Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Latest Thoughts on Formatting for Self-Publishing

       Before I return to the serious side of life and continue my discussion of the Mythmaker philosophy, I thought I would comment on the system I've worked out for formatting later volumes of "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head."  I don't know whether anybody will find it useful, but people do seem interested in how-to-do-it material.
       In my post on my other blog "So What's New with v.2 of 'Labors'?" I discussed the new title I've settled on for v.2 ("The Storm-Wing") and mentioned I was in the process of doing some revision on the text.  I'll have to go through this same process with each of the remaining five volumes, so I'm beginning to fall into a routine.
       I set up what I call the "Master Copy."  (I'll remind everybody that I use Word.)  When I divided the original v.2 into two parts, it effectively messed up the formatting.  Word never seems to carry styles over between documents.   I don't know what other people do, but I've always composed using a style called Body Text or Body Text Indent that I've engineered to fit my requirements of paragraph indention, spacing, etc.  This will work OK when you are formatting for print (PDF doesn't seem to care what styles you use), but it won't work for Smashwords (not sure about Kindle).  So the best thing to do is simply Select All and convert the entire document to Normal style right at the beginning.  Basing the whole thing on Normal will work for all formats and it's what Smashwords requires.
      Once you're in Normal, all formatting disappears, even centering, bold type, paragraphing -- everything except the ToC, where the field links to the chapter headings remain (which is nice -- you can still easily navigate the document).  So you have to go through and reformat things like the title page, the chapter headings, the division breaks within chapters (by that I mean, the row of asterisks or whatever you use to break up your chapters).  All that is easily done as you make your final revision and proofing of the text.
       The section breaks also will remain.  Keep those in the Master Copy -- again, for ease of navigation.  Remove any headers or page numbers.  When you do the CreateSpace template, those will have to be inserted in that format; it will be entirely different from what you do in your basic document.
       Base everything you do on the Master Copy.  If, for example, you change some text when you're fitting the document into your CreateSpace template, be sure to make the change in the Master Copy.  That way when you're ready to do Kindle and Smashwords, you'll know you have exactly the same text you used for print.
       Add all the back-of-the-t.p. material to the Master, but don't worry too much about form, since each version will have some differences.  Same with the end matter; write in whatever you want for the print version, and be prepared to adapt it for the e-books.
       Don't mess with the ToC form.  It won't look right in Normal style, but it's still usable; besides,  for the print version it will have to be done over by hand, and it will have to be completely reworked and relinked using bookmarks and hyperlinks for the e-book versions.
      You'll have to reformat all your paragraphing.  I do the chapters one at a time.  I set up the chapter headings, then select the entire chapter text, right-click, click on Paragraph, and then set up the Indents and Spacing the way I want it.  Be sure to remove any paragraph indentions on centered material like chapter headings, title page materials, division breaks, etc., or they'll be off-center.  I use 0.3 indention and single space, and left justification.  There is no point in justifying the Master Document because it doesn't work for e-books; and in the CS template, as I recall, it justifies itself when you copy the text in. 
       I also take Widow and Orphan control off for the entire document.  That way I don't have to remember to remove it when I set up the print template.  That is done in the paragraph formatting box by clicking on the Line and Page Break tab, then unchecking Widow and Orphan Control.
       Do not activate Automatic Hyphenation for the Master Copy.  That's only needed when you put the material into the print template; you don't want it in the e-books because you'll get weird hyphenated words in the middles of lines.  Because line lengths aren't set, there is no way you can divide words at the ends of lines in e-books.
       Use a basic type face like TNR and 12-point type for the Master Copy.  Or you could change it to 11-point if that's what you want for your print copy.  I prefer to use 12-point because that's what I'll want for the e-books.  But be careful when you're doing the print template; if you change the text in the template and copy it over to the Master, you'll get a mix of type sizes; and vice versa -- if you copy a change from the Master into the template, it will remain 12-point.  I had that problem with v.1 of "Labors" and had to check type sizes carefully throughout both documents before I was finished.  I found a way to do that using the Find and Replace feature.  You can search for type-size and simply replace all instances of the wrong size with the right size.
       On the t.p. I type "This is the Master Copy" and highlight it in blue, so I won't get it mixed up with any other draft.  As for the document title, what I do is simply leave it short.  For example, v.2 is titled, "MS - Ki'shto'ba Tales - v.2, Storm-Wing."  When I do the different versions, I add to that basic title terms like:
"Createspace Template"
"CreateSpace Template - PDF"
"Kindle HTML"
as appropriate.  Thus, everything remains grouped together in the Documents List, with the Master Copy title at the top.
       When you're ready to do the Kindle version, make a copy of your Master (don't make changes in the master itself, or you'll lose all your work).  Then replace all the section breaks with page breaks (Kindle wants page breaks between chapters).  When you do the Smashwords, make a copy of your Master and remove all section and page breaks (Smashwords doesn't want any breaks at all except paragraph returns, and not an excessive amount of those). 
       Kindle won't take hanging indention, but it will take a combination of indented lines and unindented lines (block paragraphs) and I believe it will take built-in before-and-after spacing on paragraphs.  However, Smashwords won't; they insist on nothing but centered text and indented paragraphs (no mix of block and indented paragraphs is allowed).  Smashwords also won't take built-in before-and-after spacing on paragraphs -- the meat grinder will kick it back at you if you leave some of that in.  If you stick to only centered material, indented paragraphs, and line spacing using only paragraph returns, you're safe in all e-books.  Be sure to activate the paragraph marks so you can see exactly what you've got, because those rules have to be applied to blank lines as well, and it will also enable you to make sure you've taken out the section breaks.  That's important to remember, especially with Smashwords.
       This post is kind of a nit-picky mess, but maybe some of you will find some useful information in it.  I hope so!  Comment with any questions you might have!


  1. Goodness, you're a pro at this stuff! I'm impressed!

    1. Well, actually, I'm not! I just know what I do, and I have learned a little about what not to do! There are a million different ways to format with Word.

  2. You've taught me stuff about Word that I've never known or used! I'm playing w/the first chapter on the template and have another question.

    I read that you use an 11 pt. font. Is there any reason for this? I've used a 12 pt. on this manuscript and for fun chose the 6x9 format. Am wondering which size you chose? He'll have around 400 pages when finished.

    BTW his is a fantasy book that he's writing for his nieces/nephews. He's written all his life and this is first novel to be published.

    All this seems so daunting, so by the time the book is ready I want to understand the process completely! Again, thanks for sharing your expertise.

    1. I used 11-pt because my books are quite long (at least as long as your son's) except for the novella, which is only about 80 pages. However, I just looked and I used 11-pt. on it, too - don't know why. On that one I used the "multiple" line spacing in the paragraph formatting box, which gives you 1.15 between lines. It makes it easier to read. But I single-spaced the long books because the more pages there are in the book, the more CreateSpace is going to make you charge for it and the harder it will be to sell.
      I used 8 x 5 on the novella, and 8.5 x 5.5 on the big books. You can use whatever suits you. Big formats are harder to handle when you read them, but then thick books are, too.

  3. After he gets through creating, he can choose size. I know he wanted a Trade book size (he worked at B&N for several years.) Changing the font and changing the spacing from 1.5 to 1.0 seems to have reduced the page numbers (though I think I overestimated earlier.) There are 41 pages in the first 3 chapters.

    He's writing for story and has no illusions about selling them..that dream is mine though!

    1. Actually, all those sizes we mentioned earlier are sizes for Trade Paperbacks. Mass Market paperbacks are those "cheap" (nothing is cheap these days!) little 7 x 4.5 books.