Updates! I’m rebuilding this site and making a new package of book formatting templates. I hope my free resources help you to format and publish your book! Personally, however, this is way too much work, so I now use Vellum for all my book formatting. It’s for Mac, but you can use it on a PC.
How to format a book in Microsoft Word
for KDP & IngramSpark POD
This free video workshop is a 10-step series on book formatting in Microsoft Word. We’ll go through everything you need to do to format a book from scratch for print-ready PDFs you can use with print on demand publishing services like Createspace or Lightning Source.
I used Word 2016 for these videos, but almost all the features are identical to earlier version of Word. You can start your own document from scratch, or download our free package of formatting templates to get started quickly.
1. How to set page size, margins and gutter
In this video I’ll show you how to set page size, margins and gutter – as well as the right sizes for novels and non-fiction books.
2. How to remove spaces, indents and tabs
When I start formatting a book for print, I usually need to strip out all the tabs, indents and double spaces with the Replace tool (so that I can add them back in the right way).
3a. Setting styles (short version)
The last video got out of control (27 minutes), so I tried to make a new one that’s shorter… in the end I’m posting both. Maybe watch this first and if you miss something, watch the longer one.
3b. How to set heading and paragraph styles
The most important thing to learn about Microsoft Word is that you should be using styles to format your book for print and ebook – especially heading styles so you can move sections around in your navigation pane. But you also need to add spacing between elements so they show up in the right place; then add section breaks between chapters.
Make your book beautiful… without the headache
Psst… learning to format your own books can be a pain in the ass. It’s easier with our beautifully designed, 100% free templates. They’ve already helped over 20,000 authors publish successfully. Click here to download them all.
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4. How to add headers, footers and page numbers
You need to set up headers and footers before you start breaking up the manuscript into sections (which you also need to do). It saves time to go in this order.
5. How to add section breaks between chapters
You must add section breaks between chapters so you can have a ‘different first page’ style that works, so that your chapter starts will look good (usually no heading or footer, sometimes fancy extras.)
6. Add a title page and copyright page
Keep the style of your book cover for the chapter page. You can get a free copyright page sample in any of my free book formatting templates.
7. About the author and call-to-action
Your book needs two ‘about the author’ sections – the one on the back cover is sales copy, and should just have enough vital information to help sell the book (but only if you have any credentials or a sparkling personality that will actually impress people – otherwise skip it and put a review their instead). The about the author section in inside of your book is where you can start to build a relationship with readers after they’ve finished reading and want to know more about you. It’s also where you can encourage them to connect with you, follow you or take action by signing up to your email list (this is what you really want to focus on, so have a juicy opt-in bribe lined up.
8. How to add images and graphics
Word isn’t ideal for text layout or adding graphics, so it’s a little frustrating trying to put things exactly where you want them. But if you’re making a picture book, children’s book or word book (like poetry), knowing how to add graphics might be important.
9. Advanced book formatting to make your book awesome
In this video I’ll talk about dropcaps, decoration and styling – the bigger the design, the younger reader (YA books have big, beautiful design; adult thrillers should be stark and clean with lots of spacing). But also, it’s easy to add too many elements and screw things up, so make good choices – less is more.
Still here? You’re working too hard
A lot of this stuff is already done for you in my formatting templates. I made them to help indie authors save time and money, without making amateur book design and formatting mistakes. Seriously, you should download the free package. I’ll also send you my email series on publishing books that sell – I’ve been told it’s life changing.
🔒100% secure download. No spam, ever.
Was this useful?
If so, please share it! If you need a book cover, you should check out the sister site, www.diybookcovers.com – it has more free tools and templates to make your book look good. If you haven’t done so yet, you should sign up for my email list. Not only will you get a bunch of professional book design and formatting templates, I’ll also send a free email series on everything I’ve learned after helping launch hundreds of bestsellers (and making a full-time living from my own fiction and non-fiction books).
Need your book to be uniquely beautiful?
Grab my professional package of book design templates for that perfect look for YOUR book. Dozens of styles for fiction and nonfiction books, plus some extra bonuses and insider secrets to launching a #1 bestseller. New templates coming soon (but then I’ll raise the prices).
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Also if formatting in MS Word is too stressful (and it totally is…) I recommend checking out Vellum.
PS. I’m not just some guy on the internet… I’ve got a PhD in Literature, have spoken on book design at publishing conferences around the world, and was featured in CNN for renting castles to use as writing retreats. You can also check out my main book cover design site, or my blog Creativindie.com where I help authors and artists produce and sell their best work.