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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


NB: I've spoken to the mods about this threadóI'm including a single plug for the book here at the top, and I'm otherwise not linking to it. Movin' on:

So, I self-published a book.

Pitching wasnít going awfully. I was at 31 rejections, but the number of heartening personalised rejections was going up, and I got a few full readsóit was agonising, but my queries were improving and I was making headway; I reckon I couldíve sold it in another year or so. 30 isnít crazy: big authors were throwing out their debut rejection numbers on Twitter a few months ago, and 40Ė60 seemed like the average range.

Then two problems happened:

* WorldCon had announced it was coming to my hometown, and the clock ran out for selling and getting to print in time. Iíll be damned if IĎm gonna walk around at the Hugo Awards as ďlocal guy whose short stories are moderately popular with a certain crowdĒ. No dammit, Iím going to be a novelist.
* Gideon the Ninth came out, and had some similarities that worried me. Folks generally know how long a book takes to produce and thereís a grace period for not being a ripoff, but I couldnít guarantee I was going to sell it in time. I was already thinking about it and had most of the stuff prepped, and Gideon sealed the deal.

I was working in publishing at the time, as a publicist. Iíve also worked as a pro editor and typesetter. I had the skills and connections to make a pro-quality book happen, so I just Ö did. And I thought it would be a good idea to go through the process of doing that: what it takes to go from Google Doc to a print book in stores.



So here it is: a complete guide to getting a book made.

PART 1.1: FILES (THE COVER)

Youíre going to need to get yourself a cover. This can happen before or after youíve set up your actual book files, but I just find it better workflow to have them all sorted out first and ready to go.

Readers absolutely judge a book by its cover. The standard book cover budget in the industry is around $10,000 USD. Rule of thumb: your cover should be 40Ė60% of your budget. I paid $1500 NZD for mine, but I saved a lot by getting an artist to paint the cover (the amazing Pepper Curry) then doing all the PS/lettering/layout myself, and was still the biggest expense by miles.

Youíve got two options here: custom or premade. Premade covers are, well Ö premade, which means theyíre significantly cheaper. Many folks go for this option, andóespecially if youíre doing the whole 20to50k thinking cranking a book every 3 monthsótheyíre a solid option. Lovely goon George Cotronis does very cheap covers, and has a great selection of premades on his site. Do not go to anybody whose portfolio includes Poser models. I know that sounds obvious, but Iíd say a solid 50% of indie cover designers out there use Poser; the covers look like poo poo AND the artist is gonna be re-using the models in cover after cover.



Generally speaking, buying premade means you own the cover rights and the artist canít sell to anybody else. Thatís not universal, though, and itís good practice to ask. Some artists (like George) will sell non-exclusive premades super cheap. If possible, get a high-quality .tiff with the layers intact.

A note on regional covers:

In getting cover feedback, I noticed a weird pattern, and I went digging. The people who hated this cover:



were overwhelmingly American, and they all had the same criticism: it doesnít look like book covers look. Here in NZ? The cover has been super popular, and booksellers have been putting it face-out. Turns out ďwhat a book cover looks likeĒ is largely cultural.

* Americans want absolute clarity re genre and content. Fantasy must have a man with a sword, Sci-fi must have a spaceship, Romance must have a sexy person or a couple holding hands.
* The UK/Australia/NZ want something intriguing that makes them flip it over
* The Germans are insane and thatís probably another 20k words that would leave me smelling faintly of lilacs. <3 you Germany, you absolute mad lads
* Nowhere in the world does book covers that look like they belong to knockoff Russian animated movies but designers keep trying to sell them for some reason.

Here are the US and UK covers of the same book:




The UK cover is a special edition, and itís textured: the dots are raised bumps. The back has a similar pattern, and the blurb is on the inside fold. I couldnít find the German cover but I assume itís the sound of a one-string violin, slightly flat but perfectly imperfect, carried on the autumnal breeze while two lovers argue over a picnic table. Anyway:

FORMAT

Ideally, youíre working with your HQ .tiff in photoshop, that youíre planning to turn into a PDF. Size will depend on what you want. What counts as a NORMAL COVER SIZE actual varies based on region but if youíre using KDP, youíre locked into US sizes and 6x9 inches is the go-to. That means the canvas size is 18x9 inches + spine width. KDP is finnicky as gently caress with this: it throws a fit and refuses to process if youíre a fraction of an inch out.

TONE

Regardless of where you are, a book cover should communicate the tone of the book. I wrote beautiful goth trash about mushroom punks, so I wanted something moody and weird, but also something with flashes of colour: golds and greens, rebirth and sunlight. That works for some books; it does not work for others.



Ask yourself: does my self-help book about connecting with your inner child make me look like a serial killer? If you answered Ďyesí then you may need to reconsider your coverís tone.

CHOOSING A TYPEFACE

The typeface has a big job: to be basically a bunch of black sticks that clearly communicate the genre, content and themes of your book. The cover illustration has that same job, but people underestimate how much weight the title typeface pulls. I had a really difficult job: Iíd written a sort of Ö speculative 1920s Singapore with highly advanced biotechnology, that was sorta-steampunk-but-not-really. I figured the illustration had the dark and biotech stuff covered, so my initial thought was Art Deco:




but it wasnít quite clicking. Those typefaces would look ridiculous in an email but on a book cover they seemed weirdly neutral. I started shopping around for more Art Nouvea/Victorian fonts and eventually found The Crow, which is loving absurd and looks like it belongs on a goth teenagerís notebook and Ö it looked perfect on the cover.



Iím goth trash, sue me.

People undershoot all the time, and it just looks wrong.



When picking a typeface, itís hard to go too far but itís really easy not to go far enough. This threshold will depend on your genre: SF/F gives you a lot more leeway to go over the top with it.

Also, never use Chiller. Itís a loving epidemic and it has never once looked good.

Oh no all those words and weíve only talked about the front cover. Guess that leads us to:

HITTING IT FROM THE BACK

A good blurb isnít the same as a synopsis: itís much shorter (<200 words), and its job isnít to explain the plot, itís to communicate the vibe and create questions that the reader wants to answer.

The first thing youíre gonna want is a pull quote: itís an evocative line from (or about) the book, big text, highly visible. Is often at the top but doesnít need to be: if itís bigger, people will read it first anyway. Relatedly, you want to see a poorly-chosen typeface?



Oof. I didnít go with that on the final cover (I ended up using Cambria: something more neutral for the back) but my initial pull quote was a bit too Nightmare Before Christmas. Combine with the word Ďkissí and a lot of people thought it was a romance novel. Itís curly and expressive and it was too much for the back cover. Anyway, my actual blurb:



Which was heavily based off the final version of the query letter I was shopping around. It includes:

* Whatís happening in the first chapter (the plague ship)
* Main character
* Main plot thrust
* Main emotional thrust
* Questions that reader will want to answer

The first chapter thing is pretty common in query letters but I think itís good practice for blurbs: let the reader jump straight in with minimal fuss. A lot of readers will drop after the first 5Ė10 pages, and giving them some context in that critical space is a good way to keep them more engaged.

Get some quotes too. Weíll go into ARCs in a later post, but quotes are a great place to communicate elements you couldnít get into the blurb. In this case: story actually kinda upbeat, story very gay.



Theyíre also a powerful social proof elementópeople are more likely to do something if they know other people are doing it too.

The last thing you need is a barcode. If youíre using KDP then itíll autogenerate one for you and you just need to leave a blank space. If youíre using a local printer, youíre gonna need to sort that out yourself. There are free barcode generators online, then just chuck it on with a photo editor.

ANYTHING ELSE?

If youíre sure youíre done, merge layers, export to PDF, pray to the gods that youíre not 0.02 of an inch out. Anyway:

NEXT UP: 1.2: FILES (the internals)

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 09:06 on Nov 10, 2019

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divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Assisted Living Dracula of Wikipedia

DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MAN'S LIE!
Statist shill spreading FUD!

HODL!!


This is an awesome and valuable post, and holy poo poo the difference in the covers.

Mine was a self-published book (Kindle, Createspace) about bitcoin/blockchains (why they're dumb and bad), targeting the business market. So it's got a Bebas Neue-based cover - I mean, all business covers look the same worldwide, use Bebas Neue but somehow look different to the other Bebas Neue covers.

Sold 10,000 as an indie - I basically had an indie hit of the sort that never happens. Evidently I picked my lottery numbers correctly - released July 2017, when every born sucker in the world was getting into cryptos. And there were literally three books in the world saying it was all trash, and one was mine. Basically it was a miracle of timing - it's a good book, but you also have to be lucky.

(The book was more or less put together here on SA in the buttcoin thread, in fact.)

The followup's in the works now. It's gonna look much the same - colour will be blue/purple themed, 'cos this one's about why Facebook Libra is dumb and bad. I have to evoke their trademarks without violating them. Present condition: 30k unsorted fragments, maybe 5k of text to write that I actually have to think about. Gonna pay the artist a lot more.

I look forward to discussions of finishing the manuscript, typesetting, front and back matter ...

My favoured print font is Monotype Garamond. This is the one Microsoft gave away with Office in the 1990s ... except Microsoft's version, they forgot the bold italic. Use Monotype's.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

One thing i was interested in is instead of self-pubbing, you created your own publishing company to publish it? Little Hook?

What went into that, that sounds like a ton of work!

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Exmond posted:

One thing i was interested in is instead of self-pubbing, you created your own publishing company to publish it? Little Hook?

What went into that, that sounds like a ton of work!

I'm not OP, but to create my own publishing company, I basically only had to go to a lawyer and start an LLC by signing some papers and getting registered with the IRS (in the states). It wasn't too bad! But it did cost me like $120.

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

@Divabot - I'm curious to hear what your plan to market the new book will be. I'm guessing the market is totally saturated with books now, how will you get anyone to pay attention to it? It looks like your sales numbers have dropped off a fair bit, do you have a blog / email database you can market to? Why is it going to be a new book and not a 2nd edition? FYI I think your current book should be priced at $9.95 / $19.95.

@OP
Amazon does have a kdp spine calculator / template generator. It spits out a nice file that you can use as a layer and create guides for the spine / bleeds:
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/cover-templates

You have no typesetting for the print version of your book. IIRC you have to style it with HTML or it will show up as one blob of text.

Your cover looks cool, interesting to note the difference between different markets and different covers. Another thing to note is that the Euros seem to LOVE color and hardback books (non fiction). They also don't mind spending 2x the amount of money on a book because of it.

How did you handle story/content editing and copy editing, you mention $1500 for the cover, what'd you spend in editing? Editing BY FAR is our biggest expense.

Are any of you guys doing Ingramspark / Lightning Source? We've actually been printing books through KDP, then turning around and selling them to ingram and baker and taylor. Supposedly ingram can migrate KDP files over to their system automatically. If you think KDP is picky about files, lightning source seems absurd.

Not that it matters much, but I work for a very very small non fiction indy publisher. I have no idea how anyone makes money in this business. The only reason we are where we are is a very very long time in business and pure luck.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Assisted Living Dracula of Wikipedia

DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MAN'S LIE!
Statist shill spreading FUD!

HODL!!


n8r posted:

@Divabot - I'm curious to hear what your plan to market the new book will be. I'm guessing the market is totally saturated with books now, how will you get anyone to pay attention to it? It looks like your sales numbers have dropped off a fair bit, do you have a blog / email database you can market to? Why is it going to be a new book and not a 2nd edition? FYI I think your current book should be priced at $9.95 / $19.95.

so, this is the second one - so I'm first gonna hit all my journalist contacts, of which I have a lot.

One thing I did - I made a policy "ALWAYS SAY YES TO MEDIA." Podcasts, radio, tv, punditry - you name it. So I have a lot of journalists I'm on good terms with, because I'm a reliable rent-a-quote on why blockchain nonsense of the day is poo poo.

I'm gonna ask 'em all, one at a time - "I have this new thing coming out! What's the best way to promote it to your lot?"

also a couple of 'em I'm gonna ask to beta-read it. (especially from the FT, cos I'm furiously cribbing their stuff on central bank politics ...)

that's basically what I have in mind right now. I can sell 300 just by saying "gotta new thing, it's good too!", maybe 1000 if word of mouth takes off, more if I get a decent review in a good venue. First one got New York Review of Books (HOLY loving poo poo), which made for 800 sales just by itself.

the book I've got writer's block on is the actual followup, working title World's Worst ICOs - that'll be the funny stories about dumb crooks. High concept, low humour. But I've been slogging through it for a year. Wanted to have it done for Christmas, but that's not a happener. Mind you, in the shower earlier I thought of a way forward ...

loving writing, why did I ever think this would make money. I wrote the first one actually as a money making exercise, you know. Evidently I'm dumb as poo poo.

did a $5000 consult earlier this year tho, entirely because of my book and my punditry. Specialising can pay off unexpectedly!

worst thing for writing is having a day job. Overpaid computer toucher, so I'm comfortably well off. Just mentally exhausting.

edit: £5/$7 for ebook and £13/$17 for paperback has worked ok - it's only 50k words, and I make a tidy profit. Next will probably be similar. And I blatantly tell people "it's on libgen if you're poor".

(I would not say "you should put your book on libgen." But I would say "you should consider it, it totally worked for me." Poor people love it and tell their friends, and maybe buy a paperback. My friend Elizabeth Sandifer, who inspired me to write a book at all, tells people to get her books from libgen and also buy a paperback. YMMV. I blatantly treat it as promotional and a convenient download host.)

I picked £5 as the price point cos it was the price of a pint of beer in London, and £13 for the paperback cos if they wanted a paperback they could pay and pay. I expect the Libra book to be about 35k words, though probably even more footnotes.

n8r posted:

@OP
Amazon does have a kdp spine calculator / template generator. It spits out a nice file that you can use as a layer and create guides for the spine / bleeds:
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/cover-templates

OH THANK gently caress. Kindle's numbers used to be just useless - first book, the artist and I wasted literally a day going back and forth trying to get it right. Then we discovered the Createspace calculator and it was lovely!

this looks like the Createspace calculator ported, which is good

n8r posted:

Are any of you guys doing Ingramspark / Lightning Source? We've actually been printing books through KDP, then turning around and selling them to ingram and baker and taylor. Supposedly ingram can migrate KDP files over to their system automatically. If you think KDP is picky about files, lightning source seems absurd.

I looked at this, when I needed some print copies and CreateSpace would make you buy author copies from the US (i'm in the UK). So, Amazon use Ingram to do their UK printing! So it'd be literally the same quality.

But KDP do print in the UK now apparently for author copies, so I probably wouldn't bother.

divabot fucked around with this message at 23:37 on Nov 13, 2019

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

Could you elaborate on why you formed an llc and started your own press?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


n8r posted:

You have no typesetting for the print version of your book. IIRC you have to style it with HTML or it will show up as one blob of text.
I use InDesign. It's harder, but I've used it for my job long enough that its pain-in-the-rear end-ness is made up for by the power and control you get out of it. Part 2 is gonna be basic InDesign print formatting + bleed/slug, common formats etc.



It might be a couple of weeks away: I'm trying to handle the publicity rollout around Christmas while moving house and everything is just chaos.

I've never styled a print book with HTML; an .epub file is basically a bunch of zipped XHTML files so that's similar to what you're talking about? I'm not sure how Amazon's default formatting handles books, though, and it might just be making an epub and tweaking it with bleeds and poo poo.

quote:

How did you handle story/content editing and copy editing, you mention $1500 for the cover, what'd you spend in editing? Editing BY FAR is our biggest expense.
I initially did it myself. I said "I'm a professional editor, it'll be fine!"

A friend then went and edited it for free and found about 50 typos so uh, don't edit it yourself. I don't care how good you are, you're too close to it. I learnt that the hard way. My ego is gonna get me killed one day.

quote:

Are any of you guys doing Ingramspark / Lightning Source? We've actually been printing books through KDP, then turning around and selling them to ingram and baker and taylor. Supposedly ingram can migrate KDP files over to their system automatically. If you think KDP is picky about files, lightning source seems absurd.
I'm still investigating that, because my book has been showing up on random sites with Lightning Source listed as the printer.

quote:

Not that it matters much, but I work for a very very small non fiction indy publisher. I have no idea how anyone makes money in this business. The only reason we are where we are is a very very long time in business and pure luck.
I've got 0 plan to make money to be honest. I'm happy if I break even. I'm planning to start using the press to publish other people's stuff next year and my objective is to promote local authors and help them get a leg up: making money is less important than helping out the community. You don't make books to make money: if you're very good and very ambitious, you make books to earn slightly more than you could get in a graduate writing gig.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

This is super cool Muffin!

As a LLC are you able to apply for charity or grants from the government? How much work is involved in being a publication house?

I was debating on starting up a small mag where I live, just a thought really. How is being a publication house different than being a magazine?

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

@SurreptitiousMuffin
Sorry I wasn't talking about your entire book, I wasn't being clear. The blurb typesetting isn't working.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.

I've found that ebook blurb formatting allows for carriage returns but paperback requires <br> between lines, despite being identical forms.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


feedmyleg posted:

I've found that ebook blurb formatting allows for carriage returns but paperback requires <br> between lines, despite being identical forms.
That's ...

loving hell. The Kindle and Print HTML was identical but print was broken; I spent like a week in October trying to fix it with various resubmissions etc and nothing worked. Christ, what an awful platform.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Assisted Living Dracula of Wikipedia

DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MAN'S LIE!
Statist shill spreading FUD!

HODL!!



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

That's ...

loving hell. The Kindle and Print HTML was identical but print was broken; I spent like a week in October trying to fix it with various resubmissions etc and nothing worked. Christ, what an awful platform.

yes, yes it is. Also this is literally your shopfront. There's nothing quite like having a single customer!!

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Any update? Interested in creating the file!

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Yes, sorry! I moved houses and then suddenly Christmas is on me. Bad time to thread, but I'm finally putting together file preparation today. ETA tonight.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Assisted Living Dracula of Wikipedia

DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MAN'S LIE!
Statist shill spreading FUD!

HODL!!


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Yes, sorry! I moved houses and then suddenly Christmas is on me. Bad time to thread, but I'm finally putting together file preparation today. ETA tonight.

w00t!

(me, I'm stuck at the "get your disordered 30k word pile of fragments into usable order", having I hope passed through a few weeks of the "I don't even want to look at this thing" stage ... spent about four hours yesterday getting it into shape.)

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


I'd like to apologise for the delay; Sebmojo got me drunk when I was meant to be writing. PART 2 COMING VERY SOON THOUGH.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Kiwi writing goons got drunk?! well I never

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Okay, this is much belated and I apologise. Itís been a crazy few weeks, and then the time I did set aside got eaten up by, well Ö I got hammered with a bunch of goons. Blame them. Also blame me.

PART 2.1: PREPARING A FILE: MOTHERFUCKING INDESIGN

* nb: Indesign/Sigil isn't the only way to prep a book file, but it's what I use professionally and there's good reason behind that, which we'll go into.

Anyway, this is Adobe InDesign. It isólike every Adobe productóhilariously overpriced, a huge pain in the rear end to use, and also totally indispensable.



It was initially built to typeset books but has kinda blown past that at this point: graphic designers use it for layouts and the like. This means:

1) It has core functionality that let you do great book layouts
2) It has a Mariana Trench of graphic design stuff that is mostly useless for book layout and often makes it impossible to find what youíre looking for

Before you begin making a book in InDesign, do the following:

1) Make sure your margins and pages are the right size. Itís totally possible to chain this later, itís just soul-shreddingly fiddly and boring, and youíll save yourself a massive headache if you set the file up correctly from day 1. 6x9 inches (152x229mm) is very popular right now, though thatís big, and I honestly like trade paperback a bit better (generally 136x216mm/5 3⁄8 ◊ 8 1⁄2 in, though sizes vary)ótheyíre bigger than your airport novel, but theyíre not the stonking great WHAM-ness of the 6x9.

Also, the ďright margin sizeĒ will vary wildly depending on your printer and page size, but the inner margin on the recto (righthand) page needs to be bigger by about 5Ė8mm: the pages on the right are going to get pulled further into the middle just as a product of how physical books are made.

For the record, TDH is 152x229mm with 12.7mm margins with a cheeky guideline 17.7mm margin for the inner recto.

2) Go to your Type menu and find Character Styles and Paragraph Styles, then drag them over to the sidebar. Depending on how temperamental InDesign is feeling, you may need to do this a few times on boot before it realises you want them there permanently. If you are typesetting a book, Paragraph Styles is your single most important menu. Paragraph styles is your best friend. Half the questions people have about InDesign, the answer is Ďuse Paragraph Stylesí. Learn everything about it you can.



3) Go to your master pages (Pages menu is on the top right), and place a text box at the bottom of each that is the full width of the page, below the lower margin. Then go Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number and put it in there. Going full-width is just more effective and less fiddly than centering them. Youíll notice that one is text width here and one is page width. Thereís no reason for that, Iím just not following best-practice and my supervisor would be ashamed. This will happen a lot.



Set aside the following pages blank:

1) First page is the Full Title: that means book title, authorís name, publisher
2) Page 2 is the Imprint page: this is the legal one with the copyright/ISBN etc
3) Page 3 is the half title: same as the title page, but no author name or publisher details. This is optional, but it helps you start the story on the recto (which you want to do)
4) Page 4 is an attribution/quote/blank if thereís nothing to go here

None of these should have page numbers. You can remove the page numbers (or any Master items) with Ctrl+Shift+left click to select, then just delete them as normal.

Thatís it?

Thatís everything you need to do before you put any text in, yes. Now, get your manuscript as a word doc and save it somewhere easy to find, then Ctrl+Shift+D. Select the file, then click the top corner of where you want the text to go, and itíll add the entire manuscript, autogenerate pages and thread them, which is possible to do manually but is absolute drudgeryójust hold down shift when you add the doc in the first place and save yourself two hours of mindless busywork. Threading means that each page flows onto the next, so if you delete/move things itíll push text onto the next page rather than having it vanish into a computer hole and start throwing up errors.

Okay What the gently caress, This is Awful

Haha, welcome to InDesign, fucko. My perfect software child, my rear end in a top hat loser brat, I hate how much I love it. I canít speak to your particular flavour of What The gently caress (InDesign, like the sea, is capricious) but generally the issue people run into is that all their formatting just went to hell.

But donít worry, because youíre about to learn why InDesign rules: youíre about to learn about Paragraph Styles.



Paragraph Styles are formats that you can configure then slap onto a particular paragraph. You wanna change every single font in the book on a whim? If your paragraph styles are set up correctly, you can do that in one click. gently caress, you wanna make only the titles and the last paragraphs of each scene hot pink and bold, four times as large, in Wingdings, underlined in yellow Japanese dots and with no hyphens? Like three clicks, my man.

Welcome to my rear end in a top hat Kingdom. But thatís the trick, and thatís why I use it: if youíre willing to do all the annoying setup, InDesign makes modifying and testing poo poo an absolute breeze. True story: I once got asked to totally re-typeset a book of poetry the day before it went to print. It wouldíve been days of work in any other software; it took 90 minutes.

To add a paragraph style, click anywhere in the paragraph, then click on the name of the style from your menu. To create a style, click the hamburger menu you see in the top right of the PStyle menu up there then New Paragraph Style.

When you click New Paragraph Style, one of the first things youíll see is Based On. If you put another style in here, it becomes the parent of the new style; any changes to the parent apply the same changes to the child. You can chain styles like this so changing one thing about a single parent cascades throughout the doc. You can use this power for great good, but also for great evil and destruction: use it well.

InDesign is meant to autogenerate paragraph styles based on the Doc. It does this, but it does it very poorly, and it gives them garbage names that are impossible to remember. Generally speaking, you want the following paragraph styles:

1) Body Main: your bread and butter. You canít go wrong with a 12-point Garamond with a 5mm first-line indent.
2) Body First: the first paragraph of each scene. This is identical to body main, but doesnít have an indent.
3) Body Last: End of a scene, same as Body Main, but give it 5Ė10mm space after.
4) Chapter Head: even if youíre like me and are an rear end in a top hat who refuses to use chapters, you need a chapter head styleóitís how the epub conversion recognises scene breaks and believe me itíll save you a massive headache later. Since TDH doesnít have chapters, thereís a single line of white space between scenes, styled as Chapter Head.
5) Folio: for page numbers. Usually 6Ė7 point, italic, same typeface as the body text. Itís called that for mumblemumblehistoricalbookreasons?

Okay, thatís it?

Thatís maybe 5% of what you can do with InDesign, but itís the critical stuff you need to do to make a professional-looking book. There will be a lot of paragraph style tinkering and the like here and that will be the bulk of the work you do, but itíll also vary wildly depending on what sort of book youíre typesetting and I hope Iíve given you enough background to let you experiment.

Weeks pass, youíve laid out your book, now you need to send it to the printers. All thatís left is to export it. Thatís easy right? Ctrl+E, save as PDF, no worries mate.

Oh no. Oh no, what fresh hell is this?



You want the following:

1) No compression, no optimization
2) Export as Spreads
3) Marks and Bleeds > All Printerís Marks, 3mm bleeds, no slug [ignore this if youíre prepping for Amazon]
4) Do not touch anything else unless you know what youíre doing

Thatís your print book done. Thereís another reason weíre using InDesign though: turning this file into an eBook is Ö not easy, but significantly easier than it would be otherwise.

Which leads us onto 2.2: Sigil, and eBook production.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 10:07 on Dec 10, 2019

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Assisted Living Dracula of Wikipedia

DO NOT BELIEVE THIS MAN'S LIE!
Statist shill spreading FUD!

HODL!!


sounds good sounds good

I used LibreOffice to format my book, in the manner of doing a zine like I did back in the '90s - and will do this again with the next one

this is because I love LO, it sings to me

but it would be rather clunker at reformatting the whole loving thing at a moment's notice

then I exported as docx and fed into Calibre to generate the epub (suitable for Kindle too now, fwiw)

ymmv of course, LO is an excellent word processor (better than Word IMO), but does everything else sorta clunkily

I used Monotype Garamond 11pt (aka Microsoft Garamond 11pt but with bold italic included) in a 5.5x8.5 inch format fwiw - bigger than standard paperback, but seems to work

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Daric
Dec 23, 2007

Shawn:
Do you really want to know my process?

Lassiter:
Absolutely.

Shawn:
Well it starts with a holla! and ends with a Creamsicle.


Any update on this? I've found the whole thread super interesting so far and would love to see where you go next.

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