Creating Print On Demand Interiors and Covers Using Scribus Part 7

I have taken a few weeks to document all the steps required to use Scribus to layout the interior and cover for Print on Demand (POD) PDF files and thought about publishing it.

I decided to first publish on this blog, because I will hopefully get good feedback on missed steps or other suggestions from others who are also preparing their stories for POD publication or creating bookmarks or whatever.

If I work on approximately 5 pages each blog, it will take 8 blog posts or more  to get it all up.

If you missed Part 1 read it first, then Part 2Part 3  Part 4Part 5 and Part 6.

Part 7

Creating Interior of Book

Preparing text in Word Document before importing

To save myself a lot of time reading through the text after I import into Scribus I always do one last check in my Word document before importing, because Word tools take a lot of the workload out of editing.

First I run a spell check and grammar check to catch any mistakes added during editing of my story, and confirm line spacing is set to 1.5.

Spell Check

Word has a relatively good spell checker, so use it to check the spelling before importing.

Grammar Check

To activate the grammar portion of the spell check, make sure the Check grammar check box at the bottom of the Spelling and Grammar window is selected. The Options button allows for more configuration selections for grammar checking.

Line spacing

If you have not got your line spacing as 1.5 lines then make it 1.5 lines now.

Marking Italics

The one thing that I noticed Scribus does not incorporate on importing Word document text is text formatting such as underline, italics and bold.

I do not use underlines or bold in my fiction text, but I do use italics for names of space ships, individual character thoughts, and for characters who mind speak to other characters.

To overcome the lack of automatically importing italics, I mark all my italic text by using Find italic font and Replace located text with <i>italics font</i>.

In case you are not familiar with the coding required to make this a simple task, the steps are:

  1. In Word document open the Find and Replace window: Edit => Find or Ctrl+f
  2. Place the curser in the Find What: field, and press Ctrl+i to make the format read Font: Italic
  3. In the Replace Tab, type <i>^&</i>
  4. Click the Find button
  5. The search will stop when it locates italics
  6. Click the Replace button to wrap the <i> and </i> around the italicised text
  7. Once you confirm the code is correct click the Replace All button and let the search program locate and edit all the italicised text

Marking Paragraph Styles

Marking Paragraph styles if using different styles throughout the book is easy because Scribus has the ability to read tags during importing and assigning different paragraph styles to the tags.

You can learn more about Marking Paragraphs in the Word document before importing into Scribus, by reading the Text Frame page, under the Tagged Files heading on the Scribus website.  

I do not do this because I am happy to manually alter the chapter headings and scene breaks while checking correct chapter order and chapter length.

I also like to check each first paragraph drop capital to make sure the paragraph does cover two to three lines if the Drop Capital is set to drop three lines. If there is only one line in the first paragraph, there is a gap before the next paragraph starts, and I fix it as I go by either  making the first paragraph longer, or incorporating the second paragraph into the first paragraph.

Delete Any Front And Back Matter

I then delete any front and back matter from the Word Document, because I prefer to import them separately to the main document, making sure the linked text frames are unlinked for each page. This stops to text on each page moving up or down the pages if I add more text or alter the font sizes.

Once I confirm the Word document is formatted correctly I am then ready to import into Scribus.


  1. If you have not already done so, make a copy of your Microsoft Word document to use for importing into Scribus
  2. Run Spell Checker on your Microsoft Word document copy
  3. If you have not already altered the text to 1.5 line spacing do it now
  4. If you use italics in your story, mark your italic text with the above Find and Replace steps
  5. Delete any front and back matter, or copy the text to another file for importing into the Scribus Front and Back Matter templates.
  6. Save the document


Importing Front Matter Text

Front Matter Template

I add 10 pages using the Normal Left and Right templates for my Front Matter including blank pages.

Must haves in the Front Matter are Title Page and Copyright Page, but you may include a list of other books in the same genre, a second Title Page including the publisher contact details, a Table of Contents, and Dedication and Acknowledgement pages if you use them.

The best way to work out which Front Matter pages you need is to study books in your genre, noting the order of the information and whether left or right pages are blank pages. The same goes for studying Back Matter as discussed below.

Inserting Front Matter

I copy and paste or type my Front Matter into Story Editor because I use the same text as for my ebooks and it is easy to open each file, select the text, copy, and past into each Text Frame on each unlinked page in 

My order of Front Matter

  • Review Quotes or Pull (right)
  • Blank (left)
  • List of other books in same genre (right)
  • Blank (left)
  • Title Page with Publisher’s Logo (right)
  • Copyright (left)
  • Dedication (right)
  • Blank (left)
  • Title Page (right)


I copy in the Pull text, select the text and pick the correct font from the drop down list, then alter the size, fully justify the text, and check Kerning and Tracking in case of spaces between the words.

I use Drop Capital for the first paragraph in Pull sample, and Indent style for the rest of the paragraphs, then make sure the text takes up less than half the page.

I confirm my list of other books is up-to-date and copy the list and paste into the third Front Matter page.  I centre justify the list.

The same with the first Title Page, but I use the same font selected for the cover, and make it smaller and centre the text.

I left justify the copyright page, and make the text size smaller than the other pages in the Front Matter and leave a marker for adding the ISBN number after it is assigned by CreateSpace or purchased by me.

An example is: ISBN: 13 digit number goes here

After you receive your 13 digit ISBN number, you paste it into the allotted space on the Copyright page, making sure you delete any left over part of “13 digit number goes here”, then recompile a PDF file in Scribus before uploading to CreateSpace.

I use italics for the Dedication font and the same text size as the copyright page.

The final title page is a copy of the first title page, but with the publisher information deleted. Same font, and same size.


  1. If you have not already worked out your Front Matter order, do so now.
  2. Open Scribus, and your POD file if not already open.
  3. Add your front matter template pages from your Normal Left and Normal right templates
  4. Open Story Editor by selecting the text frame, right click mouse, and select Edit Text in the drop down menu.
  5. Type your text in the Story Editor
  6. If you import your Front Matter text, select the text frame, right click mouse, and select Get Text in the drop down menu. Adjust the bottom of the text frame upwards to force the text to flow to the next page and confirm the next page text frame is linked to the current page text frame.
  7. If a small rectangle with an X inside it appears in the right lower corner of the text frame, it means there is not enough space to display the imported text. You will need to insert another page, and confirm it is linked to the previous page for the text to flow across
  8. Select your text and set the paragraph styles, font and size and justification
  9. If you need to hyphenate any words to close white spaces in the text, do so.
  10. Save your changes.

Importing Chapters Text

First, a recap on the different Chapter Templates.

Each chapter starts on the right hand side of the book, so if a chapter ends on the right hand side, I insert a blank left page next. This means no header or footer, just a blank page.

The only time I would start chapters on the left hand side is if the word count for the story is over 100,000 words and I wanted to keep the book spine from getting too wide. I would not have blank left pages. Instead I would start each new chapter on the next page, either left or right thereby cutting down the width of the spine.

My decision would also depend on the genre and how other publishers display each chapter start. I have noticed a lot of fantasy stories treat longer works this way.

You decide based on the genre you write.

Chapter Blank Left

  • No header
  • No footer page number
  • No text in text frame, or, create the template without a text frame

If the blank chapter start left side template has a text frame because you copied the normal left template and labelled it Chapter Start Left template, then you will have to unlink from the previous page text frame so the text will not flow in the text frame on the blank page.

Then add a Chapter Start Right template.

Chapter Start Right

  • No header
  • Page number in footer or not, depending which you chose. I do not have a page number in the footer on the Chapter Start Right template.
  • Left, Centre or Right justified if the page number marker is inserted.
  • Link the last chapter right page text frame to the chapter start right text frame.

Next, I add 4 or 6 pages, selecting Chapter Left and Chapter Right templates and let the text flow over the pages. I keep adding more chapter pages until the end of the chapter, and repeat the process of adding the next chapter start pages and unlinking from the left page and linking to the right page. The text will continue to flow.

Chapter Left

  • Header Author Name, Left, Centre or Right justified
  • Page number in footer justified, Left, Centre or right justified

Chapter Right

  • Header Title, Left, Centre or Right justified
  • Page number in footer, Left, Centre or Right justified

Appending groups of pages to the file automatically links the text frames, but if I insert a different template before a selected page, I always check and correct the links.

I select the first Chapter Start Right text frame and click on Unlink Text Frames icon to double check the front matter is not linked. Once I confirm there is no link, I right click the mouse. I select Get Text from the drop down menu, enter the path and select the Word document file.

I select Word Documents in Importer: and leave Import Text Only check box empty, then click the OK button.

The file loads in the text frame and flows into the linked pages. If there are only a few pages added to the file you will notice a small red box with a X in it at the bottom of the last page text frame,. This indicates more text to be displayed.

Add more pages by selecting the text frame displaying the red box, then click the menu item Page => Insert to add more pages after the selected page. 

Repeat inserting more pages until the red box with the X disappears, indicating no more text to display.

If the start of the next chapter does not start on the next page, move the bottom of the text frame up until the new chapter header disappears. It will flow onto the next page.

I chose not to use this process. Instead, I open the Word document, and copy one chapter at a time and paste it into the Chapter Start Right page text frame, adding more chapter pages until the whole chapter of text is displayed.

I delete any extra blank pages, then add the next Chapter Start Left and Right pages, and enough Chapter Left and Right pages, and remove any links to the previous chapter before I copy and paste the next chapter into the Story Editor text area.

I repeat for all the chapters.

The main reason for coping the text in to the Story Editor is the ease of removing widows and orphans without moving the next chapter up or down the next page.


I work through each chapter in the Story Editor formatting the text.

First, I select all the text and set the font and size

While the text is still selected I set the paragraph style.

Next, I select the chapter title and centre it.

I place the curser in the first paragraph and select Drop Down paragraph style.

I locate any scene breaks and centre them.

Then I use Find to locate the italics markers and change the marked text to italics. I also use Find to locate the <i> and delete. I repeat for </i>.

I work through every chapter until the text is correct.

Then I close the Story Editor and scan the chapters, looking for single lines of paragraphs displayed at the start or end of every page, or the last word of a paragraph on a line by itself. If I locate any, I go into the Story Editor and select the paragraph and alter the tracking to move the word onto the previous line.  If I can’t track the change without it being obvious I compressed the spaces, I look at hyphenating words to help force the single word onto the previous line.

What I end up with is a professional layout of the chapters.

Remember, you can code the Word document text to automatically use paragraph styles, but coding does not work with character styles when importing Word documents.


  1. Import your Word document into Scribus, either using Get Text menu selection in the drop down list or by copying the chapters and paste into the Story Editor window.
  2. Select the correct Font and size, paragraph styles and justify chapter headers and scene breaks if you use them.
  3. Look for and remove any widows and orphans.


Inserting Back Matter Text


Lastly, I add more Normal Left and Right template pages for the Back Matter, importing the text exactly the same as for the Front Matter.


My order of Back matter:


  • Tease chapters of next story in series (start on the right page)
  • Blank (left) if the tease chapters end on the right hand page
  • About the Author (right)
  • Blank (left)
  • List of other published books by author and contact details for Author (right)






I work through each page, keeping the font and size consistent with the front matter and the tease chapters the same as the book chapter layout.




  1. Import or copy your Back Matter into your Scribus file.
  2. Format the text.

Part 8 includes inserting Graphics and compiling a PDF file.


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