Four years ago, I wrote a post titled “Drop Caps, Indents, and Other Formatting Tricks in Word.” Regarding drop caps, I mentioned that Word drops and enlarges the first character, which, if you’re writing dialogue, means it’s your quotation mark that gets dropped and enlarged instead of the first letter. Some authors and editors get around this issue by simply leaving off the opening quotation mark.
At the end of that discussion, I said: “There are those who believe leaving off the first quote mark is confusing to readers. Luckily, there’s a workaround in Word for those who want the quote mark, but it’s time consuming. More on that in a future post.”
Here at Indies Unlimited, we are always striving to bring our readers more resources to help them on their writing, publishing, and marketing journeys. Our goal is to help authors do everything themselves (except for editing!) so they can put out professional books at as low a cost as possible. Today we hand the floor over to Caleb Clayton of Caleb’s Formatting Service who took the time to produce an excellent Book Formatting Resource page for us. The resource page will be located in our drop-down menu – but today you can read it below. – The Admin.
Print books are a different animal than eBooks in many ways. For one thing, length matters very little for eBooks; you can upload anything to KDP, from a pamphlet to a short story to a 200,000-word historical romance, and the only thing that matters to them is the size of the electronic file (and that’s only so they can ding you for transmission costs).
Print books, however, have certain other considerations when it comes to length. For one thing, if your book is shorter than 130 pages, CreateSpace won’t let you put any text on the spine.
I ran into this when I published A Billion Gods and Goddesses last year. The first draft came out to only about 100 pages. I was dismayed. What’s the point of having a brag shelf if your name isn’t on the spine of every book, right? Anyway, I asked for advice in a writers’ group on Facebook, and got a ton of great suggestions. Then I thought up a few more. And oddly enough, the changes don’t scream, “Added to pad out the page count!” In fact, they make the book look more like…a book.
I’m not blind to the fact that many more books are released as eBooks than print books these days, some authors choosing never to publish paperbacks at all. However, I also know there are lots of people out there who still love books, who still enjoy the heft and weight of a tome in their hands, who still appreciate the tactile sense of sliding their fingers between paper pages and gently leafing the top one over as they read the last word on the page before them. I produce paperbacks for 99% of my books, the only exception being the collection of first chapters of my novels, a perma-free sampler which would be at cross purposes as a more expensive print version. Because I don’t see print books going away any time soon, I thought a primer on basic formatting might prove useful. Continue reading “Formatting for Paperbacks Primer”