6 Steps to formatting your paperback book

Step #1 – Prepare the manuscript

Starting with the raw manuscript first step is to change it from double spacing to single-space.

Click on Home, then Select All (top right)

Click on Paragraph and choose 1.0 for line spacing. There will also be an option at the bottom of this box to ‘Remove Space after Paragraph’–click on this too. While all the text is still highlighted, I click on ‘Justify’, (the box next to Paragraph) to spread the text across the page so it finishes hard up against both sides of the page for a crisper appearance.

This puts all my chapter headings out of place, so next, I go through and re-center all headings, and, drop them down the page to where I want them in the paperback version, which is lower down the page than for the eBook. I leave 5 x point 12 (Times New Roman, which is the font I’m using) from the top of the page to the title, the title is point 14, and then 2 x point 12 to the first line, which is always hard to the edge, with no indent.

This is where I want my headings in my paperback

For subsequent lines, I go through and cut the tab down to point 2. I use point 3 for the eBook, which creates more white space, which is a good thing for reading on a screen. However, it can cause unnecessary extra lines in the paperback, and I want as far as possible to keep the text as compact as I can in order to keep the page count down (more pages = higher cost). It’s surprising how many lines you can lose just by minimizing your tab size. In case of any issue you can get help from bookbosss.

Step #2 – Download a template

Now your manuscript is ready for you to format your paperback.

If you’ve looked at KDP, clicked on ‘Format your Paperback’, and panicked – wait! Take a deep breath! There is FAR too much unnecessarily complicated information on stuff like trim sizes and margins. You don’t need to know this! All you need to do is to find this page on KDP (hint: use the keyword ‘template’ in the search box)

Click on Templates, and download the folder. I just download the blank templates and start using them, but if you want examples of how it should look, then download the ones with sample content. You will get a Zip file containing a huge range of templates of different sizes. At this point, you need to decide what size you want your paperback to be. I use 5.5 x 8.5 inches for mine, which are in the 105K – 125K word size, but it’s entirely up to you – you only need to open one template for the size you’ve chosen.

Don’t forget to match this size to your cover.

You need to click on ‘Enable Editing’, and then delete the placeholder text at the top of the page.

And now you are ready to start transferring your text! In case of any issue you can get help from bookbosss

Step #3 – Numbering

Word of caution, you are NOT yet done with formatting, so keep reading…

I tend to move one chapter at a time. That might be a bit long-winded, but I find I don’t create mistakes that way. So, copy the first bit of text you want to add – probably the title page and copyright page – and paste them into the template.

Note: although this looks like the title page is on the left, bear in mind that this is just the template view – page 1 (title page) will be the first page inside the paperback, so on the RIGHTHAND side in the finished article.

Next, transfer your first chapter in the same manner.

And now we can get down to the next bit of formatting.

I don’t want page numbering on my title page, copyright page, and maps/family tree, all of which precede the Prologue. So, to do this, first create 2 different sections. Put the cursor at the top of the start of section 2. Then click on Page Layout, then on breaks, and on the drop-down menu, Next Page.

Everything before the prologue is now Section 1, while everything from the prologue onward is Section 2.

To start numbering from the beginning of Section 2, I double-click on the footer area of the first page of Section 2 to bring up Header and footer options. Alternatively, with the cursor on the first page of Section 2, click on Insert, then Page Number, then decide where you want the number to appear – I put it at the bottom of the page in the center.

Next, I click on ‘Format Page Numbers

Ensure ‘Continue from the previous section is UNCHECKED, and click on ‘Start at’ and put in 1. Now your numbering starts on page 1 of your story, and not from the title page.

You should also ensure ‘Link to Previous’ is unchecked.

If you have an intro, or something a bit longer in Section 1, and you want to number that also, you can use something different, such as Roman Numerals, and follow the same procedure as above for that section.

Step #4 – Headers

Now I also like to have the headers different on odd and even pages – the book title on odd pages, and my author name on even pages, with nothing in the header on page 1.

Click on ‘Header’. Alternatively, you can also double-click in the header area on the page. Make sure you check all three boxes for page options: Different first page, Different odd and even pages, and Show document text.

This is how I like it to look, but it’s up to you what you want to have in your header

If this results in your page numbers only appearing on either odd or even pages, then take this further step:

With the header and footer options open (click in either the header or the footer area) click on the footer over to the left, and then on ‘Banded’

Now CLOSE the header and footer.

Step #5 – Widows and Orphans

Next, you want to deal with widows and orphans. No, I’m not referring to any special charity cases – in typographical terminology a widow is the last line of a paragraph left by itself at the top of a page, and an orphan is the first line of a paragraph left by itself at the bottom of a page. Unless you switch the appropriate control off, Word will automatically move the text so this doesn’t happen. Unfortunately with a book, you don’t want to have the blank spaces at the bottom of a page that is the result. Aside from looking odd (and unprofessional) every extra space you leave adds to the number of pages of your book, which raises the printing price.

You need to find your ‘widows and orphans’ control, which will depend on which version of Word you are using

Step #6 – Clean up and check

Of course, just to be contrary, not all of the initial formatting carried over – notably many of the indents vanished, and a few of the chapter headings were at random heights from the top of the page. I had to go through and make manual corrections, so please don’t make any assumptions, and always check each and every page for these sorts of inconsistencies.

Once you have the template looking how you want it, save it as a PDF and upload directly to your paperback on KDP.

In case of any issue you can get help from bookdesignrr.

Daniel Roy

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