Pressbooks: another formatting resource for Indie writers

Pressbooks LogoI recently mentioned using Pressbooks to format books in my post about memoirs. It occurred to me that I had yet to wax lyrical about this great website. So, this month I’m going to give you a guided tour.

I found a few years ago, when I wanted to generate epub and mobi files of a book that would never see a formal distribution channel. My client just wanted to be able to place files on a website for readers to download free of charge. At the time it was a new site, still in beta, and those of us who used it chatted back and forth with the developers occasionally. I found them charming, clever and helpful; I remain fond of the site as a result.

These days it’s pukka, with paid services, distribution channels and a string of glowing reviews from small publishers. Although it now goes way beyond simple ebook production, you can still access the services completely free. Who would want to though, and why? Continue reading “Pressbooks: another formatting resource for Indie writers”

Book Formatting Checklist

list-clipart-list-mdOnce we’re done writing a book, it’s time for eBook and print edition formatting. Going back through again and again to check all the small details and make sure it’s all correct can be a frustrating time sink. I’ve found that if I try to check on everything as I read back through, I tend to miss things, so I developed a process where I go through once to check on just the headers, another time to check just the footers, a third time to check on just the formatting of the chapter titles, then again for whatever else might be required in that particular book. Very time-consuming.

It got me thinking about a post RJ Crayton wrote a while back about doing a story bible. The story bible is more about the content of the book: the names, ages, descriptions of the characters, relevant plot points, dates, locations — anything, really, that you need to keep track of while you’re writing. I realized we could do a similar thing for the double-checking process at the end, and it was really brought home to me when I was beta-reading a book for a friend and I found glaring inconsistencies throughout. One chapter header was bold, the next was not; one chapter header had two blank lines after it, the next had none. I realized a detailed checklist could help a writer go back through the book and catch (hopefully) every little formatting slip-up that sometimes slips in. Continue reading “Book Formatting Checklist”

Print Book Formatting: Myth or Truth?

BookshelfI’m a lurker, not in real life, of course, but on the internet. When researching how to self-publish I spent hours creeping through discussion fora and searching for answers. Some of the answers brought up more questions, like this exchange on a popular writing site:

Person 1: “Always start chapters on an odd page.”

Person 2: “Why?”

Person 1: “Are you a moron? Haven’t you ever read a book? Chapters always start on an odd page. You call yourself a writer and you don’t even know that?”

I swear I’m not making that up. While I wasn’t the moron asking the question (I was the moron lurking in the shadows wanting an answer), I was a little taken aback by the pile-on. The thread continued for at least three pages with authors insisting “real” books through “traditional” publishers always start chapters on an odd page. Continue reading “Print Book Formatting: Myth or Truth?”

CreateSpace Headers: The Basics

Author photoGuest Post
by Melinda Clayton

Ask any self-published author about his or her experience with CreateSpace templates and you’re likely to hear something along the lines of, “I can never get my headers right.”

While CreateSpace provides fantastic templates, headers can be finicky. After spending one marathon weekend formatting three novels at once, I learned a few things I’m happy to share. Continue reading “CreateSpace Headers: The Basics”