Saturday, April 26, 2014

Experimenting With A Createspace Template To Save Time Formatting My Books....

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.