Last week, I mentioned that I would be talking about how I format a book for CreateSpace which is where I get my printed copies from. Even though I use Scrivener to write my novel, I use Microsoft Word for my final editing and formatting. I subscribe to Office 365 and Word has the ability to output a document to PDF which is required by CreateSpace.
If you've never formatted a book before, you should spend some time researching how to properly format a novel. The internet is full of examples and I highly suggest doing your research. An improperly formatted book will instantly label you as an amateur and many readers will move on to other authors. Pay attention to the type of books the article is talking about. Children's books are not formatted the same as a science fiction novel and those are very different than a book on photography. Go to the bookstore and pick up a pile of books similar to what you're looking to publish. Look at how the interior is formatted and take notes.
You're looking for the following:
- How are the page numbers formatted? Where are they located on odd and even pages?
- Look at the font that's used and how many different types and sizes of fonts appear.
- Where do chapter headings appear?
- Are they always on an odd or even page?
- What font style is used?
- Where on the page is the chapter heading and how is it separated from the start of the chapter?
- If footnotes are used, how are they separated from the main text?
- What line-spacing is used?
- Is the text justified? Is the first line always indented?
- What's on the title page? What's on the next few pages?
- How wide are the margins?
All of these and more are things you must keep in mind when formatting a book for print. Ebooks are relatively simple by comparison! For my novels, I have a set of rules I follow for interior formatting. They are:
- Text is in Georgia 11, line spacing of at least 15 points (pts), justified with window and orphan turned on.
- Chapter headings and titles are in Calibri.
- Chapter 1 begins on page 1.
- Chapters always begin on an odd page which puts it on the right-side of an open book.
- First paragraph after a chapter or section break is flush left. All other paragraphs use a 0.3" indent.
- Page numbers are at the top and formatted so the page numbers are at the outside edge of the printed book.
- Inside margin is set to 0.8" with an outside margin of 0.5". Top and bottom margins are set to 0.7". The inside margin might be increased if the book has a lot of pages.
- Hyphenation is always turned on.
To format the interior, I use Word's two-page format so I can see two pages at once. When doing this, it is very important to realize that when the book is printed, the page on the right of the printed book is actually the page on the left in Word. To get all of my chapters to start on a right-facing page, I either insert a blank page or (if there is a small amount of text on the last page) I adjust the line spacing of the paragraphs a few pages back by very small (0.2 points) increments until the chapter lines up properly. I try to keep the amount of white space on the last page of a chapter to a minimum but this can't always be avoided.
Formatting a book takes time but it is an indication that you care about the product you're asking the reader to purchase.
If anyone wants more information or has any questions I can answer, please feel free to email me. I won't give you a guess if I don't know the answer. It's better to say "I don't know" than to steer someone in the wrong direction.