Friday, August 24, 2018

Paperbacks and Formatting

Hey All. 

Since I'm hip deep in stuffs, and part of that is formatting books to become paperback copies, I thought I'd talk about that again. 

Sleeping Ugly is formatted and uploaded and the proof copy is on its way.  It's supposed to be here Thursday.  If all goes well, I'll approve the proof and it'll be available for purchase shortly after.

Yes, I used Createspace again.  Yes, there is a strong rumor that Createspace will be going away as Amazon (who bought Createspace a while back) tries to move everyone over to their print publishing.  I opted to go Createspace again because I am not interested in reinventing my wheels right now. 

I also spent the better part of yesterday formatting Early Grave for print and creating a print cover.  It's uploaded and I should be hearing later today if they accept the files.  Since I made my own cover here, I expect they'll grouse about something.  But I don't expect it to be too awfully bad and I should be able to order a proof shortly.

Next up is finally getting a paperback started for Blink of an I.  Then all my books will be available as paperbacks and all will be right with the world again. 

Once those three are approved and up for sale, I'll started the process of putting all the titles through Amazon print publishing.  The process is supposedly easier if you already have the books up on Createspace.  :shrug:  We'll see. 

I'm still leery of printing through Amazon because they're new and I'm unsure of the quality of their print books.  Then again, Createspace's quality ain't always the best either.  One of my books, they sent the wrong cover on the proof.  As in, the cover for someone else's book was on my proof.  A Christian Romance, if I remember correctly, wrapped around my proof of Fertile Ground.  I'm sure the cover was as shocked as my manuscript.  In another case, the manuscript pages were all printed slightly off.  They said the 'off' was within acceptable parameters.  Acceptable to them, maybe.  :shrug:  I guess, right now, it's 'better the devil you know' for me.

As for formatting, I know it sounds scary. But once you have a system for doing it, it's not really all that bad.  More tedious than difficult.  Which is why I dragged my heels on EG and Blink.  I hate tedium.

Here's my checklist for formatting a print copy:

1)  Type THE END
2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing
3)  Remove all Bookmarks.
4)  Make sure everything is the font you’ve chosen for the book.
5)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.
6)  Apply print font for Headings to all.
7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series
8)  Create title page
9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page
10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end
11)  Add in back matter.
12)  Create Section Breaks after Acknowledgements and after THE END
13)  Add Pages Numbers to manuscript section centered bottom
14) Verify ‘Link to Previous’ is unchecked
15)  Format Page Numbers to chosen look
16)  Set to ‘Different First Page’ in manuscript section
17)  Delete page number from first page of manuscript section
18)  Verify no page numbers in front matter section or back matter section
19)  Set page size to 5.5” x 8.5”
20)  Set margins to Top .88”, Bottom .88”, Inside .75”, Outside .63”
21)  Make sure margins are ‘mirrored’
22)  Verify all chapters start on right hand page.
23)  Print a few pages to verify it will look how you want it to look.
24)  Upload to Createspace

Feel free to borrow the above, but remember, your process may vary with regard to page size and margins.  There are also reasonably priced formatters out there, if you're not interested in the DIY.  The price I usually see quoted is $50.  I'd rather save the $50 and do it myself, but that's me.  And I have the time to do it, when I actually set my butt down.  Like I said, it takes about a day for me.  (Okay, not a whole day.  Maybe a couple hours over the course of a day.  Again, tedious but not hard.)

I print out the above for each book and then check the items off as I get them completed, so I don't miss a step.  (Like with UWC, which had no page numbers.  Derp.)  And I do all of this in MS Word.  The first 11 items should already have been done during the 'format for ebook' phase, but I like to have them there anyway, just in case.

Woo, that's a long post up there.  Thanks for reading all the way down, or for scrolling all the way down to here, if that's the case.  Any questions?  Comments? 

Oh, and it's not in the checklist, but if you're formatting for print, get rid of your Table of Contents and any hyperlinks.  They're not necessary and totally not clickable in a print book.  ;o)


  1. Great checklist! Some of my former Kindle World books are being put out in print by the publisher using Amazon rather than Createspace. She says they look awesome and the process is easy. I haven't ordered any so I can't say from personal experience but I trust Susan. I may give KDP print a try my next Nightrider paperback.

    Have a great weekend. Back to revision hell now. *sigh*

  2. I did my print book with Amazon print publishing. I haven't used Createspace and have only published one book, but from my experience it was very easy and smooth.

    Publishing the print book was almost identical as publishing the ebook. You do it through the Kindle Dashboard and go through the same process of setting keywords, pricing, etc... then upload your cover and Word document. Then you get to see how it will look printed and you can adjust. You can order a proof as well. I used a pre-designed Word template and had no issues with it converting to print. You can order author copies at a discounted price. I believe they charge around $4 on each. Not sure how that is compared to Createspace.

    I haven't heard any negative feedback of anyone receiving a bad print copy of my book yet. I've ordered a handful myself and did have one copy where the first 10 pages or so weren't glued into the spine on the bottom. Other than that, the rest have been good quality.

    Glad you liked my book (Ghosts of Pinkerton). I am working on the 2nd at the moment, just procrastinating more than I'd like. I'm also a pantser, so I often find myself staring at the screen for many minutes not knowing where to go next. If there's anything you really liked or dispised from the first, let me know. I'm open to comments positive and negative.

    Nice blog also, very enjoyable reading.