Formating your book for self-publishing

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on my blog.  Why? I’ve been very busy getting my book formatted to be able to self-publish with CreateSpace.  I thought I’d pass on some of the corrections I’ve had to do to my manuscript.
But First things first:
Clichés

Have one’s work cut out for you-Means having trouble completing a task; facing a difficult job ahead of you. This has been used since about 1600-refers to a pattern cut from cloth, that must then be made into a garment. Anthony Trollope used it in Orley Farm (1862).

Bite the bullet-Brace yourself against pain or a difficult experience.  Where did this come from? Possibly days of battle where you had to be treated without anesthesia and were made to bite on a lead bullet to brace against pain of surgery. See Rudyard Kipling’s The Light That Failed (1891). Maybe it came from when gunners bit off the end of a paper tube cartridge in order to expose the powder to the spark.

Sooner or later – I used this back in June 25, 2011 but it is a cliché.

At the drop of a hat-Do this at once without delay. Maybe it comes from the practice of dropping or waving a hat as a starting signal for a race, fight, or other event. Been a cliché since the mid-20th Century.

Okay, I don’t want to be a backseat driver here, but I will give you my experience on formatting for my self-published book.

1.  I picked the size of the book I wanted (I’m going with a 6×9) and then downloaded the CreateSpace formatted template for this size book for the interior.

2.  To transfer my book over into the template I could not “select all” and copy and paste. No, I had to do it chapter by chapter and copy and paste by hand. For some reason the “select all” might change something in your manuscript. This sounds like no big deal, but it took me several days to get it right.

3.  Ok, now I’m ready for the book cover design. So I went to MaryMitchellDesign and worked with her. More about the book cover design later, but she also looked at my interior, and instructed me that I had to make a few changes.

a.  When you type your manuscript, you use double space for ease of reading. However when you put it into book format, it needs to be single spaced.

b.  All first paragraphs of each chapter should not be indented. Neither should the first paragraph of a scene change. That way you can avoid the asterisks between scene changes that look amateurish. And of course you double space between scene changes within a chapter.

c.  All paragraph indents are usually set up automatically in your word program. Usually .5-well I changed mine to .3, but in book format, that is still too much so had to change them all to .2

d.  For my online critique group, I had to reset my smart quotes to straight quotes for it to work properly.  However in book format they all looked like feet and inches, so I had to go back and change all of my quotes into smart quotes.  So I simply selected all and changed them to smart quotes.  Home free, right?  Wrong!  I’m now going line by line to check all of them, because for some reason, some of them went in backwards.

e.  Also, I had to check that everything I did was uniform in the book.  What do I mean by that? That if I used capitals in my headings for say DEDICATION, ABOUT THE AUTHOR, then I had to make sure that my chapter headings were all the same too. Chapter 1 is incorrect; CHAPTER 1 is correct. I also had to make sure that when I typed after each period I had the same spacing. One space instead of two like when we used typewriters. Of course I was a secretary and typed a lot, so I’m used to typing with two spaces after a period. All of that has to be uniform to make it look professional. Also the spacing down from the top should all be the same when you begin your chapter heading and the space between chapter heading and first paragraph should all be same throughout your book.

f.  I also had to change my double hyphen into an em dash and between numbers an en dash. That of course had to be done by hand going line by line throughout the book.

g.  Ellipses had to be changed also to make sure that I had the spacing correct.  Usually there is no space after the word and ellipsis but after the ellipsis, there is a space, i.e. but… really.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last month—Formatting my manuscript into book format. Of course I could have hired someone to do that for me, but it has been a good learning experience.

When I get ready to publish, it should look professional.

Keep Writing,

Julie

 

4 thoughts on “Formating your book for self-publishing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>