Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PDF does not equal .doc—which to publish first: ebook or paperback

Remember: Amazon is the largest FREE publisher of books of any kind. 
 Interestingly enough, I found out that, at least for Kindle, an ebook is not just a PDF file of the print book. I thought, since I had RIFTS-A Science Fiction Thriller already in print-ready layout, that it would be “one more mouse click” to get the book into both formats.
I found out that I was mistaken.
I put my PDF file up in CreateSpace. It loaded nicely. I was able to see what the book would look like in simulation on several devices. One of the last options you can choose is something about “a Kindle file.”
So, I chose that.
What I received is a pdf file, which, when loaded into the Kindle Direct generator, produces a much less than acceptable ebook—at least in my opinion. For that reason, I strongly recommend the following pathway to publishing in print and ebook on Amazon.

As I stated in my last blog, do your ebook first—because the layout is simpler. Select US Letter as your paper size setting (File/Page Setup/Paper Size). Then from the same dropdown tree (File/Page Settings) select Page Attributes/Microsoft Word/Margins. Format 1” margins all around. Set your paragraphs for 0.5” first line indent from Format/Paragraph. I chose a line spacing of 1.15, which you can do manually further down that dropdown menu Line Spacing/Exactly/ and type in 1.15. Of course you can choose one of the presets as well. You will submit this .doc or .docx file for the ebook.
Print book files: Set your document paper size to 6 x 9 and margins to TOP: 0.76, BOTTOM: 0.76, LEFT: 1.0, RIGHT: 0.82, which is the best I can do to get what I want in the final document. HOWEVER, BEFORE YOU SAVE YOUR FILE AS A PDF, BE SURE YOU HAVE A PRINTER (NOT “Any Printer”) SELECTED in “Page Setup.” I make sure to reset that in my version of Word (v.10.0 for MAC) every time because it doesn’t save that setting all the time. If you try to mirror your margins, you will have little success saving the file as a PDF as the converter Word uses doesn’t recognize mirrors and cuts off words on even numbered pages. I have Adobe Acrobat, and had the same problem when using it to convert. Conversion from .doc to .pdf is essential for submitting your book’s print version to Amazon.
Next week: A break from the series of “Things I learned about the process when I published through Amazon.com (and how you can streamline your experience!). Instead I’ll answer a question I get asked a lot: Where do you get your ideas?
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