Monday, April 5, 2021

The Fun of Creating Paperbacks

Okay, it's after ten and I'm up working on formatting UNEQUAL for paperback.  I actually went to bed at eight.  Laid there for a half an hour and gave up.  So now, I'm sitting here working on creating a paperback* because, hey, if I'm not sleeping I might as well be productive.  Right?

It took me about 45 minutes to format the manuscript for print.  I'm not sure if I ever gave you my checklist for formatting print books, so here it is (all of this is done in MS Word):

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, if necessary

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 Amazon

Generally, most of the first 11 are taken care of during formatting for ebooks - except removing the bookmarks I need to have for e-publication.

So, I got all the steps through 23 done in, like I said, about 45 minutes.  It took another 45 minutes to complete the last step.  Part of that was because I had to tweak the cover - if I centered the title, my name went off the page.  If I centered my name, the title went over the spine.  Stupid thing.  I went back into my cover creation program and shuffled the placement around until I could have both of them where I wanted them without looking all centered and junk.  

Another part that hung me up was after I'd set everything up and was previewing the blasted thing, I noted that a pretty little line of ~~~~ after THE END had jumped over to the left side instead of being centered.  Stupid thing.  I deleted the pretty line.  It wasn't necessary, just pretty.  Re-uploaded the manuscript, re-previewed it, and huzzah, at about 10pm, managed to send a proof through to be set up for ordering.

I did almost all of this already once - when I set up Blink of an I this... err... yesterday morning.  I wasn't actually going to do UEQ until today.  But hey, insomnia.  If I can't sleep, I might as well tackle stuff from my to-do list, eh?

Like I said, my cover artist is working on two other books right now.  When those files get here, I'll be back at step 24 for each of those.  Woohoo.

In case you're new to this game, book proofs cost me about $10 each - the book plus shipping - and I can't sell them to recoup that cost.  (They're stamped across the cover with NOT FOR RESALE.)  Good thing I squirreled away some acorns, eh?  The book cost to readers usually depends on the size of the book.  I do try to keep them as low as I can.  Blink will be $12.99 and Unequal will be $11.99.  (Decreasing the font to 10pt got the price more reasonable.  Blink would've been a behemoth.)  Get your order over $25 and shipping is free (usually... can't always depend on Amazon to not screw things up.)

Anyway, I hope this makes sense in the morning when you see it.  I think I'm finally tired enough to give sleep another try.

Any questions?  Comments?

* I started this post while I was waiting for files to upload or something, and finished it after I finished the task at hand.


  1. This sounds a lot like my process, except I get the front matter, sizing, and page numbers by running it through Draft2Digital. It's all so tedious, still, though.

  2. Yup. Mines about the same too. Maybe a slightly different order and I don't really care if the chapters all start on the right. I'm weird that way. LOLOL

    Glad you got them done. I'm always a little surprised when one of my paperbacks sells. And I have several I need to format and get up. Time. All it takes is time and I'm soooo good at wasting it!

    Here's to continued productivity for all this week!

  3. My process is similar, except that I do it all before I copy/insert each chapter and the illustrations into the final book. I setup all my bookmarks/chapter headings ahead of time to keep the pages looking pretty. Of course, 99% of my nonfiction sells in paperback, so it's worth the extra effort.

    Hmm. I may be doing it the hard way, but it works for me!