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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Formatting the Manuscript

When your completed manuscript is sent to the printer, it must be in a camera-ready (pdf) format. Word processing software does not produce text in a properly spaced format or in the right size to fit standard, book-sized pages. You can purchase special software such as Wizard for Words, InDesign, or special Adobe software that will help you do this, or you can hire a professional formatter. I chose the latter option.

Formatting not only includes page resizing, it also includes design and pagination of the introductory pages ( title, copyright, dedication, acknowledgements, etc.), right margin justification, sizing and positioning of page headings, designing chapter headings, creating attractive page layout for pictures (if any), and making sure there aren't any orphan words, oddly hyphenated words, or subtitles at the ends of pages.

Since formatting determines your book's final page count, take the time to experiment with font size and/or line spacing to increase or decrease your page count as needed to fit your printing budget or achieve the overall look you have in mind.

The professional formatter (interior layout designer) I used charged $500 which included one round of unlimited changes. She went along with my request for an uncluttered interior, and together we produced text that doesn't require a magnifying glass to read but isn't so fat it creates the impression the book is longer than it actually is.

1 comment:

  1. Ginger, having the finished book in my hand makes reading about the process you went through to get there is so interesting. As one who loves to read, I think it is very easy to assume an author focuses on the writing of a good story and then it just becomes a finished book.
    You have given an excellent overview of what needs to happen to be a self published author.