Formatting for Paperback

I keep meaning to write a new blog post, just in case anyone is reading them, but I’m either busy or completely unmotivated.

I’m supposed to be writing a new novel for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I’ve barely started it. I’ve written 30,000 words this month, starting with two new short stories that I meant to finish before camp started. The rest was basically character development and world-building for Time Will Tell, the novel I decided to work on after I lost interest in the romance novella I had planned to write. So far I’ve got a lot of quirky characters, a world with twin suns and a mixture of modern and old-fashioned lifestyles, and the faintest hint of plot. I’ve got an inexperienced Sand Witch who sets out to find the answer to her clan’s water shortage, and a jealous Immortal who wants to destroy the twin Earth Goddesses who keep the world from falling apart. There’s also a Professional Stalker whose only friend is the narrator, a wizard with a British accent who dresses like a cowboy and rides a wyvern who only eats Oreos, mermaids, female sailors and pirates, a wish dragon, and a whole lot of chocolate. It should be a lot of fun, if I can just flesh out the plot a bit more.

I think I wrote a grand total of just under 400 words today. My excuse is that I didn’t sleep well last night, and that never helps me write. I finally gave up on the writing for today, and started working on formatting Persnickety’s Book of Bedtime Stories for a paperback edition. As a result, my brain is even more fried right now.

It turns out that formatting for paperback is quite a bit different from formatting for e-book. I also can’t finalize the cover until I know exactly how many pages the book is going to be, because I need to know the exact thickness of the spine. CreateSpace tries to simplify it for us, but they can only do so much.

First, I had to decide on the page size, choose a font, and decide if I wanted a header on my pages. I ended up flipping through several paperback novels, and decided that headers are more or less optional. The hardest part of today’s formatting session was figuring out how to get page numbers on the story, but not on the front matter or the back matter. I finally had to create three separate page styles in LibreOffice, but it ended up being a simple thing. I just had to use the page breaks with the page styles. So I’ve gotten that much done today. Now I’m just hoping when I open my document again tomorrow, everything will still be there!

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