Why section breaks are your best friend when formatting for CreateSpace

I spent several hours yesterday and the day before working on ironing out the little formatting details to get everything running smoothly for a CreateSpace print version of Mirror,  read this article on 5 newbie book layout mistakes relatively late in the process–and desperately wished I’d known this stuff several months ago. So for those of you still in the writing stage of your own books, I recommend you read that piece now, rather than later–especially so you can make sure you have all your quotation marks in order, because that’s something I discovered the magic of Word’s find&replace won’t spot for you. And just in case you were sitting around wondering what new hobby you should pick up for 2012 that would be fun and life-enriching, reading 258 pages for  quotation marks that aren’t curling in the right direction is NOT the one I’d recommend. I know, I know, that’s tough to believe, but just take my word on it ; )

directions for section break insertion

The little set of directions that will save your keyboard from becoming a victim of electronic domestic abuse

The other valuable thing I learned that comes in handy when working with the CreateSpace template is that it’s incredibly valuable to insert section breaks rather than just page breaks. Why? Because this is what CreateSpace has used to distinguish all its template formatting. If you have a stubborn front matter page that won’t, for instance, stop putting your freakin name in the header of an otherwise blank page, just stop it, no really, aaarrgghh!, it’s because it’s reading it as the second or third page of a section, rather than a section unto itself. CreateSpace has generated a template that doesn’t put headers and on first pages of sections (i.e. title page, first page of a chapter, etc), but does put them everywhere else.

So when you’re trying to insert a nice blank page in your front matter so the first actual page of your book will start on the right, like it’s supposed to, and you’re banging your head against your desk because you can’t figure out why the title is showing up at the top of that otherwise blank page, and you’ve clicked on the header and footer formatting and can’t figure out how to make it disappear without making it disappear everywhere else in the book, and you’re on the verge of weeping and pleading with your computer to please, just this once, grant a wish because you’d really like to go to a New Year’s Eve party and you’re too stubborn to leave until you’ve finished just this last little thing…

Well, that’s when you’ll shout for joy (or perhaps curse at the template creators for not including this info in some dummy text in the template for the technically-challenged) to discover that you just need to insert section breaks as a page break, rather than plain ole’ page breaks, so you can follow the rules set up by the CreateSpace template more productively.

Not that I did any of that, of course, because I am not at all neurotic, know Word like the back of my hand, and have magical powers. My computer does my bidding. I just have to think something and it does it. That’s how bad-ass I am. I’m just sharing this info because i know other people are not nearly as incredibly cool as I am.

Really. I swear. Why are you laughing?

Anyway, in other news, Happy New Year everyone!

About Noelle Ryan

Avid reader, writer, animal adorer, art appreciator, and snark enthusiast. Author of the Valkanas Clan series (Mirror is the first book in this series). Mother claimed first complete sentence was "Mom, I'm going to be a writer when I grow up."


  1. Happy New Year! love your personality in your coaching sweetheart and now we are fellow authors! love much, rae of sunshine

  2. Thank heavens for this article!!! I’ve been in page number and header hell for the entire week, it seems like. Thank you for sharing your hard earned wisdom.

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