1. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    I don't know anything!

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Bakkerbaard, Jul 27, 2021.

    I just got some cover design action going and with just a few simple questions she made me realize I don't know anything, so naturally the first thing I did was run here like a child runs to mommy.

    She needs a page count, for the spine.
    I know the pages it has in the Doc file, but how do I convert that into a reasonably accurate paperback number?
    Obviously, I should get the story typeset for that number, but is there a quick and dirty way I can get a usable number now?

    Of course, she also needs the size of my book.
    What's the most common size? I'll just go with that.

    One of her requests was an author biography, which got me thinking. Is it odd to not to that? I mean... "Guy ran out of games to play and started writing stuff" doesn't make for a great bio.
     
  2. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Are you publishing to Amazon? In KDP, I'll begin the process of creating the book listing. I upload the manuscript with a placeholder cover. It creates a preview that tells you the exact page count. You'll pick the book size there too. I go with the smallest option unless the word count is really big. All my books 85k and under are the smallest option (5 x 8). The 160k book is 5.5 x 8.5.

    You should have at least a simple bio. Especially if you plan to make an author central page on Amazon. I never put those on the cover though.
     
  3. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    I was planning to, yes. But I wasn't at that point yet. I thought I needed everything ready to go before I started fiddling with publishings.

    I'm at 99k. I thought I'd go far a slightly chubby 5x8.
    Would you say a fat book could be a deterrent for a potential reader?

    I'm guessing with barcodes and ISBNs, there'll be enough uninteresting stuff on the back.

    Also, I found a site that says:
    pagecount = wordcount divided by 390 for a 5x8.
    Puts me at 278, including front/back matter and half a page per chapter head extra.
    I'm grasping that straw for now.
     
  4. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    You don't need to be ready for publishing to do that stuff in the kdp dashboard. It won't be published until you hit publish and all the prepublishing details in there can be altered still. You will need the manuscript complete and formatted though, so that you have the correct page count.

    That calculator seems to be way off. My 85-90k book at 5 x 8 is ~401 pages. You need to be accurate in your page number for the binding (like within ten pages) so I'm not sure I'd trust a calculator.

    Is the cover artist making an ebook cover as well? I ordered an ebook cover once and told them I'd come back with the exact page count later for the paperback version. They said that was fine and made the ebook right away.
     
  5. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    99k I think would still be good at 5 x 8.
     
  6. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Excellent. I'll get right on that.
    Well, coffee first.
    If I may ask you one more thing on this: If I go with Amazon, I can still hock my wares elsewhere too right?
    I seem to recall something about one of these publishers having an issue with that. Could be my imagination though.

    Yeah, it put me at 278 and that feels off as well.

    Yup. She's starting with that, so I've got a buffer.
     
  7. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    When I researched trim sizes, I found more than one site that mentioned how different genres tend to gravitate to different trim sizes.

    https://www.steubenpress.com/blog/posts/131-6-things-to-know-before-choosing-your-trim-size

    https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/picking-a-popular-trim-size-for-your-book

    https://www.blurb.com/blog/choosing-best-trim-size/

    I wouldn't use any general purpose Word-to-print calculator. It'll be off -- guaranteed. A book I did recently was set up initially for Amazon KDP. The print version cover was sized to KDP's requirements based on the page count. When I later published the same book through Barnes & Noble Press, B&N rejected the cover file. I had to adjust the spine width before B&N would accept it.

    Remember that page count is only one parameter in determining spine width. Your paper choice will affect the page thickness, which obviously has a resultant effect on the spine width.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  8. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    It depends on which Amazon program you choose. I don't remember the names, but with one of them you grant Amazon an exclusive, with the other you can also offer the book through other outlets. Big soft moose had a post about this awhile back.
     
  9. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Your choice. For my non-fiction books. I put an author bio inside, as part of the back matter. I used the rear cover for review comments.

    For the little fiction novelette I did, I used the back cover for a brief synopsis of the story.
     
  10. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    [insert several choice expletives]
    Never even thought about that. It just can't ever be easy, can it.
    I gotta say, I'm happy I didn't think about all this when I started writing. I would've never finished the bastard otherwise.

    Just learned a little about the whole KDP thing. They have this 90 day exclusivity thing you can opt in to.
    I'll burn that bridge when I cross it. First I gotta get some usable numbers for the designer to work with.
     
  11. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Start with picking a trim size. If it fits your genre, say it's going to be 5" x 8". In your word processor, format your paper size to 5 x 8.

    Then set up your margins. Depending on where in KDP you look, you may find actual, usable margin sizes ... or you may find their absolute minimum margins, which are woefully inadequate. If you have no idea where to start, I pulled information from several on-line sources and came up with the following as my starting point:


    · Top margin: .75"

    · Bottom margin: 1.00"

    · Inside margin: .55"

    · Outside margin: .65"

    · Gutter: .15"

    · Header margin: .30"

    · Footer margin: .40"

    Microsoft Word (which I use) has a separate setting for inside margin and for gutter. Many word processors don't differentiate -- if yours doesn't, add the inside margin and gutter together >>> .55 + .15 = .70. With a 5x8 trtim size, you might decide that a .65" outside margin is too generous.

    The 1" bottom margin is for me, with page numbers on the bottom. If you incorporate the page numbers into the header, you can reduce the bottom margin.

    Then you have to choose a typeface and size. You can use Times New Roman (I know people who use it for books), but it's far from ideal. Almost any serif typeface would be better. Try Caslon or Georgia, in 10-point or 11-point.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    An easier route would be for you to download the Kindle Create software package. It installs on your computer and it allows you to import your manuscript into one of several pre-formatted templates. That would give you the most accurate page count. Unfortunately, I can't give you any guidance on using the package. I have downloaded it and installed it multiple times but, even though it should run on a Windows 10 computer ... it won't run on mine.

    It's available for Windows and Mac: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Create/b?ie=UTF8&node=18292298011
     
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  12. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Yep. You can choose to be in KDP select, aka kindle unlimited. It's just a box you checkmark while setting up the book's listing (or after you publish it's in the "promote and advertise" section for the book). As long as you don't subscribe to that you can sell anywhere. I think if you go wide (aka sell everywhere) you'll need your own ISBN. The one Amazon gives you for free is an exclusive #. And you are correct, it's only a 90 day commitment.
     
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  13. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    That's actually what I wound up using. I already had it lying around, but when I first checked it out, it looked... Bleh.
    But I had to use it for the rushjob last night. Turns out I'm at 391 pages, which is a wee bit more than the 278 I thought. I'm still not very confident that's exactly it though. But it's just a gut feeling.

    Thanks for all the info though. I'm gonna screw around in Drive until dinner arrives, see what I can make Google do.
     
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  14. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Turns out, Google can keep up for a good part of the way with this. But the inside margin trips it up. It doesn't understand "inside margin", all I get is left and right margins. Too bad.
     
  15. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    It may not know that you have left and right (or "mirrored") pages. I have never played with Google Docs, so I don't know if that's an option in their page setup.

    Candidly, if you're starting from scratch with a zero knowledge base, I can't help thinking that just plugging your manuscript into one of the Kindle Creates templates is the way to go. Remember, "Eeez booke. Want peeple read wordz, not look pretty booke." I've read up quite a bit on book design and the overwhelming consensus seems to be that you want your book to look clean, attractive, professional ... and like other books in the same genre. Why? Because when people buy books of a particular genre, the more a new book looks like other books they have read and enjoyed, the more likely they are to take a chance on a new author. You don't want your book interior to stand out, you want it to fit in.

    In other words, "Bleh" is a feature, not a bug. And using their templates will save you gobs of time.
     
  16. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Google Docs is like having a Great Dane in the house. It's a good dog, and you like because it's your dog, but you have to point out where you threw the tennis ball.
    I use it for the convenience of having my stories available, as long as there's internet. In my line of work there's a lot of unexpected waiting involved.

    Did that. That gave me the number I sent to the designer. And the designer is the reason I suddenly needed to find out what the page count was. I'm still toying with the idea of doing the typesetting myself, but it'll probably be for the next book. I kinda rushed myself into this corner.

    Oh, I know. That's part of the reason I'm so frantic about it. Fitting in is a bit novel to me. No pun intended.

    That's also a big part of my job...
     
  17. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    If you can use Google Docs, then you should also have access to the on-line version of Apple Pages. And Apple Pages has a metric boatload of book templates all set up and ready to go.
     
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