Tag Archive: formatting



Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  After lining up my Beta-Readers, the allergy season kicked into unbelievably high gear and knocked the breath out of me literally!  What energies I’ve had have been dedicated to working on The Vampyre Blogs novel itself and formatting “THE SHIP” to be ready to go to Smashwords, Kindle and Createspace once I hear back from my beta-readers and make a few changes to the manuscript.

This brings me to today’s topic.  Formatting your book to go to press through these three outlets can be trying at times.  I’ve only had to go through it once so far and that was a little over a year ago when I published “THE BRIDGE”.  Luckily, I did remember a lot of what I learned back then for dealing with Kindle and Createspace.  Smashwords is taking a little more effort and I will address that topic in another entry very soon.

Today, I want to focus on a shortcut I’ve discovered that has made my formatting efforts for Createspace and Kindle go much faster and easier.  When you use Createspace you tell the system what size of paperback book you want to make.  In my case I’m partial to the 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback size.  I know my books are long to begin with and want the reader to get their money’s worth when they buy the paperback version of my work.

So, I told the system what I wanted and it gave me a template (HALLELUJAH!) to follow.  This template is blank and contains a number of things I’d never thought about before.  Things like:

1-A Title Page

2-Copyright Page

3-Acknowledgement Page

4-Dedication Page

5-Table of Contents

6-About the Author

All of these things are not always necessary for your book, but is advisable to protect your rights and to make things nicer for your readers.  And of course dedicating and saying thank you to those who had your back while you worked on your masterpiece.  But when you’re writing the story itself you don’t think about these things.  You’re focused on telling that story.  These things only come after you’re done.  But when you  are done, do you know how to create these pages?  How much spacing to use?  What order they go in?  Where on the page to put them so they look professional?

For me the answer was a big NO!  I hadn’t the first clue, so when I opted to download that template guess what was waiting for me, all set and ready to be filled in?  All of those little things.  But that was just the beginning.

How the paragraphs and my sentences lined up within the book itself was another issue.  Because each book is a different length, do you know how to line up your paragraphs on the pages so that none of the words get lost down where the binding meets?  How do you know that your paragraphs will line up on the opposite pages and look neat and professional?

I didn’t, but the template took care of that for me to.  The first time I did things I had to learn to redo my indentations and fix the paragraphs, adjust the margins etc. manually.  But this time I used the template and everything went much smoother this time.  To make life easier for myself in the future I SAVED the blank template as just that and then made a copy of it which I inserted “THE SHIP” into.

I then took the blank template and copied it again and started writing my third novel directly into it.  This way there will be no question about whether or not it will fit Createspace’s format guideline.  Plus, I get a sneak preview of what it’s going to look like in actual book form.

Another little benefit to using their templates is that Createspace does have an option that once your print-book form is ready to go, they can forward the file to Kindle and get in e-book format for you using the same template.  You can also submit to Kindle directly on your own through Amazon KDP, which is what I’m doing.  I only made a few changes such as removing the page numbers and headers found at the top of the pages since they don’t work on Kindle and just make a mess.

I’ve already pre-submitted what I’ve done and saw that indeed, in both cases, everything is lining up neatly.  I discovered after the fact that “THE BRIDGE” was messed up as far as paragraphs not lining up in the Kindle format.  I’ve taken it down for now and am making changes to correct that issue and will put it back up on Kindle just before “THE SHIP” comes out.

I’m really finding using Createspace’s template a real time saver and a good reminder of little details that need to be addressed when you’re going the Indie Publishing route.  I strongly advise others to check out their templates and use them.  They may save you a lot of time and frustration down the road.

I’ll keep you posted on how things go when I actually submit everything for final review.  And as promised, I will do a post about Smashwords guidelines and any templates I can locate.  Each system is a little different, you CANNOT use the Createspace or Kindle templates for Smashwords.  So stay tuned and until next time, keep writing.

One Size Does NOT Fit All…


Okay gang, guess what I’m up to this week?  I’m redoing “The Bridge”…AGAIN!

Let me clarify, I’m reformatting “The Bridge” specifically for Kindle e-readers.  Last night I got a 3 star review on Amazon, which I’ve been anticipating for some time.  I mean, in spite of all the 4 and 5 star reviews, it was bound to happen right?  Of course.  But when I read the review I was stunned to see where some of the problems were for this reader.  They considered the story itself a 5 star read.  But the editing and formatting were barely 1 star.  Now I’ve known about the editing for some time and have plans in the very near future to get the book the professional edit treatment it needs.  I’ll finally have the funds to do it, I’ll explain how that happened in another post.

But the formatting issues that were raised stunned me and I couldn’t help but smack myself in the head for being a fool.  Especially, when I went over to Amazon and took a look at the sample of what the book looks like in Kindle form.

I had made the cardinal mistake of assuming that when I first created the book on Createspace and used one of their templates, that the system knew what it was talking about when it offered to send the finished product to Amazon for Kindle.  BIG MISTAKE!

Now please understand, I do not own any type of e-reader.  I’m still a “Turn-the-paper-page-by-hand” Man.  So I never considered what the format might look like on an e-reader.  What works for paperbacks does not automatically work for e-readers.

First off, I have a tendency to use space gaps to indicate when I’m changing points of view in any scene.  But I also use those for entire scene changes.  In paperback this is forgivable, but in e-reader format it can be confusing to the reader.  And if the change happens between the bottom of one page and the top of another, it’s even more confusing for which I apologize folks.  These things never occurred to me.

Plus, I got a good look at how the indentations appeared in the Kindle version.  I nearly screamed.  I had no idea the system would reformat things so unevenly.

So I’m reformatting the entire book right now specifically for Kindle e-readers.  I’m also trying to do a bit of editing along the way, but it’s still a far cry from the professional job this book needs.  Yet, I’m also close to having the money to get that done, which leaves me with a quandary.  My KDP Select ends in about 10 days.  Should I just go ahead and take the book down and send it off to be given a proper professional editing job and then put out a really good 3rd edition, along with the new formatting?  Or just reformat for now and then have that much less to do after getting the book professionally edited?

I ask you all for your opinion on this.  Personally, I’m leaning towards doing the reformat now AND then sending it off right away to the editor for a good makeover.  Then re-releasing the book to Kindle, Nook, Sony the  works as soon as the work is finished.  My only concern is that this will leave me with no books on the market in the meantime.  But a part of me thinks it might be worth the risk.  What do you all say?  Please leave your thoughts and comments below.  I really need some feedback on this one.

Thanks.  Take care and keep writing.


First of all, I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!  If you’re going to be on the road tonight, please drive carefully and watch out for others who may not be doing that.  My wife and I will be curled up at home watching one of our favorite movies “HOLIDAY” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.  Yes, it’s an old B and W but the message it shares is very powerful and personal to us.  That message is simply “Chase your dreams.  Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen.  Even if it means taking risks instead of playing it safe all the time.  Hold onto each other as you go along because there might be pitfalls and you may have to go back to selling peanuts, but believe in those peanuts and each other.  This way after you’ve analyzed what went wrong, you can try again and again until you succeed in making it that dream a reality!”

All of this is easier said than done.  But remember this…. UNLESS YOU TRY, THAT DREAM HAS NO CHANCE OF EVER HAVING A CHANCE OF COMING TRUE!

This is what I’ve told myself time and again as I’ve worked on my writing.  And I’ve taken risks.  I tried the traditional publishing route and it didn’t quite work out.  But during those few years I tried it, I learned a lot.  The industry changed, e-books have evolved and the face of the publishing world changed beyond what anyone thought it could.

So as 2012 comes to a close, I continue to work on the finishing touches of “THE BRIDGE”.  Originally I had hoped to unveil it first by Christmas, then New Year’s Day.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that.  Every time I think I’ve finished the formatting I discover a new problem and have to work on it some more.  But I don’t mind.  This simply means that my book is going to be in the best possible shape I can get it in.  And since it is my debut novel, my introduction to the world of writing, I’ll take that time to make it perfect.  I want’ to make a great impression with this novel, because “YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION!”  Take the time to make it a good one folks.

So, once more I wish you all a HAPPY and SAFE NEW YEAR!  And I close this year with what is now the final version of my book cover. I know I said that before, but people pointed out “Hey I don’t see your name on the cover…” So here it is.  See you all next year!

Final Version of the cover.

Final Version of the cover.

 

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