Formatting Your Book

Everything matters.

That is particularly true when you are creating a print book. Every decision you make affects the final look and feel of your book, the cost, the price you can set, and how the book is received in your target genre. Everything.

I work with people from 17 to 86. Some live in the country, some in the city. I’ve formatted books for a person with Parkinson’s and poetry by a young Muslim woman. How a person wants their book to look is also highly dependent on his or her age and background, I’ve found.

Who are you? Do you expect a book to look like a work of art? The good news, due to the incredible pressure the market of independent publishers is putting on places like Amazon KDP, is that software is changing and both your e-book and your print book can have more of a sense of style. However software, at least in its first iteration or two, can do some unexpected things. (Having worked in the tech industry, I know.)

Second, it is an iterative process. No formatter sees with your mind’s eye; we can’t see what you see. So if we do it wrong, be gentle. Please. Most of us will work with you to get it right. We want your book to be as perfect as you do.

There are 300,000 font types. Think about that. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble picking the toothpaste I want. To add to that, not all computers/software/distributor take every kind of font. That is only the tip of the iceberg. There is spacing between lines, spacing between words, and, egad!, spacing between letters.

And … there are chapter beginnings. Sigh. How far down do you begin? Centered, bold, italic? Drop cap for the first letter? Caps for the first three words?

So here’s the problem …

I format in Microsoft Word. That limits the amount of bells and whistles I can add. The tool can also be snarky. My best fit in terms of formatting is a straightforward fiction or non-fiction book or some simple poetry. If you have lots of charts or pictures, or wish some fancy formatting, you might be best off with someone who formats using Adobe InDesign or a similar tool. However, understand that that is a lot more expensive a proposition.

No matter if I do your formatting or not, it may take time to get the book you envision in your mind. It may also cost more per book than you expect or want. And … you may need to make compromises.

If the layout of your book is something that you are passionate about, plan more time and more money than you are right now.

Then … let’s talk.

* * *

Books on this page are those I have formatted. Contact me if you’d like to discuss your next project.


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