READ THE GUIDELINES!

 I’m always getting after my husband, who buys something and then tries to make it work without reading the instructions. And I’m always telling new writers to go to the agent’s or publisher’s web site and read the guidelines before formatting or submitting any work.

 Well, now I’m the one at fault. Last week I proudly announced the trade paperback edition of The Crows would soon be available. I thought it would be. I’d made what I thought were the necessary changes in my ms (which I had uploaded to Kindle for an e-book), had uploaded the file to CreateSpace, had a cover created, and filled out all the other necessary parts (description, price, tags, etc.). I’d ordered a proof and awaited my first view of the final product.

 Well, the proof arrived, and it wasn’t what I’d expected.

 Now, CreateSpace had sent a notification that my margins didn’t fit the 6×9 size I’d selected so they’d had to modify the font size, but I really didn’t think that would be a big deal…until I saw my proof. If you use a magnifying glass, the font size isn’t too bad. (Actually, I’ve purchased paperbacks with the same font size, but I hate reading them. It’s very tiring on the eyes.)

 It was then that I went back to the CreateSpace site and ACTUALLY READ the guidelines for formatting a 6×9 book. And guess what? I hadn’t formatted my ms correctly.

 Last week I spent two days working with the formatting. Most of the slowdown was due to two things. The first problem was WORD. (I do not get along well with that program). I couldn’t figure out how to get the header and footer to come out the way I wanted. I finally went back to CreateSpace and used their template for formatting a 6×9 book.

 I thought that would solve all my problems (header, footer, and numbering were all coming out right), but every time I uploaded the file, a quick check showed my text was bleeding over my margins. I uploaded three files, each time thinking I’d corrected the problem, only to discover the same problem was there. I was ready to scream, so I left the computer and watched TV for some time. And then, after my husband had gone to bed, and just as I was thinking I’d call it a day, I realized what was wrong.

 In using CreateSpace’s template, I had added a page. What that did was change which side of the book became my first page. Instead of starting on the right side, chapter one started on the left side. That changed the gutter size through out the book. All I had to do was add one blank page before chapter one and the next preview showed everything fell into place.

 I’ve ordered another proof. Cross your fingers (I have mine crossed). I think everything will come out right. I’ll know when I see it.

 Tune in next week, but meanwhile, if you’re going to self-publish or publish an e-book, I strongly suggest you read the guidelines.

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13 Responses to READ THE GUIDELINES!

  1. Liz crowe says:

    whoops!
    hate that. hope it works out on 2nd draft!

  2. Sidney Ayers says:

    Ah yes, formatting. A writer’s nightmare. I should be receiving my proofs for the book I am self-publishing today. I “think” I followed their guidelines. It ended up being 342 pages (a few pages shorter than the original publisher’s count), so my fingers are crossed. Good luck with the next round. 🙂

  3. MonaKarel says:

    My mantra has always been: “When all else fails, read the instructions”

  4. I’m considering self-pubbing and will definitely read the guidelines! Thanks, Maris!

  5. vicki batman says:

    Thanks for the tidbit. I’d love to do Createspace, but feel intimidated right now. Maybe soon!

    • MarisMaris says:

      Actually it wasn’t that difficult. The template really helped. As I said, it was one small mistake that took me the longest time to resolve.

  6. Annette says:

    Ouch! I’ll try to remember that, Maris. We all hope we can cut corners. Looks like sometimes reading the directions can turn out to be the most direct route. Darn.

    All the best, Annette

  7. Diane Burton says:

    I did sort of the same thing when I tried to use Kindle Direct Publishing. I thought I’d read the directions correctly–and didn’t. A real learning experience. Here’s hoping this time it will be right for you. Good luck.

  8. Sometimes reading the instructions seem so long and overwhelming. I hope the second time is a charm!

  9. Sidney Ayers says:

    To be honest, the easiest thing you can do is to grab another paperback book. I counted how many pages were in front of the first page of the book and added that many blank pages to use for the title, dedication and copyright pages. I changed the paper size, margins and gutters. My first attempt was without the correct gutter setting, but the Createspace automatic checker found the error. It also kept telling me my page numbers were outside the margins and that the images (they were actually text boxes for page numbering) were less than 200 dpi. This kind of bugged me, since it was actually text, not an image. Your warning had me worried, but the proof I received turned out pretty good.

    Here are some settings I used:
    Page size: 6X9
    Margin Size: .5 (header .25 from top, footer .5 from bottom)
    Gutter: Left side, .75

    There are a lot of other nifty things you can do too. I have it so each chapter starts as its own section so that page numbers and headers don’t show on the first page of each chapter. It was really time consuming and I pulled out more than one hair getting it all figured out. LOL. So much so, that I ended up shelling out $50 for someone else to format the eBook instead.

    If you’re still running into problems, let me know!

    • MarisMaris says:

      Ah, Sydney, I sure could have used your help last week, but I’m feeling confident about this round. Using my version of WORD I never could get the header the way I wanted, but the CS template was great. It put my name on the left side page and the book title on the right side page. Otherwise the page setup was about the same as you used. I did use .5 for the top margin. One problem I did run into using the template was they had a font that I didn’t have and didn’t want to bother downloading, so I had to change all of those. No big deal but I evidently missed changing something somewhere in the file. I don’t think that will have a big effect of the end result.

      • Sidney Ayers says:

        Woo hoo! Glad your second attempt went a little easier. Wish I knew CS had a template. I got instructions from an eBook I downloaded. It didn’t mention that I’d need to change the gutter. I did get my proof in the mail and noticed one tiny issue with a tab setting. An easy fix that I didn’t bother ordering another proof for.