Print on Demand makes publishing print books easy, but to look professional, formatting is key. Here are general tips for a polished layout using Microsoft Word. Check your Help menu for specifics on your version of Word.
Start setting up as you write:
=> Use the indent setting rather than tabs or hitting the space bar several times. This allows you to adjust your indentations precisely. (Use the Find and Replace option to remove tabs or extra spaces, replacing with nothing.)
=> Use section breaks rather than page breaks between chapters. More on this later.
Save a document specifically for your print version, separate from your ebook version. Set your page size to the book’s trim size. 6″ x 9″ is common.
For margins, use Custom Margins. Select Multiple Pages and then Mirror Margins for different inside and outside margins. For CreateSpace POD, your interior margin must be at least .375″ for books up to 150 pages, and .75″ for books with 151 to 400 pages. Other margins must be at least .25 inches but may be larger for aesthetics. You may also need to adjust your header and footer distances to get the margins you want. I use Top Margin .7; Inside .75; Gutter 0; Bottom .3; Outside .3. Find print books that are visually appealing to you and measure their margins.
The first page is automatically a right-hand page. Make this a title page. The following pages list the publisher, ISBN, dedication, etc. Study traditional books on your shelf for ideas. Use “section break” between every page.
The first chapter should start on a right-hand page. All other chapters can start on either the left or right page in novels. Non-fiction books should have a blank page before each chapter. If you need a blank page, insert an additional section break.
Choose your font and type size. Adjust the leading, the space between lines. In Word 2007, go to the Home Tab -> Paragraph -> Line Spacing and choose Exactly and then the leading you want. 12.4 and 13.3 are common for leading, but you may want more or less depending on the font and font size. Make sure you’re not cutting off hanging letters from the line above. Double check in the PDF version of your document, as it may look different from the Word version.
Use a serif font and keep fonts simple. Avoid large passages of hard-to-read italics, cursive-style fonts, etc.
Use double justified text (not ragged right). Title and other front matter may be center justified.
Format chapter headings. You may want to center these and adjust the size. Study other books for ideas, and play around to see what’s possible.
Use the Insert button for any interior art.
Insert your Headers or Footers with page numbers. Use “alternating pages” to put your author name on one page and the book title on the facing page. Adjust the font and font size. Remove any extra returns forcing hidden blank lines.
Set your header with “no header on first page,” to remove headers on title pages and the first page of each chapter. Avoid headers in your front and back matter. Using section breaks between every page plus “no header on first page” should remove these.
Review for widows, orphans, rivers, etc. Be sure your formatting is consistent.
Save a copy as a PDF, choosing “standard” format. Check the ISO option if it’s not embedding the fonts.
Double-check that all your formatting came through, such as italics and spacing.
Now you can upload your document. CreateSpace leads you through the process. Make sure that you choose the trim size equal to your formatted document. Order a proof copy and study it for errors.
And now you’re in print!
Industry standards from The Chicago Manual of Style
Proper typography marks, such as em versus en dashes
Tips for using graphics within the text
DIY Book Formats has an online tutorial for “How to Format a Book in MS Word”
CreateSpace has downloadable templates and instructions
CreateSpace’s Trim Size chart lists available trim sizes
Chris Eboch (www.chriseboch.com) is the author of over 30 books for children, including The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; and The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure. Her craft guide Advanced Plotting helps authors fine-tune their novels. Chris also writes novels of suspense and romance for adults under the name Kris Bock: www.krisbock.com