Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Formatting Is A Bitch

For me anyways, there has been no bigger bitch than formatting. Not just the interior but the exterior of my book as well. I used templates provided by CreateSpace and it still took me over two weeks to get it right.

Now granted I did have anyone right here telling me what to do either, I asked Alexandra when I'd run into major problems (and that girl loves formatting! For her it is enjoyable, for me it is nothing but a giant headache). She offered that if I couldn't get it then she could do it for me, but I figured that this was one aspect that I needed to figure out myself. Unfortunately it was a massive pain in the ass, but eventually it all got settled.

So what went wrong, even when using templates? Quite honestly, I still have no idea on some of the errors. But here's the breakdown:

I used the formatted Template for 6x9 paperback on CreateSpace. All you really have to do in this template is copy and paste chapter by chapter, type in your title, author name, dedications, acknowledgement. The margins (gutter margins, headers, etc) are already in place for you as is the spacing for the start of the chapters. It's set up pretty easy, or at least should have been easy.

Now some of my two weeks was spent just being extremely cautious, because I'd never done this before, I was uber careful and went back over everything I copied and pasted to make sure everything laid out perfectly.

Anyways, the problems I ran into is I wanted to use the cool looking font I used on my cover on my title page. Shouldn't be a big deal, but oh boy was it! First off if you are using a True Type font, congratz! Ding! You've leveled up and can go about your merry way. Most of the time those fonts automatically embed in your document (this is assuming you use the template for MSWord). If they don't embed then it's still pretty easy; you simply go to:

Tools> Options> Save> and from there you just check the little box next to "Embed True Type Fonts". 

Done. If however, you (like me) find yourself using OTF (Open Type Fonts) well buddy…. Be prepared for your formatted file to be rejected. MS Word can't embed OTF's and if you have your heart set on it then your gonna have to switch your game plan.

I was set on it, and determined to figure it out. You have a couple options for submitting your files to CreateSpace, one is MSWord, the other is PDF. So smarty-pants me thought, well I'll do it as a PDF and see if I can outsmart the system. Nope. Didn't work. Back to the drawing board. I looked all through the top bar menu on Adobe and couldn't for the life of me find a way to embed fonts on PDF. I gave up for a day, took a breather and OD'd on chocolate. When I came back I got on Google and did a search "How to embed OTF's in a PDF". I got a hit! Huzzah! It was a video tutorial on how to embed fonts in a PDF. Here's the break down.

Have your file open in adobe (obviously)
Go to: Tools (on the right hand side of your screen)
Then go to: Print Production (if it isn't in the immediate window go to tiny little drop down menu in the far right corner for show/hide panels and click on Print Production there. It will add it to your tools menu)
Next go to: Preflight
A box will open up and load your file and bring up a new menu
From there simple click "embed fonts" 

Then click "Analyze and Fix"
The program will thing for a moment and (if all goes well) it will give you a green check mark and you are good to go.
Save and close.

The second problem I had was the numbering on my extra pages at the beginning. The formatted template numbers everything past the copyright page in i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, and so on. But it also has a blank page between dedication, acknowledgements, table of contents. And the formatting leave any page that is blank without a number, so my sequence was blank page, ii, blank page, iv, blank page, vi, and then the start of the actual book. The system rejected it due to the numbering sequence. After taking another breather before I murdered my computer I went in and deleted all of the page numbering before the start of the book. In my mind those pages don't really need numbers. No one has ever said to me "Oh turn to page iii, this acknowledgement is totally gripping, it's a must read!"

So after three submissions my PDF with embedded fonts and deleted numbering was finally accepted… Party time! Right? Nope. Next came the cover issues.

This one blew my mind because I've made covers for other authors using the exactly same templates from CreateSpace and they have never had a cover rejected, but I go to submit mine and it is rejected due to the font going into the bleed space… But it really wasn't. I mean, hello, I know how to define a bleed space, I would never put text there… Well as it turns out, my version of "that looks perfectly acceptable" and CreateSpace's version of it are two totally different things. My font that I used on my cover and title page I also used on the spine of the book, but said font is very "frilly" it has little off shoot filigree that comes off the text, little doo-dads, etc. that did in fact go into the bleed space. My thinking was it's no biggie if they get cut off because they are just inconsequential little flares, CreateSpace however saw them as important parts of the word and there for bumped it back to me.

In the end they won that battle, I changed the font on the spine to something a bit more mainstream and called it battle lost, I'd won the battle of embedding fonts and the number sequencing scrimmage. So in the end we called it Mia: 2 CreateSpace: 1, signed the peace treaty that saved my laptop and sanity from dying a slow painful death and the proof's of Waking Up In Bedlam were order!

So I have 5 proofs/ARC's. They arrived this week and I am very excited <3

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