Step 6: Headers & Footers

This is the toughest, most tedious part of creating a paperback file and also has the most potential for glitches. I wish I could say it gets easier with practice, but it doesn’t.

The first thing you need to do is open the side menu and select ‘styles’ again. Then, you’re going to hover your mouse across the icons showing at the very top and click on the one for ‘Page styles.’

  1. Right-click anywhere in the white space in the box and select ‘New.’

  1. Name your new style ‘Custom Header.’
  2. Click on the ‘Page’ tab.

  1. Change ‘Format’ to ‘User.’
  2. Change the width to your specific trim size.
  3. Change the height to your chosen trim size.
  4. Change all the margins to match the same ones you used for ‘Page Style’ in the very beginning.
  5. Change ‘Page Layout’ to ‘Mirrored.’
  6. Click on the ‘Header’ tab.

You’re right to think this all looks and feels familiar. It’s exactly how you set up your Default Page Style in the very beginning. That’s because no matter which style you’re using, your trim size and margins must remain the same for the entire book. Creating this ‘Custom Header’ merely allows you to choose which pages have a visible Header and Footer and which ones don’t.

  1. Check the box ‘Header on.’
  2. Deselect the box ‘same content on left and right pages.’
  3. Deselect the box ‘same content on first page.’
  4. Change ‘Height’ to 0.40.”
  5. Click on the ‘Footer’ tab.

  1. Check box ‘Footer on.’
  2. Deselect ONLY the box ‘same content on first page.’
  3. Change ‘Height’ to 0.40.”
  4. Click ‘Apply.’
  5. Double-check each tab to make sure your changes are still there and click ‘Ok.’

To apply this new custom header, set your cursor at the very end (no space) of the last word showing up at the bottom of your first chapter.

Click ‘Insert’ on the top menu, then slide your mouse to the arrow beside ‘More Breaks,’ and choose ‘Manual Break.’

When the box opens, make sure ‘Page break’ is already selected, then click the arrow of the drop-down menu below ‘Page Style’ and select ‘Custom Header’ then ‘Ok.’ (I have no idea why it’s spelled custome in this drop-down menu).

Your cursor should automatically jump to the very next page, following your chapter title page. It should be the first full page of text of the new chapter and on the left-hand side. It will also indent the first sentence. That’s because you just applied a page break, so it now thinks this is the start of a new paragraph. Simply backspace the sentence to where it should be. That won’t delete the manual break unless you backspace it to the previous page, so be careful not to do that.

Set your cursor inside the header, and a colored box should appear that tells you it’s the Custom Header style. If it says Default Page Style, that means your manual break didn’t take, and you have to try again—this is one of the glitches I cover in a little bit.

Once the box says that it’s the Custom Header style, type your author name. You may need to backspace it and use the alignment choices at the top of the screen to make it fully aligned Left instead of Justified. Then Center it.

In the header of the next page, which should be on the right, type the title of your book and center it.

You can change the font styles and sizes for either of these while you’re here. Highlight your author name/book title, right-click, select character twice, and make your changes in the box that opens up.

The most important thing is that your Header and Footer margins never change. You can tell if they have by the faint gray ‘corner’ shapes visible in every corner of every page. They should always be at the same level on both the left and right pages. So, make sure you’re not using a super large font for your author name or book title in the headers.

Next, go to the bottom of the first page, where you typed your author name and set your cursor inside the footer. Again, you’ll probably have to backspace once to make it fully Left Aligned, then center it.

Click on the ‘Insert Field’ icon on your main toolbar at the top of your screen and select ‘Page Number.’

You may have to repeat this process in the footer of the right-hand page, but then the page numbers, along with your headers, should appear automatically on every page following these first two.

Next, right-click anywhere in the first sentence at the top of the first page you added a header to and choose ‘Paragraph’ twice.

  1. When the box opens, click on the ‘Text Flow’ tab.
  2. Check the box ‘Page Number.’
  3. Change ‘page number’ to 2.

In paperbacks, the front and back matter pages are left uncounted, so the page number shouldn’t start until the first page of your first chapter. However, neither headers nor footers are supposed to appear on the first page of any new chapter, so you have to begin it there on page 2.

Now that you’ve set up your ‘Custom Header’ with your author name, book title, and page numbers, you won’t have to do that again for the rest of the book. But you do need to follow these steps:

  1. At the very end of the last page of each chapter, set your cursor and click on ‘Insert.’
  2. Choose ‘Manual Break’ again.
  3. When the box appears, select ‘Default Page Style’ from the drop-down menu.

That should remove the header and footer from all the following pages. Most importantly, from the first page of your next chapter. If the left-hand page across from your new chapter is blank, it will remove the header and footer from that, too, which is what you want. Blank pages and Chapter Title pages do not get headers and footers. Here are two examples, one with a blank page to the left and one without:

Repeat this process for the rest of the book, applying ‘Custom Header’ as a manual break at the end of each new chapter’s first page and reapplying ‘Default Page Style’ at the end of every chapter.

Here are the glitches that I’ve come across during the process, from easiest to fix to the hardest:

  • Glitch: The manual break took, but it indented the first sentence on the page. (I covered this earlier)
  • Cause: You just inserted a page break, so now the program thinks this is the first word of a new paragraph and automatically applies your Default Paragraph style with the 0.30” indent.
  • Fix: merely backspace the sentence to where it’s supposed to be, but not so far that it removes the manual break.

  • Glitch: I backspaced, but now there’s a blue squiggly line under the first word.
  • Cause: You just inserted a page break, so it now thinks this is the first word of a new paragraph and wants it capitalized.
  • Fix: Ignore it. The blue line won’t show when printed.

  • Glitch: The manual break took, but additional spacing appeared above the first sentence.
  • Cause: There was already a line of space between this sentence and the previous paragraph. The page break you just inserted merely pushed that line of space onto the next page.
  • Fix: backspace the first sentence up one line, then click on Default Paragraph Style in the drop-down menu to reapply the 0.30” indent. If you highlight the space and delete it, that might remove the manual page break, so be careful.

  • Glitch: The manual break didn’t take, yet it still indented the first sentence.
  • Cause: I have no idea.
  • Fix: Backspace the sentence to where it’s supposed to be. Reset the cursor after the last word of the previous page and try to insert the manual break again. Repeat until it takes.

  • Glitch: The manual break took, but my author name and book title aren’t appearing.
  • Cause: The program wants to keep you busy?
  • Fix: Hit the undo button. If that doesn’t jar it into working, you’ll have to reset everything and try to insert the manual break again until it works.

  • Glitch: Okay, I did that, and my name and the book title have appeared, but it caused all of the left page to jump to the right page, leaving the left page blank.
  • Cause: LibreOffice has inserted the page break one space over for some unknown reason, thus inserting a new page.
  • Fix: Put your cursor at the beginning of the first word on the right page and backspace once. It will move everything back to the left page where it should be without undoing the manual break.

I’m sorry if other glitches happen that I didn’t list. Those are the only ones that I know of at the moment. If you can’t get it to work with backspacing or the undo button, you’ll have to reset everything and try the manual break again.

I highly recommend saving your document after every successful application of each manual break, after fixing whatever glitch it might’ve thrown at you before moving on to the next one.

The last page of your story should be the final page with a header and footer. You’ll have to insert a manual break for the ‘Default Page Style’ at the end so that none of your back matter pages have a header or footer.

Even if you offer up a free chapter from another book to entice your readers, those should not have any headers or footers—only your main story.

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