My novel setup with Blurb BookWright.

I’m writing down this process in the eventual case where I forget one or more steps to the process. As I mentioned in a previous post, this program is better than other options, but itself has a lot of drawbacks. In this case there is a lot of manual adjustment needed, which is time consuming and prone to human error.

In this process I’m basically copying text from a finished book document into the Blurb program.

Format: 5×8

File >> Book Information
Fill in the book title and author name.

Paper/Trim >> Paper Types
Standard BW Paper (hopefully cream, not sure yet…)

Add a bunch of pages in the right panel that displays the side by side pages. There are a few ways to do that.

First page:
Title page with book title and author name
Second page:
Copyright information
Third page: Acknowledgements
Fourth page: You need a blank page or something else in this case because the text should start on the right with page number 1 (a convention I’ll mention later).

I position a graphic photo container above those three pages (it should lock into position when you drag the edges around.). Inside that graphic I put a small 100% white PNG file of pretty much any size and make sure it is Forward to cover that area. We will get back to that in a moment. There might be other ways to deal with the issue I will describe, but I haven’t found it yet.

The above graphic shows the “background” area. This is where you can add things that will show up on every single page. When I added those pure white graphics earlier to the first three pages, I was intending to cover up what is done here because the headers shouldn’t show up on those three pages. In this case you add text containers and position them to align with a temporary layout applied (the second novel one in my case). I delete the template afterward because it is just used to align the two header texts.

Page numbering conventions: Standard practice is to have odd numbered pages on the right and even on the left. That means page #1 must be on the right. This needs to be handled manually with Blurb (with CreateSpace the template is smart enough to make it work as it should without caring about which page is on what physical page).

I also add pages numbers starting on page 5 in my case. This is done through the menu with Add/Insert >> Add Page Numbers…

For every single page in the main text, you have to apply one of the page templates. In my case I use that second novel template shown highlighted in blue. In the case of a 5×8 book it seems to work alright. The larger templates will clip and the smaller templates seem specialized.

I copy and paste every single chapter of the book by hand. My setting of choice are these:
1. Palatino Linotype font. I really like how it reads compared to other fonts I’ve seen so far.
2. Chapter titles are size 14 font.
3. Body text is size 11 font with 1 em line spacing.
4. Every single paragraph has to be tabbed by hand (one really stupid software design choice of the program).
5. After everything is done, click the Update Text Flow button, otherwise the text won’t refresh.
6. Do this for every paragraph (eg, select all text and assign the font). I’ve had the program use a default font for the header even though I pasted text with the correct font.

When that is done for the chapter, I likely have to flow the text into multiple pages.

You can see the flow controls above. The top left allows you to remove flow connections. The bottom right allows you to link containers. In this case you will usually be using the bottom right button and then clicking on the next page’s container to link them up.

That’s about it for the editing stage. It take a lot of time and is prone to errors, so I’ll have to check and re-check things before pushing the project to the Blurb website so I can order a proof copy.

Hopefully once all of this is done I can link up this version of the book with their extended distribution networks.

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