Friday 29 April 2016

A Guide to Self Publishing - Final Considerations


If you stay within the 2.99-9.99 price range for your eBook, you should be OK. At either extremity, the royalty rates start falling and so you'd need to look into the impact that will have on your sales and profit. A lot of established authors sell eBooks at 4.99 so you should be cheaper than that if you are an unknown but you don't want to appear too cheap or you will risk looking like your book has no value. I pitched in the middle at $3.99.

So the question was, If I was happy with the profit from the sale of every eBook, why wouldn't I be happy with the same profit from the POD printers? The profit (say its $2.00) from e-sales out of 3.99 seems better than the profit from $8.99 which is what you would have to sell the print book for to generate the same income. I know people who get upset at the print profit because the royalty rate is lower by comparison but the bottom line is that you sold one copy of your product and your profit is $x regardless of the medium. Print just has higher overheads. I found a profit level I was happy with and adjusted every medium sale point to provide that profit. Depending on how the sales go, if I have resistance at $3.99, there is still the ability to drop to $2.99 on the ebook and the equivalent profit point on the print book. Below $2.99 I believe is the point where buyers start seeing your book as low value and the eBook retailers start decreasing your royalty percentage.


When you have uploaded your images to the eBook distributors, you can review your artwork immediately on screen because you know whatever is onscreen is what other people will see. For the print format, it's different. You can't really get a good impression of your cover artwork until you see it. I ordered proofs from both Createspace and Ingram before I was willing to approve the final files. I noticed imperfections in the artwork in the first set of proofs (my fault!) and had to update the artwork document because I was not 100% happy with it. Remember, this is something you need to be happy with for the rest of your life (or at least until the next edition)! The proofing stage is frustrating because you are right there at the finish line, two approval clicks away from completion but it's not done until it's done well. I took the time to get it right and I'm glad I did. Perhaps if you could colour print your cover artwork you could circumvent the proofing process, but I'd actually recommend a proof. That way you know what your customers are going to get and I have to say, it's amazing when you see your work in paperback for the first time!

Useful Links

Amazon Author Page

I see this as being worthwhile. It makes your Amazon page look more professional and depending on your photo, more appealing. The Amazon Author Page is how you link eBook and Paperback versions to a single page.

In Closing

I hope this article has been useful to you in deciding how you will publish you eBook. The ability for anyone to be able to create high quality print and electronic versions of their work is an incredible thing and if you do undertake the process, I wish you every success in your writing and (self-)publishing career.

A Guide to Self Publishing - The eBook Document

Creating the eBook

Thankfully, the ebook document is much easier to format than the hard copy document because the basic premise of the eBook document is to remove as much formatting as possible so that your book will appear correctly in as many devices as possible. There are now many different digital reading devices on the market from Kindles, iPads, iPhones, Android based tablets and phones, Kobo eReader and you want your document to look as professional as possible on all of them! It's time to hang up your artistic talent and keep it simple. While a printed book demands justified text, page numbers and formatted chapter headings, these features are exactly what you want to avoid in an eBook format. The reason for this is that the device "flows" your text onto the device page depending on the user preference for font, font size, device orientation and device size. A reader can choose to use your beautiful published font on their device but that's not the default setting in many devices.

Fortunately, Smashwords has a document template that you can use to produce a simple, lean eBook document, available when you sign up for an account. They have also published a document outlining their recommendations for a successful eBook document called the Smashwords Style Guide. This book is well worth reading as it's authored by one of the founders of Smashwords, whether you decide to use Smashwords or not.


If you do decide to use Smashwords, you'll need to copy the content from your hard copy document and paste it into a text editor like notepad. That will remove all the embedded formatting. Then copy that and paste it into the Smashwords template. You then need to reformat the parts that need to be reformatted, like the title, author name, dedications, copyright and chapter headings. Follow the same approach you took to format the hard copy document and apply styles to sections of the text rather than format bits of the text inconsistently.

One tip I can offer is for chapter headings. In my hard copy document I had defined a style that had leading space before the text and trailing space after it. I used a similar style in the Smashwords template and the leading space caused a page break when the document was converted, leaving two blank pages between each chapter. It's OK to have trailing space, it's OK to have the style include a page break but it's not OK to have leading space!

Once you have completed the Smashwords template with a basic font, minimal formatting and no justification, it's a simple matter to upload it to Smashwords. Smashwords converts the document on the fly and you can download a copy of the conversion to ensure it was successful. There should be no blank pages and the text should flow into the device simulator correctly. If everything is OK you'll need to wait for Smashwords to check your document before they decide to send it out to the distribution channels. You can take this opportunity to uncheck any retailers you don't want Smashwords to distribute to. I only unselected Amazon as I wanted to go direct and here's where there is an opportunity for some slightly dodgy behaviour. Smashwords will provide you with a mobi format file, perfect for the upload to Amazon. You can take this file and upload it to Amazon directly and save yourself 10% on the royalty. I'm not suggesting you do this, (though I did...) considering how easy Smashwords has made the publishing process, but if you do, it might be a good idea to put some karma back in and feature Smashwords prominently on your website sales page (which I did...). If you sell through Smashwords your making 15% over Amazon's royalty anyway!


The other alternative to get your file to Amazon is via the service offered by Createspace. Createspace will send your files directly to KDP (Amazon's eBook publishing) who will then convert the files into .mobi format for you. That is extremely convenient for the .Mobi, however I couldn't see how you could export that in any other format. That's unfortunate because if you could export you work on Amazon to ePub format it could save you the trouble of creating the separate word file for Smashwords as Smashwords can import an ePub document. You could try to convert the .mobi to .ePub using a third party conversion tool like Calibre but the results are definitely not guaranteed! There is probably a very good reason Smashwords requests a minimal word document for submission.

Jutoh and Scrivener

Jutoh provides the ability to import a Microsoft Word document to produce a range of eBook formats. This was the approach I originally took until I realised I had to create a Word document for the hard copy anyway. I don't actually recommend the Jutoh approach, but I've included it here for those that may want more control over their eBook format documents. Jutoh will read a Word file and automatically create sections based on the styles you have defined in your document. Before you load your file into Jutoh I'd strongly recommend consistency in the application of the styles in Word. For example, make sure all your chapter headings use the same style, the body content uses the same style, etc. I created a style for chapter headings, tailored the normal style for the body text, then created styles for the copyright, dedication, acknowledgements sections and one for italic content. Jutoh will then create styles for your project automatically. Scrivener appears to take the opposite approach and seems to be built around the idea of creating your manuscript in the application itself. While it can import the text from Word, the text for me came in as one block that I would then have had to split into chapters. Writing the book in Scrivener may suit some people, It didn't really suit me.
That's the eBook done!

Now for the Final Considerations.

A Guide to Self Publishing - The Cover Art

Creating the Cover Artwork

The cover is the face of your book. Like it or not, it is what people will judge your book on. You have to make sure it's eye catching so it will stand out from thousands of other books that turn up in search results. That doesn't mean it has to look like every other book, it means it has to stand out and look good. If you are not confident in creating an artistic cover, get a cover artist to do it and tell them what you need. Send them the templates from Ingram Spark and Createspace and the cover art recommendation from Smashwords. Otherwise, you will need Photoshop or some other high end image editing software to produce the results, but you can produce some surprisingly good results in Microsoft Powerpoint. No! I don't work for Microsoft!

Powerpoint lets you create a slide that is about the size of a book cover. It allows accurate positioning of graphics and text and can export to high resolution JPEG, with a few tricks. I searched the stock photo companies until I found something that suited the content of my book and bought a license to use the image. I looked at hundreds of images. I positioned the image in Powerpoint, then enhanced the picture by applying an artistic filter called Pencil Greyscale. I added the text for the title with shadowing, text for my name, the back blurb and added the spine text. Powerpoint is very easy to use and it's almost made for this type of work. The results, which were going to be used as a guideline for a professional, turned into something I was happy with, so I kept it. Powerpoint was able to produce the cover art for The Wobbly Wallaby. At worst, it's a great scratchpad for ideas.

To do the spine you need to know the thickness of the book. Createspace recommends 0.0025" per page so you have to multiply your number of pages by that number and then make sure that the centre of the spine text is in the dead centre of the artwork, taking into account the capital letters and bottoms of the y's and g's and that the spine text will fit inside the thickness of your spine allowing some room for error.

When all your text is placed correctly, make sure you allow for 0.0125" of extra space around the edge so that you don't get any white borders on the cover. I wasn't too careful about measuring that, I just made sure there was a little bit extra on the top, bottom and sides.

To get the barcode I went to Creative Indie Covers to generate a barcode. I checked the barcode scanned correctly using Scan Cam on the iPhone. Note that scan cam will report the 8 digit ISIN not the 13 digit ISIN. I have no idea how the two are related but they are and they're different. Place the image of the barcode in a location somewhere on the lower edge of the back cover of your artwork.
When you are satisfied with the design you need to save the design as a high resolution image. Unfortunately Powerpoint won't save a slide to 300dpi (or at least I couldn't figure out how to do that), so I did the following:
  1. Select all elements in Powerpoint on the slide by pressing Command A,
  2. Copy all elements by pressing Command C.
  3. Go to the Preview App on the Mac
  4. Select File -> New From Clipboard. That will paste the slide into Preview.
  5. Select File -> Export and when the dialog appears select JPEG as the format, quality set to Best and set the resolution to 300 dots per inch. Give the file a name and click Save.


For Createspace, you just need to resize the cover art image to their measurement. To calculate the correct size I calculated the correct width for the book and worked out the factor to multiply to that to get that to the pixel count of the width. I then multiplied the height by the factor to get the pixel count for the height. You must adjust one so you may have to go back to Powerpoint and make some adjustments however a Powerpoint page is a pretty good fit for a 5x8 book (I think I had to trim about 50-100 pixels from the height.). Open the cover image in Photoshop, resize and save the image as 'Photoshop PDF'. That's the cover PDF you need to send to Createspace.

Ingram Spark

For Ingram Spark, go to their cover art page and fill in the details for the cover template. They will email you a template straight away. This is a pdf document and your cover art has to fit in a box outlined in the document. Open the pdf in Photoshop and create a new layer. Cut the barcode that Ingram Spark have generated out of the pdf and past the barcode into your new layer.

Open your artwork in a new window and resize it until the size corresponds to the size of the pink and blue box on the template. Ensure the spine is right in the middle. For a 5x8 book I had to resize the original art work to 3190 x 2480. That meant I had to increase the height to 2480 using Image->Image Size and then reduce the width to 3190 using Image->Canvas Size. Professional artists would be horrified, but it got the job done. Make sure you have space for the bleed edges around the outside and that you cover the pink and blue box on the template entirely.

Select all from the edit menu of the resized cover art, copy the content then go to the template. Create a new layer and paste the content into the layer in the template and move the cover art into place. Ensure the barcode layer is above the content layer and move the barcode into place over a white area on your design. Then save all that as a Photoshop PDF.


Smashwords just need the front page, no spine and no back, so I just took the original artwork and resized it to meet the requirement. The Smashwords requirement is quite flexible, however make sure the height is at least 1.4 times the dimension of the width. Save that and the cover art work is complete!

Now it's time to create the eBook.

A Guide to Self Publishing - ISBNs

To ISBN or not to ISBN?

An ISBN or International Standard Book Number is a means to identify an edition and a media format for your work so that if someone wants to order the material they can order the book using an internationally recognised number and they'll know exactly what they'll get. It was created in 1965 and until recently all books would carry an ISBN. To co-ordinate the international effort and to make sure the same number was never issued to the same publisher, the ISBNs are distributed (sold) by an ISBN registration agency in the country of issue. Read: monopoly.

A separate ISBN should be used to identify a different media format for a book, so that your eBook edition should have a different ISBN to your print edition. Both Smashwords and Amazon offer to supply free ISBNs but if you use their ISBN, they will be registered as the publisher. You may not care about that. I did care. Given the amount of effort involved in producing the book, I felt the cost of the ISBNs was reasonable and it would allow all formats of the work to be registered to me as the publisher.

Make sure that if you are going to buy the ISBNs that you buy them from the registered ISBN agency in your country. The registered agencies offer large discounts on bulk purchases so on-sellers buy large bulk lots and sell them in smaller lots for a profit. These retailers will be cheaper than the ISBN agency for small lots because they bought in bulk and can afford to undercut the agency. There is absolutely no point buying from the on-sellers as they became the registered publisher when the ISBN agency sold them the ISBNs. You are just buying the right to use the ISBN. Don't do that!

The only registered ISBN agency in Australia is Thorpe Bowker Identifier Services. They have a page that explains why you should buy an ISBN, though it's not particularly convincing, but also provides a link to buy the ISBNs. You can also see the size of the discount for bulk lots on this page. I bought 10 ISBNs, which should be good for 5 books (one for eBook format, one for print format) for $76.36 AUD. I also had to pay a $50 AUD first time publisher fee (sting!) and with tax and a discount thrown in, the total came to $118.15 AUD or $11.82AUD per book format. That seems like a small price to pay to maintain the publisher registration in my name.

One other point to note is the registered ISBN agency will probably offer barcodes and other additional services to you. You don't need to buy any of these, all you need are the ISBNs.

Now lets get down to business: Creating a beautiful and professionally formatted book.

A Guide to Self Publishing - Introduction

A Guide to Self Publishing is an account of my experience self publishing my first book The Wobbly Wallaby. The purpose of the guide is to help outline some of the options involved in the process, to explain some of the decisions I took and to assist in the creation of the output required to self publish your own book.

Choosing What to Do

So now that you've written your masterpiece, the next step is to determine how you want to publish and distribute the book. Assuming you have already decided to self-publish, there are really only two choices here, eBook and/or Print On Demand (POD). It is also possible to enlist a dedicated printer and have them do print runs of a specific number of books for you but you would have to pay up front for that. That's definitely not what I wanted, particularly when POD can supply one book or a thousand books on demand.

eBook publishing is an obvious choice. To date the movement to eBook format has required a transition for the reader from paperback to eReader device. That will likely not be the case when the next generation comes through. Many children all over the world have already started using laptops and tablets at school and in many cases the textbooks are digital. For them, reading digital content is not something they will need to transition into, it will likely be their norm. I'm sure hard copy books will still exist but you just need to look at the impact eBooks have already had on the publishing world to see this is the way of the future.

Print on Demand is the next question. Do you really need to have your book in hard copy? Are you really prepared to go to all the trouble to set that up? Of course! It's physical, it's real and it's a trophy of your accomplishment! Plus you can sign it! You'll also want to provide that format if that's what people want to buy. Once you've been through the process of creating the files for the Print On Demand printers you'll realise it's not such an onerous task, especially if you have experience with Microsoft Word.


More and more eBook retailers are springing up all the time and each could potentially stock your book. Do you try and distribute your eBook to all of them, just some of them, or use a distributor to distribute the book? Consider what happens if you need to redistribute an updated copy. The decision is also influenced by where you live. The major eBook retailers are based in the US and despite some having international sites, sales revenue comes from the US. If you are an author outside the US, you will need to create an account, complete a W-8BEN (or W-8BEN-E) form and distribute a separate copy of your book in the required format for every eBook retailer included in your distribution list. Additionally, each eBook retailer will take a different percentage of your book based on the price and where you sold it. Some allow free books, others don't. I soon found myself engulfed in a world of options, legalese, EINs and TINs and that is not where I wanted to be!

The most useful advice I can give in this area is to read this article from the Author Earnings Report. If you can distribute to Amazon, Apple iBooks, nook and Kobo you have covered 96% of the market by sales at the current time. You'll find many variations on quoted market share statistics on the internet but regardless of the accuracy of any quoted percentage of sales of eBooks on Amazon, no one can deny it's the big white whale when it comes to eBook sales. Apple has sold nearly a billion mobile devices, all with an iBooks reader installed that is wired up to the iBooks store with a massive global footprint. Given what iTunes has done for music it's hard not to see apple pushing to do the same thing with books. (I actually prefer the Kindle app, but what would I know...). Nook is Barnes & Noble's eBook store. Barnes and Noble are a colossus of hard copy bookstores and they would be reluctant to see their business eroded by Amazon and Apple. They have massive skin in the game and will continue to push their eBook sales to ensure their revenue stream. Kobo are a pure eBook and eMagazine company. They have their own eReader device and while they may not have the clout of Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble, they are too big to ignore. Google, which currently has 2% by market share is curious in this area. At the moment they are not accepting new publishers. If you go to their site you will find a message that says "New publisher sign-ups in the Google Play Books Partner Center are temporarily closed." They are obviously looking at their strategy, but I'm sure they won't just go away so that will require a revisit some time down the track. If they're not enlisting, then there's only 2% of the market left.

There is another element in all this that you should be aware of. Each of the eBook stores specify the format(s) for your book and it's usually a single format per bookstore. Even though there are only a few formats, epub, epub3, mobi, pdf, etc., each eReader device may add extensions to those formats. If you publish a book so that it appears beautifully on one reader it may look terrible on another. So firstly, its prudent to be a simple as possible in your formatting for eBooks so that it will look reasonable on ALL devices. You will also need software to create these formats if you chose to create the files yourself. Secondly, the formats seem to be morphing as the technology matures. New features are always being added and while the change is slow and backward compatibility is almost essential, the future is unclear in this regard. I definitely don't want to have to keep up with adjustments in file formats at various bookstores! Wouldn't it be great is someone managed all this hassle for you?

Smashwords to the Rescue!

Smashwords does exactly that. It's not the only player in the aggregated distribution market but it's by far the biggest. Smashwords will distribute to Amazon, Apple, nook, Kobo, Scribd and a host of others including the Baker and Taylor library network. Perfect! Smashwords will sell your book on their site and return 85% to you or 60% if your book is sold on one of their distribution partner sites. Even though that may cost me 5%-10% at some eBook stores, the convenience, reach and that fact that they are managing the eBook formats sounds like a great deal to me. They also allow you to sign up and exclude the distribution to Apple or Amazon while maintaining all the other channels if that's what you wish to do. I signed up to Smashwords for distribution to everyone except Amazon, as Amazon are the largest retailer and I'd make 70% direct vs. the 60% from Amazon through Smashwords.

Print On Demand

Of the Print On Demand printers the two big players are Ingram and Createspace. Ingram has two arms, Lightning Source and Spark. Lightning Source is really for experienced publishers, Spark is aimed at self publishers like me who are new to the process. Spark is a simplified front for Lightning Source. You may see value in trying to convince Lightning Source that you are a serious publisher but I honestly couldn't see the benefit in that. The royalties are about the same, the charge to set up a book is slightly higher with Lightning Source, the account setup is far more involved with Lightning Source. For me, the ease of use of Spark made more sense.

Lightning Source (and Ingram Spark through Lightning Source) has massive reach, here is a list of the Ingram Print Distribution. Their eBook distribution is just as impressive but due to the reduced royalty to the writer (only 40% flat), the eBook offering was not something I wanted to pursue.
There are a lot of negative comments related to Spark because they used to force you to apply a 55% discount to your retail price. The 55% is theoretically to allow the bookstore to cover the costs of the store, staff, store profit, opportunity to discount your retail price etc. It appears to be a relatively standard practice and frankly I can understand the reasoning behind the percentage. Spark lets you choose a lesser percentage now, but unless you are JK Rowling, if you choose anything less than 55% you are probably going to remove any possibility of a bookstore actually stocking your book. The fact is, you are now swimming in a sea of self published authors, all competing with major league publishers who quality control and cherry pick every manuscript, for the shelf space in every brick and mortar bookstore. For a bookstore, a self published author is a high risk proposition.

The cold, harsh reality is that the only place you are likely to sell a hard copy of your book is through Amazon but you still need to be ready in case someone wants to buy your book in that format. The unsubstantiated rumours that pervade the internet imply that Amazon will prefer to source the hard copy from Createspace because Amazon owns Createspace, however bookstores will prefer Ingram because Amazon/Createspace is a direct competitor to the bookstore. Given my unshakable faith and conviction that I will be catapulted into the rarefied ether of literary greatness, I decided to cover both bases and chose to use both companies.

So in summary, here's what I went with and what I needed to produce:
Distributor Format Reach Requirement
Amazon eBook Global reach through Amazon, I did not elect to enrol in KDP Select. eBook in .mobi format including a cover
Smashwords eBook Multiple site distribution (Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook etc). (Amazon is included by default, make sure you un-tick this if you want to go direct) once your book passes the premium validation. Microsoft Word Document
Createspace Paperback Amazon Worldwide Print Distribution, I did not opt for Expanded print distribution due to the lower royalty rate. PDF Document for the text, Cover Art according to Createspace's guidelines.
Ingram Spark Paperback Worldwide Print Distribution outside Amazon. I did not opt for their eBook distribution because they take 60% for all eBook sales. PDF Document for the text, Cover Art according to Ingram Spark's guidelines.

Fortunately the PDF requirement for Createspace and Ingram Spark is identical and can be generated out of a Microsoft Word document. I originally looked into Scrivener and Jutoh and while they are both excellent programs, neither are really the best fit for the requirement outlined above. I didn't discover that until after I'd blown 50 bucks on Jutoh... The Word document for Smashwords uses a different formatting approach so at least two versions of your book are required.

The next question is should you buy your own ISBNs?

Monday 11 April 2016

A Guide to Self Publishing - The Hard Copy Document

Creating the Hard Copy Document

If you chose to engage either of Createspace or Ingram Spark or any other printer for that matter, you will need to create a beautiful and professionally formatted book. This is actually not as difficult as it may sound although it does require patience. The input document for Createspace and for Ingram Spark is a PDF document. You can use anything you like to create that but the pdf must contain all the fonts used in the document as embedded fonts, must have page sizes the same size as your book and must conform to a level of PDF that the printer can use. Fortunately, Microsoft Word can create the PDF document and Createspace provides a convenient Word document template to get you started. I would recommend using this template because the gutters, margins, page numbering etc have all been set up for you. Once you have formatted the document it's a simple matter to print to PDF. I used Microsoft Word 2011 on a Mac.

The first step is to select the size of the book you want to make (I chose 5x8 as most paperbacks seem to be about this size) and download the Createspace template. Then copy and paste the contents of your book, preferably unformatted, into the template.

Suggestions on how to make your book look professional
  1. Don't use fifty different fonts. I recommend you use two fonts. One for all the text including acknowledgments, dedications, copyright etc and one for chapter headings, the book title and the author's name on the front page. You can use italics and change the size of the fonts but keeping the font count down will make your opus look consistent.
  2. Use a serif font for the text, they are easier to read.
  3. Create a style for all formatting elements. Resist the temptation to just indent that paragraph or centre that bit... Create a style for the format and apply the style to the text. Please. Don't do it for me, do it for yourself...
  4. You need page numbers. They come for free in the Createspace template. The Createspace template will also contain headers for your book name and author name. These are not necessary but do add to the look of your page. I decided to keep the headers but changed the text colour to grey so that the header text stood back from the content text. I left the page numbers black.
  5. The first paragraph of a chapter should not be indented. Create a style based on the normal style called 'No Indent' and change the left indent to 0pt.
  6. All other paragraphs should be indented by .78" or so, whatever looks good to you.
  7. All chapters should begin on a right hand side page when the book is open. If you need to insert a blank page to make that happen, you'll still get a header and a footer on the blank page and that is not how a blank page should look. To do this properly, you will need to add some odd and even page section breaks to overcome this.

Adding Odd and Even Page Sections

Chapters should start on an odd, right hand side page relative to the open book. Right hand side pages of the book are called odd pages because the page numbers on these pages are odd. If you view two pages at a time in Word, the right and left pages will be on the opposite side. (Odd pages should be on the left hand side in Word). If in doubt, look at the margin. The widest margin is in the centre of the finished book, therefore odd pages have the widest margin on the left hand side.

If you do find a chapter that ends on an odd page, go to the bottom of the last page in the chapter and insert a new Even Page Section Break. On my version of Word that's in the "Insert" Menu under "Breaks". On the new even page section insert a new Odd Page Section Break. On the new odd page section hit delete once. The start of the chapter should now be on the start of the new odd page section you just added.

The headers and footers in the sections will still appear because they will likely be set to "Link to Previous". Highlight the header (double click) and uncheck this item in the header properties for both the even and odd page sections that you have added.

Copy the header you want on the new odd page section from the previous chapter's section and paste it into the new odd page section, where it will likely be missing. Do the same with the page numbers. Ensure the page numbers are justified correctly in the new section, and you will probably need to restart the numbering for the new odd page section. If you have done this correctly, Word won't let you put an even page number on an odd numbered section so you need to skip the page number of the blank page and continue from there. That's consistent with the page numbering in the greater majority of books.

Now you should be able to go to the new even page section and delete the headers and footers.

Spend some time now making sure everything is aligned correctly, everything flows correctly, the page numbering is correct and all the text is formatted correctly. If you have quotes in your text or poetry etc you'll need to make sure that is formatted correctly. Remember, create a style for all formatting!

You should now have a beautiful looking document that you will be happy with for the rest of your life. If not, go back and fix it! No-one will fix it for you!

When everything is aligned correctly, it's time to commit the file to PDF. You are about to reach the point of no return, well, at least the point where the revisions start...

If you chose a 5x8 size book, you have to print that on a 5x8 size sheet of paper right? If you tried to do that on a printer, the printer would complain that the book's page size doesn't match the paper in the printer. No problem! We're only printing to PDF! Select File - Print if you are using Word and in the Page Setup dialog you need to create a Custom Page size with those dimensions which you might like to call "5x8". That is now the page size for the document. Click Print to the PDF Writer on Windows, or Save To PDF if you are on a Mac.

If you've made it this far you've done it!

Open the PDF and check that all fonts are embedded. For some reason Preview on the Mac doesn't show the file properties so you may need to download the Adobe viewer or alternatively check the file on a PDF viewer in Windows. Make sure the page size in the PDF looks like the page size of your intended document and not just an A4 size.

Check the PDF to ensure all formatting has come out correctly and that you have produced an item that you will be happy with for the rest of your life. That PDF is now ready to go to Createspace and Ingram.

Time to create the cover art...

Sunday 10 April 2016

TVix CU3000 Error

I had an issue with my Tvix unit (CU3000) when I put a larger hard drive in it. Even though the manufacturer stated the unit could handle 400G drives, when I put the drive in the unit complained of a failure regarding it being unable to mount the drive and to check the cables etc. I can't recall the exact error messge (Typical User!)). A dialog box popped up with a message to that effect. I found that if I hit the setup button at the instant before the message came up I could bypass the error but that was a hit and miss situation. I also noticed a flickering when I finally got passed the error message. I figured there must have been something wrong with the unit but when I went to use the unit in the car, it worked perfectly. So I bought a replacement power supply (for the CU3000 unit I got a 12V 4amp supply) and that has totally fixed the problem. Please check your unit for the correct voltage.