Tag Archives: IngramSpark

Posts in My InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet!

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Complete with Screen Shots!

Here are the current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet that will help you format your own print-on-demand interior for IngramSpark. Soon to come: ISBNs and creating your PDF.

Formatting for IngramSpark in InDesign: You’re Almost Already There!

InDesign for Book Formatting: Cheat Sheet I

InDesign Cheat Sheet 2: How to Get Started

InDesign Master Pages: No Big Deal!

InDesign Cheat Sheet! Add Some Text!

Finally! Formatting Text in InDesign, Part I

InDesign Obstacle: When Smart Text Reflow Doesn’t Work

InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finally Formatting Part II

Finishing Up, Part I

Finishing Up: Part !!

Finishing Up: Part III




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A Book Production Checklist for Indie Authors

A comprehensive list for producing your own book for ingram, CreateSpace, KDP, and others! Lots of links and resources. Thanks, Chris!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

An extract by Carla King, on BookWorks Site:


Are you ready to upload your book for sale to the online retailers?

Got all your front and back matter, images, fonts, and ISBNs?

Use this checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you can to create a quality book that competes with books produced in the traditional publishing houses.

But first, here’s a quick overview of the entire book production process.

It begins with an unedited manuscript and ends with a check of the final proof before distribution.

Continue learning at the following link:

Book Production Checklist

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Author Beware … Publishing Predators Are Breeding…

Thanks, Chris, for another important article. Here is my comment on this article at The Book Shepherd:
I’m amazed that so many people will pay these sums to be published when CreateSpace will do it for free. All you need is a Word file and a cover. Sorry, my CreateSpace book looks just fine. I suppose there are genius cover designers out there who could have done a better cover than DigitalDonna.com did for me, but I’d be surprised to discover them at a reasonable cost.

I went with Ingram first; again, nothing wrong with the 22 books I purchased at cost ($168). At Ingram, you will pay $49 for publication, and you must, indeed should, buy your own ISBN, since if you choose CreateSpace first, they will own the ISBN. Three hundred dollars for 10 ISBNs you can use for your entire series is a lot less than the numbers being discussed in these comments.

I formatted my own interior, which cost me $20 a month for my subscription to Adobe InDesign. On my blog [this blog!], I’m doing a series on how I conquered InDesign.

Believe me, it’s not that hard.

I hope writers will use the funds they are paying for these services to find good professional editors and cover designers. And I second Judith’s point that being traditionally published does NOT mean that you will get stellar marketing. In the end, you will do that for yourself. Why not do it all?

(And I second a comment that recommended Smashwords. Not only will Mark Coker walk you through the ebook-creation process, he will publish your ebook absolutely free!)

What about you? Do you have any tales to tell about your publishing adventures? Help us all “beware.”

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


Article extract from Judith Briles on The Book Shepherd site:

Oh, what a tangled web they weave … publishing predators are breeding with the surge of authors now by-passing traditional publishing. Over half of books published today are by the self and indie publishers. Traditional publishers are taking notice and are now gearing up to offer their own “self-publishing” opportunities. Some, like Simon & Schuster, Hay House and Penguin, have had a “vanity press” relationship for years in place via Author Solutions (ASI). Expect to see all of this push into a higher gear–after all … there is money in wannabe author’s pockets.

It’s a never-ending story … the emails, phone calls, postings within the Author U Group on LinkedIn and my personal group on Facebook: Publishing with The Book Shepherd (join it) … and I’ve worked with several private clients and fielded numerous phone calls/emails from authors who have…

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InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finishing Up, Part 2

Three books fanned open from aboveThis is part of a series. Here is a complete list of current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet.

In this post, some final InDesign formatting must- and should-dos as you prepare to create the pdf of your print edition for proofing and upload to Ingram and CreateSpace.

Click images for larger versions. Click here for a complete list of posts in the InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet series.

Removing Master Formatting from Chapter Opening Pages

The experts in book-design informed me that the opening page of each chapter should NOT display the formatting I incorporated into the masters that control the appearance of each page. In other words, no page numbers, no running heads.

A chapter-opening page with running heads not removed

The running heads and page numbers need to be removed from this pags. (Note that this spread is selected in the Pages panel to the left.)

Fortunately, it’s easy to remove these.

Select a chapter-opening page in the Pages panel by clicking on it. If you want to see that particular page on your screen, double-click. If you want to see the whole spread, choose View>Fit Spread in Window.

Go to Layout>Pages>Apply Master to Pages.

Layout>Pages menu in InDesign

You’ll get a box that tells you which page you’re about to act on; the box defaults to your “A-master,” or main master. However, the other option, available through the familiar arrow on the left, is “None.”

Choose “None” and “Apply” to remove the running heads and page numbers from the targeted page.

Page in InDesign with master/ running heads removed

You do have to repeat this move for each chapter. If you’re working chapter by chapter, as I do, you can make removing the formatting part of your “placing” routine.

(Remember that you can make universal changes on master elements. If you decide you don’t like the font of your running heads or the placement of your page numbers, change these elements on the masters by double-clicking on the masters to display them. Your changes will appear on every page in your manuscript to which the master is applied.)

Refining your Widows and Orphans

You will need to make a choice regarding widow/orphan control. Just as in Word, you can choose the “Keep Option” of eliminating widows and orphans or allowing them. (Your “Keep Options” are available in the menu on the left side of the Paragraph Styles Options dialogue box.)


Some book designers whose web sites I’ve visited argue that the “square-page” look you create when you allow widows and orphans is just as acceptable as the sometimes-shorter/sometimes-longer look you’ll get if you insist that every lonely line get sucked up into the previous page or pushed to the next one.

This is your individual choice. Allowing widows and orphans adds a step to your formatting. But this is the choice I’ve made: for the square-page look, where all pages are the same length.

When you consider that single lines of dialogue standing by themselves at the top or bottom of a page are considered standard, it’s hard to see what’s wrong with a single line of text in either position.

Page in InDEsign with single line at bottom.

I’ve decided I’m okay with this. . . .

Page in InDesign with single line of text at top

. . . And this.

However, even the advocates of a square page don’t like very short orphans (or widows—these appear to be used differently by different people) at the top of a new page. No one- or two-word lines!

So if you do opt to allow widows and orphans, you will need to edit to eliminate egregious overflows of this sort.

If you’re formatting for someone else, working with text that’s not your own, you have to have some conversations about how to address this problem—because the fix I use requires editing the text. It’s possible that professionals use minute adjustments of leading and “tracking” and “kerning”—adjusting the space between lines and between words and letters—to push text around. But that seems risky to me. It would be easy for us beginners to end up with paragraphs that are visibly out of kilter.

Hence, I go for a comparatively easy fix.

If you’ve ever had to hit a particular page-length requirement, you probably already know this trick.Happy that InDesign is working

Say you have an extra line at the top of a page that you consider too short.

Scan the preceding page (or sometimes, pages) for a paragraph with just one or two words on the final line.

Find a cut in that paragraph to eliminate the final line.


Well, this IS the “Beginner’s CHEAT Sheet.” green smiley happy

If this is not your book, and you think this is a viable option, you’d need to clear each cut with the author, or perhaps allow him or her to suggest the cuts. Because there are likely to be a good many such decisions to be made in a long book, you would need to plan for this time investment.

Note one advantage of working chapter by chapter, as I do, instead of placing an entire book in one file. Changes made on the first or second page of a placed file affect every page thereafter in that file. So eliminating an orphan on page two may create one on page six. If you work chapter by chapter, this effect is limited to just that one chapter. If you later decide you want to edit a paragraph in Chapter 3, for any reason, you won’t subsequently have to go through the entire book from Chapter 3 on to correct effects your simple early choice has caused.


According to Wikipedia, “In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more graphemes or letters are joined as a single glyph.” (This article is actually quite interesting!) The ligatures you can allow will most commonly be those in which “f” combines with “l” or “i.” Allowing ligatures, which the experts recommend, involves checking only a single box under “Basic Character Formatting” in the “Paragraph Styles Options” box, which you can open by double-clicking on the name of the style in the Paragraph Styles panel, usually housed on the right of your workspace.

InDesign Ligature option box

You’re almost ready to create your pdf and proof.

Next time: some bonus stuff you will want to know, and generating a pdf for Ingram or CreateSpace.


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Why you need both CreateSpace and IngramSpark…

Here’s a post on POD printing options from Build Book Buzz featured on The Story Reading Ape. This post provides reasons why my decision to go with Ingram first rather than CreateSpace in publishing a print version of King of the Roses (and eventually Blood Lies) was a sound one. Follow my series on my “Crazy Journey” through the Ingram process: it doesn’t look all that crazy when seen through the eyes of book-marketing expert Amy Collins!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Extract of an article by Author Amy Collins in Build Book Buzz:

I have been asked one question more than any other: “Do I need IngramSpark if I have CreateSpace?”

I know it’s tempting to avoid the extra expense and hassle of taking on a second print on demand (POD) provider, but I want to take a moment and share some of the experiences we’ve had at New Shelves Books with our POD work. I hope these statements help you determine if you need one or both.

So . . . do you need both?

See the full article (and read the comments already there) by clicking the link, or Amy’s photo below:

Why you need both CreateSpace and IngramSpark


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Filed under Blood Lies, business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Marketing books, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, Self-publishing, Writing

InDesign Cheat Sheet 2: How to Get Started

This is part of a series. Here is a complete list of current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet.

As promised: Exploring my Crazy Journey through InDesign. Today: Some basics I skipped over.

A couple of exchanges I’ve had suggest that I need to back up a step and make sure it’s clear how to initiate your wrestling match—uh, your friendly encounter—with InDesign. Getting started is not that much different from getting started in Word, but it looks a little different.

The screen that opens for me when I first click the InDesign app is black with white lettering, but you can change the colors if you want. via Preferences—>Interface, located, as usual in many programs, under the program icon in the upper left-hand corner.

Not unlike a Word menu, the opening screen presents you with two choices, “Open” and “New.”

INDD opening screen

Again not unlike the command in Word, “Open” in InDesign allows you to return to something you’ve already created. “New” says what it means. Here’s where you start.

And here’s where there is a small difference from Word. My version of Word gives me a blank document, cursor just a-blinkin’ away. In the more recent versions of Word I’ve used on PCs, the program offers you a choice of kinds of documents, but once you pick one, it once again welcomes you with little Mr. Blinking Cursor, your best friend.

In contrast, InDesign offers you a dialogue box. But this is really almost the same dialogue box you’d use if you wanted to make changes to the default Word document you’re used to seeing.

INDD opening dialogue box

For now, all it really wants you to do is set the size of your page, the number of columns and the margins within which you’ll place your materials.

For the kind of book I’m discussing, the correct number of columns is one.

The most common page sizes, or “trim sizes,” seem to be 5X8 or 5.5X8.5. You can just type your preference in.

You should set your margins based on the particular look you want, or on the recommendations of whoever will be printing your book. Ingram required 0.5 inches. I went with 0.8.

Make your top margin larger, at least one inch, since you’ll need to add running heads with your name as author and your book title. I also put my page numbers in the heads, but if you want to put them at the bottom, you should set the bottom margin larger as well.

I also decided that for the next book, I’ll expand the “inside” margin by about 0.025 inches, because I felt it came out ever so slightly narrower than I liked if the inside margin was the same as the outside.

Margins matter, of course, because you don’t want your lovely text cut into when they cut the pages to “trim size.”

You’ll see all this at work—running heads, page numbers, margins versus trim size, by taking a look at any published book on your shelves.

Once you make these three decisions and click OK, bingo. You have a page!

Go to Window—>Pages and open the Pages Panel. You’ll see your newly birthed page sitting there as well, a little white icon in the dark field.

INDD opening dialogue box cut

You can’t type in anything just yet. I’m getting there.

First, in the Pages Panel, note the “spread” above the dividing line. These are your master pages. Double click on either one, and you’ll open the masters in your main window. You’ll see that they are set up with the specifications you selected for size, columns, and margins.

Next, click on your lonely page icon in the Pages Panel. It returns to your window. If necessary, go to “View,” and tell it to Fit Page in Window.

Your screen may not automatically provide you all the elements you need. An easy fix: Window—>Workspace—>Advanced. Almost every panel you’ll need to format your book will pop up. (Choosing “Book,” oddly, hid my Pages panel.)

INDD Workspace with panels and page

Ignore all the stuff at the top. You’ll only use it once in a while, for example, to choose a different alignment, font, and font size for titles, etc.

By default, the Tools menu will be lined up along the left side of your screen. Now I’m going to tell you about the only two tools you’ll really use that much.

  • The black “Selection” arrow at the very top.
  • The Text tool, indicated by the letter “T,” probably about a third of the way down.

INDD Tools menu

If you choose the black selection arrow and click inside the margins of your document, you’ll see that the margins become selected. They have the little handles you should have encountered in boxes in other programs. You can tinker with size and whatnot with these handles. More on that later when I try to convince you that running heads are no big deal.

You’ll use the Selection tool much less often than you’ll use the Text tool. If you click on its icon in the Tool menu, your pointer becomes a large cursor image. Use this shape to click inside your margins, and guess what? Mr. Blinking Cursor appears.

Now you can type to your heart’s content. Except that you probably won’t want to. In the next installment, I’ll tell you why.

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InDesign for Book Formatting: Cheat Sheet I

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Rank Beginners is Us!


This is part of a series. Here is a complete list of current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet.

This next post in my “crazy-journey” series as I experiment with various options for POD book-formatting deals with some of the things I found you must learn—and will want to learn—if you are interested in trying InDesign as your formatting option.

I’ve written already that I found the program a lot easier to learn than I thought it would be when I first opened that cluttered, intimidating screen. I still claim that for a book consisting of basic black-and-white text, InDesign is a reasonable choice.

Last time, I wrote about a number of things you already know how to do—functions that work the same in InDesign as in any other word-processing program I’ve ever used, for example, commands you know already from Word.

This and the upcoming posts lay out some of the new pieces that served me well. Many of these components are intuitive; the trick is often just using an item often enough to begin remembering where it lives.

Today: Navigating with The Pages Panel and the Layout menu.

The Pages Panel is the first and arguably the most important of the components you’ll want to get to know. It opens from the “Window” menu at the top of the InDesign screen. As with all the other panels, you can position it wherever you want, even outside of the program workspace. I’ve been keeping it open all the time.

It shows two sections. The top section displays your “masters,” which you set up in advance with the formatting you want on your pages—in the case of a black-and-white book, specifically a text frame or box, running heads, and page numbers.

Pages Panel annotated

The Pages Panel, showing the Master Pages at the top and the thumbnails of the front matter of my book below. Here, pages 2 and 3 are selected. You can scroll or use the “go to page” option in the Layout menu to move through these thumbnails.

Your masters should be the “trim size” of your eventual book, say, 5X8. Set up the text frame with Margins and Columns, accessible in the Layout menu, much as in Word. Ingram specifies at least 0.5 inches. Running heads and page numbers should be inside these margins, so the top margin of your text frame should be larger than your other margins (as should your bottom margin, if you plan to position your page numbers at the bottom of your pages). I opted for 0.8 on left, right, and bottom, and 1.0 at the top, which gave me room for my heads.

You can set up as many different masters as you want, so that different sections of your book can have different formats. I only needed one, because the only “different” pages I included were those for front matter and chapter title pages; for both of these, I simply applied the “none” option, stripping the heads and page numbers.

More on what I learned about setting up the masters and running heads later!

The second section of the Pages Panel shows thumbnails of the various pages of your developing book.

For me, the panel itself had three major functions

  • I could double click on a page and go there;
  • I could select one or more pages and either apply the masters or choose not to apply them (more later);
  • I could drag and drop pages or spreads to re-order them. When my text didn’t load in the right order (it sometimes didn’t), this feature saved a lot of time.

I found that the Pages Panel operates in partnership with the Layout option in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

  • You can move from page to page via Layout→Next Page or Layout→Next Spread (or “Previous” in both cases). I found this easier than clicking on the next set of thumbnails. (Actually, Adobe provides a useful list of key commands so you really don’t have to click on anything. “Next Spread,” for example, is “Option + Page down” on my Mac.)
  • Layout→Go to Page (CTRL or COMMAND + J) allows you to select a particular page to work on. Much better than scrolling through the Pages thumbnails looking for a page.
  • You can delete selected pages: Layout→Pages→Delete Pages
  • You can similarly add pages or insert pages after a selected page. Layout→Pages→Add or Insert Pages
  • You can apply formatting to a group of pages or to a single page. You do this through Layout→Apply Master to Pages, which gives you a menu of any masters you’ve created, or, helpfully when it comes time to set up your front-matter section and chapter title pages, the option of “None.”

Layout annotated

The only other navigation tool I used regularly was View→Fit Spread in Window (CTRL or COMMAND + Shift + 0). I found this command useful because sometimes, when you “go to” a page, the spread may not be centered, and I liked working with entire two-page spreads visible. Fit Spread in Window became my fix for this feature.

I’d argue that this is all you really need to move around comfortably in InDesign: your Pages panel, the commands in the Layout→Pages menu, the key commands for “Next” or “Previous” spread, and Fit Spread in Window. That’s not really very much, and it’s easy to remember.

My version of Word offers a “Navigation Pane” with much the same function. I began experimenting with using Master Pages in Word so that I could see whether I had the same options in Word as in InDesign, such as the ability to apply masters at will, which, as I’ll discuss in a later post, is one of the features I found essential. At first glance, working with masters in Word is different in several ways and possibly not as flexible as in InDesign. More on this as I continue my education!

Have you worked with master pages in Word? What options does it offer, and how have you made them work for you?


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