About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.

How do You Format a Book for Print?

The Print Book Layout

The layout, otherwise known as the interior book block, is the process of formatting your manuscript so that it will look how you want it to when printed. This includes details such as:

  • headers
  • footers
  • font
  • page breaks
  • page size
  • margins,
  • chapter titles

Formatting can be done in Microsoft Word (or whatever word processor you happen to be working with), but it is quite a frustrating process. Also, remember that each different format (ebook, softcover, and hardcover) you choose will have different layout requirements (see your printer’s FAQ’s for specifics). Before you finish this step and move on to the next, you’ll want to know how to do the layout for each respective format.


So, what should the interior of book look like, and how does it differ from your word-processed manuscript?

Grab a book off your nearest bookshelf and take a look at it. Notice:
·         the headers alternate between pages.
·         the page numbers location and spacing.
·         if different fonts are used.
·         chapter pages lack both page numbers and headers. 
·         drop caps. 
·         chapters begin on the right page only.

These are just a few of the things that need to be set up during the layout stage of book design.
As a self-publisher, you’re already fighting an uphill battle. Though your book might be the next Twilight or Hunger Games, it will already start off with a stigma because you self-published it. 

Though self-publishing or indie publishing are becoming much more mainstream, they still have not garnered the prestige of their traditionally published counterparts. What that means for you, the self-published author, is that you must do that much more to make sure your book is indistinguishable, in quality, from others on the bookshelf.

To nail down what your book should look like inside, you need to look at its peer. Take ten or so traditionally published books from your genre and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Note the standards in their layout so you can try to mimic them. Also, please note that fiction books differ from non-fiction in the way their interiors are set up.

Now that you know what a book should look like, how do you recreate it?

On paper, it sounds pretty easy. Change a few fonts here, create some page breaks there, and add in a few page numbers; then poof, you have a bright shiny new book!

Once you actually try to duplicate what you see in printed books, you find out how difficult it can be. 
While Microsoft Word is great for general word processing, it can be very difficult to use when formatting books. Trying to get page numbers to show up on some pages but not others will provide a bit of a challenge. Same goes for alternating headers that only appear within chapters but not on title pages, acknowledgement pages, “about the author” pages, or copyright pages. Drop cap doesn’t ever work as it was intended, and usually adds extra spacing to your lines. In short, it creates a lot of headaches.

Even though it’s a headache, book layout can be done on a word processor. It is, however, going to be a frustrating and time-consuming process. Be prepared for long hours. For the do-it-yourself publisher, this is going to be your cheapest option.

There are other alternatives if you don’t want to deal with the added stress. For those choosing to use a service, Lulu, CreateSpace, and many others offer layout and design as part of their packages. You can also hire a freelancer for this. There are many companies out there who specialize in layout. This will cost you some money—between $100 - $400, and maybe even more.

There are also many programs that professional typographers and graphic designers use (Quark, Vellum, and InDesign come to mind). They are available for anyone to use, but they will cost you.

Tips for Interior Book Formatting

Katie Salidas Book Formatting

1) Start all chapters on the right page.
Not all publishers do this, but it does help provide some nice uniformity to your work. Ensuring that all chapters begin on the same side keeps things neat and tidy.  It will result in the occasional blank page, so consider that in your costs. Generally speaking, POD printers charge by the page, so doing this could result in a few more cents per book.

2) Page numbers don’t appear on every page.
In most novels, page numbers are excluded from title pages, copyright pages, additional information pages (like “about the author”), and chapter openers. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your page numbers everywhere; it will make your work look unprofessional. Also, along with remembering what pages get what numbers, remember that odd-number pages are always on the right.

3) Headers don’t appear on every page.
Just like with page numbers, headers and footers do not appear on every page. Make sure your headers are only on pages where they are needed.

4) Justify your work.

In print novels, ragged right margins are not acceptable. You want a nice and uniform look to your words. Never forget to properly align your text.

If you find yourself needing a little help getting that manuscript properly formatted, please have a look at my formatting services. I'm quick, affordable, and have worked on many an indie published book. I'd be happy to help you though this process.