How do I format a book for publication through Createspace.com?
This is not a general manual on formatting a book; rather it is how I formatted my own book. I publish this because the learning curve was substantial, and my notes may save others time.
CreateSpace is an on-line website for self-publishing. It is owned by Amazon.com, and books published through CreateSpace are offered for sale on Amazon. I found the CreateSpace website to be user-friendly, and was able to design a pleasing cover and publish the book easily.
My book, A Place to Breathe, is about fifty thousand words. This is what I wanted it to look like.
- I needed it in 9” by 6” format.
- I needed facing pages to be different, with different margins for right and left pages.
- I wanted the title page, dedication page, and table of contents to show no page numbers; the introduction to show lower-case Roman numbers at the bottom of the page; and the chapters to show the chapter title at the top of the right pages with the page number at the right, and the book title at the top of the left pages with the page number at the left.
- I wanted a uniform and attractive format throughout the book.
- I had one illustration and one table that continued over several pages.
- I wanted the cover to be attractive and to indicate something of the book’s content.
I found LibreOffice to be more than adequate to accomplish all these requirements.
Here is what I learned.
Saving your book
If your book has formatting that is at all complex(and the formatting described here is complex), be sure to save it in native format (.odt). If you save it in MS Word format (.doc,.docx) you will lose formatting when you save and reload it.
Sometimes documents with page numbers will restart the numbering without any apparent reason. When this happens, saving the document, closing it, and reopening it will usually correct the problem.
Styles and formatting
I made heavy use of page styles. Though they were forbidding at first, they were great time-savers. Because I wanted a different header for each chapter and different margins on left and right pages, I defined two page styles for each chapter. For example, chapter one had the styles ch1left6x9 and ch1right6x9. These are examples; name them any way that makes sense to you.
Here is how I set up the page styles for my book.
Press F11 to bring up the “Styles and Formatting” window. Left click the fourth icon from the left to show “Page Styles.” you should see “First Page,” “Left Page,” and “Right Page” listed.
Right click on “First Page” and select “New.” This will be our page style for the first few pages of our book, the one without page numbers. Set the “Name” to something like “InitialRight” and the “Next Style” to the “InitialLeft.” Click on the “Page” header and set the margins and the Page Layout” to “Right and Left.” The margins depend on the number of words in your book. The margins are given in the pdf file CreateSpace books_diyspec_v1_1370465693003.pdf, available from the CreateSpace website. On page 39, the margins are given for a 6” by 9” book of 200 pages as 0.75” for the inside margin and at least 0.25” for the outside margin. (Here “inside” means closest to the spine of the book, and “outside” means farthest from the spine of the book. So, since this is a right page, set the right margin to 0.25” and the left margin to 0.75”.) While you’re there, set the margins to 6” by 9”. You don’t have to run through the numbers; you can just type in these number and press “Enter.” Since there is no page number in these first pages, there is no need to change the “Header” and “Footer” tabs.
Now click on “Apply” to save this information and “Close” to close this window.
Now go back to the “Styles and “Formatting” window, right-click again on “First Page,” and select “New.” This time name the page style “InitialLeft” and the “Next Style” to “InitialRight.” Set the margins as before, this time remembering that the outside margin is the left-hand one and the outside margin the right-hand one. As before, set the page size to 6” x 9” and the “Page Layout” to “Right and Left.”
Now go to the beginning of your book – the title page – and double-click on the page style at the bottom of the page. You should see a window with the page styles you have just designed. Click on “InitialRight” to set the page style. Here’s how the first few pages of my book looked: title page, with the title about 1/3 of the way down the page and my name under it, both centered. The second page holds the “front matter,” the copyright notice, a message that you own the title, the ISBN number(s) – free from CreateSpace. The third page may contain a dedication if you wish. The title page should have the page format “InitialRight,” so that the second is automatically “InitialLeft.”
Remember that the title page, each chapter, the table of references (if there is one), and any appendices (if there are any) should all begin on a right-hand, or odd-numbered, page. If this doesn’t sound right, check any published book. You may have to add pages (using Ctrl-Enter) until this is correct.
Now repeat the above process twice for each chapter, calling the page styles something like “Ch1Right,” “Ch1Left,” “Ch2Right,” Ch2Left, and so one. If you have an introduction, do the same, naming them something like “IntroRight” and “IntroLeft.”
Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers
These chapter page styles will be a little different from the “InitialRight” and “InitialLeft” page styles. Now we want page numbering, so the two “Intro” page styles will have the footer set to “Active.” Select the first page of the Introduction and choose “IntroRight” as the page style. Click in the Footer area and insert a page number, centered on the page. To do this select Insert → Fields → Other. On the Document tab, select Page. In the Format pane, select the lower-case Roman numerals. Then click on Insert, then on Close. You should see a lower-case Roman number at the bottom of the page. If necessary, center it by selecting it and pressing Ctrl-e. The number on this page includes the page numbers of the unnumbered pages that precede it. For example, if your book starts with a title page, a front matter page, a dedication page, and a Table of Contents page (four pages), then your Roman numerals should begin with v, or five. There is one caution here, though. Your introduction should start on an odd-numbered page. In order to achieve that, you might have to add a blank page before it.
For the chapters, we want a header with a chapter title and a page number on the right, with the page number on the right of the page, and a book title and page number on the left, with the page number on the left. To end a header or footer, go to the last page on which you want it and at the end of your text enter a manual page break. Insert → Manual Break → Page Break, and under Style, select the page style you want in the following section.
In your Ch1Right and Ch1Left page styles, check the active header. Then scroll to the beginning of Chapter One and set the style to Ch1Right. Click in the header area and type the chapter title, if there is one, into the header. If the chapter is untitled, you might want to type just “Chapter One” or leave it blank. Enter two tabs to take your cursor to the right-hand side of the header, and enter a page number as described above. This time format the page number as an Arabic numeral: 1,2, 3, etc. I like to underline the header by selecting the whole header and clicking Ctrl-u. Sometimes it is tricky to get the header centered. I have found that it works to slide a ̝ (center tab stop) to 7.5” on the format bar at the top of the page, then center the header text, then insert spaces between the book title and the page number until the header text is centered and looks good.
The same process works for the Ch1Left style. Now the page number is on the left (Ctrl-L) and the book title (if you choose) is on the right.
Go ahead and create the other chapter page styles (Ch2Left, Ch2Right, etc.) and enter the headers as you wish.
Pictures and Tables
It is easy to enter a picture or illustration. Just use Insert → Image → from File if your image is a file. I created my illustration in the Drawing program of LibreOffice and saved it as a .jpg file. It was a simple matter to insert the file.
My illustration was in color. If I had really wanted it to appear in color in the printed copy of the book, I would have had to choose Color in one of the steps in book design on Createspace, which would have raised the cost of the book. However, I found that there were enough shades of gray at the end of the design process that black-and-white was acceptable. (I got a mild complaint from the automatic format checker.)
Simple tables that fit on one page are also easy. Just go to Ctrl-F12 to insert a table. You can use the table formatter (Table → Table Properties) to center the table on the page, make the grid as you wish, etc.
If the table takes up more than one page, formatting is a bit more complex. You may need to split the table so that the first part is on one page and another part on the following page. To split the table, select the row below where you want the table to split and select Table → Split Table. You have the option of repeating the headers at the top of the table on the next page or not. If you have a table at the very top of a page and want to enter some text above it, you may need to select the table, press Ctrl-X to delete it and save it to the clipboard, add some lines at the top of the page (Enter Enter Enter) and, with cursor below the blank lines, press Ctrl-V to insert the table.
Remember that you can check the page style of each page by looking at the third panel from the left on the progress bar at the bottom of the page. If the style of one chapter persists through the next chapter, just select and delete the manual, page break between the chapters and reinsert a manual page break (Insert > Manual break > Page and set the page style to that of the second chapter.)
This should get you through the main steps. Good luck!