Formatting for Paperback- Yeah!

From eBook to PrintThis has been a long journey – from concept to finish line.  It started three years ago, when I started writing the story.  This past year I have been editing the book, had it reviewed, had it beta read… and many small re-writes each time.  Then I formatted the novel for mobi and epub.  Creating the TOC, links, and consistent font design.

Then there was the challenge of the cover design.

All along I had various ideas in my head of what it should look like, but in the end I asked for some feedback on various versions.  I did not ask the public,  but instead a few choice people who I trusted to possess good visual instincts.  Then the big day came – putting it all together.

Finally my last version was published on Kindle.  Whew!

BUT WAIT –  Now there’s more…

Now formatting for the paperback has to be done.  Simple right?  Wrong.

Print FormatThis proved to be challenging, and I understand now why we pay for professionals to format our novels.  I wanted to learn, so I took the time to study, read about and performed trial and error, to get my story formatted for print.  I did have an added advantage, since I had worked in a print shop in the past.  I was the person between client and press ready – so I had experience reviewing layout with a critical eye.  I understood the lingo, knew about borders, bleeds, layout styles, etc.

To learn more go to the Book Designer, who is the expert and gives lots of free advice.

For any other independent minded person who is considering formatting their own work – I say yes you can do it, but make sure you allow yourself enough time.

If you are limited with your time, I suggest you get a professional to lay out your book for print.  Nothing is worse than a paperback that looks amateurish.  There are rules, and they exist for a reason.  The traditional layouts, trim lines, quiet space, and margins all contribute to the ease of reading.  Remember it is all about our readers!

Some very basic rules to remember about page design:

  • The following pages do not have a header or footer: Copyright, Acknowledgement, Dedication, Author, Prologue
  • The right page should always be odd-numbered
  • It is easiest to split your work into workable sections
  • Create your style sheet first, then it is easier to highlight and choose the style you want for an area
  • Basic styles you need to create are: paragraph, first paragraph of chapter (usually has no indent) Heading
  • The first page of a chapter has no footer or header

I found it easiest to submit the file as a pdf format.  If you do not have Adobe Xl pro, I suggest you sign up and use the free month trial,  to use when formatting your documents.  The right tools make a world of difference.  I hope this is helpful.  Mistakes are not as easy to correct for print as it is for eBook.  When I get my proofs delivered, I will be thorough to ensure everything looks correct, then I will publish.  The final review of the proof is very important – once printed any mistake is there for the public to see.

Word to the wise – take your time and proof carefully.

Going back to resubmit for print is costly and time-consuming.  Try to get it right before it prints.  Many of us have noticed mistakes in print that even the big house publishers made after many eyes reviewed the work.  If you intend to do this on your own and in your own way – then take the time to learn the guidelines, work carefully even if it is slow going, and do it to the best of your ability.  You will be happy with your results.

Keep reading – Keep writing!

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