knowledge bleg: I have a first draft, and a big problem.

I know we’ve had this discussion before, oh ye document mavens, but Uncle Joel’s memory for things that perplex him is…imperfect.

I have a first draft for my current book, You Never Completely Lose. But things have changed so very much since ze old days of ‘send it to Lulu and let the world ignore it,’ and I’d really like to do this self-publishing thing right this time.

One big problem is that the doc file is 20 megs big – there are quite a few photographs. Exporting to .pdf gives me something just a bit over 2 meg, which might at least be uploadable to some places. But I can’t simply send the doc file elsewhere for formatting without reference to a thumb drive and UPS.

So I really don’t know what to do now.

ETA: If anybody out there is interested in putting on their editor hat, now would be a good time to wave your hand.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to knowledge bleg: I have a first draft, and a big problem.

  1. Bear says:

    Check your email in a minute.

  2. Tom says:

    How big is the “doc” after you compress it with a zip program. I can’t remember the utility for zipping files that is installed on the Linux distro you have, but tar has a compression mode.

  3. Peter Grant says:

    If you’d like some editing help, and/or advice on navigating Amazon’s KDP service, e-mail me. I may take a couple of days to reply, as e-mail service is spotty right now.

  4. Joel says:

    Tom, LibreOffice does have a tar compression mode. Text and .doc files tend not to compress very well, but I figured this one would because of all the jpegs. But the compressed file reads as the same size as the uncompressed one. So that didn’t work.

  5. Joel says:

    Peter, accepted with thanks. I’ll email you soon.

  6. Bear says:

    Check the PDF settings when you export to PDF. It can make a huge difference in file size. Example, using a letterhead template with a 1128KB JPG image inserted:

    80% JPEG compression 150 DPI = 163KB output PDF
    Lossless compression, 300 DPI = 248KB output PDF
    90% JPEG compression, 300 DPI 2.63MB ouput PDF
    100% JPEG compression, “Reduce image resolution” unchecked = 776 KB

    Play with it some, because the final PDF size isn’t always what you expect.

  7. Bear says:

    Come to think of it… Joel, check your email again. I’m sending you a copy of Amazon KDP/CreateSpace publishing guide.

  8. Tom says:

    If LibreOffice’s tar connection doesn’t compress text files by at least 2 to 1, then there is something wrong with the tar program and/or the settings in LibreOffice.

    Text files (and .doc files usually) are very compressible and jpg files are not since jpg files are already compressed by the jpg creation program.

    “In most languages of the world, certain letters and words often appear together in the same pattern. Because of this high rate of redundancy, text files compress very well. A reduction of 50 percent or more is typical for a good-sized text file.”

    (from — How Stuff Works – File Compression)

  9. Cosmostrator says:

    To send the file for formatting you should be able to upload it to dropbox,, or Google drive, or I find that most professionals use I’d be happy to lend a hand with the epub conversion if the publisher you use doesn’t do it for you.
    Speaking of Lulu you should really change the books on the sidebar to be like your solar panel book. I don’t know if Lulu locked you out or just stopped paying, but I have all the PDFs if you need them.

  10. Doubletrouble says:

    Shoot an email to
    about your problem. Marko’s a friend, & started his work by self- publishing. Now, he’s an accomplished (with a publisher) writer of fiction.
    He may be able to help.

    Good luck!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Do a “save as” in Word. This will loose all the edits, modifications and so on that Word keeps track of and probably save a whole lot of file size. Also, maybe resize the images you’ve included.

  12. Rob Reed says:

    I’m having similar issues figuring out how to create e-books that contain text and photos. The guides I find are obviously fiction oriented as they only reference how to format text. Since I’m writing about guns and shooting I need to keep the photos.

    If any of you guys want to help me out as well, I would really appreciate it.


    Btw, sorry for piggybacking in on this, but this is the closest thing I’ve seen to someone having the same types of problems I’m having, although you are further along in the process then I am right now.

  13. Hey Joel, I’ve got squat to help you with filesize, but I’m pretty good at editing if you can get me a file. Let me know.

  14. And, I’ve somehow (Gee, I wonder) lost your snailmail addy, if you could send it to me again I’d appreciate it (and you will, too).

To the stake with the heretic!