Tag Archives: book interior design

Diet/Cookbook Almost Ready to Go!

HAY cook book3 3-16-2015How do you like the cover design for How I Lost 30 Pounds in Four Months…without Hardly Trying?

It needs a little adjustment for the PoD version, but I think it’s fine for the e-book. The byline needs to be a little larger, I think. The subtitle looks microscopic in this WordPress post-drafting mode and presumably will need an electron microscope to be visible in a thumbnail.

HAY cook book3 3-16-2015Oh heck. Let’s try that in WP… Ohhh WordPress WordPress on the laptop, which font is tiniest of them all?

Hmmm… We’ll be asking for a couple of adjustments on that thing. But the artwork’s kinda cool, isn’t it? Original stuff from multi-award-winning artist and former art director of Arizona Highways Gary Bennett. Apple…apple a day…get it? 😀

For the interior copy I used the “Pulp” design in a Word template from Book Design Templates. As I remarked awhile back, “Pulp” is one of several two-way templates that allow you, with just one upload of your copy, to convert from Wyrd to e-book formats and also to do a print-on-design layout.

It worked reasonably well. The cookbook is pretty complex because of all the lists, but once you figure out the styles (which could use a little better organizing IMHO), the template goes a long way toward ensuring consistency in all your design elements.

However, things are never so simple as you think. Preparing a manuscript for e-book and print incarnations requires a fair amount of fiddling around: the basic design needs are not the same. For example, in a print book you’d like chapters to open on recto (odd-numbered) pages. For an e-book, that not only is unnecessary, it’s undesirable.

Thirty Pounds in Four Months has two sections: one consisting of four chapters describing how I managed to lose one-fifth of my body weight (and drop the elevated blood pressure into the “normal” range) without starving myself and without beating myself up at the gym, and one that offers over 125 recipes. Setting every one of those recipes on a recto page would have required hundreds of Wyrd commands that would have to be inserted when I went to create a hard-copy layout (or undone if I started with the PoD layout).

So, I decided to lay out the first section in the traditional hard-copy manner but let the recipes appear on whatever page they would naturally fall on — this, by the way, is what “Pulp” was designed to do in the first place. Said scheme then requires me to do the PoD version first, save it to disk, and then go back and delete only the three odd-page section breaks in Section 1 for the e-book’s purposes.

That is much easier than deleting 130 or 140 of the things!

The result looks OK, I think. Certainly good enough for government work.

But I think I’ll spring for a full multi-use license for the “Focus” design that I used to lay out Slave Labor (which will be ready for the printer as soon as the hard-copy cover is done! wahoo!). At the time I purchased a single-use license, I was in pure experimental mode — had no idea how this was going to work and didn’t want to spend any more than necessary.

Now that I see how they work, though, I think I really like “Focus.” Even though its typeface and design will create more pages in any given hard-copy book, it’s really very attractive AND — big, very big! — it’s more streamlined and simpler to use. The template’s “styles” are easier to find and more intuitive to select, and the effect is quite handsome.

Most of the books I get up to self-publishing are likely to sell best as e-books. The ability to print a few on demand for the occasional buyer who craves to feel pages under the fingers will be good, but I don’t think I’ll need so many of them that a dollar or so difference in price will matter much.

The entire Fire-Rider series and the next book that’s in hand will be produced as serial electronic “bookoids” through Amazon. I may produce a hard-copy “collector’s edition” that I could give away for free to people who buy X number of e-books (enough to cover the cost of printing), or to those who have bought the whole series. Those who would like to have just a hard-copy version, then, would have to pay the freight for printing plus enough for me to turn a little profit. Or I might give it away to those who buy XX numbers of the next book’s serials.

Which is to say…I hope to use the PoD version as a marketing tool.

Last night I installed the content of the first Fire-Rider serial in “Focus,” just to see what would happen. It was extremely easy.

There’ll be 18 of those. I figure to do a “Save As” for each serial, but meanwhile have a larger file for the PoD version into which I paste the formatted material out of each serial’s file into the longer PoD file. Then when all is said and done, I can get into the file for PoD, adjust the formatting, have a wrap-around cover done, et voilà!

The Book Design Templates folks allow you to upgrade from single to multi-use, so that’s what I’m going to do with “Focus.”

So, I’m excited about it. Is this enterprise gonna make any money for me? I’ll be surprised. But thrilled beyond measure if it does — cannot tell you how much I never want to slog through another turgid scholarly work or another awful freshman comp essay. Probably the best way to make money through self-publishing is by writing porn…and that this point, I am not above that!

Producing a PDF for a Printer

Okay, so using a preformatted Word template, I did the page layout for Slave Labor, which just now exists solely in e-book form. By way of learning how to do it, I want to present the thing to a print-on-demand outfit, of which there happens to be one here in lovely uptown Phoenix.

Normally, when you prepare page layouts for a printer, your PDFs have to include what is called crop marks, which show the printer where the edge of the printed document will be, based on your book or brochure’s trim size. They look like this:

cropmarks-02Word has no function that will allow you to make these. So, a PDF created with Word’s “Save as PDF” command does not now and never will have crop marks.

To make them, you need to create the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro.

I happen to have a copy of Acrobat Pro on my handy-dandy MacBook, but the dear Apple folks rendered it nonfunctional with one of their endless effing updates. So it’s useless.

In response to Apple’s decision to invalidate an entire suite of software used by millions of graphic artists, most of whom own Macintosh hardware because said software works a lot better on a Mac than in Windows, Adobe moved its programs into the cloud.

You can still buy a copy of Acrobat Pro: $445. Or you can subscribe to it, to the tune of $15 a month.

This presents a problem or two or three…

1. Honestly. I don’t want to buy an expensive piece of software or commit to a year-long subscription unless I know I’m going to use it regularly and a lot. We’re still in the sandbox stage with this self-publishing adventure. I don’t know if or when the enterprise will show any sign of life. If it doesn’t return $445 (so far Slave Labor has netted a grandiose $9), buying it will cost my shirt.

2. Some printers do not require crop marks. I don’t know which do and which don’t, and I don’t want to approach the outfit I hope to work with until I have something to approach them with. Finished camera-ready PDFs.

3. At $15/month, the free-standing version would pay for itself in 30 months. Clearly, if my scheme to build a publishing empire quickly comes to naught (as most entrepreneurial schemes do), then I’d be better off to subscribe to the Acrobat’s cloud version. But… What if the self-publishing scheme works? Then a monthly subscription will soon add up to a huge waste of money. If the plan flies, I’ll need to software in-house, not off on someone else’s servers.

What it boils down to is, at this point,

a) one would be crazy to subscribe to Acrobat Pro; and
b) one would be crazy to buy Acrobat Pro.

We might call that the horns of a dilemma.

Since I’ll need to emit about eight or ten books, all of which are sitting in a queue waiting to be published, before I can know whether the plan is going to work, and because only three of them need to appear in hard copy very soon, we need a way around this dilemma.

Someone, somewhere must have Acrobat Pro and be willing to hire out for the tiny job of opening a Word file, clicking on two boxes in Acrobat’s “settings,” converting the file to PDF, and saving the result to disk.

So when I was over in the East Camelback district a day ago, I dropped by a FedEx office where my little editorial company does fairly regular business.

Sure, they said. They’d be happy to that conversion. Ten bucks a pop.

Well. That would be better than Adobe’s $15/month subscription if I crank out no more than one bookoid a month.

But right now we have not only the proposed PoD version of Slave Labor, we have How I lost 30 Pounds in Four Months, which is ready to go in e-book format and also should be produced in hard copy, and we have 18 serialized “books” generated from the FireRider novel, all of which in theory could be offered either as e-books or in hard copy. Plus once all the serials go online, I could in theory offer a “collector’s edition” of FireRider, publishing everything in one expensive volume.

I could easily put these things out at the rate of one a week, which is precisely what I intend to do.

At ten bucks a hit, I’d be better off to subscribe to Acrobat. And if the other novel in hand comes into being very soon, then I might as well buy the damn program.

So I called my honored graphic designer and whined about this state of affairs. He said he could make the conversions — no problem. And we discussed converting his cover design for the originally planned full-length FireRider into covers for each of 18 serials. He doesn’t seem to think it’ll be very hard, but…when I reached him yesterday he was knee-deep in another client’s project. So how soon we’ll get that under way remains to be seen.

He also said, though, that most printers demand crop lines only if the pages contain bleeds. If it’s all copy, the way most novels are, crop lines may not be necessary at all.

Amateur publishers across the Web report variously that some PoD publishers won’t look at your project unless you’ve generated PDFs with crop lines, and some will take PDFs without them.

 At any rate… It appears that if you can find someone to use Acrobat Pro to create your PDFs for a minimal amount — $5 per document or less — it would be cost-effective to hire the job out. At $10 per document: maybe not so much.