In this week’s column, we’re looking at novel formatting tips and advice and how to make sure your book looks great on the page. While this topic is probably of more relevance to those considering self-publishing, I have included a couple of links for those seeking traditional publishers too. There is formatting software you can use such as the Reedsy Editor that is free and will allow you to select styles and formatting for ebook and paperback. All you have to do is upload your word document. Draft2Digital is another platform where you can do this as well. If you are self-publishing, it is important to remember to have your word document in single spacing. Double spaced manuscripts are what you submit to traditional publishers and agents. I hope these links prove helpful.
- https://selfpublishingadvice.org/book-production-7-top-tips-for-formatting-book-pages/ – Book Production: 7 Top Tips for Formatting Self-Published Books: This article talks you through the invisible formatting you might not know about that word creates and how to turn this on so you can detect it. It also explains how to remove these hidden errors. There are 7 of these explained along with examples to show you what to look for an how they can appear in your manuscript. While this articles doesn’t go into detail about formatting, removing the elements discussed will leave you with a document that is ready for aesthetic formatting.
- https://thewritelife.com/how-to-format-a-book/ – How to Format a Book: 10 Tips Your Editor Wants You To Know: This article is more for those seeking traditional publishing, whether writing a fiction or non-fiction book. It includes information on the font to use, the size of the font, the margin sizes for your document, the alignment, double-spaced line spacing, indenting paragraphs, formatting paragraphs, using page breaks, numbering your pages, and more. If you are self-publishing many of these will apply too especially for paperbacks.
- https://jerichowriters.com/manuscript-presentation/ – Manuscript Presentation, Novel Manuscript Format (with Examples): Again the information in this article is for paperbacks and is relevant to fiction and non-fiction. There a list of 9 items you need for formatting your novel professionally followed by an explanation of what a manuscript is. There’s a section on manuscript basics and a section on formatting the title page of your book. There is an example of this included. It should be noted that this example is how your title page would look if you are sending it to an agent or publisher. The next section discusses text formatting guidelines followed by how to format dialogue. There’s a section on punctuation, and finally a section on how to get help.
- https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-format-a-book/ – How to Format a Book (The Free and Easy Way): This is an article from Reedsy (mentioned in the opening paragraph) that is focused at self-publishing authors who want to know how to format their books. It offers a step by step guide that also includes information on the different software you can use, as well as offering 5 crucial book formatting tips you need to know. There’s a section on how to use the Reedsy book editor as well. This is an excellent article with plenty of information for everyone.
- https://www.hollybrady.com/tips-on-formatting-a-book-interior/ – Tips on Formatting a Book Interior: This short article provides a bulleted list of how to format the interior pages of your book. It is a guide for paperbacks (ebooks are different), and includes information on those tricky headers and footers as well as mentioning widow or orphan words appearing on their own on a page. These tips are great and well worth reading if you are considering formatting your own paperback.
- https://selfpublishingadvice.org/ebook-formatting/ – Publishing: 5 Top Tips for Formatting Ebooks: Formatting ebooks is different to paperbacks and this article offers 5 tips on how to format your ebook so it is ready for publication. With ebooks, you are setting everything up how you would like it to look on the screen and the easiest way to begin is with a word file. It is important to remember NOT to use tabs. There’s information on working with epub files and the different online tools that are available. The final tips is on hiring a formatter to do it for you.
- https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-format-your-ebook/ – How to Format Your Ebook: This article again reiterates how you should never use tabs when creating indented paragraphs. It offers advice on how to create indents using paragraph styles. It mentions the use of page breaks and that no headers or footers are used in ebooks. Page numbers are not included either. The use of images is explained too along with delivery charges that can impact on your royalties. There is a list of body text settings included that you can use to help set up your file.
- https://davidgaughran.com/how-to-format-ebooks-for-free-ebook-formatting/ – Formatting An Ebook: A Step-by-Step Guide: This article from David Gaughran is brilliant for anyone considering formatting their own ebooks. It provides a DIY approach that looks at the preparation of your document, cleaning up in word, coding in Notepad++, compiling in Caliber, and then testing. The big thing with ebook formatting is to make sure that your book looks exactly how you want it to look on the screen. This includes your front and back matter. This is a long guide that will guide you through everything.
- https://www.thecreativepenn.com/formatting/ – Book Formatting For Ebooks and Print: This article from The Creative Penn and it looks at some free options for ebook formatting that you can use if you don’t want to do the coding and hard work yourself. The article itself doesn’t have a lot of content, but it does link to each of the options available where you can find out more information. The free software includes Draft2Digital, Reedsy, PublishDrive, and Amazon’s Kindle Create. The article also mentions a paid software called Vellum.
- https://kindlepreneur.com/book-formatting-software/ – Best Book Formatting Software 2021: The final link I have for you is from Kindlepreneur and it looks at the best book formatting software you can use. It begins with an explanation of what book formatting is along with a comparison between book formatting vs manuscript formatting. The next section is about the software available for formatting ebooks and paperbacks. The list includes Vellum, Kindle Create, MS Word, Scrivener, and Reedsy. There is an overview of each and a link to a full review. The article ends with a mention of other tools that are available including Adobe InDesign, Calibre, and Jutoh.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the links this week. This is my last column for you all and I wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who has reached out with ideas on topics they’d like to see covered. I have enjoyed creating the weekly columns for the past 2 ½ years, but I no longer have the time to devote to them. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity it has given me and for all I’ve learned while researching the columns. If you wish to connect with be, follow me on Facebook or check out my website.
(c) Amanda J Evans