Formatting and Getting Ready to Publish – Paperback

This post is a continuation of one of my previous posts on my writing process. This is all the nitty gritty, frustrating, aggravating, rip-your-hair-out type stuff I had to learn the hard way. For me, formatting the ebook is incredibly easy in comparison to formatting for paperback. Part of it is dealing with a wraparound cover, and part of it is, dealing with trim size.

Now, I’ve also heard that formatting for an ebook can be the worst thing in the world. My first tip, buy Scrivener. You need this if you want it to be an easy process. I literally hated everything when trying to do it from Word. It’s not an overly expensive program, and you can get it for Windows or Mac. As a head’s up, I do use the Windows version, so any and all steps are for Windows with Microsoft Word 2010 and Scrivener for Windows with all updates in order.

I usually create my paperback file first since I almost always write the book from Word in the first place. Some writers do the opposite, but either it doesn’t matter. You have to copy and paste between the two programs for the best results. I break up the book into three chapters with their own document so that I can easily copy and paste into the main Word (paperback file) document as I get them back from my editor, and it also creates plenty of backups. Unless you happen to have an IT guy living in your house, backups are super important, especially if you accidentally ruin something like I have before. I wouldn’t advise that level of panic, it’s unhealthy.

I create a new Word file and set the page size to the closest setting of my paperback trim, which I’ve selected as 5×8.” It’s a little smaller than Createspace suggests, but it’s cheaper to print and easier to hold. Got to Page Layout>Size>5.83×8.27″(as an example). This should set your entire document (if you’ve left it blank thus far) to this size. Which is fine since when you upload the final file the bleed goes off the edge of the page and it works well with the 5×8″ trim size.

For whatever reason, I have issues with the text not fitting so make sure you use the ruler in word to set it like this.

Then the first page I use the font I like for the series, in the case of my Wolfegang series, I use Falling Skies Font (you can download this font for free on with font size 28 for the main title, font size 20 for the book of the series and for my author name.

Create a blank page (tip, make sure to show paragraph marks and symbols, it really helps) then for the next page I do my copyright. Font Times New Roman font size 10 (smaller fonts show up bigger than you think in the print version. Blank page, and dedication same as copyright but I do it in italics. Therefore font size 12.

I do another blank page, then a sub-title page with just the main title, my series font and font size 28. Here is where I create a new section (for header and footer reasons.) Creating a new section allows me to add in page numbers and the title and author name at the top without having them appear on my ‘front matter’ content pages.

To create a new section go to Page layout>Breaks>Next page. You’ll want to do this on the page prior to where you want the new section to be.

Now make sure you select alternating evens and odds. Go into the header and write your author name, first (my preferred method) and then for the second page put in the title of the book. I use Times New Roman at 10 to offset the Times New Roman font size 11 of my actual story.

Then go into the footer where you see my first page number, one and go to Insert>PageNumbers>Bottom of Page>Center. You’ll have to highlight the page number for one and two and go to Home to change the font size to 10 Times New Roman.

Don’t forget to add in your chapters! If you look you can see I chose Falling Skies for my Chapter Headers (Font size 18) and then the rest is Times New Roman 11. This applies for the entire rest of your actual book. I space it at paragraph spacing 1.5, otherwise it looks weird in print form. Too much space in between each line. Go all the way through until you’ve done every chapter. The heading and footing should apply all the way through.

When I go to add in my back matter I change the section of the header and footer again so it doesn’t continue the page numbers and headers.

I usually keep the back matter simple. I always include the next page about the next book, if it’s released, if it’s not and when it will be, and the URL to my newlsetter on my website. I included acknowledgements for the first book, which I won’t do for the rest until the last of the series. And then the about the author. Normally I keep the same rule with the blank page between each of these back matter items, but it really depends on where it falls when you upload it to Createspace. You won’t know until you upload and got through. (At least I haven’t figured that one out yet.) That’s everything I put in the paperback.

SAVE the file, and then SAVE AS>Select PDF and save the file as a PDF. You could upload just the Word document, but if you save and upload a PDF it makes a copy of the IMAGE, which means all your fancy fonts and stuff will be saved and printed in the paperback. Otherwise if you upload the Word file it might convert things and change all your hard earned formatting.

Things I do all the time you should watch out for:
1. Make sure when you center something, you pull back the indent so it’s perfectly centered.
2. This applies to headers, footers, front matter, back matter, Chapter headings, and scene breaks! So you might have to go through and check in all you chapters for those scene breaks.
3. With the paragraph markers ON make sure to go through your Word document and fix any formatting that might be hidden, such as extra indents.
4. When you save the file as a PDF, make sure the paragraph markers are OFF as it saves it as a copy of the IMAGE of your file, and you don’t want those paragraph markers in your paperback. Control+A and turn them off.
5. Double check everything.

Now you are ready to upload the file to Createspace. I will make a separate blog post regarding uploading, and then another blog post about formatting the paperback cover so it matches your trim size and looks like this:

I hope this post was useful. And make sure to post questions in the comments so I can update this post with more detail if need be 🙂

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