How to self publish - part 2 - formatting books and getting a cover

@Rohvannyn (3118)
United States
December 14, 2016 11:41am CST
It's not nearly as hard as it seems to get your book ready to be published. The main thing is to have decent software for it. I believe Word can do most of the things I talk about it, but personally I use Libre Office. It's free, stable, works on nearly any computer, has no adware or spyware, and has a lot of people who use it. LibreOffice also lets you convert things to PDF, which will be important. The main thing with getting your book ready to print is converting it to the right size. Many of the books you will be making are nine inches by six inches, and you can go into your page settings and just set the file for that. 11 or 12 point font is about right for many books, though you might want to go a bit smaller depending on the story. Georgia and Times New Roman are good fonts for readability, I really don't recommend Arial or other sans serif fonts. Still play around and see what you like. LibreOffice lets you add page numbers too. It's a fairly simple process to add a header to the top of your document, and create a field so it will automatically number them. LibreOffice's excellent help files will take care of that, or I could create a tutorial if enough people have trouble. Basically, the idea is that the numbers take care of themselves. Some tips: Make sure you have all starts of chapters on odd numbered pages. That way they will be to the reader's right when they come to them. Same with important pages like author notes, forwards, acknowledgements, frontspieces, tables of contents, etc. Don't forget to have a copyright page - CreateSpace lets you get your ISBN before uploading your work, so you can stick that in your copyright information. If you need a good example of what that looks like, pick up any novel and flip to the front. When you have everything perfect, use the handy Convert to PDF function in LibreOffice. Take a look through and make sure it all looks good. This "locks in" all your careful formatting so it can't move around. A note: if you convert your book over to a Kindle version, it's best to use a .doc file. Luckily, LibreOffice can do that too. Anybody who's stuck can feel free to message me, though LibreOffice is really easy to use. When it comes time to create your cover, there are a lot of ways to do it. If you're like me, you will paint something and put it in GIMP, another free graphics program, and add all your own text etc. Pixabay is actually an awesome resource if you need photos. For those a bit less comfortable with graphics, there is also the option to use a cover creation program. Both Lulu.com and CreateSpace have those integrated. So it's perfectly possible to make a nice cover without having to hire anybody. If you need ideas, go online and look up other books in your genre. You can learn a whole lot by looking, noticing what you like and what you don't, and maybe taking a few notes. Cover design is a fine art but you can do some nice work if you pay attention to what is effective in other covers. If you've created your cover in another program, convert that over to PDF too. GIMP does that so you don't need a fancy converter. Go to CreateSpace and follow their publishing wizard. It will literally walk you through the process. If you have more questions, of course I'm here, and my material on under the authors links and publishing links to the right of the page is still there too. A note regarding ISBNs: There is no need to pay for them, and no need to submit works to the Library of Congress either. Both Lulu.com and CreateSpace will give you an ISBN for free and your copyright notice suffices for protecting your work. If someone tries to charge you for either, run away. More to come!
Where Creativity Takes Wing
8 people like this
7 responses
@Bluedoll (17055)
• Canada
14 Dec 16
Another excellent piece of information. A cover is important for grabbing someone attention so I can see its a good idea to spend some time on it. I like how this has been something anyone can do but now something has come up that actually costs. ISBM
2 people like this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
Not sure what you mean by the last sentences there. As a further note, because your reply reminded me, ISBNs are free through Lulu.com and CreateSpace. No need to pay for them.
@Bluedoll (17055)
• Canada
15 Dec 16
@Rohvannyn See that is something I didn't know. So then I can publish a book totally for free. No! I can publish for free? Really? I can actually ...
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
@Bluedoll Exactly! I didn't pay a penny to publish any of my first books. Then if I want to buy an author copy it's maybe three or four dollars, but I don't have to do that.
@Jessicalynnt (47895)
• Centralia, Missouri
15 Dec 16
great advice, bookmarking this post as well!
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
Woohoo!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (129898)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Dec 16
You have some great information here. Thanks.
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
You're welcome!
@Jackalyn (6684)
• Oxford, England
15 Dec 16
Libre Office is great for formatting. It gets easier after the first book or so. I deliberately format what I write as a paperback but use the headings for an eBook so I can convert quickly from one to the other.
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
I've done something similar. I'll format it as a paperback then save it as a .doc when it comes time to convert to Kindle, and it always looks fairly decent. I think I need to probably tweak it more though.
1 person likes this
@Julie555 (2549)
15 Dec 16
Great post! Thanks for sharing
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
You're welcome! Thanks for reading!
1 person likes this
@Kandae11 (40205)
14 Dec 16
So it is possible to illustrate your work with photos from Pixabay. ?
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
Yes, you could, because photographs from Pixabay are in the public domain, or in other ways free to use for any purpose. I like to still credit them when possible.
@egdcltd (6891)
14 Dec 16
Another piece of free desktop publishing software is Scribus. That also allows you to publish to PDF.
1 person likes this
@Rohvannyn (3118)
• United States
15 Dec 16
Cool! I'll keep that in mind in case Libre ever goes bad.
1 person likes this