Creating a Book Layout in Apple Pages & Getting Page Numbers to Work

I dreamt of the book last night.

I dreamt that I was finally holding it in my hands, feeling its smooth, cream-colored paper between my fingers. I think it even smelled good!

Anyway, it’s turning out to be a lot easier to layout the book in Apple Pages than I first imagined. Modern apps do a great job of formating page headers and footers, etc. (And thankfully CreateSpace provides a really useful template that, while in MS Word format opens up fine in Pages, so I was able to base my book document off of that.)

So everything went smoothly. Everything except the page numbers, that is.

Believe it or not, getting the page numbers to automatically generate from chapter to chapter was the biggest stumbling block I encountered… until I learned what the heck a “section” was in Pages.

To get the page numbers working correctly, I had to:

  1. Insert a new section for each chapter
  2. Go to the “Section” tab in the Layout Inspector
  3. Check the box that says “Use previous headers & footers.”

And since the first page of the chapter isn’t supposed to have a page number (Check any book you own — it’s true!), you also have to check a box that says, and I’m not making this up, “Make the first page different.”

Anyway, it’s all working beautifully now. 🙂

A Goal Stated Publicly

I’d like to take this opportunity to state a goal publicly. I’d like to have a “proof” copy of the book (basically a test run), by September, months before my public release. This means completed cover and all that jazz. To do that, I need to complete the following tasks:

  1. Compile feedback from close friends and rank them by priority
  2. Implement the feedback that feels right and agrees with my logic
  3. Complete book cover
  4. Order 1st proof copy
  5. Read through proof & markup any mistakes
  6. Submit revised manuscript to SF blogs for review
  7. Meanwhile, lend proof out to smart people for error spotting & cover feedback
  8. Get positive reviews back from blogs & quote them in appropriate places
  9. Make a final pacing, grammar, and spellcheck pass
  10. Export and upload Kindle & PDF formats to Createspace

I don’t know how long it will take for book review sites to get back to me, so I may let that slide. In either case, I’ve got a lot of finalizing work ahead of me; but I’ve gotta say, after seeing the first few chapters with page numbers and properly formatted chapter headings, I’m getting pretty excited. I’ve studied a lot of SF and Fantasy books that I own, and it hasn’t been too difficult to “take a page from their stylebook” and bring that level of professionalism to my own layout. (It also helps that I used page layout applications extensively when I was in college.)

I had been exporting the book as an 8.5×11” PDF to share with friends, but now… Now, with the page size set at 8.5×5.5”, the margins properly set, proper indentation, the fancy ligatures, and the page headers, something finally hit me.

This looks exactly like a “real” book.
And this is MY book.