The way to Format a Ebook: 10 Suggestions Your Editor Needs You To Know

Until you like your pals to be story nerds or those that lean towards obsessive-compulsive tendencies in relation to grammar, you shouldn’t essentially search to befriend your editor.

Nonetheless, you ought to search to do every thing in your energy to be a skilled good friend of your editor. One of many easiest methods to do this — which too many authors fail to think about — is formatting.

I do know. With the best of respect for ebook designers and inside formatters, formatting isn’t precisely the sexiest of subjects for an writer to think about. You’d a lot somewhat paint a brand new world on the canvas of your ebook than speak about unadorned, 12-point Instances New Roman.

However that’s why we have to speak about it.

Once you skip over the fundamentals of how your manuscript is formatted, you’re subconsciously exhibiting a scarcity of respect on your craft and your editor. For those who ship a poorly formatted manuscript to your editor, they very doubtless gained’t say something, however I can promise you that they’re considering considered one of two issues:

I can hardly learn this manuscript.
I’m losing my time reformatting this manuscript.

In these cases, an editor will both edit your manuscript as-is or spend the time you’re paying them for to do the work you can have (and may have) achieved your self.

However when you incorporate the standardized fundamentals of formatting a manuscript in preparation on your editor, you’ll see that it’s going to save each you and your editor quite a lot of time and frustration.

Plus, after getting the fundamentals down, you may create a ebook format template for future use.

10 suggestions for nailing your ebook format

Whereas this text makes an attempt to supply standardized suggestions, some editors, brokers or publishing homes could have their very own formatting stipulations. All the time remember to scan web sites for that info, and when unsure, ask.

The next formatting suggestions maintain true for each fiction and nonfiction manuscripts within the U.S. Any accepted variations are famous, and feedback are appreciated with regard to variations for worldwide markets.

Right here’s what’s anticipated for the standard manuscript format.

1. Use black, 12-point, Instances New Roman because the font

Sure, Instances New Roman is boring, however it’s primarily on each laptop ever made.

Don’t use a cool font for impact. Save that on your inside design, which comes a lot later after the enhancing course of.

(Font trivia: Instances New Roman is now not utilized by The Instances.)

2. Use the U.S. normal web page dimension of eight.5×11 inches and set your margins to 1 inch on all sides

Beginning a brand new doc in Phrase defaults to those parameters, however in the event you’re exporting to Phrase out of your phrase processor of alternative, double-check the output to make sure your web page dimension and margins are right.

To set web page dimension in Phrase, go to File>Web page Setup and have a look at the drop-down menu for Web page Dimension.

To set margins in Phrase, go to Format>Doc.

three. Set alignment to left justified

Left justified textual content is also called ragged proper textual content. The textual content will align itself alongside its left facet, leaving its proper facet nonuniform (unjustified).

To set alignment in Phrase, choose all your textual content, then click on the left justification icon within the Residence tab or choose Format>Paragraph and select “Left” within the Alignment drop-down field.

four. Use a single area after durations

For those who have been educated to sort two areas after a interval, retrain your self.

Within the digital age, use a single area. (For why, see “Area Invaders.”)

Tip: in case your manuscript has two areas after a interval, use your phrase processor’s Discover and Change software. Sort two areas into “Discover” and one area into “Change” then hit “Change All” with reckless, typing-teacher-be-damned abandon.

5. Use double-spaced line spacing

This can be the best assist to your editor.

You wish to guarantee they see your each final phrase, so give your phrases room to breathe on the web page.

Tip: in the event you’ve already written your ebook with totally different line spacing, choose all your textual content in Phrase, click on Format > Paragraph, then choose “Double” within the drop-down field underneath “Line spacing.”

6. Indent all paragraphs by .5 inches, and don’t hit tab or area to indent

This can be each editor’s pet peeve. Setting tabs and hitting tab aren’t the identical factor.

For those who’re a tab-hitter or space-space-space-space-spacer, choose all your textual content in Phrase, then set indentation utilizing Format > Paragraph. Underneath “Indentation” and by “Left,” sort .5. underneath “Particular,” then select “First line” from the drop-down menu.

Observe: Usually, the primary paragraph of any chapter, after a subhead, or following a bulleted or numbered record isn’t indented.

7. Format paragraphs in keeping with style requirements

Fiction authors ought to use indented paragraphs with out full paragraph breaks. Nonfiction authors could go for no indentation as long as paragraphs are separated by a full paragraph break.

Tip: Crack open a ebook in your style to see what the paragraphing conventions are, then emulate.

eight. Use web page breaks

To start a brand new chapter, don’t simply hold hitting return till you create a brand new web page. Quite, use web page breaks.

In Phrase, place the cursor on the finish of a chapter, then click on “Insert > Break > Web page Break” in Phrase’s prime menu.

9. Quantity your pages

Don’t start numbering in your title web page. Quite, start numbering on the web page your story begins.

To put web page numbers in Phrase, double-click throughout the header space of the web page on which your story begins and click on “Insert > Web page Numbers,” then choose your most well-liked choices. Select to position your web page numbers on the prime left of the web page.

10. Ship your manuscript as one Phrase doc (.doc /.docx)

You don’t should compose your masterpiece in Phrase, however as a result of Phrase’s “Observe Modifications” function continues to be the de facto enhancing software of alternative, your editor will admire receiving a Phrase file.

And no matter you do, by no means ship your editor particular person chapters as separate information.

These 10 easy-to-follow steps will put you in your editor’s good facet. Whereas every of those points sometimes doesn’t take an excessive amount of time to rectify, the issues are compounded when an editor has to repair various.

When an editor receives a well-formatted manuscript, they will instantly start the work that you simply’re truly paying them to do: enhancing!

We up to date this put up in 2019 so it’s extra helpful and related for our readers!

Photograph through Chinnapong/Shutterstock

In regards to the Writer: Blake Atwood

Blake Atwood is the writer of Don’t Worry the Reaper: Why Each Writer Wants an Editor and a contract editor and author with

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