Thursday, July 7, 2011

Digital to Print - Do the math or suffer the consequences!

If you have been following my journey, you may have picked up that Print on Demand formatting is giving me FITS. L I expected this process to be simpler than digital formatting. It so wasn’t. It didn’t help that I neglected my due diligence in thoroughly researching the POD process. I spent a lot of time comparing Print on Demand providers (see here), but not the formatting and cover processes.
Here’s my digital manuscript to POD print ready manuscript step by step process:

Step 1 Make a Create Space account
            Create Space give you step by step tasks to follow. Easy Peasy—mostly…
Step 2 Choose a Trim Size
·         Standard sizes range from 5 x 8 to 6 x 9. Most of the YAs and POD books I have are either 5.06 x 7.81 or 5.25 x 8. If you have a book or two you like around the house, measure their sizes.

·         Also choose white or cream paper.
Step 3 Do the math or suffer the consequences
·         I am sooo not a math girl. So figuring out gutter and outside margins made my brain bleed. You see, they are off center, and right side pages have opposite gutters than left.

·         So, I opted to use a preformatted template. Here’s where my lack of math hurt me. I tried many templates and no matter what I tried (Create Space; Lulu; or other) the results were wonky. Crazy headers and footers; ghost lines impossible to remove; and other strange formatting junk. I worried that it was my manuscript, but I tried other manuscripts and even format stripped wordpad documents with the same results. My best results were with these particular CS templates, but even then I had to do some ghetto formatting to make it work (i.e. stripping page breaks and hitting the return like 20 times to create faux page breaks to remedy inconsistent headers.

·         Here’s what I did. I took my Smashwords perfected digital manuscript and deleted “Smashwords” copyright. I mirrored the copyrights of printed books I have.

·         Then I cut and pasted into the CS template for the size book I wanted. I chose 6x9 and although I considered downsizing, the amount of template trauma I experienced dissuaded me from making changes once I had a print ready PDF.

·         Then I “fixed” wonky formatting, crazy header spacing. I added odd/even headers with book title on one side and my name on the other. I added page numbers at the bottom. (You have to format both odd and even page numbers and select “link to previous” EXCEPT on page one.

·         Once your manuscript looks right (keep in mind you may have to ghetto format to get spacing and other thing) save it as a PDF.

·         Review your PDF to ensure continuity of formatting, headers, and footers.
      ·         Mine the Create Space community for answers and general problem solving.
You now have an Internal PDF - half of what you need for POD print copies of your book. The other half is a cover PDF. Next week I will dissect the flaws of my digital to print cover.
Conclusion: POD formatting is harder than it ought to be. If only there were a perfect template out there. *sigh*
Mood: Perseverant
Related topics: To read my POD provider posting click here.
Next steps: Waiting for cover fix… In deep revision on another project.
Your turn: Have you had better success with POD formatting templates? Please share! Also ask any questions you might have. J

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