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on 27 December 2008
I just finished reading Edwin Scroggins's* book on self-publishing, and I thought it was incredible. It contains the following chapters:

1. Publishing with BookSurge
2. Formatting Your Pages with MicroSoft Word
3. Designing Your Book Block
4. Inserting Your Manuscript
5. Preparing and Inserting Images
6. Inserting Section Breaks
7. Inserting Page Numbers
8. Inserting Text into Headers
9. Editing and Reviewing Your Book Block
10. Designing Your Book's Covers to BookSurge's Specifications
11. Signing up with BookSurge
12. Converting Your Word Files to PDF with Adobe Acrobat
13. Submitting Your PDF Files to BookSurge
14. Nurturing Your Book on Amazon

Although I'm a Lightning Source publisher, I wish I had had this book when I was formatting my first self-published book. I learned how to format my book from Aaron Shepard's "Perfect Pages." The main difference between Shepard's and Scroggins's books is that Shepard's book is more of a reference on the subject of book formatting that explains everything you need to know. Scroggin's book tells you only what you need to know, and every step is explained in great detail. So even if you don't publish with BookSurge, this book can still be a great help if you self-publish with Lightning Source.

I believe that this is currently the only book that explains how to format a book in Word 2007. I found myself faced with many of the problems the author had when using Word 2007. And I also found myself very frustrated when it came time to insert page numbers and headers. Although I eventually figured how to do so, I could've saved myself a lot of headache had I had this book.

Another great aspect of this book is Scroggins's explanation of section breaks. I have published three books without using section breaks. Although you probably couldn't tell by looking at them, inserting chapters would have been much easier if I had used the section break option. And the explanation of unlinking the sections is very valuable. I believe I spent two hours trying to figure that out.

Apparently, BookSurge has PDF conversion option for its authors. That's one good thing they have over Lighting Source. There are ways of converting a Word file to PDF that are free, but it's a good idea to ask other authors if they have had success with it.

Here comes my only criticism of this book. Scroggins recommends that you buy "Sell Your Book On Amazon" and "Aiming At Amazon"" to learn how to promote your book. However, I do not recommend "Sell Your Book On Amazon" under any circumstance**. Since "Aiming At Amazon" is more geared towards Lightning Source publishers, I recommend "Plug Your Book" if you plan on self-publishing with BookSurge. But the sections on book promotion in "Aiming At Amazon" are still worth the price.

If you plan on self-publishing with BookSurge, definitely get this book along with "Perfect Pages" and "Plug Your Book." If you plan on going with Lightning Source, this book along with "Perfect Pages" is still a good idea, in addition to "Aiming At Amazon" and "Plug Your Book."

Brandon Simpson
*Although Scroggins ends in an -s, it is still necessary to add an apostrophe and another -s since I'm forming the possessive of a singular proper noun. (This is according to the MLA Handbook by Joseph Gibaldi- page 91)
**Read my review of "Sell Your Book On Amazon"
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