KDP layouts got you stressed out?

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I read on many of the facebook groups about the frustrations self-publishing authors experience when they try to upload their manuscripts to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Brain damage and frustration are the prices you pay to self-publish all by yourself without signing up for a “pay to play” publishing house or hiring consultants to help you.

I’m an analog writer and dealing with the technology of authorship can be frustrating.

Self-publishing means we do it ourselves. I also have a publisher that takes all the brain damage out of all this.

Making my own books gave me an appreciation for what established publishers do on behalf of writers. I can attest that they earn every penny they squeeze out of each book sale.

The issue I’ll address here is how to layout your manuscript for a hard copy book. I’ve published three books on KDP.

The first one had me pulling my hair out, but once I settled on a format, the others were simple, since I followed a template I made for myself with the first book.

Pick out the size of book you want to publish. The instructions I’m providing are for 6″x9″

Here are some simple steps I followed using Microsoft Word (Word). The first step is to decide what size book you want to publish. I chose 6″x9″ from the list that KDP supports. After you’ve opened up Word, pull down “File” and open up “Page Setup.”


Pull down “Page Setup” and open it.

This will bring you to the “Page Attributes” tab where you can set up the page size. After you’ve opened “Paper Size” choose “Other” and type the size. In this case, for 6″x9″ I chose 6.11X9.25.

Pick Other, then type in the desired dimensions from the KDP page size list. For a 6×9 book, I use 6.11×9.25. Also orient your page to be vertical at 100 percent scale then hit OK.

After you’ve chosen your page size, open up the drop down the “Page Attribute” box and choose “Microsoft Word.” That reveals a tab and select “Margins” and then OK.

Select “Margins” then OK

A new window will open that allows you to select your margins. This is where you can get frustrated, because the margin sizes can be adjusted to meet what you think is visually pleasing. This may take you three or four uploads to KDP to see what they will look like. KDP allows you to change your formatting and layouts. If you walk away, remember to save your project as a draft so you can come back to it without having to do an edit of your “sent” project. I did that after I had second thoughts about the layout. For projects that you “submit” and you want to edit, it takes a few days for KDP to process the data and make it “live.” My advise is to be patient and not be in a rush. KDP allows you to sell your “coming soon” book. I settled on these setting, and you can try them. What you pick can vary depending on font and type size. After you hit OK, your manuscript will change. Take a look at it, if you like the balance, upload it to KDP as a draft. Why this is frustrating is because once your manuscript is uploaded, KDP will make its own version, which will be slightly different than what your Word document looks like. Be patient and take your time.

Deciding on your margins is hit and miss. If there’s any part of this that can be frustrating it will be your margins. I suggest you jot down the margin combinations you’ve tried, rather than trying to remember them. As for multiple pages, mirror the margins. This allows for the gutters to match up with the facing pages.

After you’ve set your margins, open up the “Layout” tab at the top of the box. I use half inch headers and footers. Again, you can mess around with the settings, but if you have page numbers, you’ll want adequate space so that they fit relatively centered in the header or footer – not to high, and particularly not too low to the page edge.

Select your header and footer. I wouldn’t mess around with the line numbers – that’s for legal documents and legislative drafts. Borders are just aesthetics, but likely unnecessary for book publishing.

That’s it for a KDP self-published books. I can’t over emphasize the need for you to be patient with the trial and error you’ll likely experience.

When it comes to the KDP e-book version. You’ll keep your manuscript “one-up” with a single sheet. The frustrating part is with table of contents. I would leave that out of the e-book because the pages float around and change. Also the Word table of contents tool doesn’t change as the pages change and it gets all messed up.

The e-book title pages and other stuff at the beginning like Dedications may get scrunched together, so be prepared not to have separate pages for the introductory information.

I use a website called Online-Convert to make e-books other than for KDP. It does a pretty good job of converting my Word files, including adding a front cover. Again, nothing is 100 percent. You’ll have to mess around with pages and formatting.

Buy ‘True Stories of an Aging Do-Gooder: How cohousing can bridge cultural divides’

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I’ve lived a life of divergent experiences that converged when I joined the Silver Sage Village (SSV) senior cohousing community in Boulder, Colorado. My story about how to play well with others is a somewhat organized stream of consciousness.

True Stories provides “nuts-and-bolts” methods about how your community can use cultural competence techniques that better encourage members to understand one another.

Buy a signed copy direct from the publisher Boulder Community Media.

The Kindle ebook and paperback are available for purchase on Amazon.

After arguing about whether pets are allowed in the Common House, what if cohousers organized themselves and decided to collectively undertake a mission to save the world?

True Stories explores why I believe cohousing can evolve from a “social movement” into being a “social norm.”

I’ll offer a paradigm shift about how cohousing can bridge socio-economic divides.

The stories are about relations between and among individual people and the personal changes necessary to find commonality with strangers, all with different experiences and lifestyles.

In case you’ve just returned after a year in outer space, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that began in late 2019 circled the globe.

Like everyone else, I’ve had quite a bit of extra time on my hands. I have no idea how my day was occupied before self-isolation.

COVID-19 brought to light glaring cultural inequities. The pandemic closed down the economy, and people lost their jobs.

That exposed the lack of lower-priced housing options when people lost their homes or kicked out of their rental apartments.

If homeowners default on their loans at the same time, as happened in 2009, the market will be flooded with pricey houses that nobody can afford to purchase, except the bottom-feeders.

Racial justice issues quickly floated to the top of the social change pond.

African American and Latino people are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, hospitalization, and death than the general population.

One nexus of lower-priced housing and racial justice is rental and owner-occupied cohousing that pool resources.

Residents share the financial risks and collaboratively operate and maintain their communities.

The story is written from my viewpoint as a cohousing community member, as opposed to a cohousing professional or a cohousing professional who lives in a community.

SSV is one of 170 existing cohousing communities in the United States.

If cohousing is such a great idea, why aren’t there thousands of communities popping up in all corners of the country?

After all, if there are 30,000 people residing in existing an existing cohousing community or in the community formation phase.

The book is part memoir and part “how-to” manual about my experiences that seemed unrelated at the time but added to my life gestalt, which eventually led me to believe cohousing can make social change happen by bridging cultural divides.

The only person I have any control over is myself. For me, personal change happens when keeping the amount of time between the past and the present as small as possible.

My experiences aren’t that remarkable, but the intent is to encourage you to remember what happened in your personal history as you figure out the opportunities and challenges you’ll face when choosing to care and share in a cohousing community.