Formatting Your Graphic Novel



hi guys this is Jade thank you for joining me over here on youtube today I'm giving you a crash course in formatting your graphic novel for self publishing through CreateSpace I'll also be talking about some of the similarities between Lulu and CreateSpace and why I've chosen the latter to be my print company after spending four years from Lulu throughout the video I'll have a small otter face indicating points of interest or showing you where to click within a program I'll also have some tool tips at the bottom they give you a little extra information both Lulu and CreateSpace provide self publishing options for indie creators like me what's nice about on-demand print companies is you can buy anywhere from one to several thousands of your book at a time so if you're limited on storage space like me these can be very appealing print options there are also other bulk on-demand print companies out there like print ninja they're do an excellent job too but those sites require a minimum order of several hundred of each book and I just don't have enough storage space for that much product the most important part about publishing your graphic novel is that all of your content is legible that means you can't have dialogue bubbles and panels getting cut off when your print company crops your page and sound a size in order to guarantee that your content fits you're gonna need a template so here's my template I was able to make it based on the numbers that great spaced so graciously provided to me when I asked for it to make your template there are a few terms that you're gonna need to know first the first one is full bleed this means that your content will go all the way to the edge of your page when you have full bleed there should it be any white boxing around the images unless you put the white boxes there yourself number two is a cut line when print shops print your page they still have to slice them down so that they'll fit within your book they don't print on paper that's pre cut to your book size so knowing where your page will potentially be cut is instrumental in making sure that all of your content fits snugly and legibly last but definitely not least is the margin line I call this one the safe zone anything inside the margin line is absolutely going to appear on the finished printed page there's no risk of it getting cut since I'm a visual person I've assigned each of these zones a different color red is the cut zone everything in there is probably going to go bye-bye but it's essential to have four full bleed if the images don't go all the way to the edge of the red you can get stuck with some unsightly white borders like tan lines the dark green area represents space that will more of them likely not get cut but it could so I try to keep all of my text bubbles and important images out of there when I can think of this area like a buffer zone and then there's the light green area which represents the safest place this is where I can put dialogue and frames because the red represents what's outside the printed page the template is actually larger than the printed book size crate space representatives asked me to make my file six point two five by nine point two five inches from my nine by six inch book this allows me to account for full bleed when I make my images so now that I have my template I'm ready to format all of my existing pages at this point you're probably wondering why I didn't just make my book in this template first that's because Lulu didn't provide me a template when I first started making my books according to them no on-demand print company would provide me a template that clearly isn't true since I'm uploading an existing title that was previously published elsewhere I have to change the ISBN on the interior pages of all of my books I can get that from create space so this is what create space looks like all of your books that you've published or are pending will appear in the my projects area to add a book just click on new project and start adding information I like to use the guided walkthrough because it helps me catch my mistakes after that you're ready to get your ISBN and add it to your title page which by the way is a must now I'm going to format all of the remaining pages of my books making sure that all of my important content fits inside the margins but that some color goes to the edge of the page because my original content was never given a template from Lulu some pages will unfortunately have borders I've elected to make those borders match the background by adding grey white and black borders that extend far into the full bleed zone that way it's less intrusive than white borders appearing on all of the pages regardless of what I wanted the page color to look like after you're done with all of your content you'll need to make a PDF file of all of your interior pages the exterior ones come later some Adobe and manga studio programs have features that will do this for you but my versions don't have all the bells and whistles so I'm going to use open view which is a free program once you've downloaded urban view and install the necessary plugins go to options and select make a PDF file from images then select the images you want to be in your file and you'll be able to see them in this small window in earthen view you can use the scroll bars to make sure that all of your files are in the proper order but before we go any further let me introduce you to Lulu I've signed into my account and I'm selecting all the same print size options that I did with my project in CreateSpace and at this time I'm assigning a bogus name since I won't be doing anything with this book here's what Lulu's uploader looks like I had to use an FTP client to get all of my files in a Lulu first because they were very large and cumbersome after they're uploaded they appear in the my files on Lulu tab and this is where Lulu gets max this folder contains all of your projects so if you're uploading page by page like I had to do you've run into the risk of having multiple page one page two and page three if you have multiple books you get where I'm going with this right I couldn't upload a PDF because Lula's printers don't like PDFs with only images in them I don't know how better to explain that but they just don't it never worked right for me so I tried using JPEGs and it worked much better after four years of that working properly I figured why fix something that isn't broken so in Lulu you select the files that you want to add to your book and then you wait I'll hop back into Earth and view while we wait on Lulu to process back in F in view select the pages that belong together and click the move down button this will move the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 & 9 pages gradually into place at the top of the file list you'll do this a few times and while it seems arduous it's not half as bad as Lulu's process once you've finished double and triple-check your numbering to make sure that your pages are in order there's nothing worse than printing your book out of order back to Lulu now that the pages are here I have to organize them by manually moving them up and down this process is clunky and downright annoying when you have over 60 pages on top of that when you add more pages you'll have to do it all over again because not all of your files appear in the my files on Lulu window you'll have to navigate between pages within that tiny window so I think what pages you do want to add and then adding them no you can't add files from different pages within the window and know you can't move multiple files once you're actually sorting them either this is a pain the process alone would take me at least an hour assuming that I didn't have an action problems with Lulu and I could readily find all my files irva view may take a while to combine all your files into a PDF but it's much better than Lulu's manual process which again is really clunky so now we're ready to go back to the CreateSpace website you'll select the type of pages and then upload your file you'll also get to select if you want full bleed or not I want full bleed and now we wait this part is going to take a while regardless of which service you use so go watch some anime once CreateSpace is done uploading you'll get to see what your interior pages actually look like in their interior reviewers this is something that Lulu doesn't have you can view multiple pages and even switch between views using the menu at the top this is your chance to check your margins which are indicated by the interior dotted line and the cut line indicated by the outside dotted line if there was a problem that CreateSpace was able to identify in its own it will be indicated by a small red X once you're happy with your interior pages click the save & continue' button at the bottom I almost always forget to do this because it's so easy to just X out of the viewer but if you don't click the button you have to go back and do it anyways this is one way they create space guarantees that you check the interior of your book on a side note this is what I feel really sets createspace apart I love the interior reviewer because it allows me to see what the interior of my books look like before I order them and have them shipped now it's time for the cover I like the glossy cover but Maddison option too so pick whichever one you want you'll need a template to format the cover properly as well you can't just submit the cover art as an individual JPEG file like you can with Lulu you'll need actually build your cover into a single file that contains front back and binding of the book again this is where I really prefer create space to Lulu even though it seems like a little bit of extra work to me it's not work it's due diligence this way I can make sure that my files look right and are printed correctly time and time again crate space again provides a tutorial and a template for this part you'll want to get a new cover template for each book especially if the page count has changed think about the cover of a book like wrapping paper on a present the bigger the box the more paper you need to cover it if there are more pages eating more packaging to wrap around with of the spine craze space not only gives you the math if you want to manually make your own template they even provide you a template generator based on your page count I recommend using the generator you'll have to get the PNG or PDF I like the PNG better copy and paste it to another location because most programs won't work with a file contained in a zip and then open it in an image editing program like Photoshop after you have it open just add your front and back cover make sure the art fits inside the orange box in case you need help figuring out what the orange boxes their instructions on the image itself that serve as a reminder but by now you're probably an expert in margin cut and bleed lines I've added a black square behind my images to make sure that the orange doesn't show and I've extended it over the orange edge just to make sure that the full bleed is fully accounted for now you're ready to save and upload the file to create space but wait your file can't exceed a certain size one way to fix this is to merge all of your layers in Photoshop this reduces the information contained in the image thus reducing the amount of digital space your image occupies believe it or not this trick actually works most of the time anyways and now we wait but I'll just skip ahead and save you the headache now it's time to review your project as a whole make sure you have all green checkmarks in the left-hand column you will then be asked to price your book if you want to make an e-book or not add a description and select distribution methods this part should be cake after all of that is done your book is sent to create space for a review after they review it you'll get an email in about 24 hours letting you know that you can order your proof you'll want to do this as soon as possible creig's space requires you to review your printed proof before they will allow you to start ordering and distributing so get this out of the way as soon as you can and congrats your book is now published thank you guys for watching this tutorial I hope you found it helpful and are able to benefit from some of my personal experiences in the self-publishing world if you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments below or you can send me an email you can also contact me on any of my other social media pages linked in the description thank you guys again for all the support and for watching I hope you guys have a wonderful day

28 thoughts on “Formatting Your Graphic Novel

  1. Update:  The cover art was a little too small, so make sure you go with the outer lines as your margin AND cut line and not the most interior lines.

  2. @jade woodruff while in the process of formatting my graphic novels for createspace and amazon and my story files (manga studio debut 4) suddenly changed to "tmp.files" its no longer in story format.each page has to be opened individually.this happened when i changed the story settings so that the pagination wouldnt show up in the printed versions for ka-blam.com Do you know of a way to change it back? 😓😢😕

  3. Hi there can you print Right to left since my manga is ready to move form right to left ebook form amazon to printed and if so how?

  4. Im looking to make a book on lulu but cant find any templates for A5!
    please help!

  5. Jade, I am using a 11×17 Canson "Fanboy" Comic book artboard. Will my artwork transfer to a comic book style template with different types of panels? just starting out. Need help.

  6. +Jade Woodruff I appreciate your video, i've learned a lot from it. But, do you or anyone here has a template for manga studio ex 5 or clip studio paint? i'm working on create space and heir is no tutorial or template their also have not found anything on the web. and i'm creating a manga

  7. Query: How do I use Irfanviewer and also put my novel into it? I want one page to be art and then the next page to be the story words. I havent been able to find a program that does that. Would you happen to have any information on that? I appreciate any feedback and thank you. I will be subbing.

  8. I got my first proofs today, and… they had problems. I think I've managed to fix one of them (this weird, ghostline-like texture that appeared in darker areas when I saved the PDF at "high" instead of maximum to keep it within the 400 megabyte limit, just found a workaround that prevents that from appearing) but the colors got effed up too. They're a little more saturated and in some places a LOT darker. Pages that were already kinda dark became a sea of black. So, now I've gotta save new versions of all the original files where the brightness is cranked up enough to compensate so that hopefully my next proof (when I can afford it) will end up looking sorta close to the original files when the print goes through that "redarkening" effect.

    Doable, but it sure sucks.

  9. Thank you for the template and the tutorial. You have all the same programs I have and I am so glad I stumbled on this. I've been searching for just this type of information. I don't have "In Design" and cannot afford to get it since the "cloud" came to be. My only complaint, I do wish you could explain how you decided where each area would be such as the "red area" and the "safe area". This is the part I really do not understand. I am good with templates, but setting them up, not so much! I understand that the bleed is the .25, but where is your dark green set at? Regardless, great help! Thank you.

  10. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I finally got it think tothe template you linked on this video, and say think you so much for this tuto. take care. lubens

  11. think for the tuto, it help me a lot with the information. But yet I am having trouble formating my 6*9 comic book like you did on photoshop so I was thinking If you would do a whole tutorial about this step please. it would be kind of you. thks and take care.

  12. Thank you so much for this helpful video!! ^^ I was searching for this exactly!

  13. Does the space outside the panels have to be white on createspace or can I make them a diffirend color withoud it looking wierd?

  14. Good video. Individual pages is annoying for sure. Lulu has templates and allows full page PDFs with picture. I've done 2 picture books as PDF exports from InDesign. I've laid out my books with them. The only separate files I've made are the cover art. http://www.lulu.com/create/books

  15. Thank you so much for this tutorial. It has helped me a lot with fixing my page size for createspace.

  16. Thanks for a very helpful tutorial! The music is meh, but the clarity of your instruction and your voice are tops. Best of luck with your projects.

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