Formatting a print book is a complicated process, particularly if you are doing a textbook or activity book with lots of different kinds of text. A textbook will probably have a number of different kinds of text, each of which need separate formatting. These may include: headers, directions, readings, explanations, example sentences, tip boxes, numbered activity questions, and so on. While I really enjoy the process of creating a new book from scratch, it can be intimidating at first. So I’d like to break down my process for setting up a book with complicated formatting.
So let’s imagine we have the manuscript all finished (And I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have your manuscript finalized before starting to format). Here’s a sample unit I had ChatGPT write up for me to save time.
Cover design is an area that many self-publishers struggle with, particularly educators who want to self-publish for the first time. Book design is not always in our skill set and designing a cover for a book generally requires graphic design software such as Photoshop. These programs can be intimidating to the novice. Now, does a cover really matter to the success of your book?
You probably know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While this is a good principle for many things in life from other human beings to new experiences, it doesn’t actually apply to books. There’s plenty of reason to believe that we DO judge books by their covers!
I don’t know if a good cover can necessarily make a book sell, but a bad cover can definitely ruin a good book. And a cover is the first thing anyone will see of your book. If it’s off-putting, it may be the only thing they see!
Formatting a self-published book is a broad subject with a lot of intricacies. In this post, I’ll be talking generally about what your formatting options are and what formats work best for what kinds of books. I’ll talk about where to find resources and expertise, the best programs for formatting a self-published book, and some general concerns and things to think about. However, I won’t be digging into the nitty-gritty of how to format a book for self-publishing. However, I do plan to do future posts on font size, margins, color schemes, and things like that. So if you have detailed formatting questions, please leave a comment! It really helps me figure out what people want to read about. And of course, feel free to share your own expertise in the comment section!
Paperbacks, ebooks, and PDFS! Oh My!
The first question people usually ask about formatting is: what are the formatting options for a book? In general, the three most popular formats are:
Print books, or “books” as we used to call them, are the most versatile formatting option. You’ve probably worked with print books in the classroom most of your life and have seen the variety. In particular, print books is the only format that the user can access without technology and of course the only format they can write in, so it’s particularly helpful for student books. Print books are also the format that preserves author intent, including color and layout and fonts the best (with PDF a close second). And yes, I said color. Printing color books does raise your costs, but not necessarily unsustainably, particularly when compared to books produced by major publishers. Continue reading “Formatting a Self-Published Book”
This post is basically my way of helping small publishers and self-publishers by sharing a free sample copyright page. After 6 years of publishing, I’ve developed a template for a book copyright page that covers the legal bases, helps deter intellectual property theft, gives readers the information they need if they want to reuse or adapt some part of your work, and also acknowledges other creators involved in your work.
You can copy my free sample copyright page and use it in its entirety, or take bits and pieces. You can also use it as a template to create a copyright page in your own words. Adapt it as you see fit. I would love it if you referred people to this post by linking or word-of-mouth. When people ask where you got the ideas for your brilliant copyright page for your textbook, feel free to send them to me! Just please do respect my intellectual property rights and copyright, and do not share or distribute the sample page on your site or pass it off as your own, please!