Now that the cover is done and the manuscript has been locked down (I am making NO more changes to the text…phew!), I can move onto the next step in this book journey which is formatting my book.
I am fast learning that writing a book has so many similarities to running a business in that there are so many steps involved and many can only be done one after the other in sequential order.
This is where we need to learn to be patient with the process. Taking it step by step also keeps overwhelm at bay.
I have hired a professional formatter to start formatting Escape The Cubicle.
What is formatting?
Formatting is simply the presentation and layout of the text of the book.
If you have your book in different formats, then the text will need to be aligned correctly.
For example, the e-book version will have bullet points and charts and graphs laid out slightly differently from the design in the print book.
I didn’t think there was much work involved in formatting. I simply thought it was a process of just uploading your word document onto the online platforms and magically see my book appear!
Alas, I am learning there is more than meets the eye. And if you want to put out a quality product then you need to act like a pro and take the right steps to make this the best book you possibly can.
Why do you need to format your book?
If you don’t format your book correctly this could lead to all sorts of issues such as:
- Your book not being accepted onto the online stores. This will affect your ability to distribute your book
- A poor reading experience for the reader if words and images are not laid out properly. It could distract from the reading experience.
- This could lead to bad reviews which will hamper your ability to sell your book.
What does formatting look like?
Here is how my original word document currently looks like. It is text in a word document.
You will probably agree it looks pretty plain and basic!
Now compare the above to these formatted samples my formatter sent across.
He has mocked up how the text will be positioned. See how he positions the title, quotes and the shaded boxes.
Also look at the font he has used. This had been matched to the font on the book cover.
I hope you can see what a difference formatting makes!
I was surprised to see what a difference formatting makes to the book. It makes it feel like a proper book!
How can you format your book?
1) Hire a professional
I am using a professional formatter to produce an e-book and print version. I found my formatter through my editor’s company.
2) Vellum software
However, you can also do it yourself by using Vellum. This is a new software that is currently making waves in the author community. I haven’t used this myself but have heard great reviews.
Because I love to do things myself and learn about it, I would like to learn how to format my own books using Vellum. It has had great reviews and some of my author friends have used it too with great results.
3) Scrivner software
You can also use the formatting function in Scrivener. Again, you need to purchase this software (one-off cost) and it also formats your files.
I have not used the formatting feature myself but do use Scrivener to write my books and blog posts. As a writing tool, it is far more superior to Microsoft Word.
4) Reedsy Book Editor
Reedsy is an online marketplace for authors and publishing professionals and they also offer formatting services through their Book Editor Service.
This is free to use and I plan to use Reedsy to format the free workbook download I want to give to readers of the book when it launches. Will keep you posted on the results.
Do I need to pay for formatting?
Of course, there is a cost involved but the most important question you need to ask yourself is are you willing to invest in yourself as an author and in your author business?
Any business incurs costs and if you are thinking like a business smart author (and this site aims those readers!) then you will know there is an investment required to produce the best work you possibly can.
How do you format your books? Please join in the conversation by posting a comment below or like and share.
Related & Recommended Posts
Also published on Medium.