Tips Archives

Relaxing Audios To Help Your Creativity

Did you know that when you are relaxed that you can actually be more creative?

It’s true!

Well, at least for me it is anyway. And I think that being worried or stressed out about one thing or another can drastically reduce your creative ability.

I know before a couple of days ago, I was totally stressed out. Couldn’t think straight. Couldn’t get anything done. Couldn’t come up with any new ideas for ebook templates.

But, then I came across this awesome audio collection of 12 nature sounds mp3′s and boy, what a lift it gave me!

Let me tell ya, I’ve lived in both Ohio, where it’s cold in the Winter and your stuck indoors without anything to do, and in sunny Florida, where you can go outside in shorts, play at the beach, and listen to the ocean waves just soaking up all the sunshine.

When I downloaded the audios, it took me from the Winter blue “ho-hums” and back to sun and fun at the beach. Even if all I had to do was close my eyes for a while. It was terrific. And after I listened to one of the hour long audios of ocean waves crashing against the shoreline, I felt completely reenergized and raring to go on my next project.

Which of course was the free tutorial I posted up earlier yesterday.

Not only that, but I even began working on a new free special report, checked a bunch of customer support emails, trolled a couple of blogs, got some laundry done, took a shower, washed the dishes, cooked, and enjoyed some tv with my hubby.

I got a lot done and didn’t even care that it was 20 degrees outside with snow blowing all over the place. I felt as good as I had when I lived in Florida, full of energy and creativity. Even if I couldn’t go outside in shorts :)

It’s amazing what our minds can do when given the right motivators. That’s why I firmly believe that having at least ONE nature sounds CD or mp3 can help if you’re feeling blue, have “cabin fever”, or just need a little mental boost.

Lucky me, I’ve got 12 of them.

And hey, if you’re like me, you not only LOVE the sounds of the ocean but the calming sounds of a thunderstorm ( I know, I’m crazy ), I’ve got that too with my new audio collection. Plus there’s even the crackling sounds of a cozy fireplace roaring, getting lost in the desert and listening to all the different animals, a relaxing waterfall, walking through the forest, and a bunch of others.

I highly recommend that if you’re feeling down, you should go check out the package that I got from the link below. Oh, and P.S. – it doesn’t even cost as much as a physical audio CD would. But you could turn it in to one if you wanted and take it with you when you’re away from your computer. In fact, you could even resell it as an audio CD. How cool is that?!

Anyway, here’s the link if you need a handy little collection of relaxers to get your creativity going:

12 Tranquil Nature Sounds Mp3 Audio Collection with Master Resale Rights

Before, I told you how you could create links to your content by making use of the Bookmark setting inside OOo Writer.

Today, I’m going to show you a different way. One which will allow you to utilize the “Indexes and Tables” function, and at the same time, make it a clickable Table of Contents that leads right to your ebook chapters.

First though, let me tell you why this solution might be the better one.

The reason why I believe this is the better solution is because you won’t have to manually update your Table of Contents. Simply by clicking ONE button, you can have your TOC update itself…Including adding in new chapter links!

Can’t get any better than that. At least, I don’t think so.

So, How Do You Create A Linked TOC While Using The “Indexes and Tables”?

Well, first you have to know how to create a TOC, or Table of Contents, using the “Indexes and Tables” function inside OpenOffice Writer. So, I’m going to teach you how to do just that.

Once you get the hang of using the “Indexes and Tables” function, it will come like second nature to you. I promise.

Step 1: Use The “Styles and Formatting” Box/Menu

Okay, the first thing we’re going to need to do before we can even get to the point where we add our Table of Contents to begin with is to make some style changes.

This may sound complicated, but believe me, once you do it a couple of times, it gets really easy.

So, the first thing we’ll need to do, beyond having our ebook content of course, is to open up the “Styles and Formatting” menu.

To do that, look for this link in your main toolbar of OpenOffice Writer: Format.

Click the “Format” link in the toolbar.

A drop down menu will appear.

From that menu, select “Styles and Formatting” by left clicking it once.

The “Styles and Formatting” window should now be open and look like this:

Alternatively, you can hit the F11 button on your keyboard to open up the Styles and Formatting window as well. That’s the shortcut key ;)

The next thing we’re going to do is make sure that our ebook Chapter titles show up inside our official Table of Contents menu within our ebook.

The way we do that is to assign a specific style to our ebook Chapters.

For our main ebook Chapter titles we’re going to use the Heading 1 style.

What you will need to do is to left click and drag across your ebook Chapter text to highlight it. Like so:

Then, you will want to apply the Heading 1 style by selecting it from the styles drop down menu shown below:

Of course it will show the Default style, to change it to the Heading 1 style, simply click on the arrow down and then select the Heading 1 style by left clicking it from the drop down menu.

You will see that your ebook Chapter text has now changed from the default format to the Heading 1 style format.

The next step is to do the above for every single ebook Chapter inside your ebook.

Always be sure to save your progress as you go!

You can also insert “Sub Chapters” within your Table of Contents.

How?

By highlighting your Sub Chapter text then applying the Heading 2 style from the styles/formatting drop down menu just as I showed you above.

Step 2: Adding A Basic Table of Contents Using The “Indexes and Tables” Function

Once you have all your Heading styles in place from Step 1 above, it’s time to insert our Table of Contents.

For this, you will need to create a new, blank page.

To do that, simply select the following from your main OpenOffice Writer toolbar:

Insert > Manual Break… > Page Break

Now that we have a fresh, new blank page, it’s time to insert our Table of Contents.

Be sure that your cursor is blinking somewhere within your newly created blank page.

Then from the main toolbar, select the following:

Insert > Indexes and Tables > Indexes and Tables

You should now see a box similar to the following:

All you need to do now is to hit the “OK” button.

Then you should see your new Table of Contents sitting inside your blank page.

Easy, right?

Well, maybe not at first, but if you do this every time you create a new ebook, it will become really easy.

Okay, let’s get those Chapters linked up.

Step 3: Adding In Hyperlinks For Your New Table of Contents

This is the tricky part. Not too tricky, but you will have to pay very close attention. There are a few magic clicks we’ll have to perform to get this part just right.

All right. The first step is to re-open the “Indexes and Tables” window that I showed you above.

To do that, simply right click anywhere inside your new Table of Contents.

From the menu that will appear, you must select “Edit Index/Table” by left clicking that option when it appears.

Then the “Indexes and Tables” window will reappear. See? Like magic ;)

The next step is the tricky part.

From inside the “Indexes and Tables” window, you will need to click on the “Entries” tab pictured below:

Then you should see the following:

What we do next is to left click inside the little rectangular box directly behind the text: E#

Then click the “Hyperlink” button as shown here:

Keep the above window OPEN!!

There’s one more thing we have to do before we finish our work.

You will need to do the EXACT SAME THING outlined above for the # area shown below:

Remember, left click once inside the little text box behind the # symbol, then click the “Hyperlink” button.

Now, with that all done, simply hit the “OK” button.

Presto!

You now have an official linked Table of Contents.

What About Sub Chapters? Can They Also Be Linked?

Certainly.

Just do the same things outlined above, but instead of having the 1 selected as shown below:

Left click and select the number 2 directly below it.

Then follow the aforementioned steps.

You may have to redo the steps for your main chapter links, but that’s simple enough, right?

How Do I Update The Table of Contents When I Add New or Additional Content To My Ebooks?

That’s simple enough.

Anytime you add a new chapter, be sure that you use the Heading 1 ( or Heading 2 style for sub chapters ) style for your chapter titles, simply navigate back to your Table of Contents, right click anywhere inside of it, and select the “Update Index/Table” link.

Then your Table of Contents will upgrade automatically with your newly added contents. One click simple. Just like I said.

So, now that you know the more “professional” way to add a linked Table of Contents to your OpenOffice Writer ebooks, what are you waiting for??

Go ahead and try this method out yourself!

7 Ebook Layout Inspiration Sites

I follow a lot of other graphic sites and I see them do this frequently, so I thought I should do the same.

Today’s post will provide you with a list of sites you can draw some design inspiration from when you feel as if you can’t come up with any ideas on your own. This list isn’t for you to go and recopy the exact designs you see, but to aid you in creating your own unique designs by peeking over the shoulder of other designers.

And, there’s not really a whole lot of ebook template layout design inspirational resource lists out there, so this will be the first of it’s kind — that I know of anyway :-D

So, let’s get to this first list of inspirational resources….

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1. StockLayouts.com – Loads of great design inspiration here from newsletters, to brochures, and my personal favorite, the Letterhead template section. Check them out when you need a quick burst of creative genius


2. Paper Direct – Some decent bordered paper letterhead design layouts to peruse through in various categories. I personally liked the “Everyday Border Papers” category myself


3. VistaPrint.com – A nice gallery with plenty of inspirational letterhead paper designs to inspire you


4. OptimalPrint.com – Good assortment of graphic letterhead designs in a variety of styles


5. Microsoft Office Online – Of course you can always visit this free resource and check out the user submitted letterhead designs, not a bad resource to have


6. HP Office Letterheads – Not too many designs here, but there are links to more such as the Identity Kits, those are worth a quick look for sure for plenty of fresh ideas


7. Log Technology Letterhead Portfolio – Looking through these will give you a better idea of what customers are wanting in designs and how much they are willing to pay to get it!

Well, that’s all the resources I’m going to list for today. That should plenty to get your creative juices flowing. I will add more of these inspirational designing sites in future posts so that we always keep all your ideas fresh :-)

I posted this argument, er, point of view inside a Squidoo Lens I set up a while ago and thought it might be a good idea to include portions of the post here for you if you’re still “stuck on the fence” about switching over to OOo Writer from MS Word.

It’s pretty good stuff. Hope you like it.

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Still Using Microsoft Word For PDF Ebook Creation?

Why are you still doing things the hard way??!

That’s right. I said it.

Why on Earth would you still be creatively limiting yourself with such a crappy piece of software that costs out the rear when you can have a much better application that doesn’t cost you one red cent??

And, you can use it to make yourself wads of cash, without spending any??

Don’t get me wrong. I really like using Windows — go figure?

But I absolutely loath trying to figure my way around some cruddy “trial” junk that is so complicated to use you have to read like 12 manuals on how to add chapter links and background images to your ebook templates.

That’s just plain STOOPID.

What would have taken me months to learn using MS Word took literally HOURS in OpenOffice. Or OOo if you prefer.

Plus, I get to design beautiful ebook templates with, err, updated graphic elements that fit into the new generation of web components. You know, like creating a “web 2.0″ looking PDF ebook?

It’s a breeze with OpenOffice Writer.

And, if you are at all familiar with MS Word’s interface, then making the transition over to OpenOffice will be total cake for you.

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Just How Easy Is It To Create A PDF From Inside OpenOffice Writer?

Well, how fast can you click a button?

No, I’m not kidding.

Inside OOo Writer there’s this little bitty “PDF” icon that sits inside the tools menu bar ( *hint: it’s at the top with all the other “little” icon thingys ), and all you have to do is “left click” it once and a new window will pop open asking you to give your freshly created .ODT document a name.

Next thing you know, after you name it, you have a cool PDF file of your .ODT document sitting right on your hard drive, ready to distribute.

Can’t get much easier than this. Can it?

I don’t think so.

Why Are You Posting This Here…Now?

Because I got a message from a fellow marketer in my inbox that was promoting one of my EZ Ebook Template packages and he had suggested that his subscribers use a 3rd party PDF creation software.

Which, as he learned later, was very unecessary as OOo Writer already has this ability within the main program.

“Score 3 Points For OpenOffice! Yeah!”

Why Is This Important?

Because most folks that use Microsoft Word exclusively for their PDF ebook creations have to use a 3rd party software for PDF creation.

People who use OOo Writer don’t. Perfect!

And if Gabriel Aguinaga didn’t know about it, it’s a pretty safe bet that there are plenty other people that don’t know it either.

This is what happens when you’re use to doing things a certain way with a certain word processor program and have no idea how new software can uncomplicate your life.

It can sometimes be as simple as clicking a button.

Amazing.

Don’t Scrapbook? So What!!

Even if you DON’T scrapbook, you can get some awesome design elements that can be used commercially from quite a few “digital scrapbooking” websites. And many of them at really affordable prices for the packages.

I’ve actually found some pretty cool brushes, actionscripts, styles, and shapes all from, you guessed it, scrapbooking websites!

It really doesn’t matter if you don’t scrapbook, or if your ebook has nothing to do with the scrapbooking hobby, you can still get some brilliant stuff to add to your ebook templates for low cost.

And, with that said, here’s a list of the best places I’ve found:

Scrappin’ Freestyle
there’s better than 1000 different “commercial use” photoshop actionscripts, styles, shapes, and brushes here. a great resource.

DigiScrap Warehouse
another outstanding site that has plenty of “commercial use” photoshop styles, shapes, brushes, and more

Sophia Sarducci’s Warehouse
some really cool stuff here that can be used commercially in your ebook designs

Groovy Scraps
yep, another digital scrapbooking site where you can pick up some pretty cool commercial use PS elements like brushes, shapes, etc.

Eclectic Digital Designs
more digital scrapbook commercial licensed goodies

Hawksmont Universe
this dude is the coolest! he offers a nice selection of photoshop brushes that you can use commercially including beautiful flower sets, among others. this is one site you seriously need to bookmark!

I’m sure that if you use your imagination, you can come up with some pretty cool ebook template designs.

Now, get out there and get to work creating something beautiful!

I found another great resource where anyone can pick up terrific looking brushes, custom shapes, patterns, styles, gradients, etc., for super low cost.

And use them all commercially, which is always a great thing ;-)

So, anyway, the site is called www.GrahpicXtras.com and I’ve been thus far digging through the custom shapes, which look pretty promising. They have shape packages made up of clouds, circles, spirals, dots -n- dashes, faces, embellishments, sketchy, stars, and a whole bunch of others.

I’ll be going through the brushes section next to see what they’ve got.

Average cost for 1 set of custom shapes: $9.00 US

Average value of having such a resource: PRICELESS

And, here’s another terrific, and FREE, site for collecting some custom shapes for Photoshop:

LadyOak.com

Lots of free to download custom shapes that can be very useful and the site states you can use them in commercial designs, so there ya go!

You will have to register for an account there, but, again it’s free.

There you have it. 2 new resources for great commercial use elements for your ebook template designs with Photoshop!

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