Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have spent months working on my book with the goal to publish through createspace.com, a division of amazon. I chose CS because of the better marketing opportunities through amazon. My last book was originally done through lulu.com, but I had to do my own marketing – which meant I'd take the books to shows or sold to friends and people I'd meet. It looked like the CS design was similar with dropping text and photos into a template. I chose the size book I wanted and downloaded the corresponding CS template. I copied and pasted the first sections from MS Word to the template. Then came the hiatus in which I dealt with loss and grief, but I eventually got back to it. I have other books building inside me that need to be written. This one needs to get completed. I feel that if I don't finish this that I will be a loser for the rest of my life. I HAVE TO DO THIS!

For the most part, the writing of the book is finished. It's been edited and proofread a number of times. Nan, who helped with the editing, noticed a couple discrepancies in my math when recording the mileage of my trip. She also graciously drew maps for me. In my, what I was hoping would be, final read-through to correct the mileage errors, add the maps, and copy and paste each section into the template, Word started Auto Recovering every change I made and that was not quick. I'd be in the middle of something or trying to move back to the next chapter to do the final edit, and the template file would do an Auto Recovery. I have a lot of photographs in the book so this made the process and the wait long. Every time I added another section to the template, there would be a long wait. I was not even half way through loading onto the template and if it is this slow now, how would it be the further along I got?

I went to the CS website which I found confusing and I had difficulty finding answers. I finally went to the community forum and spent hours reading. Nothing seemed to fit exactly what I was doing, so I posted my first questions in a forum. I received answers, but they confused me further. I don't understand some of the terminology. For instance, what does it mean to “Format/Anchor the photo as a Character?”

The first thing I was told was to not use MS Word, but to download a free Open Office program, which I did. However, when I tried to copy and paste my Word docs with the photos to Open Office, the photos bled past the margins and I couldn't fix them. Further conversations ensued and I was given good advice, however, I became more confused. I was given formulas to figure out margins. I was told I could download a different template, but I'd have to re-configure the inside margins. What? How? Why? I'm even more confused. If templates are available, why would I have to re-do or re-format margins?

I was also confused about the pictures. When I edit and save, I often reduce the size for e-mailing and posting purposes and even though I do that, I can never seem to get it through my thick skull what exactly that means. I've asked often and I never seem to get an answer that clarifies it. If my photos are imported at 5184 x 3456, I'd reduce the size to 2592 x 1728. I also save any that I am going to print as 300 dpi.

So the next question is, what does this do for printing in a book that will be less than 8 ½ x 11 inches? Will these photos still be okay? Or do I have to go back and re-edit the original photo and save it in its full size, still at 300 dpi? The biggest a photo will probably be is 5 x 8 inches if that. One person said that I need to multiply width times length and divide by 300 to know what size the picture will print. Huh?

I spent time during the long weekend trying to decide what my next steps would be. Should I convert everything to Open Office? Should I re-do all the photos? (I have 187, not counting the maps which are also JPEGs in the book. The maps are full size.) During the time of decision, I figured I could keep working in Word and finish the text edit making sure I had the mileage correct and was consistent in the use of route and interstate where appropriate. However, Word kept going “unresponsive” and the program froze.

I was back on the forum after the weekend. I am unsure as to some of the terminology they are using. What I am deducing is that if you are doing a book with just text or having only a couple of pictures, it can be done in MS Word and the CS template used. However, if it's to be a book with a lot of photographs, then it needs to be done in Open Office and “printed” to a PFD creator. “Printed” in the term means created as a PDF file.
I've also come to the conclusion, which was also alluded to in the forum, that CS makes it sound easy, but they are really pushing the purchase of their various publishing services... which is not cheap. So, if you really want to do your own design work, other ways need to be found.

A decision needed to be made. I am so tired of MS Word crashing on me. Okay, so this means I have to remove the photos and maps from my text documents, then copy and paste the document to Open Office. Once that's all set to my liking, I can insert the photos and maps back into the document. I ordered the book one of the guys wrote on how to design a book using Open Office which gives step by step directions with pictures. I am hoping this will answer my questions about templates and photo sizes. He said he does a lot of book designs for people and it's expensive. I figure as I plan on doing more books, I should learn to do it all myself.

Like I need another project!

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