Friday, February 24, 2012

Formatting a POD in Open Office

In between bouts of writing my new novel 'On the Nature of the Gods,' I've been spending a little time working on the POD (print on demand) version of 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery.'

If I can get it to work, it will be a 6 x 9 trade paperback of about 230 pages. According to CreateSpace, that opens up the most distribution channels. Sounds simple enough.

It's a little bit frustrating, because while I did it before, with the 4 x 7 'The Case of the Curious Killers,' (see below, right side,) the learning curve is still there. That's because I did that POD at least a year ago, maybe even longer. I also did 'Core Values,' but never published it, as there was a heavy dotted line running through a page in chapter three. I could never get it out without totally reformatting. I lost heart or something at that point.

Those books have mirrored pages with left and right numbering on the bottom of the page. Theroetically, the header can have left and right pages too--author name on one side, title on the other. It's a nice-looking, professional thing, and that's what I want, right?

So far I'm still having trouble getting Open Office to do that with this project. I've read a couple of tutorials and followed up with a few threads attempting to trouble-shoot the problem. Basically, it's difficult if not impossible to do it in Microsoft Word. And if you click and drag a .doc file into Open Office it clashes and maybe you just can't do it.

I still have ideas, not least of which is to read a few more tutorials. Also, somewhere in the back of my mind a voice is saying that I saved the link from the tutorial that I read a year ago, the one that helped me to succeed that time. So I might have a dig through the files for that one.

Then there is always the nuclear option: take the .doc file and save it as a .txt document, and bring it into Open Office that way. Then there's no clash with Word, although the whole file has to be formatted from scratch. Maybe I could have taken better notes last time...

The reason I didn't use CreateSpace's basic template is that it only had ten chapters, and the page numbering is centred, and I couldn't find a way to change it.

When I tried to paste another template at the end of the template, it just wouldn't go, and my book has twenty-seven or so chapters.

One way or another, it might take a couple of weeks to find the time and figure things out, and then there is the whole wraparound cover challenge--just looking at that template makes my head spin for some reason.

There are times when I wish I was in a position to throw a little money at a problem, but I'm not. I don't know about you guys, but I got a funny feeling that's either never going to happen or it is slated by an indifferent fate for some time in the far-off future.

I'm sure I'm capable of re-learning a new trick, and I guess I have nothing better to do. The most serious thing is that I really haven't written anything today.

My new e-book has a deadline of Mar 31, but I just got my new ISBN and things are going okay there. Then, if you really want to get technical, there's the whole question of making money out of all this...

We'll talk about that another, maybe when we have something valid to report.

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