UPDATE: (Still by the inimitable, pants-wearning Sabrina who is offering us all an opportunity at promo — Calling all Human Wave authors! A group promotion is being planned for early August. All you need is minimum one available ebook and a willingness to price it at $1.99 or lower for a week. I’ve got publicity planned for some high-traffic blogs to announce it, too. I’m calling it the Human Wave Garage Sale but my mutant talent is NOT marketing so better ideas are encouraged. Send smoke signals if you want to join in.
A guest post by the inimitable Sabrina Chase (who-wears-pants and everything!)
Createspace for the Lazy
An ancient software principle is that laziness is a quality of a good programmer. They hate writing extra code so they get very *efficient* at what they do. I revel in my laziness, and have figured out a lazy way to do CreateSpace print books. I’ve formatted six books so far, and this is the system I figured out.
First, a bit of prep and the Naming of the Parts. You will need…
- One (1) complete manuscript in Word format. In my case it is originally written in OpenOffice (because Word is evil and puts all sorts of goop in that is bad when converting to HTML for the epub/mobi versions). However, I also convert a copy to Word format for my editor (may her name be blessed) so she can do the official markup thing. You want a version in Word, with styles, that has all the edits done.
- Cover art. My artist very kindly puts my name and the title of the book in the actual graphic file for me, but it is simple to do yourself if you need to.
- a CreatSpaceinteriortemplate for the trim size of book you want to produce (I have standardized with 6×9 for no particular reason). I have also customized the base formatted template for my own needs, putting in my standard end matter, Also Published, author bio, and other non-book-specific content, because, lazy. Get the templates here: (link)
- Some kind of graphics manipulation software. You can get a free version of Photoshop here, (yes, perfectly legit just no longer supported software) but be aware it is a computer resource hog. This is what I am using. Anyone with experience using Gimp or other graphics programs, please chime in.
- Once you have completed Part 1 below, you will need a covertemplate from CreateSpace, but you need to know the *finished* number of pages so we’ll do the interior first.
Part 1: the interior
Using the CSinteriortemplate (use the formatted one, at least at first) will get you a professional-looking print book, but no bells and whistles like drop-caps or other, truly professional layout features. I’m not a layout expert and frankly neither are most bookstore owners so I argue it doesn’t matter. All of my detailed instructions below assume Word 2003. If you don’t have that version don’t panic–you just may have to search around the web to find the steps to get to that particular thing.
1) Open the template in Word and decide which sections you want to keep. For example, I usually remove the table of contents unless I have funny chapter titles I think the reader would enjoy anticipating.
2) WARNING! Here abides math! Simple counting math, but it still tripped me up a few times. After removing the sections you don’t want you need to make sure the page COUNT and the page NUMBER match. Because the template puts the gutter, the margin that meets the spine of the book, on one side or the other depending on whether the page is odd or even. It’s magic. Therefore it is crucial that the even and odd page COUNT match even and odd page NUMBER. A page can be the third page in and be numbered 7 and that is OK because they are both odd. All of those previous sections you removed? They had page numbers even if they weren’t displayed. You may need to insert a blank page just to get the page numbers to work out. The way you check is at the very bottom of the Word window, it will have something like “Page ii Sec 2 4/40”. That means page (roman numeral) 2, second section, actual page 4 out of 40. Make sure as you go through that every even page has an even number, and also that all 40 (or whatever) pages are there. Somehow you can make it think there are invisible pages if you delete sections, I have no idea why. Just humor it. If there is a missing page add one to the previous section using CTRL-Enter.
3) Change to Header/Footer view by clicking View in the upper menu, then selecting Header/Footer. You will be doing this a lot. Go to the beginning of the first fake chapter. Notice that at the top of the header it says “same as previous”, meaning it is copying the style from the previous section. A handy little menu bar should have popped up with header/footer stuff. Disconnect the style from the previous style by clicking on the icon with two little pages with a dotted arrow going from one to the other. Do this disconnection procedure for the next two pages (this cleans up First Page, Odd Page, and Even Page styles). Start the page numbering at 1 in the footer of the first page of chapter 1, add your author name in the header of the first even-numbered page, add the book title in the header of the first odd-numbered page. Format font style according to taste.
4) (this is the fun part) From your original Word document, copy the whole bloody thing, from “Chapter 1” to “THE END”. Select the section of the template from “CHAPTER 1” to the beginning of the end matter, and paste.
5) No, not done yet but it’s just a mopping up operation from here. First, open up styles by going to the menu, clicking Format, then clicking Styles and Formatting. The handy list of available styles is displayed, including a lot of CSP-Blahblah that came over with the template.
- Convert your styles to the equivalent CSP-STYLE WHATEVER for first para of chapter, chapter title, and regular body text. See why we use styles now? Put the cursor on a block of text with your format. Look over at the format list, scroll down until you see the format name in a blue box, and right click on it. It will have an option to “Select (x) instances”, click that. THEN you can pick the equivalent CSP-style, click that, and hey presto, everything changes over. the first chapter section you get for free, but now you need to go find each successive chapter and do a section break insert (select Insert in the menu bar, then break, then section break/next page) between the last line of the previous chapter and the new chapter title. This will make the pages and margins all happy. DO allow header and footer inheritance and continue the page count from the previous section.
- Styles are where you can set your font. I usually go with Garamond 11, the important thing is being consistent in the text. (Although I use Times New Roman 9 for the header and footer and nobody has yelled at me yet).
- If for some tragic reason you didn’t use styles, no time like the present. All you really need are the chapter title, first para, and body text. Search for your chapter titles, select the text and pick the CSP-chapter title style, select the first paragraph and set its style to CSP-first paragraph, and the rest of the chapter to vanilla CSP-body text.
6) Gross violations check. *quickly* skim through the whole thing without reading. strangely you will be able to catch a lot of egregious formatting bobbles this way. You won’t get ‘em all but that’s what the proofing pass is for. Usually in my case it was some rogue style that weaseled its way in when I wasn’t looking. Select the offending section of text, pick the correct style and continue on.
7) Extra Credit: Fleurons. I use clever little graphics instead of # for scene breaks. There’s no style for that, so I go through and make sure they are centered and look right. Sometimes the AutoProofer (see below) complains that they aren’t flattened images, but it’s a warning and not a failure and it always comes out looking fine.
8) Get the final page count. Go all the way to the end of the document, past the end matter. (note page COUNT not page NUMBER) That’s what you need for the CS Cover template (link).
Part 2: The Cover
This will all be done assuming Adobe Photoshop CS2 , which is the only graphics program I know (and none too well, at that). See the introduction for a link to a free copy if you have nothing.
Go to Creatspace for a CS Cover template (link). Here you will need to decide the paper color (color makes it thicker or something, who knew) and use your previously determined page count and trim size. Download the handy template, which is an image format Photoshop can handle.
1) Open up the template in Photoshop. Admire the ghastly pink borders, and treat them as lava. This means, no text or important graphics can appear there. You must also avoid putting important stuff in the reserved area for the bar code. Swaths of pure background color are OK. Don’t worry, the ugly stuff will go away when we don’t need it any more.
2) Open the graphic file of your cover art. This will be a separate window in Photoshop. Click to select, and drag over to the template. Resize as seems best to you, remembering to avoid the pink lava areas. What I usually do now is use the Rectangle Tool, click and drag to create a rectangle that completely covers the front cover area (including the pink) and then use Fill to make a nice background for the cover image. Selecting a color already in the cover art using the Eyedropper works well. If you can’t see your art, that’s because the fill layer is on top of the art layer. In the layer menu just click and drag until everything is in the proper stack order (the template layer should be at the absolute bottom).
3) Use a similar procedure for the back cover and spine (I usually use a single rectangle for the whole area). For extra credit, I also sometimes copy a section of the front art that looks cool, expand it, and set it at something like 40% transparency for the back. Again, stack the layers with the fill under the transparency if you use one.
4) Text: Clever but readable fonts for front cover tag lines (“She thought the penguins would save her. She was wrong…”) and the spine title and author name. Use the Text tool. I like to assemble my text then select it with the Move tool. If you move it a handy menu appears that lets you rotate the text exactly 90 degrees for the spine. Text for the back copy (“Marooned on the ice station, menaced by penguin pirates, Mary Sue longed for a cruller. By the award-winning author of “Where’s My Walrus?”) should be non-fancy, readable and professional. Make each paragraph of back cover text a separate Text box to make rearranging more convenient.
5) Extra Credit: Press Logo and Book Style. Since I have my own publishing company and a cool logo, I put that on the back too. I have a consistent “house” style for the placement of the name and logo, which I have saved as its own file (lazy!). Opening a previously formatted book cover, I line it up with my new cover and make sure everything looks the same as much as possible.
6) Cleanup: By selectively turning off layers (click the eyeball icon next to a layer to hide it) make sure no critical graphical elements are in the Lava Zone. Turn off the layer with the template, and save the whole thing as a Photoshop PDF. Make sure the Layers checkbox is not checked.
7) Yay, you have a cover!
Part 3: Uploading
Go to CreateSpace. If you haven’t already done so, start a new project with your book title and fill in all the pertinent information (be consistent with your trim size, paper type, etc.)
1) Upload the interior text file. It will take a while to riffle through it electronically with their automatic checker. Definitely open the proofer, even if it finds no issues. CHECK THE PAGE NUMBERS and the header/footer behavior. If pressed for time still check the first chapter and last chapter. If the auto-proofer comes back with hundreds of errors it’s probably just our friend the odd/even page problem, so refer back to Part 1 and the importance of page number continuity. Easy fix. Keep fixing and uploading until it says you don’t have any issues.
2) Upload the cover. Submit the whole thing for approval and wait. (If you have more books, just proceed with them). When your book is approved, order a proof copy (REALLY recommend this) it is cheap, about $4 and you will catch all sorts of errors.
3) Thoroughly proof the proof. Check the headers, page numbers, styles, etc. again. Make sure the cover doesn’t look goofy anywhere and the whole package looks like something you already have on your bookshelves.
4)Fix any problems in interior and cover and upload again. I usually don’t order a second proof copy but when it is approved I do check it out in the online proofer to make sure my changes took place and didn’t screw up anything else. APPROVE THAT SUCKER! and start picking out the custom features you want on your yacht.
5) Picking the sales channels. Here you may want to hedge a bit. I didn’t pick extended distribution the first time around because who was going to buy a print book anyway, and it cost $25 per book. Also, I found some goofs in my print versions I didn’t catch in multiple rounds of proofing (I’m better at this now). If you make a change in a book *after* extended distribution is picked, it costs an extra $25 per change of file, so that saved me a lot of money when I fixed them, then signed up for Extended Distribution. You may well want to order that second proof copy but it takes a long time to ship, and it might delay your yacht order. Depends on what you want and what you can put up with.
6) That’s it!