Second Time Around: Novice Self-publishing

I’ve been setting up our writing group’s second anthology for print publication. (Watch this space!)

'A Following Wind' book cover

This time around I put the stories together first in a draft e-book layout ready to drop into the print template.

I’m using the formatted template rather than the basic template. Both can be found on Amazon’s KDP help pages.

Since I was using the same paragraph Styles, (more about this later) I thought I could save time by copying and pasting whole sections of our stories at a time.

Wrong!

All my formatting from the first version was copying into the template – including A4 page sizes and margins.

I found it would work if I copied into the template before the final End-of-section break in the placeholder chapter I was replacing.

A Next Page Section Break doesn’t seem to control page sizes and margins. It appears this requires an End-of-section break as used in the template at the end of chapters. No – it doesn’t make sense to me either.

The four Section Breaks available on Word’s toolbar don’t include this End-of-section break and so far my (admittedly short) internet searches haven’t shown me how to insert one.

(Unless my template was having a particularly bolshie day that day. Some days I’ll swear it has a little shuffle around after I’ve closed it.)

Copying as text-only

I had resisted copying as text-only, as this meant going through every story to change back those first paragraphs of each section to a non-indented style, but I’ve since discovered how much unwanted background data gets copied from file to file along with the formatting (see my last blog post on this).

Since every additional read-through, for whatever purpose, is another proof-read, I will be copying text-only in future. (You will never have enough proof-reads to catch everything. Use different readers; they will find different errors.)

KDP Paperback Template

I’ve discovered the hard way that the best way to use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing paperback template is to keep with the Style names they provide and change what you don’t like about them (see my post on Word Styles about how to do this.)

This way Word’s custom Table of Contents needs less adapting and you have fewer Styles to confuse matters (and bump up the size of your file).

In fact, I would have probably saved a lot of time had I stopped to watch those video tutorials that KDP provide on their help pages, before deciding what I wanted to do differently. (But you just want to get on with it, don’t you…)

We live and learn (excuse cliché )

What lessons have you learned the hard way?

… when the right advice was there all along – if only you’d taken notice.

6 thoughts on “Second Time Around: Novice Self-publishing

  1. I for one are extremely grateful for your efforts in getting not only this book into print but also Where the Wild Winds Blow. Wendy is grateful for your help with The Railway Carriage Child. I am looking forward to seeing “Witch Way and other Stories” in print and would like to order my copy now. Thanks again, Cathy.

    Liked by 1 person

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