Using Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” Feature

Ali Luke, from the blog Aliventures, has a fantastic tutorial on how to use the comments and track changes features in Microsoft Word.

Using Microsoft Word's 'Track Changes' Feature

I have been a “power user” of Microsoft products for a long time and use the comments and track changes A LOT, for myself and for others. Still, I managed to learn a couple of things from her post. (I love when that happens!)

Here is a snippet from the introduction:

At some point in your writing life, you’re going to be invited to workshop, beta read or even edit someone else’s work.

Maybe your friend has written a novel, and wants feedback. Or you’ve joined a local writers’ group and swapped short story manuscripts with another writer there. Or you’re a blogger, and a fellow blogger asks for your help with an important guest post. Or you decide to take on some paid editing work to supplement your writing income.“…. Continue Reading

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5 Ways to Get Free Books

As a book junkie, I have been known to pay a good amount of money for books, but I also like getting them for free. Who doesn’t?! That’s why I created this list. I want to help you get your hands on some quality free books. So, here are five of my favorite ways to get them:

5 Ways to Get Free Books

Image by jarmoluk (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

The Library

Through the library, a person can have access to almost any book in any genre. If your local library doesn’t have the book you want in stock, it is super simple to get the book through their inter-library system. And the library is not limited to hard cover or paperback books. Most libraries have a large collection of audio books, movies, and music to choose from. In addition, most libraries allow you to borrow digital e-books on their website. All you need is a library card, and that’s free and easy to get. The only caveat, if you can call it that, is you have to return the book after two or three weeks (unless you renew).

Friends and Family

More than likely, your family and friends know that you love to read. (If not, make it clear that you do!) Therefore, don’t be shy about asking them for books you want as a gift for birthdays, holidays, or “just because.”

One of my favorite gifts is a gift card for Barnes and Nobles, or even Amazon.com, where I can choose my own books. If this is the same for you, make sure you let your people know!

Also, when I am at a family member’s house or friend’s house and see a book I would like to read, I’ll just ask to borrow it. I’ve never had anyone say no. 🙂

Book Swaps

If you know other book lovers (be it family, friends, co-workers, etc.), consider creating a book swap group. Meeting together at someone’s house, or other suitable place, everyone brings the books they want to trade. Any books leftover can be donated to the library or other charitable organization.

If finding or creating a local book swap is not feasible, you may want to consider joining an online book swap. With Bookmooch, the user earns partial points when listing books, and full points when sending books to a fellow moocher. When books are “mooched,” the applicable points are deducted from the users account. With Bookmooch, the sender pays for postage.

Another option, similar to Booksmooch, is Paperback Swap but it is no longer free. There are three membership options, plus the sender pays postage to send the books to other members.

Online

There are tons of places online to find free books online, especially e-books. Some of my favorites include http://www.ereadergirl.com/, http://www.ereaderlove.com/, http://www.openlibrary.org, and of course, http://www.amazon.com. Just be careful, sometimes, especially on Amazon, you will come across e-books/books that are not exactly family friendly, if you know what I mean.

Also, if you have a blog, you can sign up for various blogger review programs where you can get free books in exchange for posting a review on your website. The ones I currently use are http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/ , http://www.booklookbloggers.com/, and the Bethany House Blogger Review Program. Another option is http://www.netgalley.com/ where the reader is not required to leave a review. In addition, there are other blogger review programs, and a quick search may bring up programs that fit your book preferences.

Directly from Authors

Many authors keep books on hand to give to bloggers or others who are willing to read their book in exchange for a review. I have occasionally been approached by authors who have asked me to read their books in exchange for a review on my website.

Also, if you have a favorite author, you may want to consider approaching him or her and ask for a review copy of his/her latest book (or any of his/her books) to read and review. It’s worth a try; the worst that can happen is that they say no. 🙂

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of places, particularly online, to find free books. With a little effort, you can always have an unlimited supply of books at your fingertips!

P.S. In your quest to find free books, don’t forget that buying books is important, too. Writing is an important and noble profession, and we should not hesitate to support our favorite (new and old) authors by buying their books!

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Simple Trick for Keeping Track of Online Passwords

As an author/solopreneur, there is no doubt that you spend a large amount of time online. Nowadays, we have to, right? Therefore, with all the websites and forums we belong to comes the task of keeping track of many different passwords.

onlinepasswords

Image by OpenIcons (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Some people handle this task by having only one password for all the sites they belong to. But, that’s *not* recommended. If, heaven forbid, one of the websites get hacked, the hacker would have access to any and all websites with that password.

A better way to keep track of your passwords is to use a service such as LastPass. LastPass remembers all of your passwords and all you need to remember is one – the password to LastPass. But this isn’t a good option for everyone. What if you lose access to LastPass for whatever reason?

In addition, as someone who has had her computer crash (3 times!), I don’t like to rely completely on LasPass or other online password service. Consider me old fashioned, if you must, but I really like the idea of keeping track of my passwords offline. And my simple, offline trick for keeping up with passwords is this:

Use a good-old address book

You know the kind: the physical book with tabs lettered A-Z for writing in peoples names and address. Yep. Each letter represents the name of the website, and on the other lines I write in the username, password, and any other information, such as security questions and answers.

I have been keeping track of my passwords like this for years and it works like a charm. I keep the book near the computer for quick updating. Yes, the initial task of entering in the information is a little time consuming, but worth it in my opinion.

The only drawback is that if you change your passwords every 6-8 months (and you should), it can get kind of messy. I get around this by using a larger-sized address book and writing small. 🙂

Now tell me, how do you handle your passwords? Do you use an online tracker or do you have your own offline system? Do share in the comments.

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Image by OpenIcons (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain