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In April 2014, I mentioned the creative aspects behind the cover art for our novella, Genesis: Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Slice of Life .   ...

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Book That Didn't Want To Be Revised

I'd like to start by saying a big howdy to all the new followers.  In addition, I have a couple of items of business items before I tell what the title means.  

According to the folks that I've talked to thus far, our interview on Monday seems to have been well received.  If you were unable to listen to it live then you can hear the re-broadcast. Please be sure to give it a little bit and it will come up.  It starts with an ad before going into the show. As you listen you'll get to hear both David and I talking with Angelica Harris and her new co-hostess, Siggy Buckley on the Monday Lunch Hour Program.  In other recent news, our book is among feature authors on Norma Budden's site. So please be sure to check it out. 

Now on to the story: 

Let me preface this by saying that I truly believe that Editors and Book Layout Artist truly do earn their pay.  Unfortunately, not everyone can afford their services.  As anyone who has followed this blog since the beginning knows, we had River Road Press do the original edits and layouts.  This was great until...

We got the proof back from Create Space.  Originally, my co-author looked through the pages and didn't see any bleed through, so we approve the book for printing. Then one day, he decides to read the words.  He kept noticing that things weren't how he asked me to put them. I could believe that I messed up once maybe twice but as he kept going through the book, we realized the problem.  Some how I posted the wrong version.  It didn't have all the latest revisions.  I went back through the book with a finer tooth comb and finally got it in shape.  I should note that a couple of readers/fellow authors did help with some suggestions that we incorporated into the revisions as well.  The revisions went swimmingly onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-books. Then I tackled Smashwords.  This basically meant undoing all the previous work and re-formatting the book to their standards. 

That is when I ran into my first set of struggles. I asked for help and got several great suggestions but my computer did not wish to co-operate.  I remembered that I had an invitation for help from a fellow author.  He was kind enough to take it and make it behave. I made sure to give him a shout out on our Smashwords e-book

With that accomplished and book two's rough draft typed, I set out to update the print book on Create Space.  Let me tell you that if you have any aspirations of placing your book on Create Space let me save you some time and trouble.  Go with the Create Space Basic Template for the format that best fits your book type.  They have explanations on their site.  Generally though they recommend 6 x 9 for fiction books.  This is what we originally how I put our book into Create Space.  Needless to say, with all the revisions, I couldn't use that original version.  But I digress...now back to the story.

I thought that I had the book spaced out for 6 x 9 but I quickly found out after placing the book through Create Space Interior Review checker that I was not anywhere close.  So I tried the 6 x 9 Formatted template.  You have to copy and paste according to what is in the template parameters.  After trying different variations on a theme. I kept failing to make it look right.

After days of asking for help with my situation and getting basically no where, it finally dawned on me to try the one thing that I remembered from the Smashwords guide book. When all else fails, take the word document...hit Ctrl A (this automatically highlights all of the document) then Ctrl C (this automatically copies the whole document) and paste (Ctrl P) into Word Pad.  This gets rid of formatting problems. Then do the same process from Word Pad into the Basic Template that you choose. This got good results.  I went through and re-adjusted the Chapters into their own sections. Next I updated the page numbers on the Table of Contents.  Once that was done I then save it as a PDF file. 

I re-submitted it to Create Space...the previous errors were gone but I was given a new one.  My gutters weren't the right spacing.  I learned that  if you have over 600 pages (yes our book is over 600 pages for the soft cover) that you need to make sure the gutters are at least 1 inch (inside margin).  I'm not sure why the number of pages matter but it does.  The increase in the gutter makes sense though...you are reading a book that bends. You also have to make sure that you have at least .25" for the outside, top and bottom margins.

So I worked on adjusting the margins by going to the Page Layout section.  Now I won't get technical here because I'm sure each version of MS word is different but I figured it out. After I re-submitted it, I got past that error.  Now I could finally look through and see how our book will look.  

Darn it, the cover page, Part pages and Chapter headings are all skewed.  "Of course they are...silly," I thought, "you just adjusted the gutter things got squashed together."  So I back out and fix those little problems.  "Don't forget to adjust the table of contents to account for the adjusting pages too.  Wait...is this page count divisible by four.  No, now I need to add a couple pages."  "No problem," I thought as I added About the Authors to the back then resent it through.  

It went and it looks great.  Next step the cover.  Fixed it up to reflect the changes we wanted...good.  Onto the channels, the prices...yes, you guess it they went up.  Discussion time with the co-author.  We had to raise the price so we would be getting a little profit (nasty word to some).  After all, we still have money to recoup from paying River Road Press for all their hard work.  It isn't their fault that I posted the wrong version in the first place.  I'm blaming that one on changing back and forth between computers. :)

Our journey has been a rocky one.  We started the journey over two years ago with writing the book.  A year ago we were doing final edits.  It will be a year in January, when we posted our book on Amazon Kindle.  We've come a long way in a relatively short time. I'm so glad that so many of you have joined us along the way.  We are learning all the hard lessons and sharing them so others don't have to go through the same mess.  As my friend often says, "Life is too short, learn from other people's mistakes. You don't have time to make them all yourself."

Here's hoping that y'all are having a great one!

Lynn Hallbrooks
co-author to David McKoy
co-owners of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC


  1. Wow, Lynn, you told me you were going through a lot of troubles but seeing them all written out explains it far better. I'm so glad you finally got through it all. I can imagine the stress it caused. Hopefully the next book goes smoother :)

  2. Thanks. We all learn from these things. I certainly hope that you are correct and things go smoother for book two.

  3. Lynn, if you had asked, and I saw your post, I would always recommend going to Smashwords first. I've learned so much about the software on my own computer, from Mark's style guide. Once I had a clean copy (uploaded to the meat grinder with no errors) I used the original clean file to upload to Amazon. It went like a breeze, done in 15-20 minutes and no hassles. Remember, with smashwords you don't have to have your text formatted for everything. You can be selective, and the meat grinder lets you know you have a clean file for other things.

  4. Thanks CKay. I finally pieced things together in my own head. Like I said, I know the things not to do for the second book.

    Thanks for stopping by.