Formatting your manuscript for paperback publication – Part II



This post is Part II in the continuation of the steps necessary for formatting your manuscript for paperback publication.

After posting here last week, I ran into what seemed to be insoluble problems, serious enough that I began questioning my ability to ever solve them. With the timely intervention of another writer, I was able to solve those problems. Talk about serendipity! But, more about that in a bit. First, a brief recount of where we left off.

Last week we began by dividing the ms into three parts, the front matter, the body file, and the back matter so that we could format each separately. We then followed the CreateSpace (CS) instructions about title information, ISBN requirements and then dealt with the Interior formatting requirements of trim size, and paper color. We got far enough along to set the margins and page size, and had discussed headers and footers.

Then I encountered the problems mentioned.

I spent this past week trying to figure out how to use the headers and footers (page numbers) correctly, including eliminating all headers and footers on blank pages. Little by little, I started working my way toward a solution by learning the proper use of the “link to previous” button in the Navigation tab of the Design pane in MS Word. I used it to link and unlink the sections and chapters as necessary, but I was having trouble getting page numbers and running headers formatted properly.

Then, hallelujah, I got a comment on last week’s post from a fellow LinkedIn writer, Roxanne Smolen. In the comment, she included a link to a post from her blog, Roxanne’s Space, entitled Format Your Book for CreateSpace. Once I read Roxanne’s post, my wife was able to untie the straps on my straitjacket so I could go back to work without fear of hurting myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Roxanne!

Here is her link. This is all Roxanne Smolen:

I would love to publish the entire post because I think it is that important, but it is too long to include here. Roxanne takes us step by step through the entire process making it “easy peasy” (as she says.) It is easy. It just entails following a rather long list of procedures.

Here’s a brief outline, but, please, do yourself a favor and read Roxanne’s post. It is that important.

The post is divided into seven sections:

  1. Ready, Set, Go – in which she covers the basics of margins, etc (the stuff I covered last week) but in much more detail.
  2. Front Matter Matters – a five-step section dealing with some stuff (trim size, ISBN) I had discussed last week, but, again in more detail.
  3. Back Matters Too – This section reminded me to include an Author’s page – among other bits of advice.
  4. About Your Headers and Footers – This is the section that saved my sanity. It explains the necessary steps to take to ensure your running headers and pagination are correct. I had discovered the “Different Odd & Even Pages” box in the Options tab on the Design pane, but it had not yet crossed my mind to use it for pagination. As Roxanne explains it, you merely have to insert page numbers twice. Duh and eureka! She solved my formatting problems.

EXCEPT FOR ONE – (And this is just a personal preference) I find the header on the first page of some chapters to be repetitive and crowded. I chose to use the chapter number and chapter title (e.g. Chapter 1- Boredom) as the header on odd numbered pages, and only the book title itself on even numbered pages. My design has the odd page info aligned with the right margin and the title info aligned left. Consequently, there were occasions where a chapter begins on an odd numbered page that, by design, includes the chapter information. Crowded and repetitive as mentioned. I tried using that “Linked to previous” mechanism, but I cannot eliminate the header from only the first page of the problem chapter without eliminating them all. I tried using page breaks instead of section breaks to no avail. Perhaps, I am asking for too much, but others must have faced this problem too and come up with a solution. Any ideas out there?

  1. Kill Widows and Orphans – I do this manually.
  2. And Another Thing – In which the use of Drop Cap is discussed
  3. Easy Peasy – Covers converting your manuscript to PDF.

Thanks to Roxanne, my manuscript is ready to go. It did take some hours of work to iron out all my problems, some self-created, others not, but that sure beats a week in a straitjacket!

Before converting to PDF, I am giving my manuscript one last read-over. I have fussed with it so often that I want to make sure I haven’t messed up the content that I paid a copy editor so dearly to fix some many, many months ago.

This situation demonstrates the virtues of LinkedIn and Google+. There are fellow writers (in this case) out there willing to help. That is a good thing. Thank you all for your help.FotoFlexer_Photo Quill

4 Responses to “Formatting your manuscript for paperback publication – Part II”

  1. Roxanne Smolen

    Thomas, did you try making the first page of the chapter its own section? Have a section break on the page before and another section break at the bottom of the page. That should allow you to have no header for that section.

  2. Lynette M. Smith

    Assuming each chapter is its own section, my suggestion would be to (a) click into the header area of the first page of a given chapter, (b) turn OFF “Link to Previous” (before you do ANYTHING else), (c) click/choose “different first page” for that section’s page layout, and (d) delete the contents of that first-page header. Then (e) repeat for the first page of each chapter. (Roxanne’s suggestion of making the first page of the chapter its own section is well intentioned, but I think it would cause a problem if a full-justified paragraph happens to span the first and second pages.)


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