About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Continuing with the extracts from my download, Publish Your Book on a Shoestring Using Lulu Print-on-Demand, we are now dealing with how the inside of a book is laid out. Part 2 will follow next week and if you want to see the previous extracts you can do so here.

“In order for your book to look right when it is printed, you have to have it in the correct format before you load it up to Lulu. Lulu, like other print on demand providers, will not alter your book contents in any way. It will simply print exactly what you give it. This means the responsibility rests entirely with you. Don’t get hung up about it, because you will have the opportunity to order a proof copy and check it is ok. But every time you order a proof copy it both costs you money and takes time. So make the inside of your book as near to perfect as you can and you will save on both.
Before you get started on your formatting, go and have a look at the inside of another book to give you some ideas. Pick one off your shelf that is similar to how you would like yours to look, and then look in detail at the way the content is laid out. For paperbacks the fist page inside the front cover is normally the title page. This simply has the title, subtitle if there is one, and the author’s name. On the back of this page is what I think of as the copyright page – sometimes called the title page verso (which just means ‘the back of the title page’). On here will go your statement of copyright, who published the book and all the legal bits and bobs such as disclaimers if you need one. For instance in Be An Author, I had to say that I was not responsible for people acting on any advice contained in the book – I don’t want someone trying to sue me in the future because of the way they have applied the information in the book.
After the copyright page is normally the dedication page, where you say who you are dedicating this book to. The reverse of this page is usually blank. You could include some quotes about how much people have loved the book, but unless you have access to people who are household names there is probably no need. If you want to, you can include some of the glowing reviews you get into your second edition.
The next page will be your Table of Contents if this is a non-fiction book. All this together is known as the front matter. Other pages that could be included in the front matter are:

  • Acknowledgements & Permissions – a page thanking people who helped with the book, and listing any authorisations you have for quoting other books, songs or poems.
  • Foreword – a comment from someone else about how wonderful your book is, usually less than a page long and mostly found with non-fiction. I am a little unsure about whether forewords are a good thing. In theory they can lend weight to a book as they would usually be written by someone with authority in the field the book relates to. I did have a foreword for my first book, Their Cancer – Your Journey, which was written by Tricia Stewart. She became famous as a result of the Calendar Girls story which became a book, film and stage play. I am not sure if anyone has bought the book because of this foreword, and it did look strange on Amazon where sometimes the book appears with only Tricia’s name next to it and not mine at all. So overall for your first book I would probably say steer clear of forewords.
  • About the Author – a page saying who you are, what else you do or have written and possibly where to connect with you online. I personally prefer to keep this at the end. I think the reader only really cares about me if they have read and enjoyed the book – and indeed they may choose not to read this at all.
  • Other Books By – a page of other books you have written. If this is your first book you won’t have any, but if you have already written other volumes (perhaps you have been traditionally published in the past but are now choosing to self-publish) then you could list them here.
  • Anything else which does not fit in the body of the book. For Their Cancer – Your Journey, I included a poem I had written, which summed up the way I thought but did not belong anywhere specific within the book.

The front matter sometimes has page lettering with roman numerals, but probably the best approach is just not to have page numbers on this section at all.”

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Comments on: "Learn How a Book Is Formatted – Part 1" (2)

  1. […] the process of looking at the inside of a book to study the elements of book formatting. You can read that extract here. Today we continue with that […]

  2. […] looked at how a book is formatted in the last extract from my download about self-publishing using Lulu (part two is here), the next […]

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