Book Formatting: The Ultimate Book Formatting Guide For Self Published Authors

Book Formatting - The Ultimate Book Formatting Guide For Self Published Authors

Do you want to format your book?

Well, there are various ways by which this can be done.

However, you should know that there are a whole lot of things involved in book formatting, especially when you want to get a professional job done.

This ultimate guide will walk you through all that is involved and help you get the best for your book. 

What Is Book Formatting?

Book formatting has to do with how the content of a book or any written work is organized or arranged. You can as well call it book structuring.

At a primary scale, book formatting has to do with the font you use, the size, and styling.

It also involves paragraph methods, indentation, line breaks, line spacing, punctuations, bullets, numbering, and much more. 

Secondarily, book formatting has to do with arranging all parts of a book such that they are in accordance. This has to do with arranging the text and images a book might contain in a layout or template that makes it look ordered and professional.

Before a book is finalized for publishing, it should be properly formatted. 

Importance of Book Formatting

Book formatting is of great importance to any writer, author, or publisher who wishes to put out a book. This is so for various reasons:

  • Book formatting makes your work easy to read. If you’ve ever opened a book that wasn’t properly formatted, it is sure that you had problems navigating through its content. With proper book formatting, readers will be able to differentiate between headings, paragraphs, quotes, chapters, etc. 
  • Book formatting makes your work professional. Every writer wants to become a professional one day. Even if you are not there yet, proper book formatting will make your work look professional, and your readers will see you in that light.
  • It can help you increase sales. If your work is easy to read, looks professional, and has valuable content, readers would recommend it for others. Consequently, more people buy your book and you make more sales. 
  • Positive reviews. The feedback of your audience is important for you to be respected as a writer in your niche. Most of the negative feedbacks authors get is due to errors resulting from bad formatting. Properly format your book, and the reverse is the case.

Most Common Book Format

The final format in which your book will be in depends on how it will be published. Here are some of the most book formats for different book publishing methods; 

For Print Books

For print books, the most common format used today is the PDF (Portable Document Format).

Almost every publishing tool used by authors – MS Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop, InDesign – can convert files from their local file extension to.PDF. PDF is common because it can be easily printed without loss of color quality and can also be read on digital platforms.

Your work should be properly formatted and, most importantly, sized before being converted to a PDF document. 

For eBooks

If your book is going to be published only as an eBook, you have two options to consider.

You can go with either EPUB or PDF. EPUB, however, is the standard option that most eBook markets and reading platforms support. PDF, on the other hand, is an ideal format if readers are expected to download the eBooks to their devices and not read online.

Going with EPUB, it is necessary to carry out validation before putting it out in the market. There is a free validation tool made available by the International Book Publishing Forum that you can utilize. 

For Amazon Kindle Books

Amazon Kindle has its book format, which publishers are to utilize. This book format is AZW, and it is known as the Kindle File Format.

The book format is similar to other eBook formats in the sense that it is supported by e-reading platforms and can also be opened on smart devices. However, it needs the Amazon Kindle application to preview this file type. 

A new entrant into the Amazon Kindle book format is the KPF file format. This is the recent kindle book file format you can format your kindle books as using the Kindle Create Software.

How To Get Your Book Formatted For Publishing

In this section, we shall be discussing the different possible methods of self-publishing a book. 

1. Going the Professional Way

If you are not very experienced in book formatting as a writer, it is recommended that you outsource the task to a professional who can better handle it. This is for no other reason than to ensure that you get a professional job. It might cost you some good cash, but the quality is not supposed to be cheap.

Going the outsourcing way, you can make use of book formatting services online, hire freelancers, DIY book interiors, or Authors Crib Book Formatting;

Best Book Formatting Services

Several book formatting services are available online. You cannot just settle for anyone; only the best ones will give you the quality you deserve. Some of them include:

Authors Crib Book Formatting

Authors Crib Book Formatting is a book formatting service with a focus on print books.

This is one of the most affordable book formatting services you can get online.

You can get more than book formatting expertise with Authors Crib’s Book Formatting Service.

With over 1200 satisfied author client, your book’s interior won’t find a better home to get it formatted than with this book formatting service.

And if you love the thrill of having your book formatting professionally done as soon as possible if you need to get published immediately and running behind your publishing schedule, we deliver your print and/or kindle formatted, ready to published book files in just 72 hours or less or we work for FREE!

You can see here why we offer one of the best book formatting services you can get around.

Pros

  • Saves you time.
  • Saves you stress.
  • Professional formatted.
  • Ready to publish in 72 hours.
  • Affordable.
  • Free book marketing bonus worth $250.

Cons 

  • Cost some hundred bucks.

Hiring Freelancers

Freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork have hundreds of freelancers who are ready to format your book at an agreed price.

These freelancers are individuals and organizations with years of experience in book formatting.

You can simply visit any of the two freelance platforms and search for book formatting services. From the displayed list of available freelancers, you choose among the most ideal.

On Fiverr, with more than 500+ 5 Stars Reviews, here is one of the best book formatting experts you need to check out if you are considering this route to get your book formatted for print, ebook, and kindle.  

Endeavor to look through their portfolio and reviews by others who have used their services.

This will help you pick the best one.

Pros 

  • Takes the stress off you.
  • You get a professional job done for you – mostly at some premium price.
  • Good freelancers will deliver your work very fast.

Cons

  • Service can be expensive.
  • Bad freelancers will not deliver on time.

DIY Book Interiors 

You can utilize DIY Book Interiors as samples for formatting your book. These DIY Book Interiors can be downloaded for free on sites like diybookformats.com or purchase them. They are easy to use and will save you time as you just need to replace the demo text with yours. Mostly, they are available in Microsoft Word and InDesign formats.  

Pros 

  • Makes work fast.
  • Professional designs.
  • You can get them for free.

Cons

  • Paid ones can be expensive.
  • You need some expert MS Word skill to use these templates.

2. Going The Software Ways 

You can easily self-publish your book using publishing and formatting software. Check out some of the best ones available below.

Best Formatting Software for eBook

Vellum 

Vellum is an easy-to-use software for creating eBooks and paperbacks. With it, you can also create print books as it features a press edition. It is a paid software but, a free version is available so you can try out its features. Books created using Vellum can be directly uploaded to platforms like Apple Books, Google Play, Amazon Kindle, and Kobo. Likewise, you can import text created from various platforms.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Unique features.
  • For eBooks and print books. 
  • Direct upload to publishing platforms.
  • Supports text imports.

Cons

  • Not free.
  • Only available on Mac OS.

Microsoft word 

Microsoft Word is a very popular platform for creating documents – likely to be the most popular and most used platform. The rich menus and tabs featured in the software provide various tools for proper formatting of eBooks. Microsoft word is available for almost every device type – iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac – and also on the web. It is available for free though recent versions require a subscription. 

Pros 

  • Easy to use.
  • Various formatting tools.
  • Available for mobile and desktop OS.
  • Available for free.

Cons 

  • Does not convert doc to EPUB directly (you’ll need a converter).
  • Subscription can be expensive. 
Calibre 

This is an eBook software that you can use across various platforms as it supports Windows, Linux, and macOS. With caliber, you can create eBooks, edit them, organize them into libraries, and convert them for one format to another. The platform can be used to create only AZW3 and EPUB eBook formats. AZWS support makes it a useful software for creating Amazon Kindle books.

Pros

  • Cross-Platform.
  • Library organization.
  • Ebook converting.
  • Ideal for Amazon Kindle.

Cons

  • Interface not very friendly.
  • AZW3 and EPUB only.
Sigil 

Sigil is an ideal eBook publishing platform to use if you want to create EPUB book formats. The software is open source and can be used on multiple platforms – Windows, macOS, Linux, and Haiku. Sigil has various unique features for easy creating eBooks. Some of these features are a table of contents generator, default spell checking, and an HTML API.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Cross-platform.
  • Supports Sigil plugins.
  • HTML view.

Cons

  • EPUB only.
  • Allows only SVG images for book covers.
Kindle Create

Kindle create is the traditional eBook creating and formatting tool for Amazon Kindle books. It is easy to use and features several themes that you can use to create professionally formatted books. Kindle creates works automatically in styling titles, and this can save you time. Also, it has a built-in previewer for reviewing your books before you publish them. 

Pros 

  • Best for Amazon kindle books.
  • Easy-to-use. 
  • Built-in themes.
  • Built-in previewer. 
  • Free to use.

Cons 

  • Supports only PC with 4GB RAM.
  • Publishes only to Amazon.

Best Formatting Software For Print Book

Microsoft Word 

As discussed earlier, Microsoft word has various tools for proper formatting. The software can be used for formatting print books just as it can for eBooks. Almost every writer starts with Microsoft Word when writing books for print. Works can be printed directly from Microsoft word or converted to PDF. The software converts directly as well.  

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Various formatting tools.
  • Available for mobile and desktop OS. 
  • Available for free.
  • Converts to PDF directly.

Cons 

  • Subscription can be expensive.
Adobe InDesign 

Adobe InDesign is another ideal software for publishing print books due to its high structuring capabilities. With InDesign, you can work with easy layers and blend text and images without any difficulty. Many publishers prefer Adobe InDesign for formatting print books, and it is most recommend. It can directly convert books to PDF for printing. 

Pros 

  • Good for structuring.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Easy to use.
  • Unique features.
  • Easy blend text and images.
  • Converts to PDF directly.

Cons 

  • Photo editing is limited.
  • Expensive.

3. Going The DIY Way

You can choose to format your book yourself using any of the above software. This is ideal if you have a fore idea of how book formatting works, and it gives you complete control of your work. You can take all the time you need to ensure that your book is formatted to your standards. Besides, since you are doing it yourself, you won’t be paying any money for it. 

Pros 

  • Complete control of your work.
  • Will save you money.
  • More royalties.

Cons

  • Might take your time.
  • Without experience, formatting will be poor.

Why Should You Care So Much About How Your Book Is Formatted

We’ve talked about how important book formatting is and the great role it plays. You should care so much about how your book is formatted if you want to put out a good book.

The self-publishing space is full of professionals – loads of them.

Book formatting is something professionals do not joke with, and it’ll be difficult to beat them and make sales if your book is not well-formatted. 

Also, book formatting is one of the ways by which you can give your work value.

Most people are tricked or convinced about reading a less content-rich book simply because the formatting was world-class. Imagine how much value your book will gain with rich content and world-class formatting – Priceless! 

The Cost Of Not Paying Much Attention to Your Book Interior Formatting

If you fail to pay attention to how your book is interiorly formatted, you might just make your work valueless. That is a huge cost no writer would want to pay. 

You can spend days, weeks, months, and even years writing content that your audience would value. Then, upon publishing your book, you format it poorly.

Your audience will find your work disorganized and become uninterested in reading, not minding how much value the actual content is. 

This was my experience when I started writing a book as an author in 2012. I knew nothing about formatting then, and I did a poor job of trying to cut corners by formatting my books myself.

My initial published books are badly formatted, and today, even as a reader, I won’t buy those books if I am to come across them on Amazon.

No wonder I sold only three copies of my first three self-published books in two years!

Bear in mind that most eBook reading and download platforms show work previews for buyers’ interest before they pay for it.

If your book preview is difficult to glance through simply because it’s not well-formatted, you stand a chance of losing a possible customer. 

How Book Formatting Can Help You Sell More Books

Book formatting can surely help you sell more books, especially if you are an Amazon Kindle publisher.

Amazon has strict formatting guidelines which their authors are to follow. Not following these guidelines will make your book just a space occupier on the platform.

On the other hand, proper formatting by following their guidelines can turn your book to a cash cow. 

As a writer, you are likely to promote your work after it has been published.

Promoting might cost you money depending on which you way you choose to go.

When your book formatting is on point (both interior and exterior), promotion becomes more fruitful as readers will love your work.

As such, the money you spent can be recovered and more money made. 

What to Do When You Are Running on Low Budget

Book formatting is very important, but at the same time, it can be expensive. If you are running on a low budget, there are few things you can do to ensure that you still get your book well-formatted. 

The best way to go in such a case is the DIY method.

Since you won’t be spending much money, you are going to be spending time. You can make use of free self-publishing software like MS Word, Kindle Create, etc. or DIY book interiors to handle this. 

Also, you can outsource to freelancers whose cost meets your budget. If your budget is very low, you might not get the best available service.

Therefore, it is important to still review the formatting done when you receive your work before publishing. 

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