May 12

Favorite Things: Learning how to self-publish

Fullscreen capture 4182016 53322 PMWell, right at this minute it might not be one of my favorite things, as it has been a trial-and-error process with numerous trials and lots of errors. But I think we just about have this latest project wrapped up!

I’ve been working on the Ruby for Women online Christian women’s magazine for almost seven years, and it has evolved from a simple PDF document that could be made available to anyone interested through an email subscription, to a complete digital document which is available, free of charge, on the Ruby for Women blog and community website.

We’ve made great progress over the past seven years, with lots of help and encouragement from so many people who supported the ministry of Ruby, participated in the project through generous submissions for each issue, and who actively helped with the actual day-to-day work required to keep this ministry moving forward.

But the one part of the project that I’ve been wanting to figure out for a couple of years (but just kept running out of time to focus solely on this particular task) has been trying to navigate the journey to self-publishing the Ruby for Women magazine as a print publication.

We’ve had so many requests over the years for a print publication – as it is so much easier to read as a “hard copy” publication – that I really felt compelled to do whatever I could to figure it out  . . . . and we’re almost there!

For a couple of weeks now we’ve been sorting through all of the steps that are required to get the original PDF file converted correctly to fit the templates for CreateSpace where we are working on this project. The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to resize all of the images to the correct DPI (I’m starting to feel a bit like a tech geek, but that is so not true, as I came close to taking the proverbial sledge hammer to the computer on many a few occasions!).

I tried everything that was suggested to me by people who have done this kind of thing before, but every time I would re-upload the file to CreateSpace I would get an error message telling me that the DPI of the images was too low.

So something was happening between the time I resized the pictures for the correct DPI and when I uploaded the document to the CreateSpace website. And of course, I had not clue what that might be. Kind of like algebra (for me anyway) – it’s kind of hard to figure out the answer when I can’t even figure out the question!

I finally found an online website that could actually do what I needed to do to the images, so the process started all over again.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Convert the original Word document to a PDF file
  2. Convert the PDF file to JPEG images (each page became an individual JPEG image)
  3. Resize each page / image to the correct DPI
  4. Create another Word document with the new JPEG images
  5. Resize them in the Word document to the correct specifications for CreateSpace
  6. Convert the new Word document to a PDF
  7. Convert that PDF document into JPEG images again (so they would be the correct size in inches AND DPI)
  8. Unzip that file and upload those images to the resizing website to make sure the DPI was still correct
  9. Take all of the converted, resized JPEG images and make another Word document
  10. Convert that new document to a PDF file
  11. Create the front cover
  12. Create the back cover
  13. Upload it to the CreateSpace website
  14. Wait for approval

The first round of editorial approval attempts came back pretty good for a beginner . . . . the front and back covers were acceptable but the pagination on the interior pages needed to be adjusted. GREAT! I know how to do that, so I fixed the pages where the pages were not numbered sequentially (another long story!), went through the whole process (above) one more time, re-uploaded the corrected file to the CreateSpace website, and waited. 24-hour turn around they say, and they are really good about getting it back in that time frame, but I really needed to get this thing taken care of so I could move on to other projects.

When it came back the second time, the interior pages were correct (YAY me!) but the cover was not correct. What?

Yesterday it was correct, and didn’t change a thing and today it is not correct??? After hours and hours of research on what the problem might be and how to fix it, I thought I had it figured out so I fixed the front and back cover, went through the process again (thankfully this time just with two pages instead of all 50 pages), and resubmitted it for approval. And waited.

Yesterday it came back with the error message that this time there was too much white border around the outside edges of the front and back cover images. HMMMMMMM . . . . first .025″ too big and now .025″ too small. Reminded me of submitting my master’s degree thesis (250 pages) that was first too far to the left by .25″ so I “fixed” it and moved it .25″ too far to the right. Precision, I know).

I pondered and experimented, came close to reaching for that sledge hammer, almost said a couple of inappropriate words, and just about gave up on the whole thing. I really wanted just to go for a walk, or better yet, eat a donut and take a nap. But I didn’t.

After all that messing around, I decided I would just add a wider border around each of the cover pages so that all of the “live” elements (text and important images) would be completely inside the designated margins, but the colored part would extend into the margins so there would be no white border. Easier said than done . . . . but I finally figured it out, went through the whole process again (just for two pages this time!!!), converted it all into the correct file format, and submitted it last night.

Today, it was approved. BUT . . . . the inside of the front and back covers are blank. Back to the drawing board but at least I’ve learned a great deal about the self-publishing process. Anyone want to hire me?


It’s time again for Thursday Favorite Things! I hope you can join us because it is LOTS of fun!

Blog Hop CHANGES May 2016We have made a few changes to our wonderful party. We shortened the name, changed a few rules and we have some new images too. Join us every week as we party and share at the best link party in blog land!

Thursday Favorite Things new logo 5-2016Katherine CollageKatherine – Katherine’s Corner

Nina CollageNina –Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Debi collageDebi- Surroundings by Debi

Rosemary CollageRosemary-An Italian In My Kitchen

Rina CollageRina-I Thee Cook

Olivia CollageOlivia-Reinvented Collection

Shellie CollageShellie – The Fabulous Journey

Marilyn CollageMarilyn – Marilyn’s Treats

Angelina CollageAngelina –Peonies and Orange Blossoms

 Thursday Favorite Things RULES

It all starts with a SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS

Please read the rules before participating, it will be a much more satisfying hop experience.

* Please visit at least two links ahead of yours

* Follow Your Hostesses

* Link to your post not your blog main page. –

By sharing with us you are agreeing that the photos are yours or that you have permission to use them, and that we may use your photos to feature your post on social media, Pinterest or as a feature on our blogs.

Have fun we look forward to all you will share. All of the hostesses are now selecting their favorites to share in features on their blogs each week. Share your best work!



1 comment

  1. Jean Ann Williams

    Wow, Nina, I knew it wasn’t going well for awhile, but had no idea!!! Prayers and your determination to NOT eat a donut and take a nap won out! I’m so excited to receive my first print edition of Ruby for Women. God bless your hard, hard work! P.S. I apprecated some of the details you included about CS. I’m looking over all my options to self-publishing.

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