So, you’ve written your novel. Well done.
You’ve had it edited, or had a well-read pal give it a good going over. Wonderful.
You’ve proofread the living daylights out of it. Tremendous.
You’ve found yourself a brilliant cover artist or have the skills to make your own. I’m so freaking proud of you.
Now, how do you format the thing?
Well, first things first – hopefully, you’ve written the book in Word, because that’s what I know a bit about. If not, a lot of this translates to OpenOffice, so we should be okay.
First thing to know – don’t bother putting page numbers in your manuscript. People select their own font sizes in ebook-reading and a printed novel uses a different page size to A4, so your page numbers won’t make sense.
Line spacing – I lean towards saving the Word document with 1.5 line spacing but you’re very welcome to save it however it looks best to you.
Drop caps – yes, they look impressive, but they don’t always come out right when the reading screen is set to a different size.
If you’re not sure what drop caps are, they look like this:
You see that massive ‘G’? That’s a drop cap.
There’s also no need for a header or footer. If you’ve got them in, they’re easy enough to remove. In printed books, it’s common for the author’s name to be above a page, the book name to be above the opposite. Lovely. No need to do that yourself. This will all be achieved through a brilliant little (FREE) website I’m going to tell you about right now.
When setting up a book on draft2digital, you can sort out the title page, copyright notice, dedication, table of contents, the main body of the book and an author’s note – with, frankly, no experience at all. If I can manage it, it’s pretty dang easy. Yes, you can pay someone to format your book for you but, honestly, you can have a crack at it yourself pretty easily. And why spend money when you don’t need to?
Now, when you come to look at your finalised book, you can try out different formatting styles. Some of these are more suited to romance, others to thrillers, others to textbooks. Just try out a few things, see what speaks to you.
When you’ve settled on a style you like the look of, download the ePub, Mobi and/or PDF versions to your computer. The ePub is perfect for ebooks. I don’t have the app for the Mobi finish, so I can’t tell you about that. The PDF is absolutely excellent for the print version.
Note: it will set the paperback sizing at a particular size (I seem to recall it’s 8.5 x 5.5”), so you’ll want to order a full wrap cover with this in mind. It’s also important to note the size of your finished PDF for when you come to publish it on Amazon KDP, to ensure that it’s printed correctly.
Okey-cokey – recommended reading…
Book Review – Publishing and Formatting E-Books by Robert Louis Henry
First published, 2013
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This handy little guide provides useful information to the new self-publisher. From the key errors of pagination to indenting to sizing images, this how-to guide gives a lot of good information.
Personally, I’ve always found the easier method for formatting the title page, copyright page and table of contents to be through the use of Draft to Digital (entirely free), however, it’s good to have an idea of how to accomplish the proper set-up should I have to do it myself sometime.
There’s good advice on the use of Amazon for publishing, as well as good tips on editing and proofreading, and a brilliant note about how to achieve page breaks: my word, but I wish I’d read this before tearing my hair out on my first novel.
A good all-round guide. Little niggle: the title is Publishing and Formatting E-Books. Really, you’d want to format before publishing.