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Book Formatting - How to do it right

BOOM! You have an idea – it’s actually a great one, you know that it would draw interest, so you sit down and get your manuscript ready in no time!

However, this is the pleasant side of writing a book, but let’s face it – it is not only the story that sells the book! The next step that you should take is formatting.

Formatting is all about page color and number, word count, paragraph breaks, in general– it is how your manuscript looks like just before you publish it.

Let’s dive deep and find out if formatting your book alone might be a good idea?

An important thing to mention is that there are actually two types of manuscripts – paperback books and eBooks. The digital product – eBook, is the kindle version of your book, and the paperback books are the physical product of your novel, also the latter is a bit more expensive than the eBook.

Of course, there are some differences between the two types – for example, the table of content in the paperback book is numbered, although the table of content in the eBooks is hyperlinked. The hyperlinked table of content means that you just click on the link and it directs you to the given page.

The Kindle File Format is an eBook file format owned by, this is a file that you can download on your e-reader, smartphone, tablet, or any smart device.

Certainly, there would be some differences in formatting a paperback book and a kindle book.

While some professional editors or publishing houses may have their own way of book formatting, you can’t go wrong if you consider the following standardized suggestions.

Generally, the first page should be the book title page, it indicates the beginning of the manuscript. As it is the page your manuscript starts with, you should include the book title, sub-title, word count, and contact information.

Black Times New Roman with a 12-point font size is the standard print font to use. However, some agents may accept and use Arial or Courier New, but as we said- we can never go wrong using Times New Roman as a standard. If you choose another fond, make sure that it is easy to read and pleasant looking. Do not choose cursive!

Use a single space after periods and double-spaced for all lines, that will make your manuscript look pleasant and will be more readable.

Regarding the paragraphs, there are Classic Style and Modern Style. And the best thing is that they are both correct to use, just don’t mix them! The Classic Style is used in short stories and novel manuscripts with no space between new paragraphs and indents at the beginning. At the same time the Modern Style is used in non-fiction, but in this case - with no indents at the beginning and space between paragraphs.

There is the “page break” function that you should use to insert a new page between the chapters. The title of the chapter should be at the center and you can make it bold and large, then just hit the space button a couple of times and begin the text.

Use Roman numerals to number your pages for the paperback books and hyperlinks for the kindle file format eBooks.

Add numbers on your pages, the first page is where your story begins, but not your title page. Keep in mind that the left page should be even-numbered and right-side pages – odd-numbered.

You can insert a blank line and center the hash sign in order to indicate a scene break.

Remember - do not underline the words that you intend to italicize, just use italics.

When you reach your last page, it is a matter of choice whether to write “END” at the center just after the last line or not. If you intend to send it to a publishing house, just check the submission guidelines for the particular publishing house before you submit your manuscript to them. This is because some agents or editors might have advised that you retain from using the marker to indicate the end of the manuscript.

All in all, following the mentioned points, will help you to create a professional-looking manuscript. Book formatting looks boring and complicated process, but be assured that the final product will be really satisfying. A well-formatted manuscript implies an excellent and attentive approach, that is always much appreciated by everyone.

Here at BooksShelf, we offer Professional Formatting - Check it out HERE

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C. Lee McKenzie
C. Lee McKenzie
Sep 24, 2021

I formatted one of my first Indie books, and swore I'd never do it again. If I publish a book on my own, I definitely hire a professional. The hours I spent could have been put to much better use.

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