Practical Advice for Those Wishing to Publish Through CreateSpace

Hiya luvvies!

Word can be troublesome as it likes to add formatting for you while you write. Not exactly a problem if you are not self-publishing, but if you are, word’s hidden formatting is one big can of worms.

I learned (while working on my first book) that in order to get the most out of word, I needed to consciously use the formatting as I wrote. I will get onto this in a minute as, sure, it’s helpful for writing your next book but if you are here in this workshop, chances are that you are at least 3/4 of the way through your MS if not finished. So first we need to talk about stripping the formatting of your work.

(For the purposes of this tutorial… Whenever I say Ctrl it equates to Command on a mac as shown below)

Ctrl+A (to select all your work) and then Ctrl+C open a plain text editor such as Wordpad or Notepad and use Ctrl+V – Your document now has no formatting and you can copy and paste it back into word.I did it for my first book and decided I never wanted to have to do it again as I use a lot of mental speech (italics) through my work, it was a nightmare to go back through and fix. However once you have done this, then it’s done and if you set and use your style ribbon, you will NEVER have to worry about it again.

Calibri is what word has set as the default “Normal” in the style ribbon, I will explain how to change this, bear with me…

Understanding Word

Alright, so I mentioned the Style ribbon.
This is what you need to set in order to directly control the formatting of your text.
I have formatted all my styles already but there is ALWAYS a tab called “Normal” and this is where you should start.
Right click on the “Normal” tab and select the “Modify” option

Here you can name each “style” and choose whether it uses a specific existing style for reference or not (usually that’s “Normal” which is why we start here)
You can change all of the values in this window so that your main body text appears just how you like. When preparing your text for CreateSpace (print) publishing, remember to select the “Justified” option. When you write in word the default is set to “Align Left”
Go to the bottom left corner of this box, right click and select “Paragraph” for the next step.
Here you will see the text alignment, (again for CreateSpace make sure it says “Justified” my example shows left as this is a screenshot of an incomplete WIP)
Now your “Normal” tab (main body text) should be indented. ALWAYS use formatting in the Style Ribbon for this. Never EVER use the TAB button (it messes with the formatting) I will show you how to find and remove unwanted TAB indents in a few minutes…
Back to this window. You want to set the special instruction for this style tab to “First Line” by default the indent is set to 1.25cm. Change this to 0.5cm
Below this there is a pane for line spacing. Word will sometimes have values here. delete them, you want both “Before” and “After” set to ZERO.
Next to this there is another override for line spacing which will be set to whatever you selected on the first window, or most often “Double” if you haven’t selected anything. Here you have the option to chose exact line spacing if for example you would like to use 1.15 line spacing (Available as an option on the home bar beside the style ribbon but to properly format it, it must be set here. To use 1.15 line spacing select “Multiple” under “Line Spacing” and type 1.15 into the box under “At.”

This is what the different line spacings look like for your reference;

Ok those horrible TABs I mentioned. Directly under “Developer” almost in the middle of the top of the screen there is a paragraph symbol. click on it and it will show the formatting within your work. A tab looks like a little black arrow pointing inward to the indented text.
To remove the TABs you need to go to the Find/replace/select section to the right of the style ribbon.

Click on replace and enter ^t (shift and 6+t) which is the code for TAB then in the replace with section below, leave it blank (because you want them removed) then click replace all and the tabs are gone :)

Go through the ribbon and customise it to each type of style you use No indent for first paragraph, italic first paragraph, headings, chapter titles. The 0.5 indent for the “normal” styles normal & itallic normal and so on. If you have any problems give me a shout. This may take you a little while but it is well worth it and you will only need to do all this once.

Choosing a Font

This seemingly simple choice is not quite as simple as it seems.
Firstly you have to take into account your intended audience.
Secondly you need to take into account any variations in font for stylistic reasons.
And thirdly you need to take into account how easy or difficult your chosen font may be to your readers.
Industry standard for traditional publishing most often falls to Times New Roman, Garamond or Goudy. However, these typefaces – while being cost effective and easy to fit on the page – can be tiring on the eyes and at times difficult to read depending on the style of your novel.Lets look at this a little more closely (I have used a small paragraph from my 1st book to illustrate)…

Out of the three of these, the most easy to read is Times New Roman (which is why it is so widely used)

The font I use for my print books is Constantia as it has the best italic legibility while still being condensed enough to fit a good amount comfortably on a page. Georgia is another of my favourites however Georgia is a little fatter and as such takes up substantially more space.

I use a lot of italicised text in my books for internal thought, flashbacks, mental speech and emphasis so one of the key points for a typeface for me is that the italic letters have to be easy to read. There is just no competition at all between something like Garamond and Constantia when it comes to italicised text and that is what will make or break your book. If it is too hard to read or too tiring to read then there is a high chance it will never be read through to the end.

Some other nice fonts for easy reading of both normal and italicised text are…

Try out a few different options. Note how they change your page total and how you and others find them to read and make an educated decision on which font is best for your books main body text. When you have made your decision, save it in your style ribbon tabs.

Chapter headings you have absolute freedom with as long as they are legible. Headings are of course short and as such a fancy typeface would work well if that is what you want.

While we are talking about font I should mention that you absolutely can use non standard fonts when publishing with CreateSpace. The font I use is a non standard font. But for this to work you must embed your fonts within your file. To do this click on FILE in the top left hand corner of the word interface and from the menu that appears choose “Options”

This window will appear…

Click on “Save” and go to the bottom pane. Make sure you have “Embed fonts in this file” ticked. To make life easier for yourself you cann also change where your document name is to “All new documents” and you won’t have to do this again.


Alright, so now that we’ve chosen a font and all the main body text is formatted through the style ribbon, we need to turn our A4 MS

into book format.

Firstly you need to know what size you are wanting your book to be. CreateSpace’s most popular size is 6×9 so this is the size we will focus on here, but you can create any size with the method detailed below. I am using my books as an example here, you may prefer to have margins set slightly differently or page numbers in different places, and or no headers but that is something for you to play around with once you know what and where everything is.

Ok. Let’s select all so Ctrl+A and then click on “Layout”

Click “Size” and at the bottom of the drop down menu select “More Page Sizes”
A window will appear. Click on the first tab “Margins”

After you have this set as you’d lick, click the second tab “Paper”

When you have added the correct value for 6×9 click the third tab “Layout”

When you are happy with the sizes and values added click ok and your book (if at 100%) will now look MUCH more like a book.

Page Break or Section Break?

When you are formatting your work you now need to decide whether to use page breaks or section breaks between chapters. Essentially both break the text into parts but each does this in a different way. A Page Break simply pushes text after the break onto the next page. Whereas a Section Break has more options and works directly on the formatting of your work.

If you want all your pages the same with a central page number and no headers then Page Breaks at the end of chapters are perfectly acceptable.

However, if you want your page numbers to be on the outside corner of your pages and you want alternate headings throughout your book, like this…

Then you MUST use Section Breaks so you can format each section correctly.

The Section Break is located under “Layout”

In the “Breaks” drop down menu select “Next Page” for the break between front matter/back matter pages and chapters.

This is where we come back to the “Layout” section of the window we used when setting the margins. When you use your Section Breaks, if you have selected “Odd Page” each chapter will start on an odd page, this is perfectly fine if you want this to happen and are willing to add a blank page between chapters to make sure that the next chapter is always on an odd page. If you would rather just have the chapters flowing through the book though you need to make sure that the section starting option is set to continuous and manually change the first one to “Odd Page”

Below is an example of the formatting making the new chapter on an even page into an odd page

The formatting has jumped to page 19 rather than 18 and the gutter margin is now lying on what will be the outside edge of that page.

To fix this, double click on the header or footer area until the page looks like this…

In the same way you changed the margins go to Layout>Size>More Page Sizes and then the Layout tab of that window and change “Odd Page” to “Continuous”.

Your page will now look like this…

Double click on the main text to go back to the normal page view.
Take care to scroll through your work to ensure no section breaks are sitting on the incorrect page format.


Now that we have checked all of the section breaks are correctly formatted we can place our desired headings.
Not all novels have headings, it is completely personal preference. I like them because you can flick through the book easily to find specific chapters just by looking at the top of the pages.So how do we do this? Well if you double click a header or footer area so that the page looks like this…

We can see that above the pages now is a Design tab that is automatically selected.

From the design tab you can choose whether to link the odd or even headers of any particular section (or even all sections in the book – My book title is on all the even pages and because of that they are ALL linked to the previous header) The ones you must take care to check are the odd headers when into a new chapter. Deselect “link to previous” before altering the header text.

By going through your book systematically and altering the chapter headings you will now have a much easier way to find sections in your book (once printed)

The last thing to check is that all of your page numbers are sitting on the correct sides of your pages. If any have strayed for whatever reason, click on the footer, deselect “link to previous” and right click “Page Number” there you will be able to alter where your number falls on that specific page.



Look for any errors in the formatting. Likely culprits are during chapter switches when you are using different odd and even pages. If there are two odd or two even pages together the margins will be shunted for the remainder of the book after this error. It is easy to fix. Just go into the layout and make sure that the section break is set to continuous. You MAY have to re set the page number if this happens as the margins will shift back to the position you want them, but the page numbers might not. I have no idea why.

Save the word file and then save as a pdf (CreateSpace prefers pdf files)

Your Book is now ready to upload to CreateSpace.


Hope this guide has been helpful.

Cheerie-bye the noo, luvvies! xx

This entry was posted in CreateSpace, Editing, Fiction, Formatting, Indie Author Hacks, Ramblings, Reading, Review, Self-Publishing, SoTaR, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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