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Hey, guys.  I'm hoping some of you can offer your suggestions.  I had the worst time trying to get one of my books formatted for Createspace.  The margins just do not look right, no matter what I try.  I was using Word...maybe I should try InDesign?  I don't know.  I'm frustrated.  Barring being able to do it well myself, I want to hire a good formatter who can turn the work around pretty quickly, and at a reasonable price.  I plan to enter this book for a few awards and need to have quality print copies for each award by April 1st. 

Your suggestions are most welcome!
 

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I've been working with Glendon at Streetlight Graphics for a couple of years now for my print formatting. He's fast and his layouts are awesome (blood splatters on the pages of my zombie books, drop caps, etc.) Send him your .docx file and he'll send you back a PDF that you then upload to CreateSpace. It couldn't get any easier.

 

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Streetlightgraphics.com is amazing. They got my print book perfectly formatted for me in 4 days with lovely extras like elaborate section dividers, illustrated chapter headings, indented paragraphs and larger font sizes for chapter starts. Everything was perfect and my proof came back from CS looking like a dream.
 

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My advice- hire someone.

You can find people between $40-80.  It will be the best money you ever spent.  Mine was.
 

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If interested in commissioning, I format books for $50 up to 30 chapters and $3 a chapter after that. You can write me at luvfisk @ yahoo dot com.

I work for a few publishers and several random authors.

I hate Word for books. Hate.
 

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I'm another person who does formatting (link in sig). I've also heard great things about Glendon's formatting service (and he did two covers for me, so I can testify he's great to work with).

I agree with AndreSanThomas - if it's taking you more than a few hours to wrestle with the formatting, hire someone.
 

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I did mine on my own, by copying my Word document into OpenOffice, setting up some simple page styles, and then having a macro take care of a few typography issues. The only thing my book doesn't have is hyphenation, which I turned off because the automated stuff looked terrible and I didn't care to try hyphenating anything manually; I don't miss it. My macro took care of scene breaks and ligatures for me. (I have not yet found a program that treats scene breaks properly without some kind of intervention on my part.) The result was terrific; the only thing I think I'd change the next time around is having a slightly wider gutter--I used 0.75" instead of a full inch and while it looks good, the full inch might be a smidge better.

OpenOffice's best feature for me was the ability to have different page styles, so a new chapter can start on a certain page style with no header, and it's easy to make it always start on a right page if you want. The PDF exporter was also easy to use and produced a smaller file than the two print-to-PDF options I had available. I did nothing fancy like illustrations, though, so I couldn't tell you how those would come out.

I did a recent blog post on my whole process if you'd like to take a stab at this yourself. The hardest part of the whole thing for me was learning enough of OpenOffice's macro language to handle my typography needs, and coming up with a suitable interior font; you can feel free to crib my solutions. I've also got some info on how to get pretty quotes from the basic ' and " characters in Word, since I always turn off autocorrect (because it sucks).
 

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Depending on how many books you plan to write, it might be worth your while to buy Scrivener ($35 or so) and use their paperback formatting feature.  I used to pay someone to do it, but now I just to it myself with a click of a button or two.  But I have a lot of books, and the learning curve took me a while (I have a template now so no more learning curve).  If you only have one or two books a year, it's cost effective to save the learning curve and just pay someone to do it.  Lots of good providers on these boards!!  I used Brian Kittrell at LateNiteBooks.com

 

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While I do not advertise this, I've done some paperback formatting in the past (books from 100 pages all the way up to 700 pages).  Everyone here has mentioned quite a few decent formatters, but if you still have trouble finding someone, feel free to give me a shout.  Let me know if you would like some examples.  Good luck!
 

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Definitely hire someone! There are several PDF formats and you want PDF/X-1a:2001, which is what someone who does this professionally will give you.
 

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ellecasey said:
Depending on how many books you plan to write, it might be worth your while to buy Scrivener ($35 or so) and use their paperback formatting feature. I used to pay someone to do it, but now I just to it myself with a click of a button or two. But I have a lot of books, and the learning curve took me a while (I have a template now so no more learning curve). If you only have one or two books a year, it's cost effective to save the learning curve and just pay someone to do it. Lots of good providers on these boards!! I used Brian Kittrell at LateNiteBooks.com
Sounds interesting, Elle. How does Scrivener deal with making the justified text look tidy (hyphenating/moving words down a line in order to avoid widows & orphans, gaps in the text, etc.)? At the moment I'm using the CreateSpace template, manually making the pages look pretty in Word & then uploading the Word doc to CreateSpace - which is creating good results (I only use Garamond, so I'm not sure if that's a factor in them turning out OK without a PDF upload.) Automated is pretty tempting (if that's one of the functions that Scrivener for PC also has), but I'd want to know that it was coming up with something that's at least nearly as good as what I can do in Word. I'm pretty whizzy with Word, but I'm a Scrivener newbie!
 

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Zelah Meyer said:
Sounds interesting, Elle. How does Scrivener deal with making the justified text look tidy (hyphenating/moving words down a line in order to avoid widows & orphans, gaps in the text, etc.)? At the moment I'm using the CreateSpace template, manually making the pages look pretty in Word & then uploading the Word doc to CreateSpace - which is creating good results (I only use Garamond, so I'm not sure if that's a factor in them turning out OK without a PDF upload.) Automated is pretty tempting (if that's one of the functions that Scrivener for PC also has), but I'd want to know that it was coming up with something that's at least nearly as good as what I can do in Word. I'm pretty whizzy with Word, but I'm a Scrivener newbie!
I will gladly send you one of my recent paperback uploads to Createspace made with Scrivener if you want to see its capabilities. :)
Just email me at [email protected]

But I do use the Mac version, which I hear is better than the PC version.
 

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Thanks Elle.  I'll drop you a line.  :)
 
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