Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Book in the Hand ....

It's not that hard to put your book into paper format. Getting started can be the most confusing and confounding part of the journey. Building momentum takes energy -- as any student of physics can tell you.

This is not a physics book.
You've made the decision to publish your book on your own, and maybe you've already tackled the e-book world and successfully uploaded your book on Kindle, Nook, iPad and the rest of the e-readers out there. Congratulations. That was no mean feat. Pause for a pat on the back.

For any of a variety of good reasons, no matter how much you adore e-books, you'd like to do a paper version and … you don't know where to begin.

It's different -- a lot different -- from formatting an e-book. I'm going to walk you through the initial steps for getting your book ready for CreateSpace. You can probably use the same preparation for other POD publishers since I don't believe there would be that much variation, but someone else should tell you that for sure. CreateSpace is what I'm familiar with.

Step 1
You've already written your very excellent book, had the editor of your choice go over it, made your corrections and inserted all the appropriate title, copyright verbiage, etc., and gotten rid of all that messy formatting stuff that can plague an e-book.

Make a copy of that file you can use for the print version and call it something else like, Very Excellent Mystery Print.doc. (Use Ctrl A to mark the entire manuscript, right click and COPY, then open an new document and right click and PASTE. Use SAVE AS to save it).

Put it aside.

Step 2
Go to www.createspace.com and log in or sign up. I'll wait while you read all their information about all they can do for you. Don't worry if you get thoroughly confused. Just read, and come back here when you're done.

Step 3
Back? Good. Confused? Never mind. It'll make sense later. Here's what you have to do next: decide what size you want your book to be. Take a ruler (tape measure will work) and pull out some of your favorite books. Measure the cover and decide which size you'd like for your book. Then open a few of those books and pick one that has a layout that's pleasing to you.

Yup, this is all about "presentation" -- just like haute cuisine.

Take that book (or books) you like back to your computer with you so you can reference it.

Step 4
Go back to Create Space. Under the "Books" tab at the top of the page is "publish a trade paperback." Pick that one.

Just a little ways down the page are a bunch of tabs that read "Overview" "Cover" "Interior" etc. Pick "Interior"

Now, see "Submission Requirements" in blue? Click on it. And OH MY GOD! It wasn't bad enough to have to convert your .doc file to html for an e-book, but NOW YOU HAVE TO CONVERT TO A PDF FILE!!

Calm down, it's not that terrible. Besides, we haven't even gotten there yet. There's some work to do first.

Step 5
Scroll down to Step 3 (yes, we're skipping steps 1 and 2, but go ahead and read them if you want) where you see all those size books listed…let's pretend we're going to use 6x9. Click on "Download a Blank Word Template"

Why? Because this template will set up all your margins for you exactly right. It will also change your page count. You will work with your manuscript within this template, so once you have it downloaded, copy (using Ctrl A) your entire manuscript and paste it into the template. SAVE IT NOW using SAVE AS and a new name, like Very Excellent Book 6x9.doc. Be sure to save it in the right folder so you don't have any trouble finding it later.

Step 6A
Once you have your book in the template Ctrl A again, so you've marked the whole document. Go to the tool bar and click "Format." From that, select "Paragraph." Go to the "Line and Page Breaks" section and unselect everything. NO widow or orphan control. If you see the little boxes as filled in blue squares, select everything and then unselect. Click OK. Trust me.

Step 6B
Now, while the whole manuscript is still "marked" go to the toolbar and click the little icon that justifies the text so you have nice neat left AND right margins.

Step 6C
Now go to the font box. You've probably got Times New Roman. Pick something else like Garamond or Book Antiqua. TNR will make your book look like a business proposal. Ick. Don't worry, you can make the title and chapter headings something else, too. You've got a little more leeway than you did with your e-book.

Step 7
Now you get to put in headers and page numbers. You remember those things? You had to take them out for the e-book. Now you get to put them back in again. Go over to "Files" in the tool bar and select "Page Set Up" then select "Layout." Under "Headers and Footers" select BOTH "different first page" AND "different odd and even." Click OK. Now you can go over to "View" in the tool bar and click on "Header and Footer".

Remember the book I told you to get out of your bookshelf? Notice where the page numbers are and how the page headers look. The author name is on one page and the book title will be on the other. Maybe the page numbers are at the top, maybe at the bottom. Emulate the style you like. Be sure the font for the header is different from the text. You can use a tiny version of the font you used for your book's title. That would look cool. Then select the location where you want the page numbers by selecting "Insert" from the tool bar and "Page Numbers."

Step 8
Now for the blank pages. Yes, print books have blank pages, and YOU have to insert them. Where do they go? Look at your example book.
  • Typically, copyright information is on the backside of the title page.
  • The dedication page is on the right when the book is open, as are the Acknowledgments.
  • Chapter one starts on the right side of the open book. My personal preference is that all chapters start on the right side of the open book. Those are the odd number pages, by the way. You'll need to go through your book and take a look at what page each chapter starts on.
  • While you're at it, make the font correct for the chapter heading and move it at least half way down the page for each chapter. Unlike e-books, print book chapters don't start at the top of the page.


Just use the boring old "Insert page breaks" and the copy and paste as necessary.

Are we done yet? Nope. Did you include an "About the Author" page at the end? You should. Notice how your favorite books end. Do what they do.

Now save your file and close it.

Step 9
Now you're ready to convert to pdf. And you're right -- you can't do that from MS Word. You need something else. I use Open Office. It's free. Go ahead and download it -- or use something else if you want. I don't mind waiting (again).

Open your file in (say) Open Office. You'll need to review it before you export it as a pdf because "things can change." You can fix them while in Open Office. For example if the page numbers get all wonky on you, delete them and reinsert them in Open Office.

Check and make sure your chapters start where they're supposed to. Delete or add page breaks as necessary.

Did the line spacing get funky in places? Did you notice an extra line between paragraphs and don't know how to get rid of it? Mark the section where the problem spacing is, then go to the style box in the tool bar. Select "clear formatting" then select "default." It is the same as "Normal" in Word. That should fix the problem.

Once you've checked everything over go ahead and select "File" from the tool bar and "Export as PDF."


Step 10
There's your pdf file. For heaven's sake, check it to make sure it looks right. Then check it again. If you need to fix something, delete the pdf and go back to Open Office to fix the .doc file. Then "Export as PDF" again.

Once the pdf looks like you expect the print book to look, in person, you're ready to upload to Create Space.

Oh, and the cover? It's a little complicated to talk about here, but you'll need to know how many pages are in your pdf version for that, plus you'll need to design the back cover according to specs, too. The cover, also, has to be in pdf. 

Good luck, and DO NOT skip ordering the proof. You'll definitely want to do that!