This is the first post in what will be a series about self publishing. Let me start off by saying that self publishing is not easy. When it comes to layout, you can do it yourself, or you can hire someone to do it for you. I decided to do it myself because I want to learn how. I want to self publish more books in the future so this is an important step in the learning process – and I am learning a lot.
Today I am starting off with the basics. I am using Word for Mac 2011 on a MacBook Pro to create my template and do the layout. Here are instructions – in extreme detail. I think these instructions will be helpful regardless of which version of Word you are using – these steps need to be done not matter what.
Decide on a size for your book. I decided to create an 8.5 x 8.5 inch book. The first step is to resize your Word document to match the size you chose.
Go to Format. Select Document.
Click the Page Setup button on the lower left of the pop up.
Then select Manage Custom Sizes from the Paper Size Drop Down and click OK.
Then create your custom size. Click on the + sign to create a new template. Then type in the paper size. Then you need to set your margins. Refer to the margins required by the publisher you chose. I chose Lightning Source which requires .5 inch margins. Then click OK.
Set your gutter margins. Different publishers have different requirements for this. Lightning Source requires 0.125 inch gutter margins. A gutter margin is the margin along the binding edge. Some binding styles require extra space on the margin on the binding edge.
After you complete Step 1, you will be back to the Document Format pop up. Click Margin. Then add the appropriate gutter margin.
Then select Mirror Margins on the lower left. This automatically adjusts the gutter margin for the left and right pages of the book, since for odd number pages the binding will be on the left, while it will be on the right for even numbered pages.
Then select Whole Document from the Apply To drop down. Then click OK.
Once the template has been created, set the picture quality for the document. This is an extremely important step that you cannot overlook! Your images need to be set to 300 dpi (I will write another post just about this) and Word will automatically reduce the file size, and quality of the image unless you change your settings. You MUST change this setting BEFORE you add any images to your document – changing the settings after the fact will not reverse the change in dpi to the images.
Select Reduce File Size from the File menu.
Choose Keep Current Resolution from the Picture Quality drop down. And click OK.
I hope that this post is helpful to anyone who is self publishing. I had to search and search the internet to find answers to these questions! Please note: I am certainly not an expert, so if I got anything wrong – please feel free to politely point it out in the comments.