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Formatting a book for createspace

3281 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  DC Swain
Hello all,
I have hit a wall and need to figure out how to format my book correctly, for createspace.
Kindle was easy, thanks to the wonderful kindle kids creator, the print version is proving a headache.
Any advice or links to tutorials would be great. I have gone through vast youtube searches but I am finding it very difficult to find a video of worth.
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decide on what size book you are going for, then download the word template, throw your book into that and check the pages and should all fit perfectly into the mincer when you upload it again.
Hi Andrew - this little YouTube video should be helpful to you:
Here's a few simple tips that'll help polish your book up.
Put a page break in every page of the front matter and a section break after it.
Put a page break at the end of every chapter.
Set up your chapters to always start on the right hand page, you might need to add a blank page at the end of the previous chapter.
Turn on "Widows and Orphans" so you don't have a new paragraph broken onto two pages.
I use the 6"x9" template, it creates the least expensive paperback.
I use a 1" margin at the top, a .5" margin at the bottom and .75" inch left and right margins.
Use 1.15 line spacing and no added space before or after paragraphs.
Put page numbers in the footer and disconnect the footer of the main part of the book from the front matter footer. This will start page numbering on the first page of chapter one.
I put the title and a small black and white image of a boat in the header.
Set each chapter title (even it it's just a number) as a style heading, then when you're done set your style heading as the TOC.

It's time consuming, because the preview they provide isn't exactly how it's going to end up, but it's close. Once you submit the files for review and it's ready, download a PDF view. This is exactly what the print copy will look like. Again, you might have to add or delete a blank page to get all the chapters to start on the right. Waiting for the PDF will take 12 hours usually. Don't rush. I've had to adjust and re-upload revisions with very minor changes over a period of several days to get everything perfect.

Be patient. The end result is worth it.
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Can you be specific about what you need help with? Formatting the story? Format of front matter and back matter? cover? conversion to PDF? I've been through the mill with createspace and came out with all my limbs, and I can probably answer any specific question.

What writing software are you using?
Thank you,
I appreciate the advice but my needs are more for the picture book market. I may approach someone on fivver to do it for me I think. Anyone used a service from them and can point me in their direction? I can mention you as being the one that recommended them!
I will eventually sit down and lean the process but I have a strict deadline.
Cheers folks, and sorry, I THINK I have double posted this topic. :(
Wayne, that information is great! Thank you for breaking it down.

Question: Would it be worthwhile to just set your Word document to 6x9 and then convert you .doc file to .pdf then load it up? Seems like it may save a few steps of reuploading...?
I just did all of my books this month and I used the Formatted Template that Createspace lets you download.  It already has the margins set up and page and section breaks in place.  Made it very, very easy to do considering.  And it had the margins set so that they work with a paperback since the inner margin needs to be different from the outer margin and that differs between even numbered and odd numbered pages.

You can change the Styles if you don't like the fonts or spacing they default to.

(Doesn't help the OP, but might help someone trying to do a normal book in CS.)

I will say that the 5.25x8 template was better to work with than the 8.5x11 that I'm using for a different project.
Cassie Leigh said:
I just did all of my books this month and I used the Formatted Template that Createspace lets you download.
Is that one you have to buy, or is it free?
I don't think you can just save your word doc as pdf and send it to create space and get a good result.

Here is a screen grab of my page layout in indesign

Spend an hour and watch Hugh Howey's tutorial on using InDesign. Its a full blown page layout app and Its what I used. You can rent it from adobe month to month, for 30$ a month I believe.
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I did mine in Libre Office and got a pretty good result. I showed it to a font designer and he seemed surprised that I'd done it in a word processor. I'm sure I could do better with InDesign, but it's not worth the investment for me.

I used the CreateSpace template but changed it quite a bit (by making the margins smaller, mostly) to make it match similar-genre books I had on my bookshelf. To DIY successfully you need some design sense and an eye for that kind of detail.
bethrevis said:
Is that one you have to buy, or is it free?
It's free. (I'm cheap.)

Just scroll down on this page and be sure to download the version with sample formatted content for the size you want. You still have to be good at navigating some tricks in Word (like using that little paragraph sign to make sure your page breaks and section breaks are where you need them to be and being able to work in tables for the table of contents and being willing to tweak the formatting a little to move text onto a new page when neeeded), but I was able to use the template, save as PDF, and was pleased with my results.
You've gotten good advice here so far, so I'll just say that if you still want to hire someone, I have been poking around InDesign for most of the year and am thinking of hanging up my shingle for print formatting quite soon, so if you want some help I'd be happy to do it for you for a cheap rate to help build my portfolio -- PM me if you want more details.
Thank you Victoria! I may take you up on that. I have reached out on fivver so I will let you know this week whats happening.
I am sure I can learn indesign etc...but with all good things, I am sure it will take some time to wrap my head around.
Thanks for all the advice guys and gals. When I am an expert, I will post some tutorials specially aimed at the picture book market. One thing is for certain, I`m not selling a "how to format book" on the kindle store anytime soon! :p
Hi Andrew!

I would be more than happy to help!
Cassie Leigh said:
Thanks for the info!

MichaelBlackbourn said:
I don't think you can just save your word doc as pdf and send it to create space and get a good result.
(a) Your book looks AMAZING.
(b) Thanks for the info!

Sorry, OP, for highjacking the thread with questions.
I spent most of this morning doing this for my novella, and using the populated word template from Createspace (free!) was fairly straightforward. Time-consuming, but straightforward. My trouble is telling the headers and footers when to stop happening, so if anyone has any advice on how to turn those off for the last few pages of a book (blanks) without making them all the first pages of new sections, i'd appreciate it.

Of course, I could just make them all new sections, since there's no content and no header/footer on first pages, so never mind.
bethrevis said:
Thanks for the info!

(a) Your book looks AMAZING.
(b) Thanks for the info!

Sorry, OP, for highjacking the thread with questions.
Thanks! Hit me up on twitter or at my blog if you want a copy (ebook) for you or if you have young (8+) readers.

The ebook formatting is just as good, looks awesome with full page illustrations.
I previously used InDesign and agree the results are considerably better that what can be achieved in a word processor. However, after getting annoyed at Adobe's international pricing (the product cost varies enormously from one market to another) I started looking at alternatives.

Now I'm using LaTEX, which is free. Steep learning curve and not ideal for everyone, but now I have a template set up I can export a book from Scrivener and have a fully formatted PDF in under five minutes, as opposed to an hour or two in InDesign. The end result is equally good.

Probably not suitable for the OPs needs, but might be useful to some.
It isn't specifically for picture books but WHENEVER this topic comes up I always recommend this Youtube tutorial video.

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