In book publishing, how best to change the page size for a new edition?

I am learning a lot here and really appreciate the help. This time I have a question of process, more than technique, as I am often creating 3 different versions of a title: A hardcover, a paperback, and an e-version.

My process currently has been to do the e-version first, as this one does not require any hyphenation or other formatting. So the book is done in that format first and saved as an e-pub.

Then I turn on hyphenation and usually move to the hardcover and format that as necessary for a 6"x9" page size. This generally has included adjusting for widows/orphans, orphaned words, and a variety of other things. (No content, as that would require returning to the earlier e-pub version and fixing that too!)

Then lastly, I do the paperback, with a 5.25"x8" page size. To ensure the books are identical I usually go from this finished hardcover title and make style changes throughout. But I’ve often had issues with direct formatting that creep in. And of course, nearly all the tweaks that I made for the hardcover have to be removed and reset fresh for the paperback. Having taken the time to apply Styles throughout, I don’t want to have to redo all that from scratch.

I’m curious if anyone knows a more streamlined or effective process whereby I might save steps or have a workflow that allows for less “starting over from scratch.” Can I for example, change the page size throughout the document and have all the other formatting changes remain? The biggest things I need to change are font-size (a smaller book needs smaller font) and size of chapter headings and so on…plus the additional manual widow/orphan text-flow issues.

Lastly, is there a way to avoid the frustration of realizing there’s an error somewhere in the content or that I’ve forgotten to include someone in the Acknowledgments page and have to make the same edit 3 times. For example, is there a way to store the content in one document and somehow have the 3 different versions all pull their content from that one lone file rather than be three individual documents? (I’m guessing not, but if this could be done in a “merge” feature it would work like that.)

I am guessing that perhaps I could take a template that I’ve created for a 5.25"x8" document and apply that template to the 6"x9" styles and it would automatically shift everything? Is that a correct assumption?

Just curious if there’s expertise in this and how I might make this smoother. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Basically, your versions differ in paper format and feature activation, such as hyphenation).

Your fundamental requirement is a single content source.

This can easily be handled with 3 master documents, a single content file and a rigorous writing discipline. Consider styles are primarily a way to mark up semantically your context. When writing, don’t care for visual/typographical effects (such as bold/italics, indents, font, …). Style your paragraph as Text Body for text without specific significance, Heading 1 for chapter title, Header for the header, user-defined Comment for comment paragraphs, … Similarly, within a paragraph words which have a specific importance should be character-styled with Emphasis, Strong Emphasis, user-defined Foreign Word, Important, Character Name, …

Also, the pages are marked up with page styles: one page style for the cover (may be built-in First Page), one for the TOC, one for the Acknowledgements, one for the chapters, one for the back-cover.

You set the typographical characteristics afterwards and magically all your document is updated to reflect the changes.

The important thing here is a consistent use of the style names; this is a key factor to the success of the procedure. Note that paragraph styles may be organised hierarchically so that they all depend on a “master” style (which you don’t use in your book and is used only to set defaults for the others; this is how Default Style works). Changing the font face in this “master” style is propagated to all dependent styles without the need to adjust them all individually.

Unfortunately this hierarchy does not exist for page styles, with the consequence that paper sheet size must be corrected individually.

If many attributes are common between your three versions, such as font face and, as is usual, many paragraph styles create a template where you’ll store all your styles (at least the complete collection for one of the versions).

Once you have your marked up .odt content file (and the optional .ott template file), create one master file per version based on the template.

It is certainly a good idea to base the content file on the template too.

Creating a template-based master is a bit tricky because there is no UI direct way of doing it. Create first an ordinary (empty) master and use DocumentTemplateChanger extension to associate a template to it. You can now customise your styles to fit the version, mainly change page size in the page styles and enable hyphenation in some paragraph styles. This is were a hierarchical organisation of paragraph styles comes in handy because you only need to enable it in an ancestor style like Text Body for it to be effective in all descendants.

The master will import the content file unchanged in all versions because you only play with the styles. When you update the content file, the changes are immediately taken into account next time you open the master document. Remember you change the styles attributes only in the master. Styles defined in the master override styles with the same name in the content sub-document.

In the content file, set your style so that you can tell it is applied but don’t optimise it because it will be overridden in the master. Also take special care not to add one-of-a-kind styles in the content file. Should you need a new one, think twice about it and add it in the template and override it, if needed, in the masters.

With such an organisation, your workflow should be pretty automated.

EDIT 2020-08-06 Illustrating the workflow

The relation between the files is as follows workflow

(e-B = eBook, HC = hard cover, PB = paperback)

The template file contains all styles (paragraph, character, frame, page) used all over the manuscript. Set them in a form convenient for writing, perhaps for the e-book as it seems to be your primary “product”. A least, some styles are shared between the three editions (e.g. same font, same indent, same variation like bold or italics, …).

Write your manuscript (“Txt” in the schema) based on the template. VERY VERY IMPORTANT! Don’t introduce direct formatting there otherwise you’ll be stuck. Work exclusively with styles (don’t neglect character styles for emphasis and other effects). The only acceptable direct formattings are manual page breaks to change page style or list numbering reset.

The editions are built with light-weight master documents, also based on the same template, which include your manuscript. You tune the layout in the master document. Since you wrote exclusively with template styles without adding any, you have the same style names in the master as in the manuscript. Any customisation you make in the master style will change the look of the manuscript only for this edition. You override so what is in the template and optimise for the edition, e.g. paper size, hyphenation, font, …

Note that header and footer don’t transfer from the manuscript to the master because they are private attribute of the page style. The page style in the master, though bearing the same name, is not the same object as in the sub-document. Therefore, you must recreate the header/footer in the master.

Also, your covers may be different (the physical edition may have a picture while the e-book has none). The consequence is that you should design your covers in the masters only, not in the manuscript files because you can’t remove a part of an included sub-document, nor selectively add elements in it.

Any edition you do on the sub-doc will be visible in the other masters. This means you can’t try to fine tune your paragraph-widow line issue edition per edition. You must give up this personal requirement.

The schema above allows you to have a single source for your document: any modification made in it will be instantly reflected in the editions. The masters are the “containers” for style differences and don’t modify the manuscript content (separate the covers from it if they are different). The template is where you modify the shared styles, one again single source for the common ones.

It may take a while until you get accustomed to the mental gymnastics of the schema but I’m confident this is an efficient way of managing your editions.

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In case you need clarification, edit your question (not an answer which is reserved for solutions) or comment the relevant answer.

This is a great response and very clear for the most part, but I need a little more help to know what some of the terms mean.

  1. The content file is the manuscript, I am assuming. I can write it the way I normally would and then remove all the formatting and clear any hard breaks and such…then call it “the content file.”

  2. Then the master document is…a template? I would make this by opening (or saving as) the content file, and going through and applying styles until it looks how I want it to?

  3. And then, to do the paperback, I would do the same thing? But then…I end up with three documents to change content in?

Let’s say for example that I have a document that I want to apply a Chapter Title, a First Paragraph w/ Drop Cap, and Text body to. But in one document the font is 11pt and the other 9pt, and the Chapter Title is 16 in one and 14 in the other. I do this in one document then notice a typo and fix it…how do I make this change through the other versions?

I edited my answer. It is now very long. Press the “more” link to show the addition. Is is clearer? Does it answer your questions?

I really appreciate the additional info and graphic, @ajlittoz. It’s much clearer now, but a few links are still missing. Wouldn’t .ott files be required?

And to do this:

  1. Write the manuscript in .odt format, sans direct formatting of any kind.
  2. Apply the universal styles that will carry throughout all editions (to this document? To a different one?)
  3. Save 3 versions of this style-applied document. E, H, and P. Make additional changes to those three, for example, hyphenating H and P but not E.

But now…what happens when I’m at this point and realize that I left out a person’s name in the Acknowledgments or forgot to italicize the “Kampai!” before drinking some sake? What’s missing isn’t the workflow, which makes sense, but how to actually perform these changes. If I make the edit in the original text (one place) how will this carry into the 3 versions without my changing each one individually?

The template is an .ott file into which you define your styles (all of them, probably in the e-book variant because this seems to be your primary target).

The novel is an ordinary .odt document based on the template. When you write, you see it as it will be in the e-book version. You save only this one, no other version needed.

The masters are .odm documents which contain a link to the novel. Technically, it is a bit more complicated than a link, but this is the idea. You don’t copy the novel, it is used “as is” in the three masters. The trick is: when you redefine styles in the master (without changing the name), this definition overrides the one in the template and the novel. In the master you play only on formatting, not on novel content. This is why I suggested to put the covers directly in the masters in case they differ from one edition to another.

What are the consequences? (to be continued)


  • You left out a name in the Acknowledgements: add it to the novel. Next time you open a master, it’s there.
  • You forgot to italicise a word: apply character style Emphasis to it in the novel (or your custom style for that). Next time you open a master, it’s italicised, unless this character style is redefined in the master to replace italics with red and it will be red.

Whenever you edit the novel, the changes are automatically forwarded to the masters!

Similarly, if you change the styles in the template, next time you open any of the other documents, you’ll be asked if the changes should be applied.

This is certainly what I’ve been looking for and very helpful. Now I’m just trying to get it all to work.

I have a base file where I’m changing text and have successfully created a master odm document from it. However, when I try to change the page size of the master, nothing happens. I can see the style there in the “Styles” pane, but double clicking after highlighting does nothing. The only way I’m currently able to change any styles is to do it in the original, then update “All” in the master document.

I’m missing something, for sure. What did I do wrong here?

I think we should continue on private mail if you agree. I just need the master and a 1-2 page sub-doc sample to check what you’ve done. Is it OK for you? If so, I’ll give you a bounce e-mail address and you’ll get the real once when I answer.

Waiting for your reply.

Yes, that’s fine. You’ll pm me? Thank you!

Send me a message at ajlittoz (at) users (dot) sourceforge (dot) net

When I reply, you get my private e-mail.

Here are my thoughts on a simpler procedure.

Condition: A written document should only exist once. The document should be produced in three style versions (sizes).

My approach: Write a document (source) and do not use any formatting (i.e. standard style). Use only paragraph marks.

Create three global documents in which the desired formatting (styles) are already included. Save them as document templates.

In each global document, the source is assigned and the styles for headings and text must be assigned once.

Changes to the source affect all global documents.

The procedure described above is only a reflection variant and has not been tested by me.

Simple is always good, @Hrbrgr. Yes, I’m thinking something along these lines where I work only in a “base” document. But for example, I want to have certain non-English words italicized, and thus, if I do that in the hardcover Style-version, wouldn’t I (after creating a paperback Style-version) have to now redo all that in the new version? Or should SOME things be done in the “base” so that they carry through automatically into the other documents?

Another way to put this: I’ve got a paperback version in 5.25x8" page size that’s very close to being perfect. How can I now transpose that into an identical hardcover 6x9" and a non-hyphenated e-book? I don’t want to return to the “base” document because it would have all the formatting stripped that I spent hours adding. I’d much prefer to keep the paperback styles and content and just expand the page and the font accordingly. If possible. :slight_smile: