Saturday, 25 October 2014


Previously, I wrote about formatting a book file for Kindle, which you can find here:

However, I thought it would be a good idea to also explain a little about formatting for Create Space, Amazon's print on demand subsidiary.

I will assume you have your book already completed and ready to go, without the formatting in place. However, if you happen to be at the beginning, having not written a word so far, then you can implement the what-have-you's before you start, which will make life a whole lot easier.

You are going to want your book to look like any other printed book. If you take an ordinary book off your bookshelves, you will notice several things about the way the pages are set out. This is what you are going to do with yours.

First, it all needs to be in single line-spacing. On Word 2003 and probably other versions of Word, you should have the option of single or double line-spacing on your toolbar. If not, go into Tools > customise > commands > format and in the right hand pane scroll down until you find a box with two horizontal parallel lines (single line-spacing). Click and drag to toolbar. Do the same for one and a half line-spacing and double if you like.

On your document (and I am assuming you have all the chapters and all the bits and pieces like title page, and copyright page etc. all in the same file) Highlight All (control + A). Click your single-line-space thingy.

You do not need extra line spaces between paragraphs, unless you are starting a new scene. Then you have an extra line space to indicate that.

You need to justify your margins (that is, make them level each side.) You have an icon on the toolbar for that. Or you can control + J. A note here, especially for the English. We do not need two spaces after full-stops (periods in American!), colons, question marks,exclamation marks etc. If you have put them in you will find out why we don't need them when you justify your margins! Reduce them to one space. (Find/replace menu on Edit.) When you're checking your work before publishing, this is something you need to be vigilant about - we do not want hulking great gaps in our text, now, do we?

Take out 'orphans and widows' and 'Keep lines together'. This is an infuriating thing Word puts in. Basically, it is designed to stop you splitting paragraphs, so that you do not have one line of a paragraph at the bottom of one page and the rest on the next. Fine if you are writing a letter. A pain in the nether-regions when you are formatting a book. Because you will notice in books that all the pages are nicely lined up at the top and bottom with no dirty-great gaps until the end of the chapter. That's what you want. So, highlight all (control + A) go into Format > paragraph > lines and page breaks. Make sure everything is unchecked. Hopefully that will take it all out. If you find you still have a problem with it at a certain location in the text, you will need to go directly to that problem, and go through the sequence again. Sometimes Word can mess you about on this one. If anyone from Microsoft reads this, can you please stop Word automatically installing orphans and widows in future!

Now you will perhaps have indented your paragraphs using the tab key. Apparently, this is a no-no. To undo that, Highlight All, (control + A) Format > Indents and Spacing. Where it says 'Special' and beneath it in the drop down box 'First Line' click the down arrow beside it. Click 'none' and OK. You will lose all your paragraph indents throughout the file. Do not panic. Go to Format again, indents and spacing. Now on the left hand side where it says 'Indentation' in the box marked 'left' you will see 0 cm. Change that to 1.0 cm. Click OK. Now it will seem to you that nothing has happened to your text. Actually, what has happened is that all the text has moved over 1 cm to the right. That is because you now have hanging paragraphs. You need to un-hang the paragraphs. To do this, if you do not have the command on your toolbar, you need to go into Tools > Customise > Commands > Format and scroll down until you find Hanging Indent and beneath it Un Hang. Click and drag Un Hang to your toolbar. When you've done that, and with your document highlighted, click Un Hang. Suddenly your text has indented paragraphs.

Now each new chapter and each new scene where you have a break in the chapter starts with a block paragraph. There is no easy way to tell you this! You just have to go through the text and each time you come to it you have to alter it by hand. This is how you do it. Put your cursor at the beginning of the text you want to align on the left. Format > paragraph > Indents and Spacing > special and in the drop down box click none. Sorted.

If you want to centre anything, like title chapters, you can highlight it and click control + E, and it will go to the centre. But if it is already indented on the left, it will put it slightly off-centre to the right. To correct this, highlight the centred object, and take out the indent as above: Format > paragraph > Indents and Spacing > Special dropdown: none. THEN do control + E and it will be nicely in the centre. Sometimes, you find that Word centres the whole of the next paragraph as well! Don't ask me why! Just highlight it and on your toolbar click 'justify' or control  J.

Begin each chapter on a new page. At the end of each chapter you need to Insert > page break.

To centre the title pages: You will have selected your font and size, etc. You will have centred your title page as you want it. But it will be at the top of your page, not in the centre where you want it. Make sure you have inserted a page break after the last letter on the page. Highlight the page. Then into File > page setup > layout. Then:

Make sure the section start is New Page. Make sure under Headers and Footers Differet odd and even and different first page are both checked. Make sure Vertical alignment says centre. And make sure you apply this to 'This Section' or it will do the whole book!

Repeat for your copyright page etc.

Numbering pages. Oh what a pain this can be. Reason being if you want your numbers on the outside top corner of the page, each odd number will be on the right of the page, and each even number will be on the left. You do this on the Header and Footer menu on View on your toolbar. It should look something like this:

Next bit it that blue bar. You need to go to page setup on that - slide the cursor along until you find it. This what you get:

Notice, again you have Different odd and even page and Different first page checked. Your vertical alignment is Top. And you apply to Whole document. Click OK.

Now back to the blue bar. Since you do not want a page number on the first page, go to page 2, decide where you want the number to be by going into the dotted line box at the top of the page and clicking the position. Now go into your blue bar and the first icon is Insert page numbers. Click it, and a 2 should appear where you had clicked in the dotted line box. Move down to the next page, go into the dotted line box, move the cursor to where you want the page number to be (opposite side to previous page) and click. Then in blue box click Insert Page number. It should say 3. The next page should automatically say 4, the next 5 and so on, with the numbers alternating sides.

If you do not want page numbers on your title pages, then go to where you want the numbers to start. On the menu in the illustration above, instead of Apply to Whole Document instead in the drop down box you want This point Forward. You will now see that it is labelled in the dotted line box section 2 and also you will see Link to previous. That means the numbers will run on, but this section is different to the last. You can repeat this for each chapter heading. I have a new section for each of the Title, copyright, dedication pages, etc. Mess about with it. You can always re-do it. Close the blue bar.

Remember, you will want Chapter 1 to start on an odd page number (Think about it!)

Now for the actual pages. You can download a template from Create Space, highlight all (control +A) copy, (control + C) and paste (control + V). However, you may find you need to do some adjusting, especially at the beginning. I leave that bit to you.

If you wish to do it yourself, this is how it is done. File > page setup. Make sure it is on Portrait. >paper. Select the size, or type in the size you want. It is a good idea to make sure it is a standard size for Create Space files, or if you are printing independently, for them too. Create Space like 6 in x 9 in. Independent printers like A5 or something like.

Now you need to adjust your margins. This is what Create Space gave me for a 6 in x 9 in book.

You will note that there is .33 cm for the gutter. The gutter is a print industry term for the bit of the page nearest the spine, so that the text doesn't run into the spine. Notice also that instead of left and right margins, you have Inside and Outside. That is because we have put 'mirror margins' in the drop-down box. Make sure the orientation is Portrait. Click OK when you have done that.

Convert to a PDF file. You can buy a PDF converter disc on Ebay for as little as £5.00. Or you can pay a whole lot more for an Adobe one. I got a £5.00 version and when I converted the file, all the letters were on top of each other! I threw that one away and bought a different £5.00 one and it is fine. Easy to use. And as an added bonus, it will also change the pixel density in pictures and convert them from anything to J.PEG or anything else. A good £5.00 worth I think.

I think that just about covers it.

The next job is to get your Create Space account and go through the motions of uploading files. If I've forgotten anything, let me know.

Evelyn Tidman is the author of GENTLEMAN OF FORTUNE, The Adventures of Bartholomew Roberts, Pirate, and ONE SMALL CANDLE, The Story of William Bradford and the Pilgrim Fathers. See website.