how to format a book tutorial with free templates

After being a book designer for several years, and having hundreds of clients ask me if I could do their formatting, I decided to learn how to do print layout for POD books. Basically, I needed to use MS Word or InDesign to layout a book for print with headers, chapter headings, title info, TOC and more.

But there were tricky issues: like not having headers or page numbers on chapter pages, or having blank pages and starting on the left or right. And if you screwed something up, the whole book could be off. But I kept at it. I was tired of leaving clients to do their own formatting without help: the manuscripts they made were unprofessional and full of errors.

When I stopped doing book design to write my own fiction, I wanted to put up a package of interior book formatting templates on this site (and I’ve done so). Plus there are lots of videos and guides – all free – so you can format your book on your own, save money, and have MUCH better looking books.

Check around for the free stuff, or if you want even more options, download the master package.


How to Format a Book (With FREE Templates and Videos)

I’m going to update this with real links to the videos, in the meantime make sure you look around the site to find the DIY formatting tutorials.

Formatting a book might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few free resources and some knowledge under your belt, you’ll be on your way to creating a well-formatted book that impresses readers and stands up against professionally published works. Here’s a step-by-step guide to formatting your book:

Step 1: Setup Your Document

Before you begin, make sure you have a clean document to work with. Remove any unnecessary spaces, tabs, or other odd formatting.

Free Template: Check out this Basic Manuscript Template (replace with a real link) to help you get started.

Video Guide: For more detailed instructions, watch this Setting Up Your Document Video (replace with a real link).

Step 2: Choose a Book Size and Set Margins

Choose your book size based on your publishing goals, then set your margins accordingly.

Free Template: This Book Size and Margins Template (replace with a real link) can guide you through the process.

Video Guide: Watch this Setting Margins and Book Size Video (replace with a real link) for a step-by-step walkthrough.

Step 3: Style Your Text

Choose a font and style that complements your book. Typically, you should stick to a simple, easy-to-read font for your main text.

Free Template: This Styling Text Template (replace with a real link) provides pre-styled fonts, headers, and paragraph settings.

Video Guide: Check out this Styling Text Video (replace with a real link) to learn more about text styling options.

Step 4: Insert Page Numbers

Page numbers are crucial for guiding your readers through your book.

Free Template: Use this Page Numbering Template (replace with a real link) to help you correctly insert page numbers.

Video Guide: Watch this Inserting Page Numbers Video (replace with a real link) to understand the process.

Step 5: Create Headers and Footers

Headers and footers can include information like the book title, author’s name, and chapter title.

Free Template: This Header and Footer Template (replace with a real link) will help you set up these crucial elements.

Video Guide: For a more in-depth guide, check out this Creating Headers and Footers Video (replace with a real link).

Step 6: Build Your Front and Back Matter

Don’t forget about your title page, copyright page, dedication, acknowledgments, about the author, and any other front and back matter!

Free Template: Use this Front and Back Matter Template (replace with a real link) to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Video Guide: Watch this Building Front and Back Matter Video (replace with a real link) to understand the importance of these sections.

Formatting a book can be a big job, but with these free resources, it’s definitely manageable. With a bit of time and patience, you’ll have a beautifully formatted book that you’ll be proud to share. Happy formatting!

Derek Murphy
Derek Murphy

I'm a location independent book designer (and book marketing genius) working on my PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle to use as a writer's paradise. I write non-fiction and YA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.