This post is intended to allow you to produce nice, clean files, ready for uploading to your publishing source.
Firstly, write a book. Really, write your novel. Put it away for a few weeks. Then edit it on-screen. Then print it out and go through it with a red felt-tip and correct and re-write. It’s because you can’t afford to have any typos or clumsy sentences. When you’re certain you’ve licked it – ask a friend to read it. No friends? Pay someone to read it. The publishing arm I use comes up with ‘We have found x typographical errors as follows:’ then they shred your editing for you. You then have to go right back to the original, re-edit then re-export the files and re-submit them and wait until they have been reviewed once more. Guess how I know that??
I assume you’d be using Microsoft Word but other word-processors are fine as far as I’m aware. Go to http://pressbooks.com/wp-signup.php .
You have to register and give a suitable password. Save the password where you can access it easily because you’ll be going there a lot and logging in.
Pressbooks is free to use up to the point where you want to download your finished product. After that there is a one-off charge of $99 for creating pdf, e-pub and mobi files.
Once you’re up and running there are three sections in the text area (accessed from the sidebar).
You copy the first chapter from your manuscript and insert it into the blank page by pressing >control v<.
Look through it and enter the chapter title. Click ‘save draft’.
Most of the rest of the uploading is self-explanatory so I won’t bore you with detail which is already available in their help section.
In the appearance tab, find a theme that suits your manuscript. They have loads of templates. No, you can’t alter the fonts etc. It’s a template isn’t it?
Next click ‘book info’. You now input the details of your book. This includes author name, publisher name (probably you),a short description or blurb and a long description - back-cover blurb. Filling in those sections kind of focuses me on the summary of my story so it’s a good intellectual exercise.
Have your cover ready. It needs to be png or jpeg. They won’t load pdf cover files. Load that if you’ve got a cover. If you don’t have a cover, read my next post.
They then want to know the ISBN number – don’t bother with that – you get it free with the next but one step at Create space.
They ask for a ‘bisac’ subject. You can just google that to get the code number and names. It’s a reference so that booksellers can trace your book.
They then want seven keywords. Keywords are just metadata which will allow search facilities to find your book. For example: Science fiction, other worlds, space, star trek, war, space adventure. You don't need help with that - you know your book after all.
Here’s a tip – maybe I shouldn’t do this, but if you have a book say in a literary fiction genre and you want people to see it – you can use a top author’s name as a keyword. You could for example make ‘Franz Kafka’ a keyword. When people search for Franz Kafka your book will probably be somewhere in that list. It’s not a cheat – it just informs people that you write that kind of book.
Don’t forget to scroll back up the page and save at each step.
Ok, so you’ve uploaded your text and filled in the book info. Next – I bet you can’t wait-you want to see what the book would look like. Click on the ‘export’ tab on your left.
Top of the page it says ‘upgrade’ or some such – I don’t recall exactly what it says, but that’s where you go to a payment screen. Pay the money. If you want paperback books then it’s $99 but if you only want an e-book it’s $30. It’s worth it. It never takes my cards – don’t know why. I ended up emailing Pressbooks through their ‘contact’ screen and they sent me a PayPal link which has worked for each of my books.
Before you pay, click on ‘export my book’.
Icons then appear as the three main files (pdf, epub, mobi). Run the mouse pointer over one of them and select download. The pdf will be delivered to your ‘downloads’ folder on your PC.
The first thing you notice when you open the file is that the document is now paginated and spaced correctly. This software is not like the old-fashioned stuff where you have to go back and re-format stuff. It really works!
Now delete those files – they were just there to test where you’ve got to.
Go back to the text section and look at the columns. Make sure every section is ticked in the 'export' boxes. Then add front-matter. You need:
· A dedication (For Fredrik Nath who helped me get published) would do. :-)
· An also by: page. If you’ve written other books.
· A table of contents is automatically created for you, so you don’t need to do that.
· A foreword. Say what you need to say to the reader and introduce your book.
Then add back-matter. This may include pages like ‘about the author’ or glossary of terms or anything else you want even an other author's note. If you’re writing a series you might even include the first chapter of the next book (if you’ve written it).
Once you are 100% happy with the editing, the appearance (theme) and the front and back matter. You’re ready to export your files. Go to the export tab and download the final copy. Check it carefully! If you haven’t already upgraded there will be a Pressbooks watermark all the way through and you can’t use the file. So, upgrade to get rid of the watermarks then export your files once they've upgraded you.
You should now have three files downloaded.
.pdf – this is for uploading to Createspace.
.mobi – this is for Kindle (Kindle Desktop Publishing)
.epub – for iBook and Kobo.
This is how I’ve done it – you may do it differently. If so, great, let me know if it’s an easier way to do it. I’d love to hear.
Next post we’ll create a cover that you can use to stand out from the crowd!
C U Soon.