Category Archives: how-to

When the computer won’t start…

Don’t panic!

That’s what I said to myself at 8am this morning when I turned my desktop computer on, and it promptly turned itself off again.

Actually, if I’m to be completely honest, I said quite a few things, most of which only had four letters, but let’s not get too precious about it. I was panicked, and my second thought was…how on earth would I live without the internet? And my writing? And my music? Oh god…and no ESO?

Then I thought to touch the top of the computer, near where the CPU is located. It was warm. It should not have been warm, not after less than a minute of being switched on.

And this is when the baby geek in me stepped up and said, “Dust.”

Baby Geek was right. There was dust all over the top of the computer. Not surprising really, considering that it sits on the floor, surrounded by small, hairy beasts:

Those two small beasts, plus Harry, another small feline beast, share the office with me, and they all shed. And if that wasn’t enough, my window faces north. When it was open over the summer, it let in a lot of smoke and dust, all of which would have been sucked into the desktop via the fans [internal] designed to keep it cool.

For those who don’t know, the average desktop computer is air cooled. Mine has two large fans located under those grills, which circulate air inside the box. I also have a small fan that sits on top of the CPU [the brain of the computer] and two more that sit on top of the GPU [graphics processing unit or video card]. Those two units are the most critical components of a pc, and if they overheat, the computer will automatically shut down.

I knew all this, but I still wondered, would this be the time when it wasn’t the pc overheating? If it was something more serious, how would I get it fixed?

After fortifying myself with a second cup of coffee, I set up the vacuum cleaner and my paint brushes and got to work. For those who are interested, this is a post I wrote some time ago about how to safely clean the inside of a desktop computer. If any of you are in the same predicament, please read the post carefully. You do NOT want to just stick the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner inside the guts of a pc. That would be a very, very bad idea!

To cut a long story short, I cleaned the computer, and it started up like a dream. Now, it’s purring away as if it had never tried to give me heart failure. Beast

I hope your start to the day was better than mine. Have fun and stay well. 🙂

Meeks


How to generate a Table of Figures with Word 16

Click here to display the Table of Contents

Once you have created all the captions for your images [see Adding captions to pictures in Word 16], it’s remarkably easy to generate a Table of Figures from them.

To begin, move to the back matter of your document and click the mouse at the point where you want the Table of Figures to appear.

Next, open the References tab and click Insert Table of Figures:

You should now be looking at the Table of Figures dialog box:

As you can see, the default settings are to:

  • Show page numbers
  • Right align page numbers
  • and ‘Caption label: Figure’

If you are happy with these default settings, click the OK button.

Note: if you have created different kinds of captions – for example, one for ‘Figures’ and a second one for ‘Tables’ –  clicking the down arrow next to ‘Caption label’ will allow you to choose a different label. In this way you can generate a separate table for each label.

How to customise a Table of Figures

To change the default settings of the Table of Figures, click the Modify button on the bottom right of the dialog box [circled in orange above].

You should now see a second dialog box that displays a summary of the current style settings for the Table of Figures:

These settings include font size and spacing, etc.

To change the default style settings, click the Modify button to the right of the preview pane.

Note: these settings control how the table is displayed, not how the captions are formatted. To modify the appearance of the captions, see Adding captions to pictures in Word 16

You should now be looking at the ‘Modify Style’ dialog box you first encountered when you changed the ‘Normal Style’ for your document] :

Format the Table of Figures as you wish and then click OK to save and exit the Modify Style dialog box. The appearance of the Table of Figures should now be customised to your specifications.

How to update a Table of Figures

No matter how carefully a document is prepared, some last minute editing is inevitable, so the Table of Figures may need to be updated.

To begin, click inside the table to select it. The whole table will be highlighted.

Next, open the References tab and select ‘Update Table’ from the options available in the Table of Figures:

Word will automatically update the caption and page numbering in the Table of Figures.

Note: Word may sometimes prompt you to update the page numbers or the whole table. If the editing has been substantial, update the whole table.

How to delete a Table of Figures

Unlike the Table of Contents, there is no specific command that allows you to delete the Table of Figures.

To delete the whole Table of Figures, you will have to manually select the entire table as if you were selecting a paragraph of text.

Note: simply clicking inside the Table of Figures will not work.

Once you have manually selected the whole table, press the Delete key on the keyboard. The Table of Figures will now be deleted, but the captions underneath the actual images still remain so you can reinstate a Table of Figures at any time.

This is the last of the graphics related how-tos, but the defunct ‘How to Print Non Fiction…’ also contains advanced help on Indexes etc. If anyone would like me to post this information, please let me know in comments.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


Adding captions to pictures in Word 16

Click here to display the Table of Contents

At their most basic, captions are simply labels that describe the content of an image. As such, you can simply type a label beneath each image and leave it at that, or you can opt to not have captions at all. But if you are going to have captions, I’d strongly recommend using the ‘Insert Caption’ command found on the References tab.

If you use the ‘Insert Caption’ command, Word will automatically label and number each caption for you. Once all the captions have been entered, you have the option of getting Word to generate a Table of Figures like the example shown below:

When images are moved or deleted, Word not only updates the page numbering, it also updates the caption numbering.

How to use the ‘Insert Caption’ command

To begin, select the first image that requires a caption.

Next, check that the text wrapping of the image is not ‘In Line with Text’. If it is, change it to another option. [See Wrap Text options].

The next step is to open the References tab on the Ribbon and click the option to Insert Caption:

Word will now display the Caption popup:

Click inside the Caption box [after ‘Figure 1’], press the spacebar and type the description of the image.

Click OK to complete the caption. Word will automatically create a text box for the caption and insert it into the document, directly below the image to which it belongs.

How to change the label of the caption

If you do not want to use ‘Figure’ as the label for your caption, click the small down arrow next to the Label box:

The drop down list displays the three, pre-set labels: Equation, Figure and Table.

Note: you can also add your own labels to this list.

Click a Caption label to select it.

How to create a new Label for Captions

You can create your own label by clicking the button for New Label option on the Caption popup:

Type the new label into the ‘New Label’ popup and click OK. In the example shown above, the new label is ‘Photos’.

You can now select the new label from the ‘Labels’ list.

How to change the position of the caption

Captions can be placed above or below the image. With the Caption popup open, click the small arrow opposite ‘Position’:

Select either ‘Above selected item’ or ‘Below selected item’ from the list.

How to change the number format of a caption

With the Caption popup open, click Numbering… :

The Caption Numbering popup will open.

Click the small down arrow next to ‘Format:’ to display the list of available number formats.

Click the number format of your choice and click OK.

Type the caption and click OK to save and exit the Caption popup.

How to move the caption

Click the caption to select it. When the text box frame appears around the caption, hover the mouse over the frame until the mouse changes to a black, four-headed arrow as shown below:

Click-hold-and-drag the text box to a new location.

How to group the caption with its image

Until now,  the image and its caption have acted as two, separate objects, but it is possible to ‘lock’ them to each other via the ‘Group’ function. Grouping creates an outer ‘envelope’ around the two objects so they can be moved as one.

To group an image and its caption, first check that the text wrapping of the image is not ‘In Line with Text’.

Note: Grouping is only possible if the text wrapping of the image is not set to ‘In Line with Text’. 

The first step is to click the caption. A text box will appear around it.

Next, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard while you click the image.

Now, both the image and the caption will have ‘handles’ around them, but they are not yet grouped:

Next, right click either the image or the caption.

Note: right clicking causes a context sensitive menu to be displayed.

You should now see a menu with ‘Group’ as one of the options:

   

Click Group to display the Group sub-menu.

Now click Group on the sub-menu. The image and its caption will now remain locked to each other until you ungroup them.

How to ungroup two objects

To ungroup an image from its caption, right click the grouped object. Click Group on the context sensitive menu and Ungroup on the sub-menu.

How to move a grouped object

To move a grouped object, click on the image to display the outer frame and handles.

Note: if you click in the caption area, you will select the caption text box as well as the outer frame.

Next, point the mouse at the top of the outer frame until it changes to a black, four-headed arrow [as shown]:

Click-hold-and-drag the group to the required position.

The type of movement available to the grouped object will depend upon the text wrapping chosen for the image before it was grouped. For example, if ‘Square’ was chosen as the original text wrapping, the text will flow around the grouped object in a ‘box’ shape.

You can change the text wrapping of a grouped object in exactly the same way as for a single image [see How to work with images in Word 16, Part 1].

How to delete a grouped object

To delete the whole grouped object – i.e. the image and its caption – click the outer frame of the object to select it. Then press the Delete key on the keyboard.

In the next post, I’ll explain how to use these captions to create a Table of Figures.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


ebooks – for memoirs, cookbooks, picture books, etc

I haven’t written any how-to’s on how to create an ebook because I assumed there were countless how-to’s out there already. I was both right and wrong; there are lots of people providing helpful information about text-based ebooks such as novels, but there are not that many devoted to graphics heavy ebooks.

This distinction was brought home to me when one of my blogging friends needed help with a picture book. He was trying to create an ebook with both pictures and carefully formatted text.

It can be done, but the digital technology we have at the moment is limited when it comes to integrating text and graphics.

Before I start on possible solutions, and/or workarounds, I want to explain what those limitations are, and why they cause problems with graphics heavy ebooks.

Things ordinary ebooks can do

Ordinary ebooks are great with text but just barely okay with pictures. That’s because they’re not really ‘books’ at all. They’re more like rolls of toilet paper with words projected onto them.  The story literally unrolls in an ebook.

This has significant advantages. For starters, as ereaders don’t care about the size or number of words shown on their screens, the reader can make those words as big, or small, as they please…for the whole ‘book’. I use this feature all the time because my eyesight ain’t what it used to be.

Things ordinary ebooks can’t do

Unfortunately, the very flexibility of ebooks can create problems when it comes to adding pictures to the text. Pictures don’t ‘flow’ the way text does, so getting them to fit the screen requires that they be sized for the screen.

But which screen? There are dozens of different digital devices from smartphones to dedicated ereaders to tablets of various sizes. Making an image to fit one screen almost guarantees that it won’t quite fit another.

Another problem with pictures is that not all digital devices are in colour. Dedicated ereaders, such as ordinary Kindles and Paperwhites, only do grayscale.

To display a picture in colour, the digital device has to be some kind of tablet [like the Kindle Fire] or a mobile phone. So again, which device should you optimise for?

And finally, because of their ability to ‘flow’ the text, ebooks don’t do precise formatting. Unfortunately, graphics heavy books like memoirs, cookbooks, picture books etc, look best when the formatting is controlled and the pictures are in colour.

To work around this fundamental problem with ebook design, Amazon created a number of specialist programs:

  • Kindle Kid’s Book Creator
  • Kindle Comic Creator
  • Kindle Create

I took a quick peek at Kindle Kids, and I couldn’t quite work out what it was doing [the manual approach]. I suspect it’s a lot easier if you use the PDF option and simply pour everything into the app in one go.

Kindle Create

Of the three, Kindle Create is the one I find most useful. In its current iteration, it is actually two programs in one:

  • The first allows you to ‘format’ Word .doc and .docx files into text-based ebooks like novels. There is help for creating a Table of Contents as well as Front and Back matter pages, and you can add pictures although the image manipulation is basic to say the least.
  • The second is the old Textbook Creator app. which turns a PDF document into an ebook.

Kindle Create for text based ebooks

This version of Kindle Create allows you to include all the standard elements of a book as well as pictures, but all you can do with pictures is adjust the size, and sometimes the location. That’s it. You can make the image small, medium, large, or full, but you can only adjust the placement of small or medium images. Large and full images seem to be placed automatically and can’t be changed.

One nice thing is that Kindle Create automatically wraps the text around the image as shown below:

But again, only if the image is small or medium.

This does not constitute ‘total control’ over the way text and images display, but it’s not bad. More importantly, when I did a preview of the page, it seemed to display quite well on tablet, phone and Kindle devices.

Something I was not expecting was that the colour image was automatically changed to grayscale on a Kindle device:

Given that this option works with standard .doc or .docx documents, I was pleasantly surprised by how it put everything ‘together’.

The old Textbook Creator

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to call the second option of Kindle Create by its old name – Textbook Creator.

Textbook Creator doesn’t try to integrate text and pictures at all. It creates an ebook out of a sequence of pictures.

If you’re nodding your head and saying, “Ah, she’s talking about PDFs”, you’d be right.

To quote from one of my own how-to’s:

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. With PDF documents, each page is like a ‘snapshot’ of the original Word page. That’s why it’s called WSIWYG – what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

Basically, everything on the Word page becomes a composite ‘picture’ that cannot change. This is how you make sure that what appears on the screen of the digital device is exactly the same as what you originally created, including the positioning of both graphics and text.

It’s the difference between ‘some control’ and ‘total control’.

“But…PDFs can’t be edited.”

That would normally be true, if you were dealing with a PDF document as a whole. But Textbook Creator cuts the original PDF document into its component pages, and each one those pages can be swapped out, individually.

To make this a bit clearer, let’s say you have imported a 20 page PDF document into Textbook Creator. Then you discover that you made a small error on page 15.

Rather than redoing the whole, 20 page document, you can:

  • go back to the original,
  • make a change to page 15,
  • export page 15 as a new PDF document
  • swap the new page 15 for the old page 15 inside Textbook Creator, and voila!

Okay, I admit the process is convoluted, but it does make working with PDFs a little less frustrating.

So what is the downside of using Textbook Creator?

The text in the ebook created by Textbook Creator cannot be resized. You can pinch-and-zoom to see details at a larger size, but you cannot specify that the text in the entire ebook be at a certain size.

This means that the original document has to be designed in such a way that it will suit most readers and most ereaders.

In paperbacks, this is kind of standard, and expected, but not so in digital devices. Plus getting the document to fit can be rather tricky.

Getting the size right

As mentioned before, there are a lot of different ereaders out there, and screen sizes are not the same either. Designing a document to fit all of them is a case of picking something ‘average’ and basing the sizing on that.

But what do I mean by ‘sizing’?

The easiest way to explain is to show you. The following is a preview of this post, in Textbook creator:

Can you see how tiny the text below the image is?

All I did was export a standard Word file to PDF and then import that PDF into Textbook Creator. The font size of the Word document is 12.

Now have a look at this preview. Same document but with a font size of 28:

To get the document to display like that, I had to radically change how the Word document was setup. Basicallly, I simulated the Kindle Fire screen in Word so that I could place text and images to their best advantage.

The following screenshots show my page setup in Word 16.

1. Paper size

The dimensions circled in orange create a page size that exactly fits the screen of my Kindle Fire 6.

2. Margins

Again, those margins are designed to make reading the Kindle Fire 6 screen visually ‘comfortable’ without wasting too much space.

3. Layout

Note: there are no settings selected in Layout. You need clean, minimal formatting in the original Word document. This includes not using things we normally take for granted, such as manual ‘spacing’.

For best results, you should always create styles – for the effects you must have – and use only those styles in the formatting.

Why?

Because Word is an old program, and Microsoft never throws anything away, it simply buries it under new code. This means that there is a lot of…[expletive deleted]…junk in Word that lurks in the background and can seriously mess with other programs that attempt to read/use Word documents. So keeping the document ‘clean’ is important.

But wait…there’s more. Remember how I said I’d changed the font size to 28? The next screenshot is of the Normal Style I created just for Kindle Fire 6 documents:

I can’t tell you why translating text from Word to a small digital device shrinks the text. All I know is that it does, and we have to manually compensate for it.

The other thing you might want to notice is that the alignment is set to ‘Justified’. Not only does it make the text look more professional, it also saves space on the screen.

To change the Normal Style on your own version of Word, right click on the style [on the Ribbon] and select ‘Modify’ from the drop down list of options [see here for step-by-step details]. That will get you to the Modify Style dialog box shown above.

Once the Modify dialog box is open, change the font size and alignment and then click ‘Save’.

We should now have a document that is optimised for an ebook.

Once the Word document is as perfect as we can make it, save the document as a Word file, and then Export it as a PDF.

Your book is now ready to import into Textbook Creator.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the Textbook Creator software.

cheers
Meeks


Editing images in Word 16 [Part 2]

Click here to display the Table of Contents

Although it’s always preferable to edit images using dedicated graphics software, it’s often necessary to do minor edits once the images have been inserted into a Word document. This is especially true after the A4 Word document has been converted into the required paperback size [trim size].

In this post, we’ll look at basic image editing tasks you may have to perform in Word 16.

Selecting an image

To select an image in Word 16, simply click it.

You should now see a frame and circular ‘handles’ around the outer edge of the image:

All of the handles will resize the image, but only the corner handles will keep it in proportion.

Change the size of an image

To decrease the size of the image, hover the mouse over one of the corner handles until the mouse pointer changes to a diagonal arrow.

Click-hold-and-drag the handle into the middle of the image.

To increase the size of the image, drag the corner handle away from the image.

Cropping an image in Word

Cropping allows you to cut away the unwanted parts of an image. This technique is particularly useful if you want to create a ‘close up’ of one particular detail, or when the details are too small to see clearly, but the image itself is already at the maximum size for your page.

To illustrate this point, have a look at the two screenshots below:

In the first screenshot, you can barely see the ‘Crop’ option. You certainly can’t see any details about it. In the second screenshot, only part of the Ribbon is visible, but the ‘Crop’ option is shown in ‘close-up’ and is easy to read.

How to crop an image

First, click the image to select it.

This will cause the image frame to be displayed. It will also make the ‘Picture Tools’ tab available on the Ribbon.

If the tab is not open, click Format as shown below:

You should now see the ‘Crop’ option on the far right of the tab:

To crop the selected image, click the Crop icon [not the word or arrow] on the Ribbon.

The image will now display the distinctive black, crop handles:

Point the mouse at one of the crop handles until it changes shape and looks like a smaller version of the crop handle:

Click-hold-and-drag the handle towards the middle of the image.

When you release the mouse button, the grey area visible in the background represents the area of the image that will be cropped:

To complete the crop process, click the Crop icon on the Ribbon again.

Once the image has been cropped, click it again and use the corner ‘handle’ to make the image bigger. This basically creates your ‘close-up’.

Moving an image in Word

Depending on how you originally inserted your image into Word, changing the page setup of your document may mean that you also have to re-align the image on the page.

The first step is to click the image to select it.

Next, point the mouse at the image. When the mouse changes to a four-headed arrow, click-hold-and-drag the image to a new location:

If the image won’t move, it means that the default ‘Wrap Text’ setting – i.e. In-line with Text – is still in force. This setting locks the image to the text at its current location.

To ‘unlock’ the image, open ‘Format’ on the Picture Tools tab:

Next, click Wrap Text to display the menu of text wrapping options. In the example shown, ‘In Line with Text’ is the active wrap text setting. You can find detailed pictures and descriptions of the wrap text settings here.

To select one of the other Wrap Text options, click the icon next to it. Depending on which option you chose, you should now be able to move the image on the page.

Placing a border around an image

Borders are not necessary, but if the image contains a lot of white space, a border can give the image more definition.

To place a border around an image, click the image to select it, then click Picture Border on the Ribbon as shown below:

A small, drop down menu of Picture Border options is displayed. These include Border colour, line thickness and line style:

Colour – click one of the colours on the palette to select that colour for the border.

No Outline – click to remove the border around the image.

More Outline Colors – Click to display extra colour palettes from which to choose the line colour of the Border.

Weight – click to display a menu of line thicknesses. Click one to select a different thickness for the Border.

Dashes – click to display a menu of line styles – e.g. dots and dashes etc. Click one to select a different line style for the Border.

In the next post we’ll look at creating captions for images.

Click here to display the Table of Contents


Unpublishing a book

I’ve just unpublished ‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’.

It’s not the first book I’ve unpublished – I had to unpublish the two CreateSpace versions after CreateSpace ceased to exist. Nevertheless, hitting that ‘Unpublish’ button on KDP felt very odd, especially as I’m not sure whether I’ll ever republish in the same way again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I unpublished the KDP how-to book because it was first published in 2018, and parts of it were now quite out-of-date. KDP only made a few changes, but Thorpe-Bowker [the agent for ISBNs in Australia], and the National Library of Australia, had both completely changed their websites. I would have to update much of the second and third parts of the how-to, and basically create a ‘second edition’ of the book.

Unfortunately, when you create a second edition of a book, you have to publish it with a new ISBN, and that costs money. Given that I haven’t earned a single cent from the how-to, it didn’t make sense to invest yet more money into a project that no body seemed to want.

Around about this point, I sat down and did some hard thinking.

Was the how-to bad? Was the Kindle Fire version too restrictive? Was the paperback too expensive?

Or could it be that people have grown used to finding information online? For free?

Given how much research I do online, for free, I could hardly fault others for doing the same thing. So I had to decide whether to keep flogging that poor dead horse, or move with the times. I chose to move with the times and publish the entire how-to, online, for free on my blog.

Was this a completely altruistic decision? Hah… -cough-

The truth is, self-publishing is hard. Making yourself visible on Amazon is hard. Selling your books and making money is next to impossible unless you’re:

  • very lucky,
  • very good at marketing,
  • have oodles of cash for advertising, or
  • have some way of enticing people to your blog

I suck at the first three, but I am good at teaching people how to do things. At least half of all the people who visit my blog are there for one of my how-to posts. So if that’s my strength, how do I translate it into increased visibility for the rest of my work?

Honestly, by the time I got to that question, the answer was pretty obvious – the smart thing would be to self-publish the how-to on the blog and hope that increased exposure would lead to…something. -shrug-

I’m realistic enough to know that very few of the people who come for my how-to posts stay to chat, or buy my science fiction. But you have to work with what you have. Besides, I’ve put so much work into my how-to books I’m damned if I’ll let them sink into complete obscurity.

So, allow me to introduce you to the new, updated, 2020 edition of ‘How to print your novel with Kindle Direct Publishing. -points to sidebar on the right-

Clicking that image should take you to a Table of Contents which contains all the links to all the sections/chapters of the how-to. Alternatively, you can click the link below:

Click here to display the Table of Contents

Enjoy,
Meeks


TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing

Introduction – is this guide right for you?

Frequently Asked Questions

Part I – How to Prepare your Novel

Trim Size, Bleed, and Page Specification

Designing the interior format of your book

Front Matter, Back Matter & ISBNs

Creating a Table of Contents [TOC]

Section Breaks

Page Numbers

Exporting your document to PDF

Preparing the Cover of your Book

Part II – How to Setup your Novel

Getting Started with KDP

Paperback Details

Paperback Content

Using Cover Creator [optional]

Reviewing your Book and Cover

Paperback Rights & Pricing

Part III – for Australian Self-Publishers

30% Withholding Tax

ISBN in Australia

Legal Deposit, Australia

Miscellaneous

Creating a free barcode

Extra help for graphics heavy books like memoirs and cookbooks, etc

Word 16 image compression, image resolution and Wrap Text settings

Editing images in Word 16

Adding captions to images in Word 16

How to generate a Table of Figures with Word 16


ISBN in Australia

Click here to display the Table of Contents

In this section you will learn how to purchase a private ISBN in Australia.

ISBN in Australia

Thorpe-Bowker is the official agent for ISBNs in Australia.

To purchase one or more ISBNs, start by going to the Thorpe-Bowker website. Their web address is:

https://www.myidentifiers.com.au/

On the Thorpe-Bowker welcome page, click the ‘Sign in/Register’ option located in the top, right hand corner of the screen:

On the next screen you have the option of signing in or creating a new account. Click the blue ‘Register’ button:

You should now see an option for ‘I am a new customer’:

Below it, there is a message from Thorpe-Bowker saying that new customers will have to pay a one-off fee of $55 before they can purchase an ISBN. This is a relatively new fee and meant to cover the setting up of your account.

As Thorpe-Bowker is the only company selling ISBNs in Australia, there is now way of finding a better deal. Those who only intend to sell through Amazon’s standard distribution channels may prefer to use one of their free ISBNs instead.

Those who wish to purchase print copies from the Australian branch of IngramSpark [located in Melbourne] will have to purchase their own ISBN as the KDP ISBN is only valid for KDP.

To continue, click the blue ‘I am a new Bowker Customer’ button.

Next up you will be asked to fill in a registration form. This is pretty standard with mandatory fields marked with a red asterisk. One of those fields is ‘Organisation Type’.

If you’re a self-publisher, don’t worry. Click on the small arrow next to ‘Organisation Type’ and you will see a drop down list which includes the option for ‘Self Publisher’ :

Click the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ button for promotional material and then complete the registration process by clicking the green ‘I Accept – Create My Account!’ button.

Once your registration is complete, return to the Thorpe-Bowker website and click Buy ISBNs & Identifiers on the main screen. Then select ‘Buy ISBNs’ from the drop down list:

Note: the option for ‘Buy ISBNs in Bulk’ will take you to a login screen for ‘VIPs’ who may buy ISBNs in their hundreds.

Next, you will be shown a page of sales options. Select the option/product of your choice by clicking the appropriate ‘Add to Cart’ button:

Bowker will display a summary of your order:

Click the blue ‘Checkout’ button.

The Checkout is fairly standard except for the fact that the only payment option appears to be Paypal:

This is rather misleading as there is, in fact, an option to pay by credit card, but you do it as a Paypal ‘Guest’.

Click the ‘Submit Order’ button and you will be shown the following screen:

To pay with your credit card, click the ‘Pay with a Card’ button.

You will now see a Paypal screen something like this:

Fill in the required details and complete your purchase.

You will now be returned to Thorpe-Bowker and a summary screen:

Note: you are under no obligation to take the survey.

To assign your new ISBN, click ‘My Account’ as shown above and select ‘My Identifiers/ISBN dashboard’ from the menus.

Assigning an ISBN to a book

You should now be looking at a screen that displays information about your ISBN[s] :

The screenshot shows a number of ISBNs, all of them unassigned – i.e. not yet linked to an actual book.

To link an ISBN to your book, click ‘Assign Title’ opposite the ISBN you wish to use.

Note: once assigned, ISBNs cannot be re-assigned.

You will now have to enter information about the book assigned to that ISBN:

The first thing to note before you begin filling in the Bowker forms is that you only have to enter information in the fields marked with a red asterisk, such as ‘Book Title’ above.

The second is that you do not have to upload the cover of your book at all.

This is important because you will need an ISBN before you can finalise the cover of your book. It is needed to generate the barcode provided by both KDP and IngramSpark. These barcodes are generated for free so you only have to purchase barcodes from Thorpe-Bowker if you intend to publish with a company that doesn’t provide a barcode.

Finally, the default view is Basic – i.e. only the most commonly used fields are displayed:

If you need to enter details not shown on the Basic view, you may wish to change to the Advanced view which contains all available fields.

Book Title

To begin entering information about your book, click in the field marked ‘Book Title’ and type the name of your book. This is a mandatory field.

Medium

Medium refers to the book’s material composition – i.e. whether it is a print book, an ebook, or an audio book.

Select ‘Print’ from the drop down list.

Format

Format refers to the type of print book – i.e. hardcover or paperback.

Select ‘Paperback’ from the drop down list.

Subjects & Genres

Subjects & Genres refers to the category of book you intend to publish. You can select two genres, but only one is mandatory.

Select the most appropriate genre for your book from the drop down list:

Authors & Contributors

Contributor 1 is the author. As an Individual, the author’s full name and suffix may be entered, but only the ‘Last Name’ is mandatory.

Type your Last Name and as much other information as you wish to enter.

The next mandatory field is ‘Function’. It refers to the role the Contributor played in the creation of the book. The only checkbox that needs to be ticked is that of ‘Author’.

When to add another Author or Contributor

As a general rule:

  • If you co-authored a book with another author, then that author’s name must be listed as a second Contributor.
  • If you supplied material to an anthology, then all the other authors of that anthology must be listed as well.
  • If the anthology was commissioned by an editor, then the editor’s name must be listed.
  • If you wrote the text for an illustrated book – for example, a children’s book – the the illustrator must also be named as a Contributor.
  • If the book was originally written in another language and translated into English, the translator must be named as a Contributor.
  • If, however, you hired an editor to ‘clean up’ the book and a designer to create the cover, you do not have to name them as Contributors.

Sales & Pricing

There are four mandatory fields in this final section: Publication Date, Target Audience, Title Status and Book Price.

Publication Date

As the ISBN is needed in order to publish the book, there are two possible ways of interpreting this field.

  • the publication date is notional – i.e. a date in the near future when you intend to officially publish the book, or
  • it refers to the original publication date of the book. For example, let’s say you publish a non-fiction book in 2010. Ten years later you revise and update that book and publish it as a second edition. Each edition of a book requires its own ISBN, but the publication date of the book points back to the publication of the first edition.

Clicking the Help icon produces this explanation from Bowker:

Target Audience

Unless your book is specifically designed for one of the listed targets, click the option for ‘Trade’. Trade refers to trade paperbacks and is the general purpose classification.

Title Status

Clicking the small down arrow opposite this field causes a drop down list to display:

‘Active Record’ is the status of any book that is [or soon will be] for sale.

Note: if the book is not due to be published for a substantial period of time – e.g. a year – ‘Forthcoming’ would be more appropriate.

Book Price

As a self-publisher, you may want to vary the price of your book for marketing purposes. Or you may sell it to a number of different market places with different currencies/price points. For all these reasons, you do not want to be tied to one price in Bowker’s records.

Click the option for ‘Write for info [No set price or free] as shown:

When you have finished, click the green Submit button.

Bowker will display a congratulations screen and that will be that. If you click on My Identifiers, you will now see your book linked to the ISBN.

You can now type the ISBN into the Copyright page of your book and submit it to KDP or IngramSpark for the barcode on the cover.

Note: Be sure to copy the ISBN for your book exactly as it is shown, including hyphens.

Log out from Thorpe-Bowker.

In the next section we will look at the National Library of Australia, Legal Deposit requirement.

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30% Withholding Tax

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In this section you will learn about the the 30% US Withholding Tax, and how Australian Self-Publishers can get the tax reduced to 5%.

30% Withholding Tax

All authors who sell their books on Amazon.com are subject to a 30% Withholding Tax. This tax is automatically deducted from their earnings by Amazon.

Authors living in countries that have a Trade Treaty with the US, such as Australia, can apply for an exemption that reduces the tax to 5%.

If you are eligible for this exemption, KDP will send you an email explaining about the Withholding Tax. At the end of the email there will be a link to a page where you will be able to complete the tax exemption forms.

Requirements

Australian authors will need an Australian Tax File number.

On the tax exemption page, you will be asked to consent to filling in the form electronically.

You will also be asked to consent to providing an electronic signature for Form W-9. The electronic signature does not require any arcane graphical knowledge. You simply type your name and then click a button that confirms you are who you say you are.

Filling in the forms

A few things to remember about these forms:

  • You are completing the W-9 form as an individual so you can leave questions relating to businesses blank.
  • ‘Beneficial Owner’ refers to you as the owner of the work.
  • When you are asked if you have a TIN, answer yes as this is your Australian Tax File number.
  • You will be asked to type your ‘Australian TIN’ in the box provided. Type your Tax File Number exactly as it appears on your Tax File Number certificate.
  • For the US Persons Test, you should click the last entry which says ‘None of the above’.

Once these forms have been completed and submitted, Amazon can reduce your Withholding Tax to 5%.

In the next section we will look at purchasing an ISBN in Australia.

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National Library of Australia, Legal Deposit

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The information in Part 3 is tailored specifically for Australian Authors. In this section you will learn about the legal requirement to deposit a copy of your book with the National Library of Australia.

What is ‘Legal Deposit’?

It is a legal requirement that Australian authors deposit one copy of every book they publish with the National Library of Australia, within one month of publication.

For more details, please visit the National Library of Australia website: https://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit/how-to-deposit

The National Library of Australia accepts both print and digital formats – i.e. paperbacks, magazines, maps etc and ebooks. Given the cost of printing a book and posting it, self publishers with both a print and a digital version of their book may wish to deposit only the digital version. To do so, contact the library and ask for the deposit to be digital only.

How to deposit Print material

Send printed material to:

Books
Legal Deposit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Journal, magazine and newsletter issues
Australian Serials
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Sheet music
Music Acquisitions and Cataloguing
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Maps
Maps Acquisitions and Cataloguing
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

How to deposit Digital material

To deposit your ebook, go to the National Library of Australia home page: https://www.nla.gov.au and select ‘Legal deposit’ from the Using the Library/Services for Publishers sub-menu:

This will take you to the Legal Deposit screen:

Click the bright red ‘Deposit Now’ button. This will take you to the National eDeposit [NED] website: https://ned.gov.au/portal/

Here you can:

  • Make an edeposit
  • Manage your account
  • Create an account

You do not have to create an account with the NED, but if you are likely to self-publish more than one book, it would make sense to have one.

Selecting the type of ePublication to deposit

Click the ‘Make an edeposit’ button.

You should now be looking at a screen that asks what type of ePublication you want to deposit. The two options are : Monograph and Serial.

Monograph is defined as a publication that usually has an ISBN. Examples given include books, series of books, maps etc. Serials have an ISSN and include magazines and newspapers etc.

Monograph

Select ‘Monograph’. A drop down list will display. Select ‘Book/books in series’ as shown:

After specifying the type of publication you wish to deposit, the screen changes to show the upload option:

The NED will only accept the following file types:

  • .epub
  • .pdf
  • .mobi

Note: NED does not accept Word documents.

Find the digital version of the book you wish to deposit and wait until it uploads. Depending on the size of the file, this could take a few minutes:

Next, you will be asked to upload a digital copy of the cover of the book:

Note: the file format of the cover cannot be .pdf. It must be in either .jpg, .jpeg, .tif or .tiff file formats.

Once the cover has finished uploading, click the ‘Next: ePublication details’ button at the bottom of the screen:

ePublication details

The next screen requests information about the publication itself. You will have to enter the title of the book and, as owner of the intellectual content, you will have to enter your name:

‘Owner type’, ‘Given names’ and ‘Last name’ are mandatory. ‘Owner role’ and ‘Birth year’ are optional but it wouldn’t hurt to identify your role as the ‘Author’.

You can also add another owner by pressing the green ‘Add another owner’ button located under ‘Owner type’.

Other information

As with Thorpe-Bowker, you are asked for the publication date. Enter the year in which the book became available for sale or download [if free].

The only other tricky question regards the ‘Edition Statement’. Again, this only applies to books which have been published before. This is the explanation offered by NED:

Click ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as the case applies.

ISBN

Next, you are asked whether the book has an ISBN:

If your book has an ISBN, select the ‘Yes’ option and then type in the ISBN…but with no hyphens this time.

When you have finished adding information, click the ‘Next: Access Conditions’ button located at the bottom of the screen.

Access conditions

This section refers to how much of your book you allow the public to access, and under what conditions:

Confirm that you have the legal right to set conditions for your book and then decide how much access you will allow.

If your book is available for sale, the two options circled in orange probably strike the best balance between your commercial rights and the purpose of the legal deposit.

Publisher details

As a self-publisher, you will have to enter your own contact details, including name, address, phone and email.

At the bottom, you are asked if you want to create a user account. If you tick ‘Yes’ you will have to enter the standard registration details, but at least you will never have to enter them again.

If you don’t want to create an account, click the ‘Next: Review and submit’ button located at the bottom of the screen.

Review and submit

This screen details the information you have entered in all the previous screens. Right down the bottom is a checkbox:

Ticking the checkbox grants permission for ‘NED Member Libraries to use and manage deposited content as outlined in the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Notice’.

Tick the checkbox and then click the green ‘Submit your edeposit’ button to complete the process.

Legal Deposit in State Libraries

Legal Deposit also requires that you deposit a copy of your book with the library of your home state. https://www.nsla.org.au/legal-deposit-australasia

If you only have a print edition of your book, you will have to send a physical copy to the relevant state library.

If you also have an ebook version of your book, you may request to deposit it instead of a physical copy:

Depositing the ebook with NED ensures that it is available in all states.

Best of luck with your publishing, now and in the future.

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