Muddling Through Published, Part One

Muddling Through Publishing, Part One
It didn’t seem to matter how many ‘how to’ books I bought for publishing on Createspace—so much was muddy. Elsie Duggan wanted to publish her book of poetry, and I knew she was using the free Word software. At the time, I was pretty sure it didn’t have the tools needed to publish on the free Createspace website, so I offered to help—at least try to help. I had finally mastered Word 10 (not really). The following are mistakes learned. Keep in mind, Elsie’s book isn’t yet published, so if you follow what I suggest, you may well be wasting your time.
First mistake was due to two anthologies a few of us put together for Gather members. BTW, it’s called Twisted Shorties—two really cool anthologies. We did two of a series that probably won’t become a three. We did it in Ariel, size 12. I thought all books should be in that font, so I told Elsie to use it and do line spacing at 1.5. It took her 18 months, but she put her book together and sent it to me even though she preferred the Georgia font. When I received and converted it to a docx format, it was all over the place. Next mistake was hitting the ‘select button’ and changing the font. Later I changed it to her preferred font, Georgia, size 11, did a bit of squooshing and managed to get it down to 96 pages (that has now changed). Changing the font and size is easy. On your home page, you can hit select all and change font and page size. If anyone wants a picture of those steps, let me know and I’ll post a print screen picture. If you include four jacket pages (front and back) that makes 100 pages, so for print on demand, you should be able to have a book printed at the lowest possible cost. Heck, Elsie’s almost 88 years old, proud of it and sharp as a tack. But, she’s by no means rich.
Next mistake (forgot what mistake number we were on) was to follow ‘how to’ advice. This is a book of poetry and all the ‘how to’ books I bought were for anything but poetry. Below is a picture of what I used. When I downloaded the book to Creatspace’s really cool site, I learned two things. One was to get the pages right (odd is for the right page, even for the left). This I’ll cover in a new chapter.
Not a good format
The first problem I saw was that when my download to Createspace was converted, they cyber-yelled at me and told me that they had to trim the book because I submitted a letter size document that wouldn’t fit a 6 inch by 9 inch book.
Not a good format pg 2
So, to mistake whatever, getting too much ‘how to’ help.
Back to square one – reformatting. That will come as Part Two if I actually think it worked.

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13 thoughts on “Muddling Through Published, Part One

  1. Hi Pam: Thank you for being honest and open about your troubles formatting poetry for CreateSpace. You’re right; 99% of the advice out there is for prose books (novels, non-fiction, memoir), and it goes right out the window when the time comes to get it ready for upload.

    I edit poetry books for a small press, and we use Adobe InDesign to prepare press-ready PDFs. That’s a tall order (InDesign costs $$$), but at a minimum you might want to look at getting Apple Pages or a similar program. Create your pages as 6×9″ from the get-go, and send CreateSpace PDF files, not Word or Pages files.

    Good luck!

    • That’s wonderful advise, Y. I actually think I was successful in downloading a docx document. Guess I’ll find out tomorrow. I’m curious how you found me—I’m fairly new on this site.

      • Ouch, and I happen to know “word” doesn’t like me. Never has, but the books I’ve edited for that blasted Create Space, have all been fiction – prose. The guy was a Gather member for awhile, but he did publish them on there.

        Elsie’s finally done with her book? YAY! Well, except for the hard part, which you got stuck with, Pam.
        What about that other free place, that begins with an X? I forgot what it’s called, but I know several have used that one, too. (Not speaking from experience, you understand)!

      • Mare, the only ones I know of is Smashwords and Lulu. Both look good and Lulu’s very helpful, but you still gotta’ deal with Word. Heck what do I know—that’s just what works for me. Plus I have to use it for my professional business (nothing to do with publishing).

        And YAY! A bunch of us have been nagging her for years to do this. It’s about time.

        BTW, my kitchen hates me. Can you cook? If so, can I borrow you?

        BTW2, you are a great writer. Why haven’t you published your work?

  2. Pam, I can understand a fair bit what you’re talking about because I’ve just been through the process with a publisher who’s doing it for me for a fee. I realise now that my decision to invest some money was, after all, a wise one – I would never have been able to do it on my own the first time. If I ever want to publish anything again, I might try Create Space for prose and Lulu for poetry, so I’ll be following your blog posts on that.

    Best wishes for Elsie’s book. You’ll, of course, let us know when it’s out.

    And thank you for explaining the nitty gritty of the self-publishing process.

    • Glad to know that this at least makes you understand a bit of what your publisher goes through. I do think if one has the money, they should hire a pro. On the other hand, what I’ve done for Elsie looks pretty good so far (knock on wood).

      • Thanks, Irina, that makes doing this worthwhile. I just started working on part three, Headers and Footers. Think I’ll play around with it and see if I can get more creative than what I did for Elsie.

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