I spent five days trying to figure out how to self-publish my first story through TBP. As I hogged the family laptop, my hopes rose and sank like clouds. One minute, I would think I had it all figured out, and the next minuet I’d find out that I had failed —AGAIN! But, with a bit of perseverance and the right tools I finally got the job done, and I am so, so glad! This is a tutorial for authors who are hoping to self publish their book through TBP. If you’re not sure what TBP is, check out my last post called “Publishing with The Book Patch ( a review)” or go to http://www.thebookpatch.com.
1. Make an account with TBP (it’s free to sign up)
2.Decide what size you want your book to be according to TBP’s options and your preference
3. Upload your book on TBP. You have two options here; you can either upload your own PDF or use TBP’s free Writing Editor and have them convert your document to a PDF. If you are writing a long, wordy novel, I think using the Writing Editor is a fine choice, but if you have illustrations or diagrams in your book, I strongly suggest that you create your own PDF. Trying to get the right image size in the Editor is a nightmare! Supposing you do have pictures in your book, I’ll move on to the next step.
4. Make sure you’re working with an up-to-date word program that converts documents into PDF’s. I use Microsoft Office 2010. This step takes all the headache out of this process. At first I tried to change my Word Pad document to a PDF by using a PDF converter. As far as I know, this will work just fine if you have small pictures in your book, but if you want your illustrations to cover the whole page (i.e. in the case of a picture book) this just doesn’t work well.
5. In Microsoft Office 2010, there is a tool bar close to the top of your screen with buttons labeled “Home, Insert, Page Layout, Mailings” Click on “Page Layout” Now click on the button labeled “Size”, choose “More Sizes” and type in the dimensions you want your printed book to be. In example, I wanted TBP to print a 7.5″ x 7.5″ book, so I made my paper size exactly that in Microsoft. If you want your illustrations to be full-screen, you still need to leave a thin border of blank paper all the way around the picture, at least 1/4″, this is called a “Bleed Line” and its pretty essential for a good looking book.
6. Next make sure you position everything neatly in your document. Take a minute to make sure your chapter headings haven’t slid down to the middle of a blank page. Also, I try to make sure a sentence isn’t being split between two pages, because as a book worm, I hate having to stop in the middle of a sentence to turn the page. And, of course take one more look at your spelling, grammar and sentence structure. These are all things that I forget a lot!
7. When you prepare your illustrations and front and back cover (supposing you’re doing this all yourself) make their dimensions identical to your paper size and book dimensions. When you insert these into your word document they will look small but they are easy to adjust.
8. I know it seems like overkill, but this is important, review your entire book one more time. I made the mistake of ignoring this last step several times, and each time, after uploading on TBP and everything, I would find that I had forgotten something or that I had accidentally hit the space bar and made a gap in my text. Skipping this step will only waste a bunch of time.
9. Now, log in to your TBP account and hit the “Print on Demand, upload your PDF and order your copy” button. After this, you need me no longer, TBP walks you through the rest.
I should tell you that it is vital to keep Silverlight up to date on your computer if you want to work with TBP. I had to update mine. And even then, something about Silverlight kept malfunctioning on my computer, but it didn’t effect my ability to continue using TBP. The worst thing that happened is my computer would lag for a minuet every so often and then a pop up window would say that a “Script had stopped working.” Just hit the “stop script” Button and wait for a minute, soon your computer will climb out of the glitch and continue working on your book.
In the end it was all worth it. My book turned out great! If you’re curious about the printing quality TBP offers, I made a post not long ago demonstrating the quality of my own book. I hope this was helpful! Learning by trial and error is good, but it’s so much better when someone can offer a little walk through ;).