Joel Friedlander wrote a great article “7 Formatting Errors That Make Your Book Look Unprofessional”, helping self-publishing authors to get to know the in- and outs of book layout. This is not the only useful post, a whole cornucopia of advice for authors who want to create print books can be found on www.TheBookDesigner.com, Joel’s website. He asks: “Although our books may be self-published, we sure don’t want them to look sub-par, do we?”
Books Should Look Like from Traditional Publishers
Writers certainly try to launch their books without the long delays or the uncertainty if they get a traditional publisher contract. The best way to have a great book layout is through a professional. However, some authors don’t want to use a book lay-outer, or don’t want to fork out the costs involved. Another way to solve a lot of these print book formatting problems while also getting a well-designed, industry-standard book, is to use a book template. Joel Friedlander created this fantastic solution. Find out more and see the available designs at: BookDesignTemplates.com.
More and more writers are taking advantage of the new tools of Print-on-Demand and create and publish their own books. Authors becoming “do-it-yourself” book lay-outers need to avoid an amateurish look of their books.
Joel Friedlanders List of Errors to Avoid
“Some of the errors I see when reviewing self-published books are very easy to correct, if you only know how:”
- Putting page numbers on blank pages.
Blank pages have no text or images on them, and that means they should be truly blank.
- Using running heads on chapter opening pages or blank pages.
Just like page numbers, running heads (the type at the top of a page that shows the book title, author name, or chapter title) have no place on a blank page, just leave them off so the pages are truly blank.
- Using “rag-right” typesetting.
This means that the left and right margins of your page are straight and all lines except the last line in a paragraph are all the same length. This is what your readers expect to see in your book, so make sure you give it to them.
- Double spacing between sentences.
Only one space between sentences.
- Using both indented AND block style spaces between paragraphs.
If you add spaces between your paragraphs, make sure you don’t also indent the first line.
- Putting the odd numbered pages on the left.
When you open a book, it just makes sense that the first page is page number 1, and that has to be a right-hand page. This rule is absolute, and you should never, ever number your pages with even numbers on right-hand pages.
- Making super small margins to save pages.
CreateSpace and other print-on-demand services charge based on number of pages. But that’s no reason to shortchange your readers by making your page margins too small just to save money. Small margins will make your book hard to hold and difficult to read, never a good result.
He adds: “Paying attention to these details of book formatting will help ensure that your books look and work the way they are supposed to. Your readers will thank you for that, and it’s your readers you should keep in mind throughout the publishing process.”
My advice: Just visit a bookstore and browse through traditional book titles, or check out the first pages of Amazon print books and you will likely not find any of these seven errors listed by Joel Friedlander. Making it right from the beginning will save you an amazing amount of time and frustration, and your reputation as a self-publisher.
Understanding Fonts & Typography
Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins
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