Book Formatting: Easy Tips for Self-Publishing Authors


When it comes to self-publishing a book of your own, the book formatting process is key. Remember that if your book formatting is lacking in any way, it will not be well received by potential readers. This will affect both your reputation as a writer and your book-selling potential.

What is book formatting?

It is how your manuscript looks and reads. During the book formatting process, the author is expected to take into account key factors such as font size, page color, page number, word count, and every other aspect that goes into the book’s overall aesthetic.

Why is formatting so important, though? Formatting is very important because of the following factors:

  • Author branding: Book formatting is very important because it will allow you to show your readers your own unique writing style.
  • Readability: If you want your readers to enjoy your book, you should make sure that it is as easy to comprehend as possible. Good-quality book formatting will enable you to do so.
  • Consistency: Formatting your book effectively will allow you to create an efficient and seamless reading experience.
  • Adhering to set publishing requirements: If you are going to have your book published on various publishing platforms, you should ensure that you follow all the publishing requirements.
  • Professionalism: If you want your book to be well received by readers, you should make sure that it is as well formatted as possible. This will show them a degree of professionalism that will entice readers to invest in your book.

Remember that if your book formatting is subpar, there is a chance that readers will notice right away, which will not only damage your chances of selling your book but also your overall reputation as a writer.

To avoid any book formatting mistakes, you will need to have a set strategy on how to format your book in the best way possible.

Here are some key book formatting tips to remember:

1. Always use a uniform font size and style.

While it may be tempting to use a more flamboyant font style and increase the size of your fonts, it is always better to use a uniform font size and style. This is because you want a font style and size that could be found in any word processor that you could use.

If you use more unique font styles and sizes, you run the risk of creating inconsistencies in the long run. Just to be safe, you should choose the Times New Roman font and use a 12-point size for all formatting. They may seem boring and unoriginal, but consistency is what’s important.

2. Set your margin.

As a rule, you should always set all your margins at 1 inch, which is the usual margin for most book formatting. However, there may be some word processors that may change your margin, so you’ll have to manually change it to 1 inch by yourself.

3. Make sure your font, text, and punctuation are on point.

Even though you have finished writing your manuscript and your editors deem it ready for publishing, there may still be a few errors that you may have overlooked. Here are a few formatting rules on punctuation, font, and text that you should take into account.

Even though you have finished writing your manuscript and your editors deem it ready for publication, there may still be a few errors that you have overlooked. Here are a few formatting rules on punctuation, font, and text that you should take into account.

  • Make sure all your text uses the same font.
  • Take away double spaces after full stops. You can do so by using the “Find and Replace” function on the word processing software you are using. Just find (i.e., space) and replace with (space).
  • Make sure to remove tabs. You can do so by using the formatting palette to indent the first line of each paragraph. This should be done for all except the first chapter.

4. Have your pages numbered.

When it comes to formatting your book the right way, you should make sure that all your pages are numbered. You should always begin numbering on the page where your story begins.

In order to place page numbers in Microsoft Word, just double-click within the header area. This should be done on the page where your story begins. Just click Insert>Page Numbers. Then just select your chosen settings. The page numbers should be placed at the top left of the page.

5. Be sure to format your book according to genre standards.

You should remember that paragraphs are formatted according to specific genre standards. Remember that each genre follows different formatting rules, so if you are going to format a book by yourself, you should at least be aware of these rules.

Novel Format

If your book is a novel, then you won’t have too much trouble. This is because the novel format is usually the easiest type of book to format. A novel is usually divided into paragraphs and chapters. This means that when you are formatting each chapter, the usual word processing program will have you start on a new page. Here are some of the usual formatting rules that novels use:

  • Aligning text is usually left-justified.
  • Use Times New Roman in black with a 12-point size.
  • Headers and footers should always be set.
  • The margins are set to 1 inch and the indent to 5 inches.

Non-Fiction Format

No matter the topic, most nonfiction tends to follow the same type of loose formatting. When it comes to formatting a nonfiction book, it is important to use footnotes and a bibliography. You should also remember that a table of contents before the prologue is also needed.

Here are some rules to remember when formatting a nonfiction book.

  • You should always begin page numbering on page one of your content.
  • Always reserve space to integrate footnotes if you plan on putting them on the page.
  • If you don’t intend to indent your paragraphs, you should provide a full paragraph break.

eBook Format

If you are going to self-publish your book in eBook form, you will need to follow specific fonts, styles, page breaks, and other aspects of book formatting. However, while all eBooks do follow standard rules, the rules are not the same. The rules usually depend on the publisher that you are working with. As a rule, you should check the publisher’s guidelines as thoroughly as possible.


While textbooks tend to have the same formatting rules as non-fiction books, there are some noticeable differences. Some examples of these characteristics are that textbooks are larger and utilize dynamic texts, graphics, and pictures.

Coffee Table Book

If you are going to format a coffee table book, you should take into account that it is very image-heavy. Coffee table book formatting usually requires you to have some knowledge of image editing software and a keen eye for detail as well.

Children’s Books

While you may not think that you need to do too much formatting on a children’s book, it is in fact very necessary. That is, if you want your children’s book to be as unique and aesthetically pleasing as possible. If you want your children’s book to be well formatted, you should work with a skilled artist or graphic designer.

6. Use double-spaced line spacing.

After every paragraph, you should always use double-spaced line spacing. This will ensure that readers will be able to give your last words room to breathe.

7. Utilize a book formatting software.

While you should know how to do the book formatting for your work, it is never a bad thing to use book formatting software. This is not a matter of pride but more of consistency and efficiency.

Although Google Docs and Microsoft Word could help with the book formatting process, there are book formatting programs that totally specialize in the process. Take the time to try out various book formatting software programs and try to use them to the best of your ability. Here are some great book formatting software programs that you should use:


As a formatting software, Vellum is one of the very best in the industry. It is a very multifaceted tool and is very easy to use. When it comes to advantages, Vellum boasts a lot. It offers various ready-made styles that all look professionally made. It also gives users direct access to customizable formatting options and has a very versatile preview mode.

The only downside is that it is only usable on Mac computers and cannot be used on Windows or mobile devices. For a book formatting tool, it is also expensive, with a $199.99 price tag for eBook publishing and $249.00 for eBook and print book publishing.


While Vellum was considered the best formatting software years ago, Atticus has since replaced it as the best in the industry. The best thing about Atticus is that it is as effective and efficient as Vellum, but at a more reasonable price.

Atticus is newer compared to other software, which makes its features more up-to-date and potent. It has great features such as writing goals and writing modes as well. The software is very easy to use, and aside from being a stellar book formatter, it is also a very powerful word processor. For the price of $147 for unlimited eBooks and printed books, it is very affordable.

Kindle Create

If you want to format your book without using Vellum or Atticus, you could instead use Kindle Create. This book formatting tool is particularly useful if you are going to publish your book through Amazon. The book formatting features of Kindle Create are efficient but somewhat basic compared to other software.

MS Word

As a word processor, Microsoft Word is considered the best in the industry. The software also offers easy-to-use book formatting features that make it very easy to use. While MS Word does not offer the most complete book formatting features in the industry, it is still very efficient and will allow you to fulfill basic book formatting functions without any issues. MS Word also offers some book templates, and at the cost of $139.99 or a monthly fee of $6.99, it is quite affordable.


If you want book formatting software that offers great customization features, you won’t go wrong with Scrivener. The software is very multi-faceted and has a great composition mode that is very efficient and organized. It also has ready-made templates that you could use.

The composition mode is particularly great because it has a feature that allows you to erase distractions and write on a screen with nothing but text. This will allow you to focus fully on book formatting. You also have the choice to export projects as MOBI,EPUB, PDF, or DOCX. The software is also a lot more affordable than other writing software, at around $49 for Windows or Mac.

Reedsy Book Editor

This software is a very multifaceted word processing tool that has a myriad of great features. Reedsy Book Editor is free and allows you to do a great deal of editing and keep all your revisions and production all in one place. It is very easy to use and holds a great deal of references that will help you during the writing process. As a book formatting tool, it does have some formatting features; however, they are not too extensive.


The NovelPad software is a multifaceted formatting platform that allows you to plan, draft, and format your manuscript with ease. The software has planning features that enable you to automatically structure your manuscript and export it as an eBook. The best thing about this software is that it is relatively cheap, at $8 per month or $60 per year.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign software is a great formatting platform that is part of the Creative Cloud. The software has multiple functions, such as integration with other Creative Cloud programs. This means authors can use Photoshop and Lightroom with the software. The software has a lot of customizable options, along with an overall interface. These features give authors the ability to create high-quality eBooks and print books. The price point is $20.99 a month, which could be a bit expensive for a monthly subscription.

Final Thoughts

If you are going to self-publish your book, it is important that you make it as well-formatted as possible. If your book formatting is subpar, your readers may complain, and your reputation as a writer will be damaged as well. With these tips, you’ll be able to format your book in the best way possible.

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