About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Having 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 part of the process is to format your own book document. This is the first part and part two will follow next week. (Note, this is based on using Microsoft Word for your document, which is recommended as you can load a Word document straight up to Lulu. Your version of Word may differ from mine.)

Edit Your Book Pages To The Correct Format

3This is the stage where you will get your book inside finished. Having looked at the formatting of a sample book in the previous step, now you can go back to your final book document. Before any more editing, save a completely unformatted copy of your book. This will allow you to start again from scratch when formatting your ebook versions.
Before you start with any more formatting you need to create the pages for all the front matter and back matter as discussed in the previous section. If you are not sure what to put in any of the pages then most of them can be left out, with the exception of the title page and copyright page. For the table of contents page (if you need one) just create a blank page with the title Table of Contents. Now you are ready to go ahead with your formatting as follows:

1. First set the page size for your document. To do this you need to download the template document for your chosen book size from Lulu. Go to http://www.lulu.com/publish/books/#bookSpecs and click on the download link for your book’s format. This will download a zipped file, which when you open it will contain templates for the cover images and the book content. Open the template file and go to the Page Setup, then open your book document and do the same. Then change all the page setup details in your book document to be identical to those in the template file. I recommend doing it this way rather than cutting and pasting your document into the template file because in my experience cutting and pasting in Word gives unpredictable results.

2. If you haven’t done so already, set the formatting styles for your document as a whole. Select the style of Normal from the drop down menu next to the Font on your tool bar. Then use the same method to set the formatting styles on each level of heading that you have.
When you create your table of contents this will be done using the top levels of heading, so your title page heading must not be in those levels. The easiest way to do it is to go and set the top level of headings that you want in the Table of Contents to Heading1 style, the level below to Heading2 and so on. When you have done that you can then format other headings in your document. Don’t worry at the moment about what the headings or text look like.

3. Choose the font you want to use for your main text. You can choose whatever font you like, but bear in mind that it has to be readable at fairly small sizes and possibly to people with aging eyesight. There are two main types of font called serif and sans-serif. A serif is a little tag or horizontal line at the head and foot of each character, so a serif font like Georgia has those lines and a sans-serif font like Arial does not. Research has shown that for blocks of text, most people find a serif font easier to read, as if the serifs give the eyes tramlines to guide them along. So it is recommended to choose a serif font for your text. The exception to this is Times New Roman. Although this is a serif font, you should not use it for a book. It was developed for newsprint, and has all the letters the same width. This is not helpful for your book and other fonts are clearer and easier to read. In the past I have used Georgia and Garamond, but at the moment I think Georgia is the clearer and easier to read of the two.
Change all the body text in your document to your chosen font by choosing Format>Style, selecting Normal and clicking Modify. Now you can alter all the Normal text in your document to the font and size you want by clicking Format>Font. 11 point font size is probably the lowest you want to go. Whilst you are here you can also choose other formatting options for your text, such as the spacing using Format>Paragraph. Your book will be easier to read if the lines are not too close together. You can achieve this by using 1.5 line spacing or having Spacing Before or After each line. You can also set an indent on the first line of the paragraph. This is customary rather than having blank lines between paragraphs.

4. Next format your headings. For each level of heading you have set using the styles, choose your font, size, whether it is bold and any other formatting considerations (for instance in this document I decided to have the sections numbered). You do not need to have a serif font for headings, in fact sans-serif fonts can look quite clean and bold on headings. Modify the heading style as you did for the normal style and this will apply to the whole of the document.

5. Lay out your chapter title pages, making sure they are all exactly the same – same number and size of blank lines and so on, so that everything lines up. If you want the large letter on the first line, you do this by selecting the first letter of the first paragraph and clicking Format>Drop Cap, choose Dropped and the number of lines the letter lines the letter should cover, which could be 2 or more.

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Comments on: "Edit Your Book Pages To The Correct Format – Part One" (2)

  1. […] from last week’s post on beginning to edit your book document to a print-ready format, here is the remainder of this […]

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