Monday, March 5, 2012

Formatting Print Books with CreateSpace

       Having formatted two books on CreateSpace hardly makes me an expert, but I thought other beginners in the POD game might benefit from a  review of what I've learned and of the problems I've encountered.
       I had almost no problems with "Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder."  There are a few minor flaws in the book, but they were my fault.  But "TQ" is much longer and more complex and it's got those danged Wingdings.  Strangely enough, however, they didn't prove to be a problem at all.

       Formatted template:  CS will give you a formatted template in the size you select ("Termite Queen" is 5.5 by 8.5), and that helps a whole lot because it defines the areas of the page where you can put text.  You have to stay within certain margins or your text will get trimmed off in the binding process.

       Fonts: The template gives you pages marked "Your title here" and Copyright, Acknowlegements, Dedication, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc., but you can change, eliminate, and add pages however you want.  The template also uses certain fonts -- strangely, it used Garamond and Myriad Pro.  Does anybody use those fonts?  You will avoid problems later if you simply "Select All" and reformat the entire template in Times New Roman or whatever font you want for your base text.  Don't forget to do the same with the headers and footers -- even on blank pages!  Then as you feed the text in, you can make font changes as desired.  I did my base text in TNR and all my peripheral matter -- preliminaries, end matter, headers, footers, chapter headings, and epigraphs -- in Book Antigua.
       Book design:  You want to make your book look as much like a professionally designed book as possible.  The best way to ensure that is to study the professionally designed books that you own.  For example, a book should not open directly on the title page and CS doesn't provide fly leaves, so I added a half-title -- a page before the title page that has nothing on it but an abbreviated form of the title.  Also, unless you own your own imprint (I wish I did, but I really don't know how to get one), the t.p. is going to look very bald.  So I made a little black-and-white line drawing of Ki'shto'ba and put it at the bottom of the t.p. (kind of like a logo) and lo and behold!  CS didn't object.
       Leaves vs. pages, and margins:  Then you have the problem of remembering that you're working with leaves, not the one-sided pages of manuscripts.  In a book a leaf has two pages -- two sides -- what book-people call "recto" and "verso."  CS doesn't even seem to know these terms -- they call them odd and even pages, which works fine, actually.  "Recto," meaning "right," is the right-hand page when you open a book, and "verso" (think "reverse") is the back of the recto.  Books always start on a recto, hence it becomes p.1 (an odd-numbered page).  The verso will always be even-numbered.  The verso will be on the left and the recto on the right as you open a book.
       This makes a difference because in order to bind a book correctly, the "gutter" (the inner margins where the leaves come together) has to be wider than the outer margins.  This is all set up for you in the template -- odd-numbered pages, such as the t.p., must always have a wider left margin and a narrow right margin, while the even-numbered pages will be the reverse.  Examine any book and this will become clear.
       But it's easy to lose track until you get comfortable with the system.  I must have gone through my books a couple of dozen times  in order to be sure everything was positioned the way I wanted it.  You have to think, OK, do I want this recto to have a blank verso?  The t.p. will have the copyright information on the verso.  In "TQ", I put all those permissions acknowledgments on the facing (recto) page, with a blank verso.  Then came the Dedication, recto with a blank verso.  Then the Contents, recto again with blank verso.  Finally the epigraph for the entire book, followed by the half-title for the first section.  Each of those is a recto with a blank verso.  That brings you to the first chapter, which must begin on a recto (odd numbered page). 

       Chapters:  What about chapters -- should they always begin on a recto?  I checked some books and some did that, but most just began the chapter on the next page, be it verso or recto.  So that's what I did, because "TQ" is long enough as it is.
       Managing headers and footers: You achieve all that by tinkering with the section and page breaks.  Sigh.  One of my least favorite things to do in Word.  It will help to clarify things if you activate the formatting symbols (the Paragraph sign on the toolbar).  The template gives you small Roman numeral page numbers for the preliminary matter, but I decided on no page numbering until I started the text.  Please don't ask me for advice on how to do page numbers and headers.  It has to do with the linking of sections, and while I always manage to get it done, I can never remember afterward how I worked it out.  Stuff always keeps popping back into existence or disappearing when you don't want it to!  It is just the most complicated and inexplicable thing I ever tried to do.  And I've been using Word since 2000!
       One useful thing about the template is the fact that it's set up with different odd and even pages.  That means that adding Headers becomes easier.  Most books have a different header on the verso and the recto.  In my case, I use "The Termite Queen" on the verso (left-hand page) and the Part designation on the recto.  I have two parts in the book, so midway through I had to change the Header on the right-hand page.  This also is accomplished by breaking the links on the sections.  I have a separate section for each chapter.
       I put the page numbers at the bottom of the pages.  That's the way the template is set up, and while I didn't have much of a problem changing them to the upper left and right corners of the pages on "Monster," I couldn't get rid of them in "TQ"!  They kept resurrecting themselves!  So infuriating!  So I decided it didn't look so bad to have them at the bottom and I left them there.
       [Addendum (3/12/12):  Here's another hint on getting your page numbers to toe the line.  (I'm speaking of Word here.) I would format my page numbers in the font and type size I wanted and then the next page would revert to the default for the template.  Then I discovered that if you highlight the number that is correct and right-click it, you get a menu that has the term "Update Field." If you click on that, then your page numbers won't revert to the default.  This doesn't seem to work for headers.  Apparently page numbers are a field, but headers are not.]

       Spacing and Indentation: A chapter should start a third or close to a half down the page.  I used 11-point type on both books, but on "Monster" (a short novella) I used that "Multiple" line spacing designation on the Paragraph formatting box.  That spaces the lines at 1.15 and makes it easier to read.  "TQ" is very long, so I used single spacing. 
       Be careful about paragraph indentation!  When I got the first proof, I kept thinking, the title and the table of contents, etc., don't look centered -- what's the problem?  And then it occurred to me to check the paragraph indention and darned if it wasn't on!  That threw off the centering by 5 spaces.  So that's something to watch for.

       Widow-and-orphan control:  I always use that on my manuscripts so that I won't have pages ending with single lines, or even single words hanging over on the next page.  I did that on "Monster" and didn't notice anything weird because, while the book has no chapters, it does have a number of odd breaks (it's written in the form of the report of a government committee).  The problem with w&o control is that it leaves blank gaps at the ends of some pages.  So I examined a bunch of my own professionally produced books, and not a single one of them used w&o!  Every book I looked at had single lines ending and beginning pages, and every page ended at exactly the same spot! 
       So I removed w&o control for the entire text.  I would recommend doing that
       Justification and automatic hyphenation:  The text must be justified.  That means that some lines will have big spaces in them --  distracting and unprofessional-looking.  So I activated automatic hyphenating at the ends of lines.  Works great -- except that the computer's feeble little brain often misdivides the syllables!  Therefore, I ended up examining every division to be sure it was correct.  Some are obviously right, but I made a lot of use of!  If you don't have the patience to do this, you can get by, but you have to reconcile yourself to the division of "piqued" as "pi-qued" at the end of a line!  Personally, I can't stand that kind of ignorant sloppiness!
       Automatic hyphenation also produces the problem of dividing words at the ends of pages, which I was always taught is a no-no.  I checked every page for this problem and then either did some manual word division, manual line breaks, or a minor rewrite to get rid of the problem. 
       I won't discuss any problems with formatting the epigraphs, since their use is rare.  I also have some poetry in the text, which created some problems, but that's so specialized I won't discuss it here either.
       The final upload:  Now the problems with the upload.  CS recommends turning the doc into a PDF, but it will also take doc., docx. and something else that I don't remember.  For "Monster" I used a PDF -- no problem.  It printed it exactly as it appeared in Adobe Reader.  But I had a complication with the paging in "TQ."  I wanted to start the first chapter as p.3 because I wanted the half-title for the first part to be p.1.  This necessitated 2 pages without page numbers, and I did that with section breaks, but the PDF kept putting in two extra blank pages.  I could not get those to go away!  So I elected to upload my docx. version directly.
       And that's when CS wiped out my hard-won, carefully edited hyphenation!  That caused big holes in the text in places.  I couldn't have that.  So I created my own PDF and uploaded that.  Then the hyphenation came out fine -- but they bellowed at me that there were three blank pages in a row in the text and that was a no-no!  So then I gave up and changed my paging so the first chapter begins at p.1.  That got rid of the two extra pages. 
       I would recommend never uploading anything but a PDF, and don't tinker any more than you have to with the pagination.

       Embedded Fonts: That wasn't the only problem, though.  It kept telling me that the PDF had fonts that weren't embedded.  I didn't even know what that meant.  I've learned a little more now.  After you put a doc in Adobe Reader, open the tab File at the top of the page, then Properties, then Fonts.  That will tell you what is embedded.  I was sure the problem was my Wingdings, but darned if it didn't say Wingdings 3 was embedded!  Then I thought, it says Garamond is embedded -- I didn't use any Garamond (remember when I said the template was originally in Garamond?)  So that's when I discovered that a lot of the blank lines were still in Garamond! 
       Then I uploaded again -- and the same thing:  a font not embedded!  What the heck?!!  This time I was able to identify the location of the problem.  It was on a blank page -- one little blank footer that remained in Myriad Pro, which was not embedded in my PDF document!  CreateSpace said they would embed the font and in that case I couldn't see doing it over just for that, so I approved it!  And it went through! 
       And that's why I said that the first thing you should do is change the entire template to your base font before you start -- including every header and every footer!  You may save yourself some problems in the end!

       Cover:  I haven't addressed the cover problem.  Maybe I'll do a different post on that topic. 


  1. Thank you for this terrific info. Good to know i am not the only one who hates wrangling the Word sections. (Sigh)

  2. Some of this is very helpful, Lorinda. I left the chapter headings in Garamond, so I'll change those to my base font. I'm not knowledgeable about wingdings or embedding, so I guess I'll tackle those problems when I get to that point. Eeks!

    1. It's not that bad! You can use Garamond if you want to - it's likely to be embedded already since it's included in the template. After you create the PDF, just do as I say above and open File, Properties, and Fonts. You should find Garamond listed there; if you don't, then you'd better change it.

  3. See #11 in this CNET article re becoming your own publisher:

    I've looked at a number of trade size books purchased at bookstores and most have the title page immediately following the cover. It seems that nothing stays the same.

    1. You wanted me to look at the part on getting your own ISBN and forming your own publishing company? It's probably a good idea, but I don't plan to do that.
      The template doesn't allow for a half-title, but you can insert one easily. When I published my novella (my first book), I didn't include a half-title, but that really annoys me, because any professionally designed book will have a half-title page in front of the title page, and hardcovers will also have end papers. So all my later books have half-titles, and in "The War of the Stolen Mother" I put the map on the verso of the half-title, facing the t.p., so it formed a frontispiece.

    2. You said in your post under Book Design that you would like to have your own imprint but didn't know how. Isn't the publisher the imprint? Seems like I read that if you purchase the number you can use your own imprint.???

    3. Oh, I probably did say that! LOL! You know what I wrote better than I do! I guess I was thinking in terms of having a designation like "TermiteWriter Books" that could be put on the title page, like a publisher's name, with place and date. I don't know if you can just do that off the cuff, or if you have to register it somehow to make it legal, or what. So I've just been ignoring the whole thing.

    4. Do you have a CS bio page? I was just watching a youtube video re CS and the author said that profit is greater if someone buys a book from your bio page than from Amazon. She has her books on her website linked to the bio page rather than Amazon. Just sharing info in case you did not know that. I didn't confirm the info but she looks legit!

    5. Yes, I know you get a bigger royalty if you sell directly through CS (here's the page on TQ v.1: but I don't know who would want to buy from them. They charge shipping, while if you have Amazon Prime, there is no shipping charge. Furthermore, it takes a book at least a week, maybe 10 days, to arrive when ordered from CS, and about two days from Amazon. And it's not easy to get into CS, while everybody uses Amazon all the time, and the Kindle version is accessible there, too. I don't think I'd ever sell anything if all I relied on was CS.

    6. Good to know. BTW I'm anxiously awaiting The Termite Queen!

    7. Are you the one who just bought the paperback version, or are you a Kindle person? Whichever, I thank you! And I'm pleased to get a female buyer who seems ready to read the book, because I think the love story should make it appeal to women.

    8. I bought the paperback. My daughter who lives here and I share books (sorry), and when I told her about the book she seemed excited to read it too. I do own a Kindle, but I still favor a "real" book in my hands!

    9. I'm a "real" book person, too, but you've got to try to please everybody if you want to sell anything! I don't mind if you share it with your daughter! I just want people to read it, enjoy it, and maybe review it! (And follow up by reading v.2, I hope!)

  4. THANKS for this information. Good to learn how to avoid problems (for a change)!

    1. I'm glad it was useful! This is my most viewed blogpost of all time - almost 4500 views. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I finally could embed the fonts of my file for createspace after uploading a million times! :)

    1. I'm happy you found this post - it's a oldie but goodie! - and I'm glad it helped!