Monday, 7 May 2018

#Monday Matters-How Did That Happen & Formatting Tips

#How Did That Happen?

It's #Monday again and I'm jumping for joy! I've eventually got all 3 of my  Celtic Fervour Series novels published in both ebook and in paperback formats. However...

The paths to my paperback self-publishing have been littered with some interesting, and very irritating, little pebbles. Not huge boulders, just annoying little bumps along the road.

I really thought a good few weeks ago that my paperback publishing venture with Createspace was going to be much easier than publishing the 3 ebook versions of my Celtic Fervour Series. Not so, I'm afraid!

I got what I thought were my final fully professionally edited versions of the novels into the specially designed Createspace templates. Publishing with Createspace is meant to be a relatively easy process, and they offer a range of free templates, depending on the finished size of the required book. I wanted to publish as 5" x8", since those are the sizes of my Crooked Cat Books versions and it's much easier to stack and sell a similar size on my tables at Book Fairs, Craft Fairs, Highland Games etc.

After the stage of ensuring the formatting was as perfect as it could be inside the Createspace template for my 5"x8" – taking into account things like the amount of rows down the page that a Chapter Heading might sit; the sizes and styles of fonts used; the margins chosen to maximise the amount of text of the page (fewer pages means a cheaper book); the placing of the images for maximum impact; the Front matter in the desired sequence, and the End matter also in order after the end of the story. I thought I had all of that sorted when I realised I'd not added page numbers to my original manuscript Word file.

Adding page numbers to my main story seemed easy enough, and instead of having a 'Page Break' between the front matter and my Page one of the story, I learned I needed to insert a 'Section Break'.  No problem! That meant I could number the Front matter pages in Roman numerals, similarly for the End matter to differentiate them from the main story.

All done - or so I thought.

I had decided that although the preparation was done for the paperbacks, I wanted to publish the ebook versions first, so the templates for the paperbacks were temporarily mothballed.

After the ebooks were published, I went back to the paperbacks and began the publishing processes. It proved to be not so simple after all!

My first irritating issue was that I was unable to load a version of Adobe Flash Player. The Adobe Flash player is essential for using the Createspace Interior Reviewer programme for checking the files for the covers and interiors. I couldn't check properly without the Interior Reviewer programme, but since I was confident my files were good, I was able to order a Proof copy at considerable expense for the 3 books. $45 including shipping isn't cheap, but I decided to do it before ordering multiple copies for selling locally.

The 'expedited' Proof copies arrived very speedily, within three days, which was amazing.  However, in the intervening days between ordering and receiving my proof copies, I was very annoyed about the Adobe problem so I contacted Createspace and told them of my problems with checking the files. To their very great credit, they emailed almost immediately, given the time differences, and gave me a solution for installing the Adobe Flash player  - which was in fact already on my computer, installed at source, but hidden and unknown to me.

NB Createspace 'contact/ help' were very efficient! 

The proof copies arrived and the front covers were AMAZINGLY beautiful! The spines looked great too, but I realised I'd not picked up on the fact that the blurb text was too small, too light, and ragged. This wasn't an immense problem to solve, but my cover designer was on holiday and that meant a slight delay to get them fixed. 

I opened the inside of the proof copies to find a very strange line above the numbering. And on Book 1, The Beltane Choice, there was a very strange DOT printed on every page in the Footer area.

Again this wasn't a massive issue, but my proof copy wasn't as good as it could be. I set to working out why these had printed. Of course, if I'd had the Adobe Interior reviewer to check with, these strange issues would have surfaced before I ordered the proof copies.

After a lot of fruitless searches on various sites, I found that the Createspace template as seen on my 2003 version of Word has the line above the number as a standard and if not wanted, it has to be deselected using the Format> Borders and Shading options where I had to choose >None.

It was during these searches, I found that my strange DOT had inserted itself during the numbering process, and it also had to be manually removed from the Footer.

If you have intimate knowledge of your Microsoft Word version, then you might have known that, but my excuse is that I was a primary teacher and only learned to type when I had the need to!

Yes, I have picked up many bad habits when using Microsoft Word for word processing, and I am gradually eliminating them.

I'm now extremely hopeful that the 30 copies of each book that will arrive at my doorstep within the next couple of months will be as perfect as can be.

So, to round up this post, my advice if self-publishing via Createspace is - DO make sure you have the Interior Reviewer facility that needs Adobe Flash Player to run it. DO check for little issues that detract from the overall great publishing. And Google your version of Word for answers, if the problem doesn't seem to be covered in the extensive Createspace Help forums.

I'm a happy author now, and more than ready to complete Book 4 of the series and get it through all the necessary stages. Watch this spot in the coming weeks for more news on that!


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