Hello everyone. Today I am posting an article on getting your manuscript ready for Createspace (you can stop pulling your hair out now, lol). I hope this information will help make it a little easier for you in transitioning from e-book to paperback.
Formatting a book for print with Createspace using Microsoft Word
First, I format my work using Microsoft Word 2007/Word 2010, but there are similar programs out there. There are several sizes but we are talking today about formatting a 6x9 paperback, one of the most popular sizes. I hope I can shed some light on this process because it doesn’t have to be as frustrating and confusing as it seems.
The first thing we will discuss is setting margins:
If you do not set your margins correctly your book will print too far into the gutter or too near an edge, (the gutter is where the books is bound together by glue). So let’s set your margins; go to the Page Layout tab in word, and select the Margins drop-down. Next chose ‘Custom Margins’. A margin dialog will appear. Set your margins like the image shown:
Keep the margins at .75″ except the outside margin, which is set at .5 to give you a little more room towards the outside edge. Set Multiple pages to “mirror margins”. This means that the left gutter ‘mirrors’ the right gutter when the book is printed. Now that the margins are set, click the Paper tab. We are working on a 6×9 size paperback so we will set the paper size to “custom” and the Width to 6″ and Height to 9″. Easy peasy, lol.
Now click on the Layout tab. This is where we set up the header and footer (book titles and page numbers go here).
Next comes font choices. Go with a simple, easy to read font. Times New Roman is the number one choice in the publishing industry, but things are changing. I use Garamond because it is an easy to read font but don’t stop there. Try something nice for things like titles and chapter headings. There are a lot of pretty fonts out there but try not to use anything that will distract your readers from your story. Also a note; use a ‘serif’ font instead of sans-serif font, they are more appealing to the eye.
Now comes paragraph set up. Under the home heading look for the paragraph tab and find the arrow to the right bottom and click there and set up the paragraph indents and spacing. A note here; never, ever, never, use the tab key to indent. It confuses the program Createspace uses and it gets real ugly (pulling out your hair ugly). Paragraphs are justified so that all of the words line up on both the left and right margins.
Next under the Indentation heading, set to “First line” and “0.3 inches” to set your paragraph indents. If you use 0.5″ as suggested, in most style books, it tends to look funny but you can experiment here and judge for yourself.
Next set ‘Before’ spacing to 6 points between paragraphs. This will help your paragraphs seem cleaner. Also, you want about 1.15 on the line spacing section so you don’t wear out your reader
Next, right click on the box that says ‘Normal’ in the styles box and choose “Update Normal to Match Selection”. This will ‘set’ your font, size, justification, indentation, and your entire body of text should reformat itself instantly.
Next stop, chapters. Your chapters should always start on an odd-numbered page, and please, never use page breaks to do this. If you do and later in the story you change something, the page count changes, causing your chapter headings to move and you back tracking to find your chapter headings and moving them to the odd page setting again. Can you say ‘headache’? To keep this from happening use ‘Section breaks’. In the Page Layout tab click on ‘Odd Page’. When you use this kind of break, Word will automatically format it so that there is a blank page between chapters, making your life a little easier.
Now, how do we get those perfect chapter headings and white space we see in every nicely formatted book? Your chapter header should start a few lines down from the top, and you should also use a bold font. You could hit enter a few times but what a pain in the you-know-what. Go to your first chapter heading and right-click on the text and choose the “Paragraph” option. You should see this box:
See the ‘Spacing Before’ section? This is where the program defines how much white space is needed for your chapter headings, and the ‘Spacing After’ is the amount of space between the heading and the start of your chapter. Format your chapter and set the font size. Use a bold font for chapter headings in 14-size font. Go back to the home tab, locate the ‘Heading 1’ style, and right click to select ‘Update Heading 1 to Match Selection’.
Now, all you have to do is click the ‘Heading 1’ style, and presto, a perfectly formatted chapter heading, every time.
Here is what Fracture The Secret Enemy Looks like:
A note here~Pick up a paperback and open it to the title page. Notice the “Title Page” is on the right, flip it and you see the “Copyright Page” on the left, “Dedication” on the right, then often a “Blank” page on the left and “Table of Contents” on the right,” (sometimes, not all books use contents pages these days) and a “Blank” page on the left with Chapter 1 beginning on the right.
Now comes the real fun; headers and footers.
Page Numbers go in the Footer, or bottom of your work and the Author Name and Title go in the Header, or top of your work. Begin numbering as 1 on first page of Chapter 1 and begin Author Name in Header on Page 2 (Left side) with the Title in the Header on Page 3 (Right side), or you can style your Header in this way, Title/author where it will appear the same on both left and right pages.
To set up a header and footer for your document, click on the Insert tab at the top of Word. Now locate the Header & Footer panel. Click on the Header item and you'll see a drop down list appear:
There are several choices but I use the first item on the list, Blank. The top of your page will then look like this:
A new tab appears called the Design tab. The panels on the tab are: Header & Footer, Insert, Navigation, Options, Position, and Close.
The thin, dashed blue line is the bottom of your header, and everything above is the area where you can type your header text. There is already a selected area with the words "Type text" in it but this is the first page in the story. You don't want a header on the first page. We want the headers to start on page two. Look at the Design tab, and locate the Options panel. Check box next to Different First Page:
Now locate the Navigation panel, and click the Next Section button:
The header text on page 2 will now be selected. Now type your title of the story again. Choose a font and font size (I suggest keeping it simple). For the font you choose, click back on the Home ribbon. The Design ribbon will stay open but if you accidentally click outside of the header, and lose the Design tab, just double click anywhere inside of the Header area to get back to it. Now click back on the Design tab when you're done. Your header will then look like the above copy of my book Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga.
Numbering your pages using Footers: You can do the same things with the Footer as you can with the Header. Select the Design tab at the top of Word and click on "Go to Footer":
Word will take you to the bottom of the page and to the Footer area and because you checked "Different First Page", your cursor should be on page 2 of your story. To insert page numbers, locate the Header & Footer panel on your Design tab. Click the Page Number item and a drop down list will appear. Select "Bottom of page".
These are built-in page number formatting. Scroll down and find one that you like. Then click it with your left mouse button. In most books, page numbers are centered at the bottom of the page but there are variances and the choice is yours.
Now if you are satisfied with your headers and footers, you can close the Design tab. To do that, click the Close button:
I hope this information was helpful to you on your journey in getting your book ready for publishing. There is lots of free information out there to help you keep your sanity on your way and I wish you the best of luck!