Slim and Trim: the “Compact Edition”

Those who haven’t abandoned their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight may actually have lost a few pounds by now, but I am thrilled to report that I have already achieved my goal, a 30% reduction in weight and… bulk. Well, not my personal weight, but that of the first book of my Herbert West Series, The Friendship of Mortals. It lost 168 pages and close to half a pound.

When I first published this book, in 2014, I set the line spacing too wide, resulting in a 554-page monster. It’s an impressive tome and is supremely readable, but because of that bulk, the price was unappealing. Now it’s a mere 386 pages, similar to Books 2 and 3 of the series.

Line spacing. See the difference? Book 1 is on the left, Book 2 on the right.

Line spacing. See the difference? Book 1 is on the left, Book 2 on the right.

Reformatting the Word document and republishing was surprisingly easy. I did, however, have to pay my cover designer to adjust the spine width.

I don’t as yet have a copy of the “compact edition,” because I finalized it on CreateSpace just this afternoon. Now I’m in the throes of preparing Book 4 (Hunting the Phoenix) for print publication. Once that’s done, and I have all four books completed, I’ll take a picture of them, sort of like a family portrait. Until then, this picture makes it clear why I made this particular resolution. The size difference suggests that The Friendship of Mortals is much longer than the other two, when in reality the word counts aren’t that different.




  1. How much money was saved by doing that? Presumably, a smaller book reduces the shipping costs too. Anything to bring down the cost of copies is useful. I might revisit my own books after reading this, although the ones I had printed already looked similar in thickness to your 2nd and 3rd novels.

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    1. Well, the first book is 157K words, the second 164. Now they’re both just under 400 pages. Before, the first was 554 pages. With paper books, size does matter! Logically, reducing the price from $20 to $15 should make it more attractive. If you do your own cover designs, the change would be cost-free. I don’t, so it cost me $50 to have the spine width adjusted. Bibliochiropractic! 🙂

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    1. Yes! I don’t actually remember how I set the line spacing in my original document, but I think it was 1.5 lines. The new one has “exactly” 12 point spacing, which is pretty much the same as single spacing. But that was the only change I made (plus adjusting the cover spine, of course).


  2. Nicely done! The new version should be much more affordable, which is definitely important to we poor consumers 😀 Plus there’s the added bonus that the books will all have more or less the same spine width, which looks lovely on a bookshelf.

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