InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finishing Up, Part 3

It’s time to put final elements together before producing a pdf suitable for submission to Ingram and CreateSpace. Most important at this final stage is your “front matter.”

Front Matter

This term refers to your title page(s), your copyright page, and any other elements you want to include, such as quotes from reviews or blurbs you’ve solicited, epigraphs like quotes from poems or songs, or an author’s note—everything leading up to the actual first page of Chapter One.

To begin, determine how many front matter pages you want. I’ve discovered that, except for the copyright page, most published books insert front-matter text only on odd-numbered pages, or the right-hand pages. So in my books, I include the following front matter pages:

  • Page 1: A “Praise for” page of quotes from editorial reviews
  • Page 2: Blank
  • Page 3: Title (return) by (return) Author, all centered
  • Page 4: Copyright page (see discussion below)
  • Page 5: Author’s Note
  • Page 6: Blank
  • Page 7: An “Also by” note listing my other titles, centered
  • Page 8: Blank
  • Page 9: Title, centered
  • Page 10: Blank

Page 11 starts the book proper.

Once you know how many pages you will need, use Layout>Pages>Insert Pages to add the correct number to your document. Until you insert text, they will show up as blank pages in the Pages Panel.

Pages Panel in InDesign

Here, the ten “front matter” pages I’ve added show up before the “Main” text.

When you submit your book to your cover designer, you will count these pages, as well as back matter pages (see below) as part of your total page count.

Creating Sections to Control Page Numbering

You do NOT want to count the front-matter pages as part of your “book” proper. In other words, right now, using my list of pages above as an example, the first-front matter page is numbered “1” and the first page of the actual book would be numbered “11.” But I want my first page of actual text to be numbered “1.”

If you’re familiar with Word, you know that the header and footer dialogue boxes allow you to tell Word how you want each chapter numbered.

In InDesign, you can solve this problem by creating sections.

 Creating Sections

  • Select the first page of your actual book text in the Pages Panel by double-clicking on it
  • Open “Layout” from the menu at the top of the screen.
  • Choose “Numbering and Section Options. . . .”

Numbering and Section options in InDesign

  • In the “New Section” dialogue box that opens, check that “Start Section” is selected.
  • Enter “1” in “Start Page Numbering at.”
  • Select the style you want, probably Arabic (the font will be determined by your master).
  • Click OK

New Section Dialogue Box in InDesign

In the Pages Panel, you’ll notice that page numbers appear under the page icons. Your first ten pages (the front matter pages) will be numbered 1-10.

Pages Panel in InDesign

Then, above your first page of actual text, you’ll see a little triangle. This is the “new section” indicator. This page will be numbered as “Main1,” and the rest of the pages as “Main 2, Main 3, Main 4. . . . etc.” “Main” is the default Section Prefix. You can change this to anything you want.

Later, if you print, or when you make adjustments to specific pages, always be sure to include the Section Prefix to distinguish Front-matter Page 1 from Book-text Page 1.

You’ll notice that your new front-matter pages each have a little  “A” in the upper outside corner. This means that the program is applying your primary, or “A,” master to these pages. But! These front-matter pages should NOT show the elements from your master: the running heads and page numbers.

So removing these elements is the next step in creating this section of your book.

Removing Master-page Elements from Front-Matter Pages

You have at least three choices for removing page numbers and running heads.

Option One:

Select the front-matter pages by clicking on the first page, then shift-clicking on the last page you intend to use for front-matter text—the last page before your actual book begins. In my example, I would select pages 1-10.

Go to Layout>Pages>Apply Master to Pages

Layout>Pages menu in InDesign

In the box that opens, select “none.”

Apply master

Note that this option may affect your margins. In my case, I had set up document margins that corresponded to my text frames, so removing the master elements using this method did not affect the margins of any of the pages. This method was easy and fast.

Option Two:

  • On each page of your front matter, use the now-familiar Type Tool to hold down SHIFT + COMMAND/CTRL and click. The text frame is selected.
  • Hit the Delete key on your keyboard

You can select multiple elements in a single spread (two side-by-side even and odd pages) by holding down the SHIFT + COMMAND/CTRL keys as you click. “Delete” should remove all the master page elements in that spread at one fell swoop.

This method requires that you delete the master-page elements on one spread at a time,  so it is a little slower than simply removing the masters across a range of pages. But this method will preserve your margins and other elements if that becomes an issue.

Option Three

Create a new master for the front-matter pages

This is the most time-consuming of your options and is beyond the scope of this book. If you were formatting a multi-section book, you would probably find the effort to create separate masters for each section worthwhile. But for a text-only book like a novel, you only need two sections, a front-matter section and a book-proper section, and you can create, format, and paginate those two sections simply by removing or overriding your single A-master.

Your Copyright page

You must include this page in your print edition, just as you did in your ebook.

I’ve used Joel Friedlander’s “short” model from The Book Designer site for the format and text.

Copyright page for print-on-demand self-published book

Click to see a larger version

This is bare bones, but for many self-publishers, more than adequate.

When you look at books published by traditional publishers, you’ll see a lot more information on the copyright page. In most cases, what you’re seeing is the “CIP data block.” Here’s an example from The Book Designer:

CIP block for print edition of a book

Friedlander tells us that a) CIP, which refers to the “Library of Congress’s Cataloguing in Publication” program, is of primary concern to those who hope to sell to libraries, and that b) self-publishers may not use the CIP program. Instead, they must pay a fee for a Library of Congress “Preassigned Control Number,” otherwise known as a P-CIP.

Only if you hope for a lot of library traffic—perhaps you are publishing a reference book or a book that has content that teachers might assign—would you have a reason to pay for this service.

Here is Friedlander’s complete discussion of CIP:

As my example shows, I did not apply for P-CIP number, and there is probably no reason for you to do so either. As you can see from Friedlander’s downloadable model and my example, all you really need to include are

  • the copyright notice,
  • a statement of your rights,
  • your ISBN
  • a way for people to contact you

Next: What I know about ISBNs.

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A Perennial Question: What is Literary Fiction?

Check out this discussion about the definition of literary fiction and add your opinion. While you’re at it, here’s literary agent Donald Maass’s answer. I like it. What do you think?Writer with questions

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Aliens and guillotines- 6 reasons to break the editing rules

Here’s a great piece from Sue Vincent that echoes what I’ve often thought about those mechanical editing programs that try to lure us into their World of Rules.

I will add to this: The darn programs are all too often just plain wrong! Can’t tell you how many sentences Word’s editor labeled fragments, and how many actual fragments it missed! And any time a mechanical “editor” gives you a piece of advice about punctuation, check the editor’s rule against at least a couple of standard handbooks before kowtowing to some dictator’s orders.

I can’t say enough for real readers. Okay, so they, too, are sometimes “wrong.” Or wrong-headed. But a) they can and usually do explain why they reacted a certain way to something you wrote, and b) they respond to the very things the robots and aliens discussed in this article glide right past—the emotion, the rhythm, the energy, the joy.

Don’t pore over some grammar or editing site. Join a writers’ group!

Sue Vincent - Daily Echo

From the archives – May 2015:

sheffield book weekend 468

I was curious. Being a writer, I keep seeing articles about the editing software available online to help writers and, over coffee, I thought I would have a quick look. I browsed a number of them, duly pasting a chunk of text into their little blank boxes to see what they had to offer.

After five minutes, my blood was boiling.

Writers, it seems, are being encouraged to use these programmes. Not, as I mistakenly supposed, in order to check their grammar, spelling and punctuation… say, as an extension to spellcheck or as a different perspective on work we are too fond of, and too involved with, to see clearly. No. We are being encouraged to use them in order to erase our personal voice.

Okay, I know… that probably isn’t entirely fair.

There are those who swear by their usefulness, though these, I…

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The Story Question is Vital

This article addresses what I find is the most pressing issue in developing a novel. It’s the one I come back to again and again, hoping I’ve made it work and struggling if I think I haven’t.

In some ways, I think this article may distill the question down a bit more than I like; sometimes there’s a story question embedded in another story question, and both have to be answered. In Blood Lies, the obvious story question is whether Ted will find out who murdered Alejo. But the larger question that drives and even overrides this one is whether, in the process, Ted will become the man he needs to be to respect himself. So a corollary question to ask in working on story questions is whether the two (or more) questions serve each other. Does finding his best self help Ted find the murderer? Does finding the murderer help Ted find his best self?

In any case, in many unpublished novels I read, it’s the story question that’s missing–or just isn’t compelling. So this article is an excellent primer on this central issue in fiction.

Both the story question and the story problem are vital for crafting cohesive stories and strong fiction. A discussion of the story question in fiction.

Source: The Story Question is Vital

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Grammar Check! The Who/Whom Conundrum: When What’s Wrong is Right!

Who/Whom is kind of an odd choice. I call it a conundrum because you’ll do better, much of the time, to go ahead and get it wrong.

That’s because most people won’t even notice if you get it wrong—most of the time. But they probably will notice when you try extra hard to get it right and THEN get it wrong.

alarmed smiley

Simply speaking, only a rabid grammar termagant will rage if you just use ‘who” ninety-nine percent of the time.

After all, doesn’t it sound more natural to say, “Who did you give that to?” than “Whom did you give that to?”

The “whom” in the second is correct because it’s the object of the preposition “to” and objects have to be in the objective case (like “him,” “her,” “us,” and “me”). But our minds these days just aren’t trained to worry about all such distinctions.

What should you choose, who or whom?

Our rabid termagant will sputter that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, but that’s another argument. People DO end sentences with prepositions, and the principle stands: the incorrect “who” sounds more natural than the correct “whom,” so most people won’t even blink at this “mistake.”

The only time most people will want “whom” is when it directly follows its preposition, and that usually happens in a question that’s been re-ordered:

  • To whom did you give it?
  • With whom were you going?
  • I don’t remember for whom I bought this hat.

But do you have to write these particular sentences?

Who cares if you get who/whom wrong?

I suppose you may if you are writing Downton Abbey fan fiction. But in my view, don’t bother unless you have one of those hyperactive grammar consciences that wake you up in the middle of the night to go fix that comma you misplaced.

But ordinary people will be perfectly okay with

  • Who did you give it to?
  • Who were you going with?
  • I don’t remember who I bought this hat for.

Happy editingThe problem arises when people assume that because “whom” sounds so much more formal, one MUST use it whenever one wants to sound formal. One word for making choices like this is “hypercorrectness”: going so gaga trying to get it right that we actually get it wrong. For example:

  • Whom is going with us?

Ouch, that really grates. Subjects of verbs are always in the “subjective case”: I, you, he, she, it, we, and they. And “who.”

  • Who is going with us?

Who/whom solution

The messier­—and understandably more confusing—situation occurs when the who/whom pair has to be sorted out at the beginning of a dependent clause acting as an object. The handbook rule is that you choose “who” or “whom” depending on what it’s doing in its own clause, not in the larger sentence.

  • Did you say who is going with us?

(Correct: “who is going with us” is a noun clause acting as the direct object of “say,” but “who” is the subject of its own verb, “Is going.”)

  • Did you say whom the hat is for?

(Again correct:  Again, “whom the hat is for” is a noun phrase acting as the direct object of “say.” “Whom” is the object of the preposition “for.“).

The hypercorrectness bullyBut the troll of hypercorrectness comes charging out from under the bridge to wreak havoc on your writing when a writer gets paranoid and decides that “whom” sounds like what a smart person would say regardless of the role “who/whom” is playing in its own clause. Then we end up with

  • Did you say whom is going with us?

(Incorrect: yes, once again, “whom is going with us” is the direct object of “say.” BUT “whom” is holding the place of subject of the verb “is going” IN ITS OWN CLAUSE and should be in the subjective case—that is, “who.”)

  • Don’t give money to whomever asks for it.

(Again, incorrect. Yes, “whomever asks for it” is the object of the preposition “to.” BUT IN ITS OWN CLAUSE, “whomever” is trying to be the subject of “asks” and therefore should be in the subjective case—that is, “whoever.”)

Brain reeling? Too hard to sort all this out?

I agree.

Getting who/whom right!

And to repeat the point of this post, THERE IS NO REASON ON EARTH not to go ahead and use the perfectly natural-sounding”who,” and quit worrying about whether it is technically a mistake. Then you will say

  • Did you say who is going with us?


  • Don’t give money to whoever asks for it.

And you’ll not only be right, you’ll sound right. and the bonus is, you’ll sound right even if you say

  • Did you say who you bought the hat for?

So just kick “whom” out of your vocabulary rather than sticking it where it doesn’t belong (here’s a wise soul who agrees!).

Book open to the stars


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Five Things Writers Need to Know About Facebook

This article answers some questions I’ve had recently about my rather desultory use of my Facebook resources. Please let me know if you’ve had a different experience, or if you agree!


“If you try to use Facebook for something it’s not designed to do, you’re just going to get frustrated over the lack of results.” — Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies

Recently, I was posting my latest giveaway opportunity to a variety of promotional groups on Facebook. A fellow author and Facebook friend noticed and messaged me soon after: “You’re posting a lot on Facebook recently. How’s that working out for you?”

What he was really asking me: “How does one successfully use Facebook for author marketing?”

Tim Grahl recently addressed this question on his blog (Facebook and Author Marketing, September 17, 2016), and my own experience in growing my social media platform confirms many of the assertions that he makes in his article. To understand how to use Facebook for author marketing requires an understanding of what Facebook was designed to do.

Facebook is a Peer-to-Peer Network



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Free Book Promotions? What Do You Think?

Book open to the starsHere are some evaluations of book promotion services from The Book Designer (a great site for all things indie). The question is whether sites like these are better than membership in KDP Select.

Share with us your own views! Have you tried any of these services? Do you have others to recommend?


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