When you sit down to read a book, the last thing you want is to be confronted with a plain wall of text without any indentations. A well-formatted book, on the other hand, is a joy to read. Also, it is easier to find your place again if you need to put the book down for a while.
As an author, it’s your responsibility to format your book properly before publishing it in print and digital form. Formatting is not as simple as it seems. There are a number of elements to take into consideration, such as margins, spacing, justification, and hyphenation. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each of these elements and how they can be used to create a more readable book.
1. Use a Book Writing Software
If you want to self-publishing your book, book writing software can help you turn your manuscript into a professional-looking book. Formatting a book manually can be very time consuming, and that’s why book writing software is the best bet you can rely on. The best part is that most of these software packages are absolutely free to use.
They will not only help you with formatting but will also improve your craft and increase your productivity as a writer. You can also customize the settings to format your book according to printing or e-book requirements, which can be helpful for publishing your book on different platforms.
2. Don’t Skip the Title Page
The title page is important because it is the first page that your readers will see after your book cover. It should be simple yet elegant and contain the title of your book, your name, and the publishing date. You can also include a subtitle, your publisher’s name, and your contact information.
Remember not to put all of this information in plain text. Your book title should be in the exact format as on the book cover, and the subtitle and author name should match the genre of your book.
Formatting your title page correctly will give your book a professional look and feel. It will also make it easier for readers to find your book when they are searching for it online. So, take the time to format your title page correctly and make a good first impression on your readers.
3. Choose an Appropriate Font According to the Genre
Of course, you want to make sure your chosen font is easy to read. But beyond that, you need to choose a font that is appropriate for the genre of your book. You may not know it, but there are different fonts used for different writing genres. This is because the font you choose has a big impact on how your book is received by readers.
For example, a book about history would not use the same font as a book about literary or romantic fiction. Also, you’ll have to select the appropriate font size, which is usually 10-12 pt.
4. Use Indentations and Margins Carefully
Indentations and margins are critical for readers as well as editors because white space is as important in your document as the written text. However, make sure to consult your editor or literary agent to get margin space recommendations. Most editors recommend margins no larger than 1 inch from both sides.
It will provide enough white space on the page and adjust the text just perfectly. On the other hand, indentations have some hard and fast rules you’ll have to follow. Just like font style and size, indentations are also based on the genre of your book.
For example, fiction writers use indented paragraphs with 0.5” paragraph spacing. On the other hand, nonfiction authors may not apply indentation when there’s already a paragraph break.
5. Number your Pages
We all know that numbering your pages will help readers keep track of where they left off the last time they read the book. But only a few authors know how to actually number their book’s pages. Most authors start numbering the pages from the title page, while a better practice is to start numbering on the page where the story actually begins.
If you are writing in MS Word, you can double-click on the header or footer of the page where the story is starting to begin and then click page numbers on the toolbar. From here, you can select your preferred option to insert the page numbers on the left, right, or center of the page header.
6. Export Your File to MS Word
After you have completed writing the first draft of your book, you’ll have to send the manuscript to an editor to review it and make any necessary changes. The universal format for text files is .docx, and all editors and literary agents prefer to work with .docx files to track and record changes.
So, if you have written the draft in Google Docs or other writing software like Scrivener, you’ll have to export the file to MS Word and then send it to your literary agent or editor.
7. Pick a Suitable Trim Size
When you are formatting your book, you will need to choose a trim size that is appropriate for the type of book you are creating. Trim size is the finished size of your book after it has been trimmed and bound. To achieve a perfect trim size, you’ll have to consider the type of book you are creating.
Look at the genre your book is written in and find available sizes in that particular genre. Some common trim sizes for books are 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 6 x 9 inches, and 8.5 x 11 inches for fiction and nonfiction books. On the other hand, children’s books and course books may require other sizes, so it’s best to research first and then finalize a trim size.
However, if you are planning to go outside the box, you can also choose to have your book custom trimmed to a unique size.
So, the actual takeaway here is that no matter how well your book is written and how attractive your story may sound, if your book is not formatted properly, it will fail to make its mark in the market. To make the book formatting process simple, you can use software that will help you outline and format your draft.