Mike Mckay's picture
Mike Mckay is reading God's Ashtray February 8, 2012 - 8:18pm

Hello everyone,

I seem to be nearing the end of my novel. Well its not a novel technically, it consists of 8 short stories I wrote when I was young. I consider this to be a mile stone to show how far I've come since my first official writings  Most likely this stuff will never be published publically I just want to see the format as if it were to be a real published novel. IF this were to be published I would use a paperback 8.5 x 5.5 format. Okay my actual question is how can I demo the novel format in simple writing programs such as microsoft word? I truely appreciate any help and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions. Thank you and have a great 'hump night'.

 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin February 9, 2012 - 12:40am

I'm sorry bro, your question perplexes me.

You want it to look like a properly bound paper book? In my opinion no e-reader can simulate that experience.

With the right sort of gumption you can always either a) pirate a program that converts things into .pdf format for a slightly more polished feel or b) go to a free e-publisher like (groan, I shouldn't be sending them business) smashwords and they will at the very least have guidelines for formatting to prepare for that sort of conversion.

But, the novel format, I just don't understand. Such things aren't really standardized in the way I interpret your questions.

Double Spaced. Title Page. Copyright Page. Some sort of legitimate and serious font. Cover. No need for title pages for the individual stories, but how you handle it... I don't know, look at some short story collections, break down the composite parts of their formatting and reincorporate them in an original way.

I'm sorry if I am not much help. I would like to help. But your question kind of confuses me. I don't understand what you mean by novel format. I've read novels written in single spaced comic sans with shifting color patterns. Anarchy on paper.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money February 9, 2012 - 7:50am

Well, I agree that the idea of actually wanting to see something in novel format for its own sake is weird to me (outside of actually getting something published) but you can tweak the margins and settings in Word or OpenOffice (and openoffice does .pdf conversions and it's free, so you don't have to pirate anything) to give the same effect as being in the shape of a novel. The biggest hurdle will be in aligning the text, because novel format is justified to both margins. To do it properly you'll want to get a style guide that addresses text alignment and line-break hyphenation.

But as I said, it's weird for me because as a writer, that's not the format you need to be concerned with, it's manuscript format that writers are working toward, because that's what editors like to read. It's a typesetter's job to make a novel "look" like a novel, not the writer's. Unless you actually want to go into that side of the business as well, then you'll want to study typesetting and editor style guides.

Mike Mckay's picture
Mike Mckay is reading God's Ashtray February 9, 2012 - 9:17am

Great thanks to the pair of you. Yes, I know the question sounds confusing as hell. I spent 30 minutes trying to rephrase it correctly so I'm not surpised you guys are puzzled. I'll use a "novel format" until I actually get published but until then I'll stick with what I have now. Thanks again and have a safe day.

 

Mike

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 February 11, 2012 - 2:01am

https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1323 < Download a word format here.

http://www.primopdf.com/ < Download this, and when you have put it together in word go to print, but select Primo PDF as your printer. Bam, no problem. 

Look to published books for a way to base blank pages in the beginning and what not.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner February 11, 2012 - 12:41pm

I am pretty sure open office has some plug in's just for this purpose. I would download it and fiddle around and see what you can come up with! 

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs February 11, 2012 - 3:46pm

If you're justifying your text, it will look much better if you format it in InDesign rather than a word processor (and you can also correct spaces that are either too large or too small). Double-spacing is for a manuscript, not a formatted book. Actually, I don't know what I use for spacing. I use a template for formatting books.

Linton Robinson's picture
Linton Robinson from Nowhere. I'm an expat and army brat is reading A computer scren February 18, 2012 - 8:59pm

Excuse me, but this guy should be an $800 program in order to see what his work looks like?

Oy.

All you have to do is use the Setup, Paper   to set the page size at 8 by 5 or whatever size you want.  Set mirror margins.  Reduce your outside margins to like .5  and your paragraph indents to like .3 to scale it down.  Set font to a book font, not WP font.  Georgia, Garamond, Goudy..something else that starts with G :-)

Let me suggest that you get an account on Lulu or CreateSpace and actually upload this book and order a copy.  For ten bucks or so you can be holding the book in your hand. Great for editing, impressing chicks at the coffee house, getting experience publishing in case you want to do it for real.

 

Mike Mckay's picture
Mike Mckay is reading God's Ashtray February 18, 2012 - 9:32pm

Christ I thought this thread was dead. Laurance Kitts thanks alot for your help I've had an account for createspace but never paid mind to its true function.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 February 19, 2012 - 10:52am

I think InDesign is something I'd like to learn, but it doesn't pirate as well as Word. (Just kidding?)

The Word to PDF translation on paper looks fantastic if you do it properly. I'm working on self-publishing myself currently, and I recommend CreateSpace over all avenues of self-publishing as there is no buy in unless you want extra services from them. 

On a different note, I actually have a Word formatting question that might seem a little dumb coming from a guy who knows a bit about the stuff. How in the hell do you get page numbers to start on a different page?

Linton Robinson's picture
Linton Robinson from Nowhere. I'm an expat and army brat is reading A computer scren February 19, 2012 - 1:10pm

Same goes for Lulu.   It's easier to put books on.  Just not as commercially viable if you want to sell a lot of them.

And self-publishers these days tend to look to Kindle and SmashWords first.

 

A pdf is a good way to go...  and can be read on a lot of ereaders.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 March 1, 2012 - 7:08pm

That is just what I was looking for!