Tag Archive | Paperback

How to Format Paperbacks Without Createspace’s Interior Templates

Formatting is one of those things every independent author must learn to do.  For most independent authors this means learning the quirks of publishing with kindle direct publishing, Smashwords, and Createspace.

In the last five years since the initial publication of the first edition of “The Great Succession Crisis” I have published dozens of paperback editions, including an experiment with QR coded paperbacks connected to an elaborate website built around the Complete Data Files.

Across the years I would typically create paperbacks by first creating the kindle edition, then copying/pasting the contents into a pre-formatted template file generated by createspace for my chosen trim size (usually 5.06″ x 7.81″ or 6″ x 9″).  No doubt many of you do the same.

But what do you do when that template no longer works and scrambles your book content when you paste it in?

When this happened to me in February 2017 while publishing “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: A Play in Five Acts” I went nuclear–as in the nuclear method of formatting where you copy your book into a plain text editor and then back again into MS Word.

On a regular book that uses the same basic format across every paragraph, the nuclear method is more or less a minor annoyance.  However on books like stage plays where formatting is rigid and complex, the nuclear method means weeks of tedious work restoring the formatting on a line by line basis.  I did this once; I will never do it again.

So what is the alternative?  Simple: change the page layout in your original kindle file to match your chosen trim size.

When making this change you want to go into Layout tab of Word.  You will be changing two parts of the layout:  page size and margins.

 

How-to-paperback-layout 3Begin by deciding on your trim size. The above graphic from the Createspace website shows your options and the page constraints of each trim size.

Next go into the Layout tab in Word and set the paper size.  This needs to match your trim size exactly.

 

How-to-paperback-layout 1

Finally with the page setup screen still open choose “margins” (also found at layout – margins – custom margins).

How-to-paperback-layout 2

First set “pages” to “mirror margins” generate the correct margin options of top, bottom, inside, and outside. Set your top and bottom margins to 0.75″, your inside margin to 0.75″, your outside margin to 0.5″, and your gutter to 0.13″ and apply to the entire document.

These margins are the same regardless what trim size you choose which is why setting your paper size first is so important to formatting your paperback.

Once both of these are set your document will change from its default 8.5″ x 11″ with 1″ margins that you are using on your digital book interior to the correct settings for your paperback — no separate template required and no scrambling of your book file. Create your front matter table of contents, copyright, and ISBN front matter as usual, add in whatever headers and footers you prefer, insert page breaks as needed, and viola! You are ready to save your book to pdf and upload for publication.

This method works equally well for both Createspace and Babelcube and should work with other paperback publishing platforms as well.

 

Formatting your book can seem daunting.  But with a little creativity and patience anyone can format a professional-grade paperback book.  It’s all in the layout!

 

 

 

Excerpt: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone

Amanda in AlbertaToday’s excerpt comes from “Amanda in Alberta” by Darlene Foster.  Connect with Darlene on twitter.

—————————————-

Leah and Amanda followed the guide down a path that lead to the bottom of the cliff.

“Is it called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump because the animals smashed their heads when they went over the cliff?” asked Leah.

“Legend has it that a young boy wanted to get a good look at the buffalo as they went over the cliff. He stood too close and a buffalo fell on top of him smashing in his head. The people then called it Head-Smashed-In.”

“Maybe the parents used the story to warn other children not to get too close,” remarked Amanda.

“Perhaps.” The guide nodded. “Many of our legends have a lesson in them.”

Soon they came upon some tipis in a circle. The tops were painted with black dots and stripes and a single huge buffalo decorated each side.

While Leah continued to ask the guide questions, Amanda examined the nearest tipi. She looked to see if she could spot any more symbols similar to the one on the rock. She ended up around the back of the tent when the same cowboy appeared.

“Where is the stone?”

“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do.” The cowboy put both hands on her shoulders. “I heard you have the stone and I want it!” He began to shake her.

Amanda stepped back. The cowboy moved forward. She took another step back, tripped in a gopher hole and fell flat on her back. The cowboy fell on top of her.

“If you know what’s good fer you, you’ll hand over that stone to me,” he growled through his yellowed teeth.

His breath smelt of stale cigarette smoke and onions. Amanda held her breath.

A hand came around the cowboy’s throat and pulled him back. His hat fell to the ground, revealing curly ginger hair.

“Leave her alone, Hank. She doesn’t have anything to do with this.”

Amanda looked up and saw Dan with the ranch hand firmly in his grip. Leah stood behind him with her eyes wide and her mouth open as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t get the words out.

Hank struggled to free himself from Dan’s hold, picked up his hat and slammed it against his leg before plunking it on his head. He stared hard at Amanda and strode away.

Amanda trembled as Leah and Dan helped her up.

“Are you OK?” asked Leah.

“Boy, am I glad you guys showed up when you did.”

“I wanted to tell you Dan was here, but I couldn’t find you. We heard a noise and came back here to find you being attacked by that awful man. What did he want?”

“I – I don’t know,” stammered Amanda as she brushed dirt and dry grass off her arms and legs.

Why I said goodbye to large print

Gone forever:  the large print edition of Ghosts of the Past goes out of print in favor of a larger texted regular paperback edition.

Gone forever: the large print edition of Ghosts of the Past goes out of print in favour of a larger text regular paperback edition.

Ever since I first published the original edition of The Great Succession Crisis, there has always been a large print edition for my books.  It is something I believe in as a low vision author, an accessible resource making reading easier.

Sadly, large print remains the dark child of the publishing industry.  Retailer websites bury large print editions.  In the 2 1/2 years since initial publication of the initial version of The Great Succession Crisis not once was either GSC or Ghosts’ large print edition attached to or promoted with its digital edition.  Large print editions are not eligible for the Amazon matchbook program.  They are, like many foreign language editions, put away where no one can find them unless the customer is absolutely determined to get to it anyway.

This of course creates a hassle — for both me as the author and you as the reader.  No one wants that.  We want finding a great book in the format we prefer to be effortless.  Buying the book should never be difficult nor should it ever be difficult for the author to offer readers choices.

 

This hassle of course also meant that I was not able to keep up with the updates I am compulsively known for.  Snatch up one of my books early enough and you may well be treated to a collector’s item.  Thanks to the wonders of print-on-demand publishing I am able to tweak and prune and reformat as much as I want to until my inner perfectionist is perfectly happy.

 

And so today I make a compromise:  my paperback editions are now and shall henceforth be printed in 16 point font — larger than the industry standard of 11 or 12 point for traditional paperbacks — and a tiny bit smaller than the 18 point that makes a book large print.

 

Like all compromises, it is perhaps imperfect.  But in taking the middle ground I make buying books simple and easy.  What more can you want?

Reblog: B&N Testing Espresso Book Machines

Yesterday I found this article about “Espresso” Book Machines on Publisher’s Weekly.

 

For those unfamiliar with the term, espresso book machines are essentially print-on-demand kiosks located in traditional book-and-mortar bookstores.  That Barnes and Noble is testing these machines at their Union Square store in Manhattan doesn’t surprise me at all.  It is a very long time coming and a market trend I saw as the future of paperback publishing many months ago.  As a former Brooklynite, I appreciate the specific store B/N is testing these at.  It’s a great location (right next to Petco) that gets extra traffic from the famous Union Square farmer’s market which is always crowded and directly across from Beth Israel hospital.

 

Here is the Publisher’s Weekly text in full:

Barnes & Noble is the latest bricks-and-mortar bookselling operation to become involved with the Espresso Book Machine. The country’s largest bookstore chain recently began a test of the system at three of its outlets—its New York City store at Union Square plus stores in Paramus, N.J, and Willow Grove, Pa.

According to a company spokesperson, customers will be able to make a physical print book of a hard-to-find book, a public domain title or self publish a book. “The purpose of the test,” the spokesperson said, “is to gauge consumer interest.”

“[The pilot] is part of our continued program to grow our base of machines. We’re delighted to be testing our machines in Barnes & Noble. We’ve gone from indies to multi-retailers,” said Dane Neller, CEO of EBM maker On Demand Books.

Books-A-Million installed two Espresso machines last November and the print-on-demand system has been used by a number of independent booksellers for several years, although some store owners have replaced the Espresso with other options.

Neller told PW that On Demand will continue to look at other retail channels, including those outside the book business. By the end of the year he anticipates having close to 100 machines in retail stores.

Author Interview Janna Yeshanova*

Historical romance by Janna Yeshanova

Historical romance by Janna Yeshanova

Today we have historical fiction author Janna Yeshanova here to talk about her latest book, “Love is Never Past Tense.”

PoB:  Love is Never Past  appears to be a historical romance.  Can you set the scene for us historically?  When does it happen and where?  What is happening back then in that part of the world?

JY: At the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union collapsed and the nations that resulted suffered waves of ethnic violence and black market crime. Many people in positions of comparative privilege found their lives and livelihoods in ruins. Love Is Never Past Tense…  starts several years before and follows my lead characters through personal challenges and then the turmoil caused by world-shaping events.

PoB:  What genre do you feel best describes this book and why?

JY: Historical Romance is accurate but a bit misleading. I focus on the lives of my characters. The history shows up in some of the choices they make, where big events reshape otherwise ordinary lives. I draw on my own life enough that the book might best be classified as an epic historical romance based on a true story.

PoB:  What formats do you offer this book in and why?

JY: I offer it in hardcover, paperback, and most electronic formats, including Kindle, Nook, iBook and PDF. I want to offer it any way the reader wants to get it but have not done audio versions yet. If hard copies are ordered from www.loveisneverpasttense.com I am happy to sign them.

PoB:  What do you feel makes this book different from other books?

JY: As I said earlier, the book is based on a true story. The characters are real people. Some of the people participating in the plot told me that they are emotionally and vividly reliving the events in which they participated.

PoB:  What is it about you as a person that makes your book compelling to read?

JY: I am a person who lived through the events described in the book. I am a survivor. If I fall, I get back on my feet and face another day, hoping for the best, creating another situation that can lead to the place I want to be. I focus on my goals and try not to pay much attention to obstacles. With my Russian background, I see the glass half full (with Vodka). 🙂  

*Opinions expressed in author interviews belong exclusively to the authors featured and do not represent the viewpoints of the Peers of Beinan series, author Laurel A. Rockefeller, or any other related entity.  Presented interviews do not constitute endorsement of any product, service, or point of view.  Readers are encouraged to form their own opinions concerning presented content herein.

The Great Succession Crisis one year later

Cover art for The Great Succession Crisis, 1st edition paperback as published in September, 2012.  Thanks to constructive criticism from reviewers, this cover art changed for the revised edition.

Cover art for The Great Succession Crisis, 1st edition paperback as published in September, 2012. Thanks to constructive criticism from reviewers, this cover art changed for the revised edition.

Great Succession Crisis paperbackThis week I celebrate a big milestone as an author:  the first anniversary of the launch of my first book.

The week of my initial publication on SmashWords, I wrote a commemorative article for Yahoo Voices.  Here is what I wrote:  http://voices.yahoo.com/first-person-today-published-first-novel-11639434.html?cat=38

What I could not anticipate at the time is the way that “The Great Succession Crisis” would become my personal Montecello.  After the first reviews in 2012 showed me the almost inevitable flaws that come from self-publishing one’s first book, I found myself in a process of editing, revising, and yes, re-writing.  In January, 2013 I re-wrote about 25% of “The Great Succession Crisis,” creating the current “revised editions.”  But it went more than that.  Seeing that some readers did not pick up on the larger story, I added two more chapters, brought back data files I previously deleted after listening to other people regarding supplementary content, and finally added in non-fiction material — all of this becoming “The Great Succession Crisis Extended Edition” which, for me, is much more definitive.  GSC Ex is my “director’s cut” of that book.

Great Succession Crisis Extended paperback

Given my education is in film/stage writing, psychology (pre-counseling), and medieval history, it is pretty much inevitable that I look at stories from a more or less film and stage point of view with the sensibilities of someone who loves to write in script format.

This also means I’ve made some technical errors; novels are not the same as screenplays.  The direction to actors that script writers must insert into the text cannot be conveyed the same way in novels.  So yes, I admit to my share of errors as my brain works to convert internally to novel conventions.

All through this, my sensibilities as a low vision person persist.  I possess the almost inevitable sensitivity to the needs of different physical abilities when it comes to reading.  This is one reason why I do not use a sterile white background on my website, even though the default background from Intuit.com is actually white.  In the summer of 2013, I located new options for my website, allowing me to stand apart from generic book sites with the organic, soothing green leaf background that makes reading the content (all geared towards YOU, the reader) both easier and more pleasant.  Cool colors soothe and invite people to stay.  Our brains and our minds really love blues, greens, and purples, finding these cool colors restful.

With large print editions in hand, I hope to eventually record audio versions of Peers of Beinan books.  But first, I continue to work on a brand new innovation:  QR indexing for paperback and hypertext link indexing for digital copies.

These new innovations make reading The Great Succession Crisis and other Peers of Beinan series books easier and more interactive than ever.  Rather than me playing God, sending out my story to you from on high as if from an ivory tower, my books are a conversation with you. Together, we listen and learn from one another as you read, beginning with your decision on which format you want to read each book in.

Readers can choose between the revised and extended editions of The Great Succession Crisis in digital, paperback, QR Interactive paperback, or large print paperback.  That is EIGHT editions for the SAME NOVEL.

Ghosts of the Past paperback photoIn March, 2013 I was able to release book two, The Ghosts of the Past.  This too I offer in all four formats.

You matter to me.  I’m not some literary goddess — just a storyteller who loves to research and share my research with you in the form of great adventures.

It is my hope you will join me as I explore social issues, history, science, and so much more on planet Beinan.

To the adventure!

CreateSpace maximum page counts

Ghosts of the Past paperback photo Great Succession Crisis Extended paperback Great Succession Crisis paperback

Self publication can be confusing, especially when it comes to the technical requirements for releasing a paperback or large print paperback book.  Most of the time, even locating your printer’s technical data can feel like a game of hide and seek or, worse, trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Page count limits seems to one of the most elusive pieces of information to locate.  So, after a call to CreateSpace customer service, I was happy they sent me this valuable link:

https://www.createspace.com/Special/Pop/book_trimsizes-pagecount.html

Have a resource to share?  Please post here in the comments section of this post!

–Laurel A. Rockefeller

The Peers of Beinan series

http://www.peersofbeinan.com

http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-A.-Rockefeller/e/B008YVJJFE/

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