How to Make a Basic e-mail Signature for the HTML Impaired

If you have a product to sell – if you are a performer or an artist – or if you just want to find more clients then a custom e-mail signature can help grow your business.  An e-mail signature is a stylish, effective and non-intrusive way to announce to the world (or at least the people you communicate with via e-mail) an abbreviated bit of your business story.

If you enjoy the do-it-yourself approach to marketing and technical ‘computery’ stuff doesn’t send you screaming for the hills, this article will show you the steps necessary to add flair to your online communications.

Disclaimer: I am not a programmer or an HTML expert. The information below was obtained through trial and error. The steps are for the e-mail program on your home computer. (Many of them will apply if you wish to customize the signature on your smartphone or cloud based e-mail program such as gmail or yahoo, but every platform has its differences and particularities.)

sample sig

html code only

1. Seeing the code. Once you learn what goes where, you can do a search for other types of HTML code that will do even fancier things. The graphic above shows a sample custom e-mail signature along with the code that is used to generate it. The first line of the signature “Samantha B. Jones” in the purple box, corresponds with the first line of HTML code. In the HTML purple box, notice that <b> means ‘bold,’ <font size=”4″> is the size of the font, and <face=”Times New Roman,” is the font type.

2. Basic Design. Simple is always a good rule of thumb. Think about the most effective e-mail signatures that you have received. Which ones invited you to click further to learn more and which ones turned you off?

alternate design

3. Write the Code.  Here is the code for the design above. Copy it and begin to play around with it. *The items that I highlighted in green are areas where you can customize it and where you need to provide links to online images or your websites.

<img src=”http://www.link to online image“>
<font size=”4” face=”Arial Black” color=”maroon“>My Awesome Company Name</b></font><font size=”1“face=”arial“><a href=”http://www.link to website“> visit my website </a>
<BR><font size=”1” face=”Lucida Console“>Subtext #1|Subtext #2|Subtext #3 <BR><p>
Express yourself here<BR>
<i><b>italic bold text here</i></b>

(I included Arial Black and Lucida Console as these are other fonts that are generally recognized by ‘most’ electronic devices.)

4. Test the Code. Copy and paste your code into an HTML viewer to see if it works.

This is the one I use – http://htmledit.squarefree.com/

html editor

Another option is to insert the code into your e-mail program, then send yourself multiple e-mails until you have it just right.

5. Insert the HTML code into your e-mail program.

The screen capture image shows Thunderbird e-mail, but the names and steps for other e-mail programs should be ‘roughly’ similar.

In Thunderbird, go to “Tools” > “Account Settings,” then insert your code in the ‘Signature text’ box. Once you click on ‘Save,’ you can write a new e-mail and send it to yourself to test any links or images that you’ve included.

Thunderbird tools

For Outlook, go to “Tools”> “Options”> “Mail Format” > “Signatures

There you have it – the basic steps to begin creating an enticing e-mail signature.

___________________________________________________________________

Additional Articles & Resources

http://www.emailsignature.com/cloud

http://www.digitechbranding.com/pages/email-signature-HTML-programming.html

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/corporate-email-signature-guidelines-10520.html

http://www.xink.io/news/email-signature-format-101-dos-donts/

http://www.xink.io/news/email-signature-format-101-dos-donts/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/04/the-art-and-science-of-the-email-signature/

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Add-Facebook-and-Twitter-icons-to-your-email-signature-7b9fc0f6-1c25-45cc-8eae-dab15b78cf08?CorrelationId=d7474074-b1b6-45cc-a0b5-67804a173033&ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Search YouTube for “How to create an e-mail signature in YOUR PROGRAM”

Positive Gifts from the County Go Beyond Doctors and Medicine

It can start as a cry at a higher than normal pitch, a raging fever that won’t come down, bruises that appear for no reason. A parent, consumed with worry seeks out help. The Pediatrician makes a preliminary evaluation and orders more tests.

Then the moment arrives…words, delivered with professionalism and care from the doctor;  everything has changed for the family and the child with the difficult diagnosis.

For nearly 300 families in Nevada County (California), these experiences are part of their story. But that’s only the beginning. A new reality sets in—one that involves long drives to special care units at UC Davis, San Francisco or Stanford and physician specialists, dieticians, nutritionists, social workers and rounds of medication.IMG_1555-web

Maryellen Beauchamp has a special connection with these families. She is Nevada County’s Public Health Nurse Case Manager for California Children’s Services. 53 webCalifornia Children’s Services is operated by the State of California. Over 80 years old, it has an office in every county. Maryellen acts as the conductor in an orchestra that encompasses multi-faceted medical assistance for children with severe health issues. These issues can range from growth plate or skull fractures, endocrine, neurological, orthopedic, and metabolic disorders to Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and premature infants.

This type of work comes with a heavy weight and knowledge that is often difficult to leave behind at the end of the day.  On her desk, Maryellen keeps several inspirational quotes that remind her to remain grounded. One of them reads; Today, I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive; I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. –H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama

Maryellen recently had the opportunity to incorporate something important into her program—a sense of positive empowerment for her young clients. It came in the form of a beautifully illustrated book, Toby Bear and the Healing Light.  It is the story of a stuffed bear who teaches a sick child the power of affirmations, meditation and visualizations in the healing process.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light was created by author, Lisa Boulton while undergoing cancer treatments, as a gentle way to help children going through difficult illness. Boulton enlisted photographer and artist Lisa Redfern to create the photo-illustrations. “I wanted the story to feature local people, places and businesses as a way to express my love for our community and for the outpouring of support and caring that I received when I was sick,” says Boulton.SNMH Approved 12-14-12

Maryellen says, “I like that the story features Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital—the place where the journey with California Children’s Services begins for many of our families. It is also a plus that the Nevada  County Public Health Department could partner with the local women who created the book.”

As Maryellen puts it, “You can’t get well with doctors and medicines alone…it takes the right attitude to make it all work.”  She’s excited about the books because she plans to give them as gifts to the age appropriate children in her program. “It is a positive message and gift from Nevada County Public Health Department to the children (and their families) who need it most.”

Read more about this topic at The Union.com.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light

IMG_1563-1web

Good Morning Aboard Caralee – Short Fiction – Romance

 five minute ficiton
[reddit writing prompt]

A married couple start another average morning on an average weekday. No one dies. No twist. Show their overwhelming love for each other without them speaking a single word.

Their movements were automatic with a choreograph-like smoothness.  In a galley smaller than most American coat closets, this was an accomplishment. The 45 foot Caralee housed all of their worldly possessions and had transported them to exotic ports all over the globe.

He reached for bowls while she filled a pot with water. He struck a match to light the flame on the stove as she pulled out spoons from the drawer. She placed the pot on the burner while taking a box of oats out of the cupboard.

When hands were not occupied with tasks, they would glide across or alight upon the other’s body; a brush down the back, coming to rest upon a shoulder, a hip or making a light tap on the behind.

Oats were added when the water boiled, the pot covered and the heat turned down. During the brief pause in their morning dance, their eyes lingered upon each other; they smiled.

He enjoyed watching the light play across the pink facets of the pendant that always hung around her neck. A gift he’d presented to her some thirty-five years earlier on the day that Asmara was born. Their only child had been conceived above deck, on a warm night, under a ripe Sri Lankan moon.

Sitting hip to hip at the tiny table, they held hands as they ate. Her nervous fingers twisted his wedding ring around and around on his finger. She paused occasionally to rub her fingernail over the smooth mound of rose quartz that she’d found in Brazil.

Before taking that first sip of coffee, they clinked mugs together softly. A tradition adopted from their time in the British Isles.  It signified ‘a robust day and a tender heart.’

Photography by: Mark Pepall
Photography by: Mark Pepall

Bundled in coats, they went topside to welcome the sun as it crested the horizon. Elbows resting on the rail they let the cool breeze flow across exposed skin. Smiling, she turned to him, observing the lines on his face and the wiry gray hair that steadily overtook the brown along with the passage of time.  She thought that he looked as good as the day they met…even better. She mouthed the words, ‘olive juice.’ This was a family joke; these words look like something else if one is lip reading. A chuckle from deep in his chest echoed across the water.

 

Organization & Social Media for Authors

Author Interview – Resources for Writers

If you are a Haylee fan, you’ll discover a bit of the back story in this condensed author interview. You’ll also learn about the historical research – San Francisco and California Gold Rush – that went into the project.

Created to coincide with the release of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone (paperback), the interview contains marketing and social media tips for authors. It also delves into character development, creativity and sources for Public Domain images.

The original, in-depth author interview can be read on the blog, You Read It Here First.

Interviewer:

Debbie McClure, author of In the Spirit of Love and In the Spirit of Forgiveness
You Read It Here First Blog owner—Christina Hamlett, Screenplay Consultant, Media Relations Expert and Award-Winning Author.

Book Trailer with Special Voice Artist Feature

Awakened Seed book trailer screen shot

Haylee is ready to entertain and entice you with her book trailer video!

A special feature is Voice Artist Meghan Kelly speaking as Haylee.

Meghan is currently working on producing an audio book for Awakened Seed. It will be distributed on Audible this fall.

Check out Meghan’s website and stay tuned for more about her beautiful voice work.

Sounds of Meghan Kelly website

Meghan Kelly Image 1 cropped

5 Tips to find the right professional editor for your book

It’s a special occasion! Only something sumptuous and sweet will satisfy the mood and pallet.  Delicate aromas float in the air as you approach the bakery. The corners of your mouth lift up as you fill your lungs with the heavenly smells.

pastries

 

When you step-up to the display case, you see that none of the cakes or pastries have frosting or decorations.

unfrosted cake

Will they still taste good?  Surely. But will they cause an ‘oooo’ or an ‘ahhhh’ at the moment of reveal?

Many aspects of Indy publishing are appealing because it puts ultimate control of a publishing project in the author’s own hands. You get to create your own original recipe, and blend flavors and textures without a publisher or cover designer in the kitchen telling you to adjust this or that. But just because you have all the tools you need to self-publish, does that mean you should do everything?

In every sole proprietorship, the business owner is required to perform the vast majority of the work. However; the savvy business person knows that at times it’s necessary, even critical, to hire an expert.  When you are just another author in an ocean filled with Indy authors, a pertinent question becomes how to differentiate your work from all the others in the marketplace?  Professional editing is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

Here are five tips to find the right professional editor for your book.

1. Decide if you want a local or a remote editor.

To find a local editor, tap into your personal networks – ask people you know and put it out there on your facebook or google+ pages. You can contact local writers groups, high school and college English and Literary professors as well as librarians.

Initially, I wanted an editor I could meet with in person. By going through the process above, I found several but did not find the one who was the right match for my subject. Eventually, the idea of finding a local editor was discarded in favor of finding the right one – no matter where he or she lived.

2. Contact a professional editors association.

The organizations below were the most helpful in my editor search.

Editorial Freelancers Association (1,100+ members) has a sort function that simplifies identifying the editors who match your search criteria.

Bay Area Editors Forum

Book Expo America

Additional resources: Google search – ‘Writers Conferences’  for conferences in your area.

3. Choose an editor who specializes in your genre.

Haylee, like pretty much all of my artistic expressions, does not clearly fit into one specific category. It’s a blend of paranormal, Sci-fi and adventure genres with a hint of romance sprinkled in. Because the story follows the main character from ages seventeen to twenty-five, most genre guidelines place it in the Young Adult category.  However, when viewed with the other titles in that group, Haylee does not play well with the others.

Once I released the Young Adult genre idea, I began to search for editors who specialize in paranormal subject matter. It quickly became clear that this was the right way to go.

4. Understand which editorial services you want.

According to Wikipedia, copy editing, “is the work that an editor does to improve the formatting, style, and accuracy of text. Unlike general editing, copy editing might not involve changing the content of the text. Copy refers to written or typewritten text for typesetting, printing, publication, broadcast or other independent distribution.”

A line editor evaluates sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and verb agreement. Line editing is the final piece of the manuscript production process before it is ready for publication.

5. Request sample edits.

Compose a brief editor inquiry, but include enough information about your project so that the editor can make an informed decision.

Here is the query e-mail I sent. *Note. To make evaluation easier I asked each editor to make sample edits on the same four pages of my manuscript.

Dear ———,
 I would like to inquire about your editing services.
If it looks like a project you may be interested in, please let me know the next step.
Thanks!
Lisa Redfern (Grass Valley, CA)
The Project:
Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone | 86,000 words
A new adult, paranormal, romantic, time travel, thriller.
A Five Part Novella: Awakened Seed, Need To Feed, Burden of the Powerful, The Traveler and Upholders Redemption
____________________________________________________________________________
BACK COVER COPY
_____________________________________________________________________________
How can you stop being lonely when your touch destroys everyone you love?
Something triggers an ancient pattern…
Growing up with a father who could not climb out of his grief stricken oblivion, Haylee Garrett was left to fend for herself.  The desperately lonely girl is delighted with the sudden, dramatic physical changes that come over her on her seventeenth birthday. The boy she has been dreaming about for years finally sees her.
The pattern dictates dark deeds…
But with those changes comes a sinister drive; a fierce undeniable hunger. Haylee’s victims become hollow remnants of themselves.
Until two Travelers meet…
After her personal life is turned to ruins, Haylee is unceremoniously pulled through time to San Francisco during the 1849 Gold Rush. It is here that she must find the only person who can help her…the last Traveler in their lineage.
Emis Laurent is an infamous French Seer living the bawdy life of an entertainer at the Bella Union, a brothel in heart of Portsmouth Square. Emis has no intention of following the predestined course of their ancestors.
Haylee discovers an implausible alliance with two Irish emigrants; a friendship with fifteen-year-old Edward Keener and a reluctant, unavoidable love in his older brother, Reece.
Reece is the unfortunate recipient of fallout from Emis’s wayward plan. Can he bring a sense of order back to their lives after the Traveler has come and gone?

 

Every editor I contacted responded to my e-mail query. Each of them was timely, polite and had unique talents and skills. I was not prepared to like all of them!

Once I started comparing the sample edits, one clearly stood out – Erica Ellis.
Her changes sounded like my own voice. She took the time to explain Chicago Manual of Style rules and passed along information that helped with ‘Track Changes’ in Microsoft Word. Through the process of working with her, I learned to improve my writing and was overjoyed to see professional quality that the book took on after she was finished.

Erica Ellis

Erica lives too far away to take out to lunch.
If we ever have the 
opportunity to meet,
she will get a hug and a smile from a
very happy and appreciative client!

 

In my own Indy production process, professional editing was the area where I planned invest in an expert. I think it is a critical component in taking a manuscript from DIY  – OK to a polished product that is ready for readers. It’s like adding the frosting and finishing touches to a long and challenging baking project.

Ultra Chocolatey - Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolatey – Chocolate Coma Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your free Haylee eBook before it’s gone!

Manuscript tweaking came to and end this week as the professional editing phase of the project began.

One week to stop thinking about the smart girl with big problems on her hands. One week to focus on finishing the interior art pieces and create five novella cover designs.

Sample art pieces that will be included in the Haylee e-novellas.
Sample art pieces that will be included in the Haylee e-novellas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all book covers horiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was hard not to wonder what my editor was doing out in Minnesota, once she received the e-mail with the manuscript attached.

As the final completion of this monumental self-publishing undertaking gets closer, the free version of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone [that contains all five novellas] is approaching its removal from public view. The last day to get it is June 30!

free advance copies through June 2014
free advance copies through June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to get your free advance reading copy of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone.

 

Here is what some of the advance readers had to say.

“Haylee [is] a complicated character. She pulled [at] me to keep turning pages to see if there would be redemption.” – Kamara Garcia, dōTERRA, Independent Product Consultant

“Haylee is about a girl who is undergoing … odd transformations in young adulthood. Some of these changes are frightening and cause [her] to question who / what she is. As ‘fate’ would have it [she is transported to California during the Gold Rush and ]meets two important figures [who help] her on her journey.” – Ashley Votaw, Nevada City Organic Farmer & Herbalist

 ‘Haylee is a fantasy adventure coming of age story with a touch of romance about a girl with unexpected power trying to find her place in the world.”
After reading the third book [Haylee: Burden of the Powerful] “Ohmygoshwhatisshegoingtodo?!?!?! What happens next!?
– Megan Greene, Megan Greene Design