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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Joy of Formatting for Create Space

My first book is almost ready to be published. It is written and edited, has a wonderful cover, and is starting to feel like it is really happening.

It is also, for the first time, starting to feel like work. That's because of the three days I spent formatting it for CreateSpace (with more to go when I tackle formatting for e-book conversion.) If there is a more tedious, annoying, painful part of publishing a book than formatting and layout, I have yet to find it.

Formatting starts with the page size. That's actually the easy part. You go into page formatting, set the page size according to CS's guidelines for the book dimensions you want, and you are good.

If you haven't already, pick out a font preferably two different fonts, one for chapter titles and one for your actual text. Then you go through, page by page, and are change font, font size, and alignment for your entire book. You can't just 'select all' to make the changes - if you do, your chapter headings will end up the same size as your text, which doesn't work at all. Don't forget to justify the text (and NOT justify the chapter headings!)

Orphans and Widows are particularly annoying - that's jargon speak for when a single line of a paragraph ends up a different page than the rest of the paragraph. Most word processing programs have a way to automatically avoid Ophans and Widows, but you can still have problems, especially if your chapters have subheadings - word processors don't recognize a subheading on one page and the following paragraph on the next as a Widow, but it still looks bad on the page.

Basically, it was a lot of going through the text, over and over again, making sure that there was nothing I had missed that would cause problems later or not look good. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to a good looking book. So take your time, go through page by page, and you'll get there.

Now I'm off to reward myself for all my hard work. Take care.

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