Publisher’s Corner: Formatting – Successful Book Production – week 3

Successful Book Production

Formatting

Welcome back to my mini-series on publishing. This week, I will begin on successful book production, and more specifically formatting your interior. So far, we have talked about the actual skills of writing and the full, and often unknown, true editing process. If you haven’t seen those posts yet, make sure you find the time for those. Tons of information that will assist you on the path to being a successful indie author.

Week 1 – The total editing process

Week 2 – Sharpening your writing tools

Or you can search my name here to find all my posts.

Book Production/ Formatting

First off, what do I actually mean by book production? That is all the aspects that go into making your book look good; the cover, the print formatting, and the eBook formatting. Luckily, Microsoft and some other software are making the formatting part easier as they realize many authors are wanting to do it themselves these days.

I am still a supporter of hiring a professional for book production, of course. There isn’t really a true competitor of Adobe InDesign when it comes to formatting and even cover production. If you are going to go it on your own, take the time to really learn all the ins and outs of the software you are using. YouTube is the absolute best place to learn tons of things for free.

I just finished coaching someone through formatting, so I will give you the finer points here of what makes a book look professional on the inside.

Full justified text – This is very difficult to make look good with Word unless you understand how to use kerning. That is what makes all the words evenly spread across the page.

First line indent – This formatting option can be foregone if (and only if ) you use added space between paragraphs, otherwise it makes it very difficult to see where each paragraph begins.

Single spaced text (with an optional extra space after paragraph) – Non-fiction occasionally uses 1.5 or even 2 spacing, although that is a sign to a reader that the book is not really as big as it appears, which is the only true reason to use larger spacing.

Headers – One side should have author name, and you can add the title, with the other side having the chapter, or any combination of these. One thing that stands out to me is most indie authors put these headers centered on the page, whereas publishers will align it with the outer edge.

Page numbers – These should be formatted on the outside of the page, either at the top or the bottom.

Front matter – Most of these pages do not have a page numbers, and if they do it should be in lower case Roman numerals. Then on the actual first page of the story, it should start with page 1.

Page returns – Rather than paragraph returns to go to the next page, use page breaks. (essential for eBooks)

Scene change – Use an image rather than the ***.

Another formatting thing you want to do well is your copyright page. Make sure you give credit to your editor, your cover designer, and photographer of any images used on the cover or inside. To develop other text for this page, take a look to your own book shelf and put together what you feel is protective of your rights, and if you want to offer contact information for anyone wanting to quote your material.

There is mixed opinions on an exact order and contents for what the front matter and back matter should be. Every book does not need to have every aspect though, only if that particular book needs it.


That’s all for me today. In fact, we will be moving this series over to the monthly newsletter. Please sign up there to see more on this series. You should see the box at the bottom of the page. Trust me, it will be well worth it to receive those.

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Editing and Writing Tools

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As writers, we know how frustrating the writing process can be, especially after you’ve done all that work to finish your manuscript. Here we share some links to help you easily find resources to make the process easier.

Improve Your Writing:

Find the right word. Use punctuation properly. Flow. Rhythm. All are important in minimizing your editing and go a long way in improving your writing.

WordKeeperAlpha 

Words-to-Use.com – A different kind of thesaurus.

OneLook.com – One quick dictionary search tool.

Vocabulary.com – The quickest, most intelligent way to improve your vocabulary.

ZenPen.io – A minimalist writing zone where you can block out all distractions.

BibMe– fully automatic bibliography maker that auto-fills. It’s the easiest way to build a works cited page.

Story Starter-provides 1,007,240,080 creative ideas and writer prompts for writers of all ages.

Bubbl.us-create your map of ideas for your writing project.

750words.com – Write three new pages every day.

YouShouldWrite.com – Get a new writing prompt every time you visit.

WriterKata.com – Improve your writing with repetitive exercises.

FakeNameGenerator.com – Generate fake names for your characters.

Storyline.io – Collaborate on a story with others by submitting a paragraph.

How to use a semi-colon. The easiest way to prove you went to college.

When to use “that” instead of “which.” It’s not a simple explanation, but it’s good to know.

How to use an apostrophe. Hooray for plurals, possessions, and contractions.

When to use “an” instead of “a.” Use “an” in front of words that start with vowels or sound like they start with vowels.

When to use “I” instead of “me.” Learn why it is Tom and I went to the store and not Tom and me went to the store.

What compound possession is and how it works. Learn why it is Jackie and Jared’s wedding and not Jackie’s and Jared’s wedding.

When to use “whom” instead of “who.” Okay, nobody really expects you to know this one, but it is cool anyway.

How to use quotation marks. Know when the mark goes inside and outside the period.

When to use “i.e.” in a sentence. Use i.e. when making a clarification or defining something.

When to use “fewer” instead of “less.” Learn why it should be ten items or fewer.

When to use “farther” instead of “further.” Basically, you use farther when referring to physical distance.

Purdue Owl

Reverse Dictionary

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Editing Help:

These are not meant to take the place of a real editor, but are very useful for getting through the editing stage before you send your manuscript out to beta readers. Some of these are free, some are paid, and some offer both.

ProWritingAid (we highly recommend this app. It covers almost everything and offers a human editor as well. Check our sponsors page for the discounted link we provide for the best aspects of this service.)

writecheck.com – Correct grammar and check for plagiarism.

Copyscape

HemingwayApp.com – Simplify your writing.

Grammarly

After the Deadline

Autocrit

Edit Minion

WordRake-for Microsoft Office users.

Word Counter

Writers Diet-tests your content to see if it’s flabby or fit.

ClicheFinder

Slickwrite

PaperRater

Polish My Writing

Readability-Score.com – Get scored on your writing’s readability.

FM-Jeans On Element-40

Writing Tools:

From writing programs to writing helpers, this is an assorted list of the tools and apps you can use while writing. Some are free, others are not.

Google Docs-this is the preferred writing service of Our Write Side. It’s versatile, easy to use and share, editing is simple, and research is incredibly easy to do from the document itself.

Quabel

Ommwriter

Evernote

Scrivener

Ulysses

Blind Write-if you’re easily distracted by those squiggly lines, this is the app for you.

Writeboard

Microsoft Live Writer

Write: Tablet Notepad/Journal

yWriter5

Springpad

Wridea-don’t lose an idea again!

Loosestitch

Zemanta

FocusWriter

Imagination Prompt

Unstuck

Zen Writer

Byword

Workflowy

Zotero

Ctfm

Mellel

Story Mill

Storyist

Script It!

Mariner Writer

Nisus Writer Pro

Celtx

Pagehand

MarkMyWords

Marked2

OmniGraffle

Papers

Are you using a tool we didn’t list? Tell us all about it!

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