Let’s Get Pasting

Before we begin, it is good idea to save our document (and to make sure you have autosave etc. set up sanely), so do that quickly, and then let’s get going. The new document should be ready for you to enter your book’s title: the Novel-FrontMatter-Title paragraph style should be selected and the page style set to Novel-Page-FrontMatter (if they’re not, select them). Take a deep breath, enter the title and hit enter. Automatically the cursor moves down a bit and the style changes to the Novel-FrontMatter-Author style. Enter your name, hit enter again, and you’ll notice that we are magically at the top of a new page thanks to the “page break after” setting of Novel-FrontMatter-Author. You’ll also notice that we have now switched to the Novel-FontMatter-Copyright paragraph style. Enter all your copyright info (and ISBN). When you are done, hit enter one last time, and change the style of this empty paragraph to Novel-Forward-Title (or Novel-Part-Title or Novel-Chapter-Title, depending on how your book is structured), which will start a new a page thanks to “page break before”.

The first page of the example book
The first page of the example book.


When you changed the paragraph style it will have triggered a change in page style to Novel-Page-Forward and reset the page count. To make use of this, click on the footer and change the paragraph style to Novel-Footer. Then click on “Insert->Fields->Page Number”, this will add a page number to all pages with the same page style (i.e. Novel-Page-Forward). When our page style changes in a minute to Novel-Page-First and again to Novel-Page, we will have to add them again. We don’t want a header for our forward, so leave that blank.

Right, back to adding stuff. Enter the title of your forward, hit enter and paste in the text. You can either paste it all in one go and then go back and change any paragraphs that begin sections to Novel-Forward-Section or you can just past them in section by section. Once you are done, hit enter a final time and change the style of the empty paragraph to Novel-Part-Title (or Novel-Chapter-Title if applicable).

The first page of the forward with page numbers inserted.
The first page of the forward with page numbers inserted.

Part One

If your forward finished on a left hand page, you’ll notice that a new page has been started thanks to “page break before”, but if your forward finished on a right hand page, a blank page has also been inserted. This is because our Novel-Part-Title style is set to “right only” so it skips the left hand page, leaving it blank. Our part title has also had its page style changed (to Novel-Page-Part). You’ll notice that this removes the page numbers from the bottom of the page.

Enter the part title and hit enter again. A new page is created and a blank page is inserted.

The part one title with the automatically inserted blank page to its left.
The part one title with the automatically inserted blank page to its left.


At this point, I would change the page layout of LibreOffice (if you haven’t done so already) to make it easier to see what you are doing. Go to “View->Zoom->Zoom…” and choose “Columns : 2” and check “Book mode”. This will layout your pages in pairs (the two columns bit) that are joined together (book mode) with the odd pages on the right and the even ones on the left (book mode again). It should look like you have opened up a printed copy of your book. This makes it easier to check that everything is to your liking and that you’re getting things in the right place. You also need to set a suitable Zoom Factor. This will vary depending on your monitor size and preference, but will ideally be one that is small enough to fit both pages on the screen and big enough enable you to still be able to read the text. I like using 100% so I can see exactly what it is going to look like.

LibreOffice's Zoom DIalog
The zoom dialogue. Set columns to two, check Book mode and select your preferred Zoom factor.

Chapter One

Right, back to our chapter title. Before we move on, we need to change it from Novel-Chapter-First to Novel-Chapter-Very-First. This style will set our page numbers back to 1. So do that now. To check that it worked, repeat the procedure to insert page numbers that we used for the forward (click the footer, change the paragraph style to Novel-Footer and then go “Insert->Fields->Page Number”). You should find that our first page is numbered page 1.

Ok, enter your first chapter title, hit enter, and we are ready to enter the text of your novel!

Like the forward, you can either paste in the whole chapter in one go and then go back and change the style of the paragraph sections or go section by section (you could actually paste the whole novel in in one go and just go through changing the styles over, but doing things that way is a bit error prone). Once you’ve finished the chapter, hit enter again and change this new empty paragraph to Novel-Chapter-Title. Before we do the rest of the chapters though, it’s a good idea to add the page numbers and the header, as if there are problems, this is where they are likely to be.

Header and Footer

The page numbers for the Novel-Page pages are done just as you did on the first page. You’ll see the page numbers carry on from the first page with 2 (it doesn’t matter which of the Novel-Page pages you add it too, as it will be added to them all).

To add the header, click on a left page header, change its style to Novel-Header-Left and enter your name. On the right hand page (but not the one with the chapter title), click and change the style to Novel-Header-Right and type the Novel’s title (or the Chapter Title or whatever you are using). Now all Novel-Pages will have the same header.

Rinse and Repeat and About

That is pretty much all there is to it. Now it is just a case of repeating the procedure for the rest of your chapters and parts. When the last paragraph of the last chapter has been done, hit enter one more time and, this time, change this empty paragraph into a Novel-About-First. This will start a new page on the next left hand side page and is where you can enter some info about yourself.

Getting Rid of Extra Lines

If you pasted in large sections of your book, we have one more small bit of house keeping to do. We need to get rid of the empty lines. Annoyingly and confusingly, LibreOffice only uses “\n” to mean newline in the “Replace” section of its “Find & Replace” dialogue. In the search section, it means Line Break, which is similar to a newline but different. Anyway, to get round this we need to use a couple of new regex characters: “^”, which means only match at the beginning of a paragraph, and “$”, which means only match at the end of a paragraph. Putting the two together (“^$”) will find us any empty paragraphs. So bring up the Find & Replace dialogue (“Edit->Find & Replace”), click the “Other options” drop down and check “Regular expressions”, and then “Replace All”.

LibreOffice's find and replace dialog
The Find & replace dialogue. Make sure to check Regular expressions.

The End

And that’s it. You’re done! Hit save, and then export to pdf (“File->Export to PDF”, selecting “Archive PDF/A-1a”, as this embeds the fonts in the document). Upload the exported pdf to CreateSpace and you can have a copy of your book in your hands in a day or two. It is probably a good idea to check it quite thoroughly first, though, to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes, but well done!

Once you have checked it all, you can also now export your novel to .doc (using “File->Save As” and selecting .doc as the format) and submit it to Smashwords.

Whilst you wait for your book to get to you from CreateSpace and the royalties to start rolling in from Smashwords, let’s set up this export plugin for the kindle.

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