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blog Paperback Formatting for Beginners

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Black Dragon, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Svrtnsse submitted a new blog post:

    Paperback Formatting for Beginners
    by Nils Ödlund

    [​IMG]

    In this day and age, publishing a book you’ve written is as easy as uploading a file to a website and clicking a button. You can even get a copy printed and sent to you in the mail. Easy.

    That’s just the actual publishing though, and the printing.

    Writing the book is still difficult, and making it look good once that’s done can also be tricky.

    A while back, I came across the following question:
    “Is there a free tool which lets me copy and paste the text of my book and get it formatted for paperback?”​

    To my knowledge, there’s no free tool that does it all automatically, but there are plenty of free tools that will let you you format your text yourself. In this article, I’ll show you the basics of how I do it. It’s not quite as simple as just copying and pasting the text, but it’s also not super complicated.

    I will not be mentioning anything about covers. That’s an entirely different can of worms.

    The Tools
    For my own books I’ve used OpenOffice for both writing and formatting. It’s free, and it does what it’s supposed to. Another free option is LibreOffice, but I’ve not tried that one myself. If you’ve got access to MS Word, that’ll work too, but it’s not free.

    Essentially, pretty much any modern day word processor will do the trick. The important thing is...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
     
  2. Ban

    Ban Staff Article Team

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    I've already told you, but I think this article will be very useful for me... In the future somewhere. I'll be sure to return to it then. :)
     
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  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Thanks, glad you like it. :)
     
  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Happy to hear it was useful. Best of luck with your own work. It really isn't all that complicated once you get the basics down. :)
     
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    I’m a nutcase and use InDesign, going through and manually eliminating all widows, orphans, runts, and hyphen ladders as I don’t trust automation 100%. And I check every hyphen I see in case it’s one I don’t like, LOL. There’s always a few that are just damned awkward so I tweek until I like it. InDesign is killer, bit of a learning curve, but helluva app.

    Going to layout Eve of Snows in hardback here soon, just to have some more fun.

    I’ve been tempted to offer my services on the cheap for basic novels, because I take a strange, twisted pleasure in laying out books, but then I wonder about my sanity.
     
  6. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Mystagogue

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    I also use Open Office both for writing and (most) formatting. It does the job quite well enough for a typical novel. My ex is a wiz with InDesign but I don't let her do my books anymore.
     
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  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I completely with you on this. If you're not doing anything fancy with it, you don't need all the bells and whistles of high end layout solution. :)
     
  8. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    Optical justification, not sure if it’s a bell or whistle, but I love it. heh heh. But then, I did layout out on several major medical books an age or so past, so I’m particular about things. I see some stuff in print novels that make my eyebrows scrunch.
     
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  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    You got me there. This was something I wasn't actually familiar with myself, and I had to look it up. Doesn't seem to be a feature available in OpenOffice.

    It's probably a bell though. The article I found that explained it talked about hanging punctuation. :)
     
  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    Visually it’s very cool. First time I saw it I was like... ewwww, ahhhh. But I’m weird, and always thought normal justification was a tad odd.
     
  11. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I think it might be one of those things that can look odd, but that it's difficult to put a finger on if you don't know about it.
     
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  12. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Journeyman

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    I don't know of any free tool that does this. I do know good paid tools. I use Vellum, which does this beautifully.
     
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  13. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I've heard about it, but I haven't used it myself yet. It's the kind of thing I'd like to get my hands on once the budget allows it. :)
     
  14. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Svrt, can I just pay you to format for me? :D
     
  15. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    It's hard enough just charging my friends for my books - and they're supposed to be for sale. :p
     
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  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    Vellum does optical justification in their print? I doubt vellum has enough detailed control for my taste, but it’d be cool if it did do that one little thing.

     
  17. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Journeyman

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    I don't know what optical justification is. Probably not. They're really good for formatting novels—I'm not as certain about books with a lot of images. And, of course, it only works with a Mac.
     
  18. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    Optical justification makes it so that the letters matchup in the ustification even if there is a comma or hyphen or whatever... so those end up outside the justification line. It just looks better, IMO. Instead of:

    rrr
    rr-
    rrr

    you have:

    rrr
    rrr-
    rrr

    As a rough example, heh heh.

    InDesign also controls for hyphen ladders... I’m not sure if other apps do that.
     
    Ned Marcus likes this.
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