NOTE: The following is an extract from my latest book, How to Format Your Book in Word. This is ideal for the DIY self-publisher who wants to format their book in Word, for Kindle, Smashwords, or CreateSpace.
More and more, authors are seeking a DIY route when publishing their book. And while this is great, it also requires a bit of learning. Of all of the pieces involved in producing a book, it seems that interior formatting is the most often misunderstood.
I was so pleased when Colin asked me to write the Foreword for this book, because it’s high time someone took you step-by-step through this process, to simplify something that might otherwise be unnecessarily overcomplicated. Now, you have in your hands something more than a book – How to Format Your Book in Word is actually more like a course on formatting and designing your book.
Every aspiring writer who wants to self-publish their book will find this volume a gold mine of steps, tricks, and techniques for the formatting of ebooks and paper books. And even if you don’t plan to do your own book formatting, there is a wealth of knowledge to be had by reading this book.
Colin Dunbar is an expert technical writer with more than 37 years’ experience, and of these, over 23 years’ experience with Word. He has trained dozens of people in the use of Word, and it shows in this book. Colin has the gift of explaining the steps in an easy to understand way.
Indeed to anyone who has the wish to self-publish their book has available between these covers everything they need to format their book. This book will make the dream of becoming a self-published author a reality.
How to Format Your Book in Word is complete with examples, many screenshots, and example files. It is indeed a goldmine.
Chapter 1 offers numerous examples of page layouts from existing books, as also the basic structure of paper books. This serves as a foundation for any aspiring writer to understand how a book is structured.
Chapters 2 to 4 offer the detailed steps to format your ebook for Kindle and Smashwords, plus how to design your book for CreateSpace. These chapters will save you hours of frustration and hassles.
This book not only covers the formatting and design of a book, but Chapter 5 also presents the steps for uploading your book files to the three big online publishers: Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. Again, saving you many hours.
I must just say, this is not a book for the lazy; this is a book for the person who has a genuine urge and desire to format their own book and become a self-published author. It does take time to format your book to a professional standard. The good news is you have everything you need in these pages.
The author conveys his technical writing experience and walks you through the steps, in the finest detail, with text and hundreds of screenshots and images. You can feel confident to format your book, without the hassles and frustration.
Follow the steps on these pages, aspiring writer, and join the ranks of the self-published authors. I hope that you will be inspired to not only self-publish one book, but many, with the confidence you gain with How to Format Your Book in Word.
I believe this book will become an industry standard for formatting a book in Word.
I’m serious, this is a great book and in all my years in self-publishing, I’ve learned so much about formatting and designing a book in Word.
Penny C. Sansevieri
CEO and Founder, Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
Adjunct Professor, NYU
You want to self-publish your book and you have Microsoft® Word. But you don’t have advanced experience with Word. You’re nervous as heck because you have no idea how to get your book to look professional; there are just so many things that you need to know…
“I just can’t get the headers and footers right.”
“I can’t get my images to stay where I want them to.”
“Do I have to embed my fonts?”
“I want to add an index, but don’t know how to.”
You may have heard the doomsayers saying that Word is not a desktop publishing program, and shouldn’t (mustn’t) be used for formatting (even less, designing) a book.
You can format and design your book in Word, and it will still look as professional as any traditionally published book.
I’m here to make life easier for you, and guide you on how to format (and design) your book in Microsoft® Word. Book cover design is a discipline on its own (and a book on its own), and as such I have included a few great resources on book cover design.
What’s with the book design thing? I just want to format my book in Word.
Books have a long and prestigious history, and now your book is part of that history. Pretty cool, hey? Decades ago book designers were craftsmen, painstakingly designing each and every page. The goal being to create a work of art. Today, we have computers, and advanced software, but nevertheless, it does take know-how to design a professional looking book. This is, of course, paper (hard copy) books I’m talking about. And by the nature of the PDF ebook, you can also use these book design principles to design your ebook.
And then there are the Kindle and Smashwords ebooks, and these are, for clarity purposes, formatted. What the heck do you mean dude? When you create your ebook for Kindle or Smashwords, you following the formatting procedures as defined by Kindle Digital Publishing and Smashwords. And, to be honest, these are very basic – there’s no room for creative layout and design features.
So yes, even though I’m going to cover the steps to format your book with Word, I will also be sharing important book design principles.
Your book can entertain, educate, inspire, motivate, or evoke any number of other emotions for your reader.
“But a person buys a book for the content, not the way it looks.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Book design is not about fancy trimmings, it’s about turning a good book into a great book; making it an effective, easy-to-use or entertaining piece of literature that gives your reader a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Even though there are no rules that specify how a hard copy book should be formatted, there is a long-standing tradition in book design. As a self-published author, it is in your interest to follow these key principles; this way when you format and design your book, you will not be regarded as an amateur, and reduce the chances of receiving negative reviews about your book’s quality.
Similarly, there are principles that can be followed in formatting PDF ebooks. Again, following these principles will show your ebook as a professional, quality piece of literature.
In order to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed with your book, you should also consider having it available as a Kindle ebook, as well as having it available at Smashwords (a major distributor of self-published ebooks). Formatting these ebooks are also be covered in this book.
In the words of veteran book designer, Richard Hendel in his book, On Book Design: “As omnipresent as books are, few readers are aware of the ‘invisible’ craft of book designing. The task a book designer faces is different from that faced by other designers. The challenge isn’t to create something different or pretty or clever but to discover how to best serve the author’s words.”
Just follow along, and I’ll share everything I know about formatting and designing books, and give you the tools you need to easily format your book in Word.
“This book is a goldmine for anyone trying to learn how to format their own books. It’s filled with step-by-step instructions, pictures, and a hyper-detailed process for designing professional looking books. Use it to save countless hours of frustration and hair-pulling.” – Derek Murphy, Creativeindie
Author: Colin Dunbar
Colin Dunbar is the owner of The Complete Self Publisher and shares his many years of experience in writing and self-publishing. If you enjoyed this article, please share it :o)