Tag Archives: Trim

CreateSpace – Final Things to Check

So you’ve finally got your page numbers right. Check that you’ve Justified your text for your CreateSpace book. I know that some authors choose not to justify text in their eBooks (not me), but a paper book really must be justified or it’s going to look messy. Choose your font and font size. You have lots of fonts that you can use in your paperback, but it’s a good idea to stick with something plain, other than for dropcaps or chapter headings.

Decide what trim size your book is going to be and set your manuscript’s size accordingly. From the Page Layout tab, click on the little arrow to the right of Page Setup, then select Paper from the three tabs at the top of the page setup box. Change the Width and Height settings to 6” x 9” or 5” x 8” or whatever size your book will be. If your book has images in it that extend to the edges of the pages, then add .125 to the width and .25 to the height. So you would then apply 6.125 and 9.25. Apply to Whole Document.

In the same page setup box, select the Margins tab. CreateSpace requires a minimum of .25 for the outside margins but recommend .5. I generally go with what is recommended so apply .5 to the top, bottom, and right margin. Leave the left margin with nothing in it and include that in the gutter margin – makes for much less fiddling. What you set your gutter margin to depends on the page count of your book.

24 to 150 pages requires the gutter margin to be set at .375
151 to 300 is .5
301 to 500 is .625
501 to 700 is .75
701 to 825 is .875

Type in your gutter margin, and next to Multiple Pages select Mirror Margins. Apply to Whole Document and click OK.

Finally to apply your paragraph indents, if you’re having them. From the Page Layout tab, click on the arrow to the right of the Paragraph box. For my fiction I prefer indents between three and five spaces. Under Special select First Line, and under By enter your desired indent size, for example 0.5. Select the first paragraph of each chapter and select None if you prefer to start indents from second chapters only. Line spacing for printed books is generally single, so unless you really do want your book double spaced, select Single for Line Spacing. Finally in this box, decide on the space between paragraphs and type this by Spacing After. Anything from 10pt down looks good. Click OK. Save your document when you are happy with the way it looks.

Now you should be looking at your manuscript with two pages side by side rather than one at a time. When formatting your book for CreateSpace, the page you see in front of you on the right will actually be positioned on the left in the actual printed book. Chapter headings in paper books are always on the right, so go through your manuscript with that in mind. All chapter headings should be on the left side of the manuscript of your two page view. You might have to insert a few blank pages to get everything into position, but it is really worth the effort. Check your front and back matter with this fact in mind, and also insert blank pages where necessary to improve the look of the final result.

Save your finished manuscript, and then using the Save As option in the Microsoft emblem in the top left hand corner of your screen, save it again as a PDF file. This is what you will be loading on to CreateSpace.

Can You Change Paper Trim Size and Colour on CreateSpace?

Before publishing your first paper book with CreateSpace there are a couple of things to consider. Even though you can update it and change the content, once the book has its ISBN and is live for sale you can’t change its size and the colour of the paper. Also, once it’s linked to its Kindle book on Amazon they keep a certain amount of printed books in stock for their quick delivery system, so if you find any major errors in it and rush to fix them, those in stock books will still have to sell first before the corrected ones become available. You could order them yourself I suppose, but I’m not sure how many are printed for this and I don’t see how you could get them from Amazon’s other country sites.

Most of the CreateSpace books that I have bought are 6” x 9”, mostly printed on white paper, as are two of my own books, but there are actually quite a few size choices. I wanted to change the first book in my series to 5” x 8” with cream paper and only then discovered that it couldn’t be done, so now I have no choice but to use the same for all the books in the series. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s nice to know these things before rather than after publishing.

When you’re ready to publish in paper, take your time making sure you’re totally happy with all of your choices. First grab a handful of books from your bookshelf and see what finished product you prefer. Measure those puppies. Unless you have lots of pages, the 5” x 8” with cream paper looks really good. I will only be using cream paper for my fiction books from now on because I love the way it looks and feels, and you don’t see many fiction books with white paper. CreateSpace actually does a great job quality wise when you compare their finished products to some traditionally printed books. White seems the obvious choice for non-fiction, although that would depend on the look you’re going for.

Once your paper book is live and for sale on Amazon you can’t unpublish it and take it down and then republish it again if you hate the way it looks, because they won’t allow that in case someone who bought it wants to sell their copy. It’s so easy to chop and change or even unpublish eBooks that we’re not happy with, but once the paper books are published and selling, it seems they’re forever.

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