F is for Formatting: Self-Publishing from A to Z

Lana PecherczykArt & Design, Self Publishing0 Comments

At first, I was stuck on what topic to pick for the F-article in my A to Z self publishing series, then I realised it had been staring me in the face the whole time – formatting. So important for authors self-publishing. For those who don’t know, formatting is preparing the physical appearance of your writing for print or ebook. Not be confused with ‘design’ – formatting looks at things like, how big your font should be, how wide your margins should be and more. Read on for some quick and dirty tips to formatting your self-published work of writing.

Formatting for Kindle

  • Kindle recommend formatting in word
    Formatting for Kindle

    If you are unsure how to format for kindle, open up a few of your purchased ebooks by other authors and see what they have done as far as layout is concerned.

  • The following style formats will translate to your kindle: indentations, bold characters, italics and headings.
  • The following style formats will not translate to your kindle book: bullet points, special fonts, headers, and footers.
  • Inserted images need to be in .jpg format and center aligned
  • Page breaks need to be added after each special page and chapter, otherwise once in the kindle, the text will flow on.
  • Kindle will automatically change your paragraphs to be indented and justified spacing. If you want to manually do this in your word doc, don’t use tab’s this will not convert – use the paragraph formatting tool in the page layout field.

Formatting for Print

  • Look up your printers guidelines before you start designing. Here is Createspace’s and here is Ingram Spark’s.
  • Make sure your pages are numbered correctly. Page one is on the right, so all odd numbers are actually on the right, not left.
  • Watch blank pages. Only allow blank pages if they are at the end of your chapter and on the left, so a new chapter page starts on the right always.
  • Justify your font so there is a hard line on the right and left.
  • You will need to convert your word doc to PDF for print before sending it off.
  • Check you have the right bleed. This is the margin outside of your trim line, and usually you add a bit extra of your image here, in case the trim is off by a mm, it will still pick up some image and not print white space.
  • Use the cover template generator when designing your cover so you have the right dimensions for your spine.

Formatting for iBook

  • If you have a Mac, I recommend using the free app by apple to create iBooks. It does all your formatting for you.
  • Here is the apple guide to formatting your iBook. It’s a bit full on, you can see why I recommend just using their app.
  • Images should be RGB format and at 300dpi for best resolution viewing and be at least 1400 pixels along the shorter axis
  • You can use html elements, so unlike kindle, you can have bullet points etc.
  • There’s really too much to talk about here, iBooks has so many features, it’s important you read the guide listed above for yourself.

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