Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

The Secret Ingredient that Fulfilled a Vision

The secret ingredient that was necessary for my book to reach its full potential was one that I never would have expected.

The Secret Ingredient

I made plenty of preparations to create a valuable book and make the launch successful. Some contenders for the secret ingredient might have been:

Each one of these steps of the process was extermely valuable, and they all helped make the book better.

But there is one secret ingredient that led One of the Few to reach its fullest potential, and it didnt’ have anything to do with book lauch strategies or product launch formulas.

So here it is, the secret ingredient:

The index!

What in the world am I talking about? Let me explain.

When I started writing One of the Few, I only knew that I wanted at least a soft cover version in addition to an ebook.

I did not intend to foray into the field of book design, so I used CreateSpace’s custom interior desigin service to format the interior. But as the process unfolded, I learned that there were a few design features that CreateSpace could not accomodate with the service I selected, including custom fonts for headers, recto/verso page numbering, and pull qotes.

Somewhat late in the process, my senior advisor suggested I make a hard cover version available. When I learned that CreateSpace does not do hard covers, I realized I would be taking that journey into book layout and formatting after all.

From that point on, I worked with CreateSpace on the soft cover while re-creating the book in my own Word document for the hard cover.

Creatng the hard cover file gave me freedom–freedom for custom fonts, formatting, and pull quotes.

The soft cover was going to be good, but the hard cover was going to be great.

good great secret fulfill vision

Now, back to the index.

After feedback from fellow authors, I decided to add an index.

This was easily added to the hard cover Word file which I controlled and edited. Getting it into the soft cover was  different story.

I quickly learned that author-provided automatically generated indexes are not compatible with CreateSpace’s custom interior design service. While they offer an “index layout” service, it requires the author to manually create the index, or outsource the laborious task to a third party (at an additional cost). In short, for $35 dollars, they’ll paste your index at the end of your document, but you do all the work.

If you ask me, that process is insanity, considering the technology available to automate such processes. Additionally, my timeline would not allow such a costly dealy.

I had to make a decision:

  • Recreate the index manually requiring hours and hours of time and pain
  • Pay for a professional indexing service
  • Cut the index from the book

I had already received a physical proof with an incorrect, non-functioning index (thanks to my failure to “update field” after pagination adjustments), which CreateSpace said nothing about.

I figured since they were responsible for pagination and the Table of Contents, they might double check to accuracy of the Index.


I could no longer be at the whim of the lenghty timelines required to make changes with the custom interior design service. I didn’t want to cut the index from the soft cover, but they couldn’t hack it without more time and author-provided content.

Then I had an idea: Cut them out of the loop.

I already had a working file used for the hard cover. I could now change the ISBN and submit the same file for the soft cover. And after verifying this would be acceptable with the CreateSpace staff, that’s exactly what I did.

The end result was a better product.

The soft cover is now identical to the hard cover with better fonts, better page numbering, pull quotes, and a working index.

And the project is back on timeline.

good to great fulfill vision
Suffice to say, I’m not fuming anymore. I’m thankful.

The index was key, but perhaps it wasn’t the secret ingredient after all.

Maybe the secret ingredient is knowing the widsom contained in Romans 8:28:

“That in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV, Rom. 8:28).

My ways don’t always work.

But His do.

About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.