Book Design Basics I

By Colin Dunbar

From here we start with actually formatting your book, and get you working painlessly, and make your book look good. From here I start to show you the techniques and methods on how to format your book in Word whether it is for print or as an ebook.

I’m sure you are itching to get your book formatted, so…
Here we go, I hope you enjoy the ride.
Let’s quickly take a look at some of the things I’ll be showing you over the next few weeks…

  • Make global settings for your book structure.
  • Choose the styles and settings for your book.
  • Set up fonts, margins, styles, etc.
  • Set up page size (according to standard book sizes).
  • Set up sections (for Parts and Chapters).
  • Insert headers and footers.
  • Design tables.
  • Wrap text around graphics.
  • Add links and/or cross-references (ebooks).

Book Design Checklist

To save yourself time (and possibly your keyboard) I suggest you create a Design Checklist (you’ll be able to do it easily using this and the next post). Having the checklist before starting will make you aware of the different design elements that you may need in formatting your book, and it will save you time as you work on your book.
Not all the design elements will be applicable to every type of book, for example, if you’re designing a fictional work, graphics are usually not used in the book interior.

Book Design Elements

Type of Book

Will it be a hard copy (printed) book, a PDF ebook, or both? Even if you’re designing a PDF ebook only, you can still format it using these methods, and then you can let your customers know that the ebook is designed for double-sided printing and binding (an extra selling point you can use on your sales page).

Note that the design of ebooks for Kindle and Smashwords are very different to the steps discussed here, but don’t worry, I’ll be discussing these later for you.

In this blog I mainly discuss the designing of a hard copy book, and although these methods can apply to PDF ebooks as well, I’ve also included notes that will only apply to PDF ebooks. There is no reason not to follow hard copy book design principles, even if you are only publishing your book as a PDF ebook.

Any information that is applicable only to PDF ebooks will have the PDF logo alongside the text. Keep in mind, there are no rules, and you can decide whether you want to follow these specific methods if you’re designing a PDF ebook.

pdflogoAny information that is applicable only to PDF ebooks will have the PDF logo alongside the text. Keep in mind, there are no rules, and you can decide whether you want to follow these specific methods if you’re designing a PDF ebook.

 

Book Size

If you go the formal publishing route, the size of your book will be determined by your publisher. But we are self-publishers here, so we can choose the size of our book, which is the page size (as also the type of binding you want). This is the case whether you choose one of the online publishers, or an offline print-on-demand printer.

The standard book sizes available at CreateSpace can be viewed here: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/#content4

Keep in mind that 6” x 9” is the most popular commercial book size.

NOTE: This blog does not discuss preparing your manuscript for a traditional publisher, as the requirements are different to designing a book yourself, as a self publisher. Here is a neat article on preparing your book for traditional publishers: Ten Tips for Manuscript Preparation.

If you look at the Table of Contents, you’ll see I’m covering a load of stuff – it’s the methods and tools I’ve used over the years to format books in Word.

I want to make sure I have everything YOU need about formatting a book in Word. Therefore, I’d like to ask you if you have any questions, or if there’s something you’d like to know, drop me a line in the comments.

Book Design Basics continued in the next post.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Book Design Basics

One response to “Book Design Basics I

  1. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog
    and wished to mention that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write once
    more soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s