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Dear Author, are you interested in DIY or professional formatting?


Formatting insures that your book looks like a book when it’s opened. It’s the indenting and the page numbers. For ebooks, formatting can hyperlink the table of contents to chapters.


Rule of wrist: It’s frustration and time vs. price, and you’re looking at roughly $120 as an average for novel formatting. It could be less, and as always, it could be more. You might try to do it yourself, and if that’s the case, learn a little more about formatting by clicking the link below.

Five newbie Formatting mistakes by Joel Friedlander: https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1412

I chose to have my book formatted for print, .mobi, and .epub, after spending an entire day trying to do it myself. Also, at that time, I had never read an ebook, and didn’t know what they should look like! If you are a DIY aficionado, and your Renaissance man/woman status includes techie stuff, helpful author Joanna Penn and Joel Friedlander from above, teamed up for a great article on DIY book formatting here: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/02/22/designing-your-book-interior/

I will link back to to Joanna Penn throughout this series. Make sure you surf around her edge of the web too!

Check your DIY book. I will read books by people with DIY formatting, but I am less inclined to pay for more books in a series if the first one has incorrect formatting. I do understand small mistakes, but please do not expect me to pay for your next book when the first one did not break paragraphs correctly and there are chapters that are giant blocks of text with no spacing. If you DIY, please read through you entire book. If it turns out that you cannot fix you formatting, a professional can help you out so you don’t turn off potential readers.

Professional Formatting

Shop around. You are an Indie Author, which means you are paying for your services and should shop around for all of the formats you need. Ask a formatter if they charge to update the back of the book with pre-order information for your next one. My formatters told me they will handle it for free (it’s included) and they also add the information for subsequent books to my books. For ebooks, you want hyperlinks to the next book or your newsletter, because people are usually using them on an electronic device. My recommendation is Polgarus studio. I highly recommend Polgarus Studio and am hooked on them.

Before you send your manuscript off to the formatter, make sure you do some checks for cosmetic things:

  • Check for consistent spacing on dashes—they will get crazy when justified across a page if you don’t pay attention to how they are spaced. Do you want long dashes with no spaces, or short dashes with a space separating the dash from either word it is next to? Choose whatever spacing you want, just keep in consistent and search them all out.
  • Check that your quotes are all one style. I don’t know how mine do what they do, but occasionally they will show up straight when I want them curly. Your eye will notice this on the page, and chances are, it’s not your editor’s job, so he or she won’t.
  • Make sure you check your book for any formatting issues after submitting the proof. You will want to read your book in print and ebook form. I had a missing quotation on the top of the right page in my print book that was easier to spot in the ebook, because it had different placement and wasn’t a continuation from a page before.You might think you won’t be able to edit as well in the ebook version, but you will, so read both and take notes in case you need to make a few small changes.


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