Publishing your own book can seem like a formidable task but doesn't have to be so.
I started this search because I wanted to publish my webpage, Parachute of Jesus 
( ) , into a booklet I could hand out for free. In 
order to do that production costs had to be cheap and printing costs also had to be 
cheap.  First understand there is a difference between a publisher and a printer. 

Publishers, such as Abbott Press and Balboa Press,  are going to try and get into your 
wallet. They'll want up to $2k or better to format your book before it can even be printed, 
will only give you a 50-60% discount on the book from the list price they slap on it, and 
between them and ebay or or other outlets they set up and paypal; most of 
the profit from sales of your book will flow into other people's pockets except yours. The 
best prices per copy for a 5.5" x 8.5", paperback, 128 page book for 500 copies, I could 
get from a publisher for my own use was still over $5/copy.

Enter the printers such as  or 
With diggypod you have to format your own book into a .pdf printable master. You give 
them the .pdf master and they make you the book and send you the copies. But it's cheap. 

For 500 books my copies all of a sudden came down to under $2.50; $2.22 for 1000 copies. 
And there's virtually no setup and layout costs; $40 for a single proof copy if you want one. is not as cheap as diggypod (copies are about the same cost) but a whole 
lot cheaper than the publishers. They also will do the layout for you at a reasonable cost but there 
is no reason to spend that. I'll tell you what to do here. Self  also has the caveat that  
for $149 they will market your book for you. Now you aren't going to get a lot of profit per book 
after they and and paypal get their fingers in the pie; but you will reach customers 
you could not on your own. These marketed books are printed one at a time as they are ordered 
so per book cost is higher. And you don't have to handle the books; just receive the pittance you 
get for them.  Read the tutorials at both diggypod and self publishing for what needs 
to be in your book; copyright page, preface, forward, acknowledgments, chapter index, etc.

Putting your word document into .pdf format
Here's the easy part believe it or not.  Basically you make a word document of your book and 
then transform it into a .pdf using cutepdf . 
Download free cutepdf from
, run it (install it) .  Open up your word 
document, click print, but instead of selecting the printer from the menu select cutePDF, select 
where you want to store it, and bingo you now have your document in a .pdf .

You need a separate .pdf for the cover pages, front and back, as well as for the text in between 
the covers. That's two .pdf's. They do the print for the spine which is the end of the book you 
would normally see as it sits on a shelf that contains only the title  and author's name.

Choosing a font
You can spend a few hours on this one. I agonized over Verdana12, Arial 12, and Tahoma12
for readability and size of letters. I ended up choosing Verdana12 because the letter size was 
slightly greater than arial or tahoma. Garamond was recommended as a book publishing typeface 
but I didn't like it. Keep it simple and readable instead of fancy makes sense to me.

Setting up word
The tricky part is setting up microsoft word  so it formats the text of the book correctly. Neither 
diggypod nor self publishing have the whole story, probably in an attempt to get you to use their
design service, but between the two of them all the directions you need are there. It's working 
well and it's easy. Below are the directions I used for my book which is a 5.5" x 8.5" paper back. 
A video for part of this can be found at .
Instructions for the rest of it can be found at  download
the .pdf file there called Typesetting in Microsoft Word by Jack M. Lyon.
But here are all the directions you need.

Open up microsoft word.

One of the keys in using Word for typography is to change a few of its

little-known options. Most important is the option to make word spacing in

justified text contract as well as expand. This will greatly improve the look of

your type. To use it:

1. Click the “Tools” menu. On a Macintosh, click “Edit.”

2. Click “Options.” On a Macintosh, click “Preferences.”

3. Click the “Compatibility” tab.

4. Put a check next to the option labeled “Do full justification like

WordPerfect 6.x for Windows.”

The resulting type may not always justify correctly on a Macintosh, so be


While you’re looking at the “Compatibility” tab, put a check next to

“Don’t expand character spaces on the line ending Shift-Return.” Then if you

break a line with a soft return (SHIFT + ENTER), the line will still be properly


I also recommend using the following options:

• Don’t center “exact line height” lines.

• Don’t add extra space for raised/lowered characters.

• Suppress “Space Before” after a hard page or column break.

When you’re finished, click OK.

Finally, turn on automatic hyphenation in the document you want to


1. Click Tools > Language > Hyphenation.

2. Check the box labeled “Automatically hyphenate document.”

3. Set “Hyphenation zone” to about half an inch or the equivalent.

4. Set “Limit consecutive hyphens” to 3.

5. Click the OK button.

Even after you’ve set these options, justification may not look quite right

on your screen, especially at the ends of lines, since Word doesn’t render

everything perfectly. When you print your document, however, you’ll see the

justified text in all its glory.

Next we need to set page details - this part comes from the video at

Open your word document again - select page setup

select margins
at bottom select custom margins

set multiple pages to mirror margins as the left page and right page have a larger
margin in the middle where the binding is.

top and bottom margin .5"

inside margin .8" (where the binding is)
When making a separate .pdf for your cover pages use .5 here as there won't be a
mirror facing page for either cover page or back page.

outside margin .5

gutter value 0

set page to portait view (up and down)

apply to whole document

Go back to the top under  "layout"

choose 5.5 x 8.5

apply settings to whole document

Do a "save as" and save document to a new file name.

You're done, ready to start loading pages 

Word of advice.
When running my heating business I used Adobe Pagemaker almost exclusively 
for any ads, estimates, text letters, brochures, etc because it was easy to use and  stable. 
I hated using word because it has a mind of it's own. It will change fonts on you, change 
layout, put indents where you don't want them, change all kinds of things that you swear 
you didn't touch. Nothing is more frustrating than making a long document only to have 
things appear that shouldn't and have to go back and reformat a bunch of stuff. What I do 
when working with word is save the document periodically and make a copy and rename 
the copy. I work with the copy until I have made enough progress that it's time to save it 
again and make a new copy of it and work with the new copy. Then when you get one of 
those word surprises that will require a lot of work to fix, you can go back to the last good 
copy, make a copy of that  and only have to fix what got messed up from then forward.
And you can say maybe I should just learn how to use word properly but don't say you 
weren't warned.

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