Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Self-Publishing on a Budget

I know there's a lot of information out there, and some authors probably are more capable than I am of sharing what they know, but I didn't find anything to help me when I needed it. I hope the following can help non-computer savvy people like me to publish their work.


Calibre (free download; requests a donation)

CreateSpace Account (free)

Kindle Direct Publishing Account (Kindle; requires a credit card with room on it)

Kindle for PC (free download)

Mobi Pocket Creator (free download)

MS Word

Nook for PC (free download)

PubIT Account (Nook; requires a credit card with room on it)

Suggested Reading:

Suggested Marketing Tools:

Amazon Author Page

Blog or Web Site

Facebook Fan Page

Goodreads Author Page

JacketFlap Author Page

LDSPublisher (or similar blog according to your audience)

Shelfari Account

Twitter Account

Formatting Your Manuscript:

Times New Roman, 12 pt, is easiest to translate to ebook

Base document should be doc (NOT docx, so save in doc format if you've typed it in docx) for Kindle

Single Space

Use the PARAGRAPH function for any extra spaces; multiple returns do not translate into ebooks

Use the PARAGRAPH function for indents; tabs do not translate into ebooks

Use the PARAGRAPH function to format the body text. It should be justified (except for any text you want centered). Indentions should be 0. However, you need to use SPECIAL for first line (0.25 or 0.3). Spacing before and after should be 0, unless you have a need for extra spacing. Then you would add however many points you want before or after a particular paragraph (I use the extra spaces on the first page for the title and for the title page and before or after dividing marks for time differentiation in the novel).

Before every chapter break, use the PAGE LAYOUT function. Go to BREAKS then NEXT PAGE (for CreateSpace paperback copies, you can insert a BREAK then NEXT ODD PAGE if you'd like the chapters to all start on an odd page).

After you have highlighted all Chapter Titles as HEADINGS, go to the place in your manuscript you want your Table of Contents. Go to REFERENCES. Click on TABLE OF CONTENTS. INSERT TABLE OF CONTENTS.

This creates the Table of Contents that will translate into ebook format.

After you are finished, go to the start of your book. INSERT a BOOKMARK at the title. Call it “Start.” Next, scroll down to the beginning of your Table of Contents. INSERT a BOOKMARK. Call it “TOC.” The marking is essential for the Kindle Table of Contents to work.

You now have a basic manuscript for ebooks and printed books. Save the Word file, then create your ebook file. In Word, SAVE AS “titleofyourbook” scroll down through types to web page, filtered. Save the document to your desktop. The filtered web page is your base document for your eBook. (At this point, I would turn to creating your paperback book – see below).

You will need a cover for your book before you save the document as an ebook. If you have a CreateSpace cover, the jpeg they offer doesn’t work for an ebook. You will need to take your own digital photo of the cover to plug into the ebook.

For Nook, open up Calibre. Click on “add book.” Calibre will walk you through the basic process of adding your book. Other than inputting basic data about you as the author and the cover photo, everything is automatic. Click on “convert book” after you’ve typed in the required information and added your cover. Your ebook should show up at the top. Save the file onto your desktop. A file folder with your name should appear. Open up the Nook for PC on your computer and add your own ebook. Scroll through it and make sure it looks right, including the Table of Contents. If it shows up on your Nook for PC, it should be ready to be added to your PubIt account.

For Kindle, open up MobiPocket Creator. It will ask for some basic information, including a cover for your ebook. Under table of contents, put in h1 for Heading 1 or h2 if you used Heading 2 (I recommend using Heading1 for simplicity). The converted book should be saved under your publications in the documents file (NOT the same file as Calibre created; you might have to hunt for it). There should be a file called "Kindle Content." This is the file you will use for Kindle. If you’ve inserted the Table of Contents properly and used the paragraph style feature, your Kindle book should work. I highly recommend you buy your own book and load it into your Kindle for PC (if you don’t own a Kindle) to make sure the finished product looks how you want it to.

For your printed book (NOT your ebook; headers and footers don’t translate), you will want page numbers, your name, and the title of your book in the book’s body. Look at different books and decide how you want them to read. Centered bottom, top, justified – it’s your choice, just make sure it’s consistent throughout your book. There are some great suggestions on the CreateSpace home page to format your book so it looks professional.

All pages before the main body should have NO page numbers. Any numbers showing are considered unprofessional. In order to achieve this, start all pages at the beginning as a section break, next page. When you create your header or footer, be sure to mark them as first page, different. If the author name and title are on different pages, you’ll want to mark odd and even pages as different also. The first page of every section should have NO markings. If you want all chapters to start on an odd page, you will need to add an extra blank page at the end of some chapters. 

Normally, the author name is on the even page and the title of the book is on the odd page. The body of the book should start as an odd page on the right. When you're finished, save the document in Word as a PDF format (no extra expense required). Use the PDF file as the document in CreateSpace.

Ordering a proof is essential in checking for paging errors as well as checking for basic editing mistakes. Since the cost of a delivered proof is normally under $10, I would use the proof as an editing tool for your ebooks. BEFORE you send out your ebook, spend the time to look over a proof. You’ll be glad you did. Your efforts are worth spending just a little more time and $10 to get it right.

Once you open a CreateSpace account, you start a project. It walks you step-by-step through the process. You need to know the book size you want before you start. Whichever size you choose, create the Word document in the same size. I like the 6x9 size, so I create my document in that size. Creating a different size also opens up a dialogue box in Word which asks for a gutter. This is the space in the middle of a book that allows for binding. I choose 0.5 and a left gutter. Also, I would recommend the cream paper. I like how it looks and feels.   

CreateSpace has a cover creator you can use for free. Many authors use cover pictures from on-line stores. If you use a picture from a source other than your own camera, be sure to site the source.

If your book is fictional, you must have a statement similar to the one below (note also credit to CreateSpace):

Cover Design by Create Space

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

If anyone is quoted or referred to in your book, you must receive permission. Most authors, speakers, etc. can be found on-line. Also, LDS scripture is copyright protected, so make sure you get permission or at least acknowledge the copyright holder. According to information I've read, it's best NOT to include lyrics of songs you like. The fines involved can be thousands of dollars. If you like a particular song, you can refer to the title and artist. The readers can find the lyrics themselves, and you won't be financially liable. 


  1. Thank you for so generously sharing all of this information on your blog, Roseanne. My husband and I plan to upload to Nook using PubIt!. Other than Kindle and Nook, (and Sony, but I understand the Smashwords issue) do you recommend any other ebook provider sites?

  2. I personally use Nook (PubIt) and Kindle (Kindle Direct Publishing). I haven't worked with any other ebook sites (including Smashwords), but I welcome comments from anyone who has.