Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Print?

Since launching my eBook Macyntire & Hough, I have received a lot of push-back about it being just a Kindle book. The plan has always been to have a print version via CreateSpace, but I just haven't formatted the text for that platform yet. Needless to say, I am making it a priority now that there has been a good deal of interest in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Whether or not the book actually sells to more than just my family remains to be seen. Yet, having a print edition of my book will be a great personal accomplishment, and definitely make it easier to provide books as gifts once Christmas comes around!

Here are my thoughts on formatting for print at the point where I am right now - preparing to export a PDF to submit to CreateSpace. (If you haven't checked out their options for print-on-demand, I highly suggest you do so! It's very exciting stuff, and perfect for a newcomer to book formatting such as myself)

I do have a background in print layout. I worked for two years at the University of Southern Maine as a graphic designer for the music and theatre departments. Essentially, the students and staff would give me the text for their recital and play programs and it was my job to be sure that it was all formatted correctly, spelled correctly, and printed nicely with the pages ready to fold and staple if needed. That meant a lot of calculating and a lot of mock-ups. If you don't know what a mock-up is, basically it is a test print that is used in the roughest sense to figure out which pages need to be where before printing.

These skills are essential if you are planning your book for print. There need to be blank pages in certain areas so that your first chapter doesn't start on the back of a page, and so on. The amount of time it takes will be worth it in the end. You also need to be sure that your margins are set up correctly. I've noticed on professional paperbacks before that some of the margins are too close to the edge of the page and that means that if your book is well-read, the pages can get worn down and the text will become destroyed. I did not like this and had to replace a few books in the past because of this issue. Make sure you give the text space! It's the most important part of your book.

Personally, I really love physical books - even though I'm a huge supporter of Kindle and other eReaders. Having the ability to get a book that was written by an independent author via Kindle is so exciting, but I still have to have my physical copy of everything JK Rowling and Stephen King write! Hopefully someday someone will say the same about my own work. Even if it is just my mother! (She's waiting somewhat patiently for the print edition of Macyntire & Hough...another reason to get going!)