Formatting Your Book
There’s a lot to be said about properly formatting a book. Many of us love to try out the different styles, fonts, and set up special paragraphing, to make our book look good. Looks are nice, but it’s the content that will keep your reader coming back for more.
Let’s talk about how your book should look before you submit it to a publisher. There are certain elements that should always be present.
We’ll start with the Page Layout tab in Word. Make sure your margins are set to 1” top and bottom, left and right side. Larger or smaller margins don’t impress anyone. Readers and the editor-in-chief want that inch of white space all around. It is a great frame for your words.
Next is the paragraph box in the Home tab. Open that up and make sure it appears just like this.
Indents and Spacing:
Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style is checked.
Spacing should be single.
Indentation section should be done like this, so that your paragraphs indent the proper amount of space when you touch the enter key. Mirror indents, no check. Special, first line. By, .5, Left and Right, move the down arrow once and then the up arrow once, so that you end up at zero.
Line and Page Breaks:
Widow/Orphan control unchecked.
Keep with next unchecked.
Keep lines together unchecked.
Page break before unchecked.
Suppress line numbers unchecked.
Don’t hyphenate checked.
Tight wrap none.
Still on the Home tab: Style should always be normal.
You are now ready to start writing your book. Except for one thing. Always do a cover page with your title and your name. Nothing else. You can center the information on the page, but there is no need to put down copyright information if you are submitting to a reputable publisher. They will not decline your book and then publish it under another name. That’s how reputations are lost, and they are in the business of being trusted based on their reputations.
Headers and Footers:
If you are inclined to add in information in a header and footer, make it simple. The header should contain only the title of the book centered, in the same font as your manuscript. The footer should have the page number centered. Don’t do special formatting, just use the standard numbering offered in the edit header or edit footer section in the Insert tab.
Font: always Times New Roman 12 point. Now is not the time to show the publisher how fancy you can get. A standard font is always the best way to go.
Once you have this done, you may start writing your novel. Remember, there is no need to add an extra space between paragraphs, unless you are showing a scene break or point of view (POV) shift. Then you add a single blank line, on the next line, center three asterisks (***) and then add another single blank line.
When you have finished writing your book, you may include The End, or To Be Continued if this is story is part of a series.