After your writing nears completion, then is
the time to look more closely at the details listed on this page. See Formatting
pages, & also
take a quick look at
Designing now for a very important detail to take care of
FRONT & BACK MATTER
Your can make your book look professional. Most books open with a
Title page, which states the title, sub-title, and author or compiler. The back
side of that page is called the copyright page. A brief Acknowledgment or Dedication
can be placed on the copyright page. The following page may be a separate
Dedication page, followed by the Acknowledgments, Introduction, etc.
Traditionally speaking, this is the order.
• What does one call the front matter of the book and/or
what the author wants to tell about the book. The Dictionary says:
Foreword: A short introductory statement in a published
work, as a book, when written by someone other than the author, often by an
authority on the subject.
Introduction: A formal preliminary statement, often
extensive, that serves as a guide to the book. It is written by the author.
Preface: The author's informal statement about the
purpose, preparation, etc., of the book. It can include acknowledgments. A
preface usually follows the Foreword if there is one.
Prologue: A preface or introductory part of a discourse,
poem or novel. (An event that is part of the novel.)
Afterword: A concluding statement or commentary.
Epilogue: A concluding "part" added to a
If you plan to write many stories, get a good dictionary and use it. If
you want more polish in your book, many writers also use the following: The
Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer; The Elements of Style by
Strunk and White, The Elements of Editing by Arthur Plotnik.
PHOTOS & ILLUSTRATIONS
These can be electronically scanned and enhanced for
inclusion in your book. This method usually provides the best quality image. A
computer program that enhances the scanned photo is essential because scanning
alone will not produce a good image. See
Photos and examples:
on Text Pages
PAGE LOCATION AND NUMBERING
Pages of an open book face one another and are called facing
pages. Understand that each sheet of paper has a front side, which is considered
to be the right page in the book, and its back side becomes the left, when turned.
Professional books have odd-numbered pages on the right hand side and
even-numbered pages on the left.
•Introduction pages can be:
1) left unnumbered.
2) numbered with small roman numerals (italics look nice).
3) numerically numbered.
The main body of material can be numbered with the applicable
number AS IF every preceding page has been numbered.
•If you number your entire book consecutively from page 1,
including intro pages, plan to suppress (make invisible) page numbers on the
first few pages.
•Page number everything following that, if possible. Most
books do so and when your material reaches the printer, there is less chance for
error when every page is easily identified by a consecutive number.
•Other page numbers may need to be suppressed, like a
Divider or Section Page. The page number normally assigned to that page is not
shown and is not given to the next page.
•If you expect to insert photo or document pages, plan to
number them, or if you cannot place page numbers on them, then act as if they
are numbered and on the next "text" page, number it accordingly.
•Placement of page number is a personal choice. The most
common are upper or lower alternating, or bottom center. Placement is largely a
•Creating a mock book of your material by taping or
stapling the sheets together, so the pages open like a book, will help you
Traditionalists like each new topic, whether an Introduction
or a New Chapter, to begin on the right as an odd-numbered page. Today, however,
more books have their pages positioned back to back wherever possible to save
paper, and only introductory material, first chapter or new section begins on a
right, odd-numbered page.
Within a chapter, when you shift the story
to a different time or place or topic, clue the reader. See
POSITIONING OF PAGES
Use the mock book method to see where blank pages will
naturally occur when designing the traditional layout or when placing
inserts. For example, if you want the Table of Contents to begin on a right
page, you may need to insert a blank preceding page to push this Table of
Contents to the right side. Or, if you have it, use your "print preview" attribute to view
the way pages lay out side by side.
Allow a full one inch binding edge margin,
and a minimum of 3/4 inch on non-binding edge margins. Not only does this
improve the appearance of the book by adding conformity, it also easily
accommodates a binding edge for a hard cover book, and allows for trim of a soft cover book. Be aware
that a soft cover book must be trimmed 1/8 inch once the cover is placed on it.
And the 1/8 inch per page is also trimmed for a hard cover. Of course, you may decide to have
wider margins to make it easier to read. While writing your book, however, use
the standard 1 inch margins, which can be changed later.
If your book has many pages (more than
250) you should have up to 1 1/2" margin on the binding edge. If a reader
has to press down the middle of a book to read near the "spine margin," it
can damage the book.
You will see books today that have text tightly packed. These
are usually easy-to-read novels. If you are presenting a great deal of factual
information that takes the reader time to process, then provide more "white
space" on that page. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways: deeper
paragraph indents, occasional blank lines, double indented quotes, wider
margins, more generous line spacing. See
Many writers like to write long sentences. Most people prefer
reading short and slightly longer sentences, because it creates an ebb and flow
to your material.
SIZES OF BOOKS
Standard sizes of books in inches: 8.5 x 11, 6 x 9
Good fonts to use are Times New Roman, Helvetica or Arial.
•If you plan to provide
printed pages for us to scan,
(referred to as "camera-ready) instead of a computer disk, you can use any
Font you wish.
Camera Ready Pages.
•The size of font is important. 10 point is hard to read. A
better size is 12, and many readers are choosing 14. Choosing an 11 may save you
on page count. Ask yourself, "Who is my intended audience" and work
from there. The entire book industry is placing more focus on a book having
easy-to-read type, because more and more people are wanting it. See
Formatting Example 2.
Spacing in any book is a personal choice. Most people choose
single spacing. Others want 1.5 line spacing. Do a sample page of various
choices and consider each. Ask others for their opinion. Decide who the reading
audience will be and consider their needs.
Right justification is a term that describes
the text on a page being flush right at the right margin, instead of the sentences ending at
different points on the right side. Most professional and commercial books are left and right
• If you use 2 spaces between sentences and right justify,
broad gaps can occur. In publishing, 1 space is common between sentences.
• Some fonts tend to leave big gaps when using full
justification. Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial justify left to right very well.
Headings, words like Preface, Introduction, and Chapter Titles can
be designed with a larger point size, and perhaps with a different Font. See
• Some writers begin such Headings several lines down on
the page, others at the top of the page if they are more cost conscious. Don't
crowd your Heading too close to your Header (title and author name at top of
• To maintain a professional look, position Headings in the
same place and use the same point size every time. If you bold one type heading,
generally you should bold all the same type headings. Consistency is important
as a mark of professionalism, so use your
Headers are a professional touch you can choose, if you wish.
They can add the title of the book, the author's name to
the top of all pages throughout the book, using the "header" attribute. See
Headers should not be added to your file until your book is
completely written and pages already positioned. You may wish to
"suppress" headers on certain pages, such a the first page of a new
Most professional books today use .3 for a paragraph indent,
rather than the half inch. If you wish more "white space," use .5. Some writers choose not
to use a paragraph indent and simply add a blank line between paragraphs. They feel this makes for
easier reading. See
WHEN TO USE BLANK LINES
When switching topics within a chapter, many writers leave a
blank line or two between paragraphs and then begin the new paragraph with or without a
And many writers choose to add two blank
lines to cue the reader that a time, place, or distance
shift has occurred in the story. Other writers use * * * or something similar on one of the blank
show this. See
Use the short dash – in your text, or the long dash —
rather than two hyphens - -. The hyphen is generally used only for hyphenation,
not to replace a long dash. Most computer programs have a file called "Special Characters"
that you can copy and paste into your page. For example, in WordPerfect you can press the
"Control" key and the "A" key on your keyboard to access this.
Rather than underlining a book title, standard practice today
is to use italics. In the printing world, italics cause fewer glitches than
underlining. If you are not sure whether to use italics or quotation marks for
various works of art, check the supplementary pages in your dictionary or look
in other reference material.
Punctuation changes from time to time. Today, if you are
including the name of a song, a ship, etc, place quotation marks around it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
People you have never met may read the book, and they will
benefit from knowing something about the author.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE FAMILY
Family books are far more important than people realize. If
other books have been written about the family, it is helpful to list these in
the Introduction. If you know where they can be obtained, or if a library has a
copy, include this information.
Adopt a STYLE sheet for your book where you jot down
names, places, etc., so you have a quick reference of who and what and when. A
writer can become so involved in the story, he forgets these little details. This can also happen when more than one
author is working on the material. This can also be a place where you jot down how you did a
particular thing so when you do it again in later pages, you can be consistent.
This Style Sheet can also be your last careful check of the
manuscript. For example: where you have used a proper name and may have
misspelled one, go to your computer's Search and input a space, then the first few letters of
the name and begin the Search. You may find misspellings you have previously
EDITING IS A FACT OF LIFE
Have a number of people read the material and look for
errors. Because one easily gets pulled into the story, it is helpful to read from the bottom of the page to the top to search
for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Even if you have your book
professionally edited, know that people overlook items. It's
hard not to when reading an interesting book.
Ready To Send section for the finishing process.
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