My second book bubble: chapter two of ‘Rise of the Darkwitch.’ Meet Emmy and her unfortunate life — which is about to take an unexpected turn.
Blogging a few days early because this Sunday is Christmas day!
My paperback went live on 18th December, and I detailed my proofing and creation process in the last post. All seemed well…
…until my copy arrived.
Ah! There was a problem with the margins, which meant an issue with the size of the type. It became minuet! And in comparison to the margins, it looked so awful in comparison to the margins.
I knew there was an issue, so I went back to the drawing board with my margins. Turned out, one of them was out by a whole inch (!) where I’d typed 1.53 instead of 0.53. Doy. At least it was an easy fix, and the proof files are awaiting their check by CreateSpace now so the paperback can go back on sale.
I like my text to be bigger so it’s more accessible for readers with eye issues–a little like myself! Small text might make book production cheaper, but in my experience, it’s less enjoyable to read.
Other changes I made included making the text on the spine blue instead of white, but the contrast wasn’t stark enough, so I’ve lightened the blue considerably in the next proof. It looks much brighter in the photograph than it does in reality. I also added a little snowflake to represent Emmy’s powers in the novel.
Other non-proof related news include the fact that my t-shirt and business cards have arrived! Just waiting on my banner and flyers and I’ll be all set for Belfast Film and Comic Con in March 2017. Very exciting!
So that’s it from me for 2016! Next blog post will likely be in 2017. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, have a great Kwanzaa, Yule, Saturnalia, Omisoka, and New Year–and whatever other holiday you may observe!
Stay safe, behave (within reason), and let’s hope that 2017 is a hell of a lot more positive.
Love, Ziv ❤
This week has been a very difficult one for me personally, but it has left me with plenty of time to get on with some of the less interesting parts of indie publishing: formatting the paperback. I’ll be using CreateSpace and referring to Microsoft Word, because at this point, that’s how I do my paperbacks.
Holy moly, if you can get someone to do this for you, DO IT! It is very difficult—not impossible, but difficult.
This post will walk you through the processes I’ve gone through to get from formatting the word document all the way through to the final print proof. Hopefully, it’ll be of some use to someone! I’ll only be looking at interior files, not covers. Covers are an entirely different story!
Choosing the Size
One of the first things you have to do is decide on the actual physical size of your paperback. One thing you will learn about me in this blog post is that I have a tendency to follow the BFI principle: brute force and ignorance. I do not always do research beforehand, and often find myself in a bit of a sticky mess. This time was no exception.
CreateSpace suggested to me that 6x9in was the most popular size, which may indeed be the truth! However, had I actually bothered to measure that, I would have realised it wasn’t right for my novel.
6x9in is the standard size for many non-fiction books and also hardback fiction books. Unless you’re writing one of these, I don’t suggest you use this size. It looks awkward and from the moment I saw it, I knew it didn’t “feel” right. Certainly not for the type of book I’m producing—a young adult fantasy novel.
So, back to the drawing board I went to order my second proof. This time, I went for 5x8in, and this is a much more appropriate size!
It’s closer to the general paperback size than any of the others, and at nearly $5 a pop, PLUS shipping, I don’t want to experiment with any of the others. Thus, 5x8in it is.
Formatting the Margins
This is an extremely tedious task that takes a lot of patience. The issue that you’ll run up against is the guttering in the book (the fancy way of saying the insidey bit where the pages are bound and you can’t see the text). You really don’t want any of your words in the gutter, so it’s important to get it right.
To format your margins, you need to go to Layout > Margins > Custom Margins. There, you’ll be able to adjust each margin individually, which is really important! You can’t format all of your margins to exactly the same size, otherwise it won’t look right in print.
For my 5x8in, CreateSpace suggested a gutter of 0.625in as standard. When I formatted this, it didn’t look right. It was as if the gutter was too big, so I adjusted it a little to 0.55in and it looked a lot better on the online proof. Far less spare space, but still enough room for the gutter. Also, make sure your gutter is set to LEFT, not top.
There are other margins to consider as well, of course. Your choices here will depend on how much space you want to have and how many words you’re trying to get on the page. The cost of a printed books is dependent on the amount of pages (duh), so if you want to reduce your page count without reducing your word count, change the size of your font and make your margins are small as possible.
Personally, I wanted to keep my words-per-page to about 250-300, because that’s pretty standard, and I don’t want the text to be too small. A lot of teenagers I teach are very put-off by small text in books. Thus, I didn’t want to bring the page count down too much by making the text too small.
My paperback comes in at 362 pages. It could be shorter if I made the margins bigger and the text smaller, but I don’t want to.
On the subject of pages, make sure you proof for unreasonably short pages. You may have to do a little bit of editing to reduce a paragraph to eliminate pages that only have one line, or perhaps one sentence on them!
It’s really important that you proof your chapter divisions very carefully. Every new chapter should be on a new page. I use Insert > Page Break to make sure this happens.
Mostly, chapters don’t start right at the top of the page. You need to decide how far down you want your chapter heading to be on the page. I usually set my font to Calibri 16, and then hit enter 6 times. That’s the line I write my ‘Chapter X’ heading on. I’ll then change my font size to 12, line spacing to 1.5, hit return, and type the name of my chapter (if I’m using chapter names).
One extremely important thing you MUST proof when you’re uploading to CreateSpace (or just looking through your Word document) is the chapter headings. You must consider:
1: Are they all consistently the same distance from the top of your page?
2: Are the fonts consistent?
3: Have there been any errors with your use of Insert > Page Break.
I often find that chapters shift and end up on the same page as the chapter previous. Alternatively, I end up with random blank pages in the middle of the book. You need to ensure you check every single chapter division.
The signature font I use for my chapter headings and the title on my cover is a free for commercial use font called UnclassicQuill. This is not supported by CreateSpace, however, there’s a work around.
File > Options > Save, then tick the box that says ‘Embed fonts in file.’ That way, CreateSpace will be able to use them! A word of caution, though. If you’re using a special font, please read the terms and conditions and ensure it’s free for commercial use. If it’s not, you probably can’t use it if you’re making money from printed copies of your book.
If you can get someone to do this for you, DO! It is a lot of work, and takes a fair bit of tweaking. I’m pretty handy with computers and Word, but if you’re not, this might be a little difficult. However, if you want any additional help with your formatting, please feel free to get in contact with me! My email is email@example.com.
Thanks, and good luck!
Well, I wasn’t very good last week and I forgot to do my week in review. So today, a day late, I’m determined to write a post!
Last week was anti-bullying week, and as a result, I placed Rise of the Darkwitch up for free. I’m delighted to say I gave away 141 copies of the novel! I hope that at least one person enjoys it!
I’m also doing a final proof of my manuscript before the paperback becomes available. I’m disappointed with the amount of small errors I’ve found (missing letters or small words mostly) but I guess that’s what you get when you don’t pay an editor! It’s annoying, but it’s all a learning curve. On the plus side, the cover looks gorgeous in 5×8 size!
I’m hopeful that my free offer will generate one or two Amazon reviews (preferably positive ones!) and perhaps do something to boost sales in general. I’m not too worried about selling lots of copies at the moment. I just hope I can sell a few!
In other news, draft one of book two is coming along well. I had a period of about 7 days where I didn’t write anything on the novel (but wrote about 5000 words of other stuff). I’m just shy of 24,000 words in total on book two now. It’s very rough and I know there’s a lot of work to do, but I’m glad to be powering through!
Marketing last week was all based around anti-bullying week. Now, I’m not sure exactly what to focus on! I’ve been tweeting in #OwnVoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks, although I can’t say it’s opened any avenues of contact.
Hopefully this week will be better!
The 14th-18th November is anti-bullying week in the UK. Today, I want to talk a little about how bullying is relevant to Rise of the Darkwitch – and also to let you know that it’s available on Kindle this week for free!
Working in schools, I’ve dealt with a lot of bullying issues. Some are simple issues. Some are much more complicated. The important thing, though, is that to the individual, each issue is important.
One of the things I wanted to explore in Rise of the Darkwitch was bullying, prejudice, and how to rise above it.
The character Emmy suffers great discrimination in her life, even from Madame Krodge, her guardian. Emmy looks different, and is treated like a demon. Shunned by everyone, she exists in a life where her only value is her medical knowledge-or so it seems.
Emmy suffers verbal and physical abuse, but her story isn’t all negative. Rise of the Darkwitch is the story of Emmy overcoming the adversity she faces, and coming to terms with who she is-and not needing to change.
That’s a message I think is important to send to young people suffering bullying.
You don’t need to change. The problems are with the bullies. That’s not much comfort when the bullying is ongoing, granted, but it is true.
If you’re experiencing bullying, here’s my advice: tell someone, walk away from the bullies, and while you wait for the problem to be sorted by teachers and other adults whose job it is to sort them, find solace in books.
Read and enjoy, and remember: you don’t need to change. Just like Emmy, you’re perfect just the way you are.
To my abject dismay, when I borrowed my own book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, I realised there were several formatting errors. Most were indentations that were too deep. But one was a little bigger: Chapter 19 was missing from the contents page.
HOW, I do now know. It was in the body of the text, but not the contents. Who knows? I certainly don’t.
Anyway, today’s lesson learned: you can never proof your work enough. Ever.
I solved the issue by uploading a new .mobi file to Kindle Direct Publishing. It seems to have fixed the problem, but I’ll be keeping my eye on it…