens and pre-teens are becoming mentally and emotionally damaged. "Grown Little Girls" is a book written to tell the story of the "grown little girl" and identify key issues that contribute to the behavior displayed from these troubled young women. Experience this epic novel of revelations that seek to inspire families to come together and allow the healing process to begin.

Grown Little Girls is available in Kindle and Paperback format


Grown Little Girls paperback $12.95

Grown Little Girls Kindle Store

The Difference between Paperback Formatting and eBook Formatting

Written by   |   Monday, 03 March 2014 06:00

ebookUpon making your mind about entry into self-publishing, one of the key points to consider is format of your eBook. For the most part, the decision to go for an eBook or paperback is made from a business perspective. That’s to mean many authors are looking at the market prospects if they decide in favor of one book format as opposed to another.

However, the person who does the actual book formatting knows there are more significant differences between eBook formats and print formats.
One of the most significant differences between a paperback format and an eBook format lies in the way text is presented. For paperbacks or print formats, the text has a fixed layout. Thus, readers won’t have an opportunity to manipulate the text or images to enhance appearance.

So, a paperback formatter knows that readers can’t resize text, change font and that’s why he or she ensures the final copy to send for publishing meets the highest of industry’s book formatting standards. In other words, there’s more weight of responsibility for a paperback formatter than an eBook formatter, since the former has the final say on how words, fonts and images appear on the printed copy.

An author is equally responsible for the final appearance of the text and other elements of their paperback. This makes it essential for a self-publishing author who specializes in paperbacks to ensure text on MS word appears on screen exactly as wanted on paper. Once that manuscript goes through CreateSpace, there won’t be room for readers to fix any legibility or presentation issues.

However, most eBook formats are reflowable. Reflowable text is that which the end-user can tweak certain aspects to make it more appealing or legible. Thus, if you’re publishing with Kindle, you should have in mind the fact that potential readers might want to change the layout of text, appearance of text and other eBook formatting features.

Other self-publishing firms that support reflowable text include Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. Reflowable text is a concept that meets the demands of ever evolving eBook-reading technology and devices. It makes it possible for readers to enjoy all the features and elements in an eBook with total disregard to the devices they are using.

As an author, you may want to consider reflowable text for your eBook so that readers on different platforms such as iPhone, KindleFire, iPad or PC screen won’t have trouble reading.
Other common differences border on features such as page numbers and links. While readers of paperbacks rely on page numbers to identify and reach specific sections of a book, eBook readers utilize hyperlinks.  

Yet, capacity for eBook text or layout to reflow does not mean that both the author and eBook formatter have no responsibility at all over how the final copy appears. There are still formatting requirements for most self-publishing platforms, which authors should be familiar with when designing both the exterior and interior of their eBooks.

Get in touch with The Fast Fingers to have your paperback or eBook formatted in line with the finest standards.


How Parents Can Deal with Common Teen Behavior Problems

Written by   |   Thursday, 27 February 2014 22:46

Tff CoverReading the book “Grown Little Girls” by Shelley Darby, you can’t help identifying with the issues a modern day parent has to deal with when raising their teenage or pre-teenage daughter. If you’re a teenage girl yourself, reading the book may shed light on some aspects of your character, behavior or personality that you may never have looked at closely.
Yet, the “Grown Little Girls” relates experiences and lessons families can learn as they go through challenges when raising their teenage daughters. But what are some of the common teen behavior issues a parent may have to deal with?

Your grown little girl expresses disgust at you

A girl at teenage or pre-teenage may at times treat her parents in a way that suggests hatred or disgust. Such a girl downplays what you say or even rolls her eyes in a way to show contempt. Yet, this kind of behavior happens unpredictably and irrationally, because a lot of times the girl will still express need and love for her parents.

However, your girl will always calm down and communicate if you can prove supportive all the time. It can be a parenting mistake to withdraw if a teenage girl withdraws or return disgust with disgust. Thus, a good strategy would be not say anything if at the moment you don’t have any inspiring ideas.

Wrong company

It’s very common for your grown little girl to want to stick around kinds you don’t like. Sometimes the kids look so bad to your eyes that sometimes you get that chilly spine feeling as though you’ve witnessed a little baby playing with a sharp knife.

However, behavioral experts advise parents not to be too quick to judge or criticize friends of their kids, especially by their looks or the way they dress. But when there is real danger, such as when the friends are doing drugs, skipping school, or involved in bad behavior, a parent can make a point of communicating their concerns to the “little girl.”

But the best way to approach a teenage girl who keeps wrong company is not to put her on the defensive or harshly criticize her friends. You can let her know you’re just trying to look out for her and not against her.

Staying out late

Any teenage kid who habitually comes home as late as 10:30 can be a reason for parental concern.  She keeps defying your curfews for no apparent reason.
Yet, it’s important you set limits so that your teenage daughter does not run into trouble. It’s advisable to do your own background check and find out what time other kids go home and if their parents are fine it. Here, you’re trying to be cautious without coming off too unreasonable.

Of course, behavioral issues with teenagers cannot be exhausted in an article. Actually, the evolving society as well as technology continues to introduce new fronts along which teenage kids and their parents may conflict. That’s why only reasoning and understanding can help “grown little girls” and parents learn to settle differences and stay united as a loving family.

Grown Little Girls is available in Kindle and Paperback format


Grown Little Girls paperback $12.95

Grown Little Girls Kindle Store


todoYou may have had these brilliant novel ideas in mind for a while, but finally decided to “put pen to paper.” Thanks to CreateSpace, you can have your paperback published in no time if you follow their paperback formatting guidelines on the dot.

You’ll definitely need a word processor to do a splendid job, though CreateSpace needs you to convert your manuscript to PDF to be considered for publishing. Most authors like to use MS Word because it’s sophisticated enough to help prepare a professional document, yet simple enough to learn and grasp.

Create Space will need you to accomplish a few book formatting tasks within MS Word before your submission can be accepted. The first thing CreateSpace highlights as an interior formatting requirement is page size. The self-publishing platform cautions against using 8.5” x 11”, which is the default page size for many Ms Word versions.
Thus, you’ll need to access the Page Layout tab, if you’re using MS Word 2007. Clicking on “Margins” gives you the option of custom margins, which can take you to the Page Setup dialog box. Alternatively, you can click on the arrow to the right of “Page Setup”, still on the Page Layout tab, to go directly to the Page Setup box.

The Page Setup dialog box has three tabs, Margins, Paper and Layout. Click on “Paper” to set a custom size for your paperback. Take into consideration your book’s final trim size while setting the correct size.

You also don’t want live elements of your book running over the edges. Not only does it look unprofessional, but it also compromises reader experience. It will also beat your efforts to acquire stunning graphics, images or pictures only for parts of them to bleed to the edges.

That’s why CreateSpace paperback formatting guidelines recommend a .125” provision for bleed. Thus, if your paperback has a size of A x B, allowing for bleed means you should set a size of (a+0.125) x (b+0.125).

When it comes to margins, it’ll all depend on the number of pages of your book. The setting is available under the margins tab of the Page Layout box. The number of pages of your book will determine the margin you set for gutter area. It follows that; a book with more pages will have a bigger gutter margin.

Remember to select Mirror margins for your book’s gutter area. This will make sure the settings you keep do apply uniformly for pages on the left as well as those on the right. The option is available under multiple pages section of the Page Setup dialog box.

Outside margins are also an essential aspect of page setup. CreateSpace recommends outside margins of at least .25” for any page count.
You can visit CreateSpace for Gutter margin specifications depending on page count.  

You can add any other stunning features to your book’s interior, but the above are essential. Once done, a PDF converter can come in handy in conversion of your document to eBook.

The good thing is you can rely on The Fast Fingers book formatters to offer professional paperback formatting services at reasonable prices.

Some eBook Formats to Consider if You’re Self Publishing

Written by   |   Thursday, 20 February 2014 12:15

kindle1In a world where e-reading technology is evolving rapidly, authors find themselves in a situation where they must keep abreast with the devices their audience is using to read eBooks. It may seem like a challenge for a self-publisher to be tech-savvy as far as eBook technology is concerned. However, delivering your eBook in as many eBook formats as available enhances the size of your potential audience.

You may consider the formats below if you’re self-publishing for CreateSpace, Smashwords, Sony, Apple, Kindle and many others.

Epub: This is the most universally acceptable format for eBooks. The standard is supported by a number of platforms and eReaders including Smashwords, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others.

Mobipocket: If you’re self-publishing for Kindle, Mobipocket or MOBI should be an important consideration. The format is supported by many Kindle devices, applications and PC operating systems. Using this format will work to your advantage if you’re going to distribute through Amazon.

PDF: The portable document format is supported by a wide array of devices. Mobile devices, PDAs and PCs, all will support eBooks delivered in this format. It mostly suits scholarly works or other material that’s subject to a rigid structure in line with relevant presentation standards or requirements.
PDF is not a format you want to rely own if you want to give your audience freedom to manipulate the appearance of your text in line with their preferences. The format does not allow reflowable text.

RTF: The RTF format is supported by platforms such as Smashwords, although Smashwords plans to drop it at some point in 2014. Rich Text Format is supported by a wide array of devices though. The format is not that great with many images.

Read: Ebook Formats Supported by Sony Reader

Just like mentioned earlier, more eBook formats keep coming up with advancing technology. Thus, the onus is on the part of an author to stay updated on latest developments in the world of eBook publishing.

Authors who are not sure of formats to use can research about it these on their intended publishing platforms. For instance Kindle Direct Publishing will let you upload your draft in formats such as word, HTML, ePub, RTF and PDF. You may then convert from these formats to your most preferred formats for publishing.

Smashwords also supports the already mentioned formats. The self-publishing platform also supports HTML on its HTML SmashReader. The web-based application makes it possible for authors to upload eBooks so that readers can sample them on their browsers.

Actually, this format can help aid your marketing strategy as eBooks available via a web browser can be indexed by search engines such as Google.  This means that people looking for information or type of story you’re publishing may find your title without prior knowledge of its existence.

The formats to publish your eBook in are many and will keep growing from year to year. That’s why The Fast Fingers book formatters have always kept abreast with the latest eBook technologies. This makes it possible for the professional book formatters to provide book design, cover design, book formatting, eBook conversions and other services in line with the highest industry standards.

Ebook Formats Supported by Sony Reader

Ebook Formats Supported by Sony Reader



A Few Technological Tools for KDP Which Authors Should Know About

Written by   |   Wednesday, 19 February 2014 05:48

kindleKindle Direct Publishing is the online platform self-publishing authors can use to create and distribute their eBooks through Amazon. But to make your titles available for sale over Amazon through KDP, the titles must be in digital formats. The good thing is that KDP comes with several programs/software which authors can use for eBook formatting and conversion.
Kindle Previewer
It always pays to preview your eBook before you can upload it to Kindle. Kindle Previewer lets you see your title in its published appearance so that you can correct any legibility or formatting glitches.  Take the previewing opportunity to verify if text appears as intended. Check tables and figures to ascertain that content these carry is clear and legible.
What you see on Kindle Previewer is what will appear on different Kindle applications and devices. The previewer is available for platforms such as Windows and Macintosh Operating Systems.

Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign

The Kindle Plugin for InDesign suits KDP authors or professional book formatters who love to create publications such as eBooks, magazines, posters, fliers etc using Adobe InDesign. The plugin is used to convert material prepared using InDesign into Kindle format.

However, you need to have Adobe Indesign first installed in your computer before you can convert any text, graphics, document or book into the Kindle Format. Thus, if you’re having an InDesign manuscript that was prepared elsewhere, the first step is to install InDesign in your PC, and then try to install the Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign.


KindleGen is for authors or book formatters who are savvy with command line interfaces such as Ms Dos. You might want to stick to Ms Word if you’re not very familiar with Ms Dos or a similar non-graphical user interface. All in all, KindleGen will help you convert a book prepared in HTML or XHTML into Kindle format.
The above Kindle publishing programs are downloadable for free.

Kindle Singles

Kindle Singles is not an application; rather, it’s a feature that permits authors to publish short content through KDP. The content must be in Kindle format, nevertheless. Also, an author needs to email Amazon directly if they wish to publish content this way.

Kindle Blogs & News Feeds  
There is the Kindle Publishing for blogs which authors can use to publish content in form of blogs and news feeds. Just like Kindle Singles, this feature suits short-content publishing. An author can use it to publish short articles such as 300, 400, 500, 700-word long. You can monetize the blog through ads.

Don’t Forget Calibre
While Calibre is not a tool from Kindle, it’s still open-source and many authors rely on it to convert their word manuscripts into Kindle Format. Thus, Caliber is a tool your book formatter should be familiar with when you encounter problems while converting your eBook.

The Fast Fingers book formatters are conversant with the above Kindle publishing tools and can help you create a professional title. Here, you’ll receive help in all areas of book formatting and design.

Specification Requirements for a CreateSpace Book Cover

Written by   |   Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:12

specificationsCreateSpace is the self-publishing platform that makes it possible for authors to create paperbacks and distribute them through Amazon. Its main advantage is that it permits print on demand, which means authors can have both paperback and eBook formats ready for sale through Amazon and expanded distribution channels.

There are paperback formatting requirements for book covers if you want to self-publish through CreateSpace. Adhering to the CreateSpace guidelines for cover creation will make it possible to keep its content including images intact and in appropriate positions.

Placement of Text and Images

The paperback format will undergo a bit of processing, folding, trimming etc before a final copy is produced. That’s why CreateSpace requires that you place your text and images within a stipulated safe zone. According to CreateSpace guidelines for cover creation, all live elements (text, graphics, etc) should be at least 0.125 inches inside the trim lines.

The Spine

Again, CreateSpace requires paperback creation to take into consideration spine width. The self-publishing platform requires that you leave a variance of 0.0625 inches along the fold lines. This requirement applies for both edges of the spine. That is, if the spine is x units wide, and taking into consideration a variance of 2 x 0.0625 for either side of the fold lines, any text on the spine should have a width of not more than (x-(2 x 0.0625)).

In addition, CreateSpace requires that you put no text on a spine for a book that’s less than 101 pages. Quite obviously, such a book would have a spine so tiny to carry any legible text. As a recommendation, books with less than 130 pages should also have no text on their spines.


The Barcode will carry critical information about your book and thus must be provided for in your cover creation. That’s why your cover designer should ensure that no live or important elements are placed in the space designated for the barcode. Usually, CreateSpace has cover templates your paperback formatter can rely on when creating your book’s cover. The template indicates where on the cover CreateSpace will print the barcode.

Image Requirements

CreateSpace permits use of both CMYK and RGB color standards on cover images. However, ask your cover designer to set the images in one layer and ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for perfect appearance on print.

Don’t prepare separate images for your cover. CreateSpace needs the front cover, back cover and spine all as one PDF file. As such, your paperback formatter should ensure proper conversion into PDF while keeping all the formatting intact. Specifically, embed all the fonts during conversion to PDF.
Also ensure that the PDF file is 40 MB or lower. Yet, don’t compromise on image quality to reduce images down to the required size.

Meeting the above CreateSpace guidelines might be challenging, but it will ensure your cover is presented professionally. Thus, don’t take any single paperback formatting requirement lightly as it will weigh on how your book is perceived by potential buyers.

Let The Fast Fingers book formatters help create a nice book cover for your title at reasonable rates.


Aspects to Evaluate when Previewing Your Kindle eBook

Written by   |   Friday, 14 February 2014 02:52

kindle previewerAs per Amazon Kindle Publishing guidelines, previewing a kindle eBook is one of the most important stages of book creation. Yet, sometimes authors forget to check every single aspect of book design to the extent of submitting a substandard product. But you can create a checklist of critical areas to check before sending your eBook to kindle.

It helps to have the Kindle Previewer with you if you’re in self-publishing for the long haul. Amazon recommends an exhaustive preview that involves trying out your eBook on PC as well as Kindle devices. You can download the Kindle Previewer for both PC and Macintosh.

Book cover: Ensure that the book cover is present and displays properly. Also, make sure that only one cover exists for your eBook. If when you flip from the cover to the next page you see a cover, your eBook has two covers and one should be removed.

Table of Contents: The trend for eBooks today is to have a clickable table of content. That’s why you should verify that items on the table of contents link to the intended eBook locations. Also, see that no page numbers exist for your TOC.

Book Interior: To provide readers with an enhanced experience, Kindle eBooks come with adjustable font sizes on a wide array of ereaders. Thus, you should try to adjust the font sizes of the text inside your eBook. Ensure the changes suit your expectations.

You may also change typeface on the Kindle menu. See that the typefaces change accordingly. If you’d like to have a specific font for your eBook, you may customize it before sending it for Kindle publishing.

Graphics/Images/Figures: You should make sure that all graphical elements of your eBook display well on a wide array of displays. Try out small as well as big screens to ascertain that readers will not experience legibility glitches with your eBook.

For images, ensure these are not too small. If there is text in some of the images, see that it’s legible even on small displays. If some of the images are large, check to see that they display fully and clearly. Otherwise, scale them down to fit appropriately in the page.

Best practices: preview your entire eBook to ensure nothing got lost during editing or formatting for conversion. If there is missing content, add it back.

  • Make sure both text and images are correctly aligned in their pages
  • Indentation and spacing should be appropriate.
  • Remove any forced color for fonts or background.

Comprehensive previewing ensures that your book addresses the concerns, tastes and preferences of as many potential readers as possible. You do it to ensure that eReaders of varying screen resolutions and sizes will show your eBook well.

You don’t have to worry about how your eBook finally appears on Kindle, provided that you let The Fast Fingers address all the design and book formatting needs. The Fast Fingers book formatters will take care of all the eBook formatting and conversion for optimum Kindle compatibility.

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