Tag Archives: step-by-step-guide

Self-publishing a paperback – trim size and bleed

The following extract is taken from my how-to books and explains about two key printing terms: ‘trim size’ and ‘bleed’.

Trim Size

The term ‘trim size’ refers to the finished size of your book – i.e. after the pages have been glued inside the cover and trimmed off neatly.

There are many trim sizes available, but the most popular sizes for non-fiction are shown in Table 1 below:

As even the largest of those trim sizes is slightly smaller than a normal A4 page, the trim size you choose will inevitably change the total page count of your book.

Note: the size of a default Word document is A4, and A4 is 8.27” x 11.69” in size.

This change in page size will have consequences in terms of layout. For example, you may find large gaps on pages where the graphics no longer fit. As a result, some re-formatting will be required. Furthermore, as the spine of the cover depends upon the number of pages in the book, trim size will indirectly affect the width of the spine as well.

You can see a complete table of trim sizes available in KDP – in both inches and cm – at the web address below:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834180#trim

Bleed

Although selecting the right trim size is the first critical step in printing your book, ‘bleed’ can be the second.

To illustrate the concept of ‘bleed’, consider the two pages below:

Note: the dotted green line represents the trim line.

The image on the left extends past the trim line into the ‘bleed’. When the page is trimmed, the image will have a crisp, clean edge with no white showing. By contrast, the image on the right does not extend into the ‘bleed’ and will have a thin white edge after it is trimmed:

Although most novels do not contain photographs, some do include maps and illustrations, and for them, bleed may be an issue.

If those images sit within the normal margins of the page, the book will not need bleed, but if they extend to the very edge of the page, the book will need bleed. This point is highlighted in the two pages below:

So keep ‘bleed’ in mind when you select the trim size of your book.

Another factor to consider is the length of your book.

A short book printed in a large trim size may end up looking too thin. A long book printed in a small trim size may end up looking too ‘fat’. More importantly, the spine may not be wide enough to allow for the printing of the title.

Note: KDP requires a minimum of 100 pages to print the title on the spine.

And finally, there’s the question of genre. Books are tactile objects and readers get used to a certain size in their favourite reading material.

Note: books that are either too big or too small for their genre may not be as ‘visible’ to a reader intent on buying a book.

Table of trim sizes – with and without bleed

The following is a table of trim sizes available with KDP:

I hope this proves to be useful. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


How-to guide is now free!

Good morning all. 🙂 It’s 6:57am here in lovely Melbourne, and I just realised I forgot to post about the freebie here on WordPress. So….

‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ is now free on Amazon:

https://preview.tinyurl.com/y8fl4bks

The promotion ends at midnight US time and about 5pm-ish Australian time.

For those who have never tried any of my how-to’s, all my guides are pitched at the true beginner and include step-by-step instructions, with examples for the ‘why?’ and pictures for the ‘how?’.

If this appeals to you, please download the ebook version while it’s free. This ebook can be read on Kindle Fire tablets or on the free Kindle reading app for tablets, pc, mac and phone.

cheers

Meeks


How to vector a bitmap with Corel Draw X8

I know there are easier ways to get rid of the background in a bitmap, but I’ve never been able to achieve the crisp results I wanted, so instead I apply nodes to the bitmap, effectively turning it into a vector of a bitmap.

What do I mean? I’ll explain with a real life example. This is the image I downloaded from freeimages.com:

The reason I downloaded it was because I wanted those two gears, and only those two gears. This is what I ended up with after 3 days of boring, painstaking work:

 

As you can see, the gears now appear in splendid isolation, crisp and clear, as if I’d photographed them against that dark charcoal background. This is how I did it.

Step 1 – Use the File/Import command [Ctrl I] to bring the bitmap file into Corel Draw X8.

Step 2 – Select the bitmap and click the Shape Tool as shown:

Step 3 – The bitmap should now have nodes displayed at each corner.

Right click anywhere on the ‘lines’ between the nodes to place a new node and open the right click menu:

 

Step 4 – From the right click menu select the ‘Add’ option. This will give you a new node to work with.

Step 5 – Use the Shape Tool to move the new node to the edge of the shape you want to bring out. At this point the lines between nodes will all be ‘straight’:

Step 6 – [optional] As this point I usually create a dark coloured, vector rectangle and place it behind the bitmap so I can see the shape, and its background, more easily. Use the Object/To Back of Page command to locate the rectangle behind the bitmap.

Step 7 – To mold the lines around the bitmap shape, you have to make them capable of bending into a curve. To do this, right click the node you want to change to a curve. The context sensitive menu is displayed again. This time, select the ‘To curve’ option.

Step 8 – The line between nodes should now display two directional arrows:

Click-hold-and-drag the directional arrows to create the required curve.

For the teeth of the gears, I had to use about 5 nodes for each tooth:

As you create the vector shape around the bitmap shape, the coloured background will be revealed, proving that the emerging shape no longer has a background. And of course that means you can place it on top of other images like so:

Ta dah! Not completely finished but it’ll do for now. Oh and I finally worked out how to stop the CMYK black from displaying as grey when converting to an RGB image. Soooo simple.

With the Corel Draw X8 screen displayed, select:

Tools/Color Management/Default Settings

This is will cause a popup window to be displayed. Find the Color Conversion Settings and change the Color Engine to ‘None’:

Now the blacks will stay black instead of displaying as a kacky grey. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Working with Children Check – step-by-step

Most community based learning centres have some programs for children, so most community centres require volunteers [and paid staff] to be cleared for working with children. Given the horrific tales of child abuse all over the media, I agree that vetting adults who work with children is a good idea. Unfortunately the implementation of that good idea is a bureaucratic nightmare.

Having just struggled with this nightmare myself, I thought a step-by-step walkthrough of the process might be useful to others. So here it is.

Step 1 Go to the Working with Children home page :

http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/utility/home/

Step 2 Ignore the animated prompt to register and click on the big, blue ‘Apply for a check’ button on the right of the page :

working with children home page

Step 3 You should now be looking at a page full of information about who should apply, etc etc. Ignore all that, and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find some more big, blue buttons. Right at the very bottom you will see a slightly smaller, blue button called ‘Start Application’. Click it as shown :

working with children app page2

Step 4 You should now be looking at another long page of information. Scroll down until you reach the bottom of that page. There you will find this :

working with children app page4The first text box asks if you’ve applied for a check before. Click on the small arrow next to the question and select either yes or no. I selected no.

The second text box is only for those who have applied for the check before and already have some documentation. For newbies like us, ignore.

The third text box requires that you choose between a check for an employee, or a volunteer. If you select ’employee’ it is assumed that you will be paid for your work and/or that the employer will pay for your check. The fee for an employee check is $102. If you select ‘volunteer’ there is no fee, but you will not be able to work with children in a paid capacity.

To select either employee or volunteer, click the small arrow to the right of the text box and make your selection. To continue, click ‘Next’.

 

Step 5 At last, the contact details form. This should have been very straight forward, but it wasn’t. You start by filling in your current, residential address details. Then you get to the bit shown in red below :

working with children app page7

This is for your postal address, and includes a little checkbox that you can click if your postal address is the same as your residential address. This is what happened when I clicked the checkbox and ‘Next’ :

working with children app page7 errorThe address details aren’t real, but you can see that they were carried over quite nicely to the postal address fields… except for the state. For some reason the application doesn’t recognize its own data.

The only way to get around this error is to uncheck the checkbox and manually type your postal details in again. Then hit ‘Next’ and everything is fine. -face palm-

Step 6 The next page asks for ‘Organisation details’:

working with children app page8

The organisations in question are the companies for which you are volunteering. Now despite the fact that I am volunteering to work with adults, not children, I may be asked to do something with children in the future – e.g. take a class, or take over for 5 minutes while the assigned carer goes to the loo – so I need to have the checks in place ahead of time…

– click ‘yes’

– click the small arrow next to ‘Occupational Work Codes’ and select the option that best describes what you will be required to do with children.

Step 7  Then you click ‘Next’ and get this :

working with children app page8 error

Luckily, this error is actually not a real error at all. What’s happened is that when you clicked ‘yes’ under  Organisation details, the system did not allow you to specify the names of those organisations. This form is a kind of catch-up [and something you should have seen all along]. Click in each box and fill in the relevant details. Finally click ‘Add organisation to list’ as shown :

 

working with children app page9 error

Step 8 If you need to add multiple organisations, click ‘Add another organisation’ as shown :

working with children app page10 error

Step 9 Almost done. You should now be looking at a legal looking page. Right down the bottom you should see this :

working with children app page11

– Click the small checkbox [small red circle] and then,

– Click on ‘Sign and Submit’

What this does is send a sort of electronic ‘intent to apply’. But…. YOU STILL HAVE TO SEND IN THE PAPER APPLICATION!

Step 10 The Confirmation page. This is actually rather important:

working with children app page12 print

You now have to print off the form you have just filled in by clicking ‘Print or Save’. It will have a box for signing… BUT DO NOT SIGN IT! Take the unsigned form, along with a passport photo and suitable ID – e.g. passport, driver’s license, Medicare card etc – to an Australia Post office*. The Australia Post employee will then watch you sign the printed form [and date it]. They will then certify that the ID you have shown and your signature all match.

Then, they will take your application and do whatever it is they do with it. In return, you will receive a receipt to show that you have applied. However you will not, legally, be authorized to work with children until your application is accepted. Not sure how long the acceptance part will take but I’d guess at least two working weeks.

* You will not be able to find a list of ‘participating Australia Post offices‘ by clicking the link on the Confirmation page. That link only takes you to the main Australia Post page. Where you go from there I have no idea. I’d suggest ringing up one of the larger Australia Post offices instead.

And there, at last, you have it, how to navigate one of the worst interfaces I have ever had the misfortune to use. Good luck, and now I’m off for a much needed coffee.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. My application is in! I went to the Australia Post office in Eltham and everything went smoothly.

 

 

 


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