February 23, 2013

Professional Looking Books the Easy Way

BookPageWhen I wrote The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing to help readers begin writing their lifestories, I knew that some readers would eventually be ready to publish story albums – collections of short stories – or full-length memoirs. To help them produce professional looking volumes, I included instructions for assembling and preparing the documents to take advantage of free Print-On-Demand services like CreateSpace.com. I gave detailed instructions for using Styles to simplify formatting and ensure uniform results. I explained how and why to adjust line spacing for easier reading and suggested a number of reader-friendly fonts readily available for free download. I gave instructions for setting custom page size and effective margin settings. You’ll find everything there that you need to know to create a “real” book that doesn’t scream BEGINNER BOOK!

But, I admit it, there is a learning curve, and it’s more effort than many people want to invest. Until now, if you didn’t feel up to the challenge, have the time to try, or have a friend or relative you could cajole into helping, you could either settle for the home-made look or write a big check to a book designer or layout service.

I have great news: Joel Friedlander, veteran book designer, publisher of The Book Designer.com  and author of over 700 helpful articles for self-publishers, just launched a new service offering affordable, professionally designed templates that allow you to produce a polished book project with Microsoft Word. These templates relieve you of all decisions about line spacing, margin settings, header arrangement, font choices and more.

All you need to do is to write, edit and polish your manuscript, paste it into the template, and follow the comprehensive set of instructions to add header information, apply body text and title styles, fill in publication information and so forth. Add a cover and upload to CreateSpace and you’ll amaze everyone with your stunning results.

You may be wondering if I’ve used one of these templates. No, I have not, and I’m not getting a commission or any other incentive from this recommendation, but I know a good thing when I see it. I have used the same process they did to create templates (I even tell you how to create your own templates in my book), so I know how they work. It may be a little tedious, even stressful at first, but it isn’t rocket science, and it’s way easier than starting from scratch. You’ll also find templates for producing eBooks that coordinate with the look of your print project. That alone is worth the cost of the template.

If you are even thinking of someday publishing a volume for your family or the world at large, pay a visit to Joel’s sites. Look through the wealth of general information at The Book Designer.com and download a copy of his free eBook, Ten Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing. Then click on over to Book Design Templates.com and check out the selections. While you are there, look for the Guides link on the menu bar where you can download copies of his free Book Construction Blueprint and  Template Formatting Guide eBooks. They are “must read” material, even if you don’t plan to use his templates.

As powerful as they are, current Book Design Templates don’t currently include one key element you’ll probably want: automated magic for inserting photos. Fortunately you can find step-by-step instructions for doing this beginning on page 264 in The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing.

You put an enormous amount of time and thought into writing your stories. You owe it to yourself and your stories to make them look as good as they sound.

Write now: take a break from writing and read Joel’s free e-Books, then watch a few YouTube video tutorials on using Styles to ease your way whether you use his templates, the instructions in my book, or wing it on your own.

5 comments :

Wayne Groner said...

Joel and his team have come up with classy looking and inexpensive templates. I recommended them to members of my writers' guild in Springfield, Missouri.

Amber Lea Starfire said...

Sharon, I am well versed in Word styles and creating templates of my own. But why go to all that work, when I can get professionally designed templates for such a great price? I just bought and downloaded one of Joel's templates and intend to use it for my memoir. Relieved.

Sharon said...

Amber, your endorsement is HUGE. I have both paper and digital copies of WEEK BY WEEK, and both formats are elegant and meticulous, so if you are sold on Wayne's work, who wouldn't be?!

Sharon said...

Wayne, I know they will love you for this, even more than they already do. :-)

sherpeace said...

Sharon, if a writer uses createspace, does that exclude them from getting published by a publishing house?

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