Posts Tagged With: formatting

How To Add Headers To Your Book

Scenario: You’ve recently self-published your first ebook, it’s doing awesome, and fans are clamoring for a print copy. You’re eager to oblige them, so you start formatting the book for print. But you just can’t figure out how to get those damn headers to cooperate with you!

Never fear, friend. I’ve got your back.

Note: I’m using Microsoft Word. These steps won’t make sense if you’re using a different program. Ye have been warned.

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Step 1: Double click in the Header area of the page 

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Now the Header box opens! Huzzah!

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Step 2: Get yo Header settings in order, son!

The Header & Footer Tools tab should appear once you’ve opened up the Header area. Click the Design tab and make sure the following boxes are checked:

  • Different First Page
  • Different Odd & Even Pages
  • Show Document Text

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Reasoning:

  • Different First Page > This allows you to make the first page in each section have a different header than the rest of the section. The point here is to avoid having a header on the first page of the chapter, as it looks cluttered. (See this post for details)
  • Different Odd & Even Pages > This lets you have your book name on the left page, and your author name on the right page (or vice versa!)
  • Show Document Text > This one’s just for practicality. If it’s not clicked, your document text vanishes. Which is silly, so keep the box checked.

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Step 3: Set up your sections

So Word has this tricky little function called “section breaks”. To get to it, hit the Page Layout tab and click “Breaks”. At the end of each chapter, click “Next Page” to start a new section on the next page.

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How can you tell if inserting the section break worked? On the Home tab, there’s a little backwards “P” button. Click it, and Word will show you all the formatting in the document. Like so …

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So you need a different section for every chapter, along with a different section for all the stuff that comes at the start of your book (title page, front matter text, table of contents, etc.), and a different section for all the stuff that comes at the end of your book (acknowledgments, about the author, etc.)

Seriously, you need each chapter to be a different section. I’m not screwing around here. Do it. There are no shortcuts. Just make it happen.

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Step 4: Let’s start at the top …

For the start of your book (title page, etc.), you don’t want any headers or page numbers. So leave the Header blank.

Easy, right?

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Step 5: The first chapter

In the Header & Footer Tools tab, there’s a tricky little button called “Link to Previous”. For your first chapter, this needs to not be active. You don’t want to link your Chapter 1 header to the first section, because the first section is blank. That means your Chapter 1 header is also going to be blank. Which you don’t want. So make sure it’s not active!

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Important! You need to deactivate “Link to Previous” for both the even and odd page header. Otherwise one will stay linked to the previous section, and therefore remain blank. Conversely, if you type something in a linked header, it will change all the text for both this section and the previous section. Which you don’t want.

Next up, you need to actually enter text into your header. Woo! Starting on the second page (remember that we don’t want a header on the first page of the chapter), type in either your author name or your book title (depending on which side you want each one). For the sake of this example, let’s say type in your author name.

header7Now pop over to the next page and add in your book title. If you did this right, your name and title should appear on alternating pages throughout the rest of the chapter, but should not show up on the first page.

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Step 6: Time to set up the rest of the chapters!

The rest of the book is really easy. In each chapter, enable the “Link to Previous” button on both the even and odd page. This should copy over the header text from the previous section (i.e. your name and title) and apply them to this section. Do that for every chapter, and boom! Header success!

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Step 7: If you have non-story stuff at the end of the book …

If you have a section at the end of the book that you don’t want to have a header, just click your way into the Header in that section and disable the “Link to Previous” button. Then go into the odd and even headers and delete the text. Make sure you disable “Link to Previous” — otherwise you might delete the headers for the rest of the document.

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But Michelle, what if I want a different header for every single chapter?

No problem! Just make sure “Link to Previous” is disabled. Then you can type whatever the heck you want in the headers for each section.

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That’s it, folks! If you have any header formatting questions or issues, comment below and we’ll work it out. Word is a frustrating and enigmatic program, and will do random s*** to screw with your document, so you might run into problems that aren’t addressed here. For example, right now my Word likes to add a black line to the header when I delete text. Fun! So if you have any problems, let me know.

Happy Friday, and stay awesome!

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Unrelated media of the day:

Courtesy of Imgur …

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Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Guest Post: Formatting An E-Book Is Not Rocket Science

Today’s guest post comes from Misha Burnett, fellow WordPress blogger and author of the sci-fi/urban fantasy novel Catskinner’s Book. Take it away, Mr. Burnett!

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Formatting an e-book is not rocket science. Seriously, it isn’t. You may have heard that e-book conversion is a highly technical process requiring specialized software and trained professionals, and if it is done wrong your years of work on your book will be absolutely ruined.

Well, odds are you heard that from someone who wants to sell you an e-book conversion package starting at the low, low, price of 199$ (plus extra charges if your book contains specialized elements such as words). People who make money from e-book conversion aren’t going to tell you that it’s a simple process that most people can learn in an afternoon.

I will tell you that. In fact, I am telling you precisely that.

E-book conversion is a simple process that most people can learn in an afternoon.

What’s more, you have absolutely nothing to lose by attempting to do it yourself. All of the software that I recommend is free. Make sure that you make a clean backup copy of your manuscript before you try anything, and then, no matter what happens, you’re not risking the book itself. Even if you decide that you don’t want to keep messing with it and pay someone else to do the conversion, all you’ve spent is time. (Unfortunately, your wasted time will not be refunded.)

Okay, let’s get started. I’m assuming that you have a clean, proofed and edited copy of the manuscript that you want to convert? Good. Now the very first step is to make a new copy of it—that’s what you play with. If you totally mess it up, it’s no big deal, just delete it and make another copy and start over. Never experiment with the original copy of your manuscript. (Yeah, that sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget.)

Next, let’s get some software. I have collected links to some of the more important ones on my E-Reader Apps Page, because I live to serve. Calibre is the most important one, but I also advise getting the desktop apps for Kindle and Nook in order to see how it will look on different devices. (You’ll also want to see your book on any handheld devices you own—yes, you can do that, too.)

I also recommend getting Open Office, because it does everything that MSOffice does and it’s free. Furthermore, because MicroSoft has some serious control issues, people who write open source applications find it easier to start with .odt files rather than the propitiatory .doc format.

I am not going to tell you how to use these programs. All of them have plentiful documentation, and they explain how to work them much better than I could. What I will do is encourage you to try things out. Calibre has a huge number of buttons and switches to fiddle with, so much so that it looks a little intimidating, but the basic concept is simple.

Convert the file in Calibre, load the converted file into your e-reader and e-reader apps, read through it and see how it looks. Make notes on what you think could be changed, then look up how to make those changes in the documentation.

Then do it again. It’s a lot like the editing process—wait, actually it is an editing process. Unlike the strictly mechanical process that a text converter like the one Smashwords uses, Calibre allows you a great deal of input into the process. Take some time figuring out what looks good to you, what makes your text easy and fun to read, because that’s the bottom line, making sure that none of the mechanical issues get between you and your readers.

Yes, it’s time consuming, and it can be frustrating. It took me a number of tries to get the table of contents, for example, to work right. There was, in fact, no small amount of cussing involved.

However, when I was done, not only did I save myself money, I had a product that I could feel proud of, and I knew how it was done. When it came time to format sample chapters from my new book for Kindle, Nook, and pdf for my beta readers, it took no time at all.

Granted, I have a lot of experience playing with different computer programs and tweaking them to get the results I want. You may decide that it’s worth it to you, personally, to pay to have your book converted.

However, I think that it’s a good idea for authors to get a feel for the process and to understand how it’s done and what can be done. That way, if you do decide to pay for a service you know exactly what you are paying for, and what it’s worth to you. To be honest, I have seen “professionally” formatted books that have glaring mechanical errors—extra spaces, broken lines, bad links in tables of contents. I’ve seen e-books put out by major publishing houses that were all but unreadable. So I would also advise anyone who uses an e-book conversion service to make sure you have the chance to examine the file before it goes live, and don’t pay for it until it is done right.

Got questions? Feel free to hop on over to my blog and drop me a line. I may not know the answer, but I might be able to point you in the right direction.

 

Semi-related media of the day (courtesy of Misha Burnett!):

ARI

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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