The eternal question! Should you format your own books for print and ebook?
That depends on a few things, including:
- Your budget
- How many books you’re publishing
- How much time you have
The truth is, learning how to format books (and design them well, which is a totally different thing) can take a lot of time and hair-pulling. Even after learning how to do it – and better than just about everybody else, I might add – I still don’t format my own books, because it’s cheaper and faster for me to outsource them.
But if you’re publishing lots of books, especially a series, or cranking out short erotica, then you need to be in control of your formatting.
Working with a designer sucks, because you are going to find typos and more things to fix and change later, and you’ll need to ask them every time you want to change something. Createspace and bigger companies will charge for changes like this.
Ebook conversion is actually super simple if you know how to do it (you can learn how on this site, for free, BTW). But formatting for print, especially if you’re using MS Word, can be a steep challenge. In every single case, when an author tells me they’re going to format their books themselves, I ask them to send me what they’ve done so I can check it, and it is never done correctly or professionally. In the past I’ve taken over and redid their formatting for free, because that’s the kind of guy I am, but I don’t have time for that anymore, so instead I’m putting up a bunch of videos and templates you can use to format your own books.
YES you can totally do it yourself, as long as you learn how to do it well. DIY Book Formats is the #1 biggest site online devoted to teaching you how to format beautiful books – see what we’ve got and please share if you appreciate all the free stuff!
Print and paperback formatting
Should format your own book for print depends on several factors:
1. Skills and Expertise: Formatting a book requires a good understanding of book design principles and a strong grasp of the software you’re using. If you’re comfortable using tools like Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or Scrivener and you understand book formatting standards, you might be able to handle this task yourself.
2. Time: Formatting a book can be time-consuming, especially if you’re new to it. If you’d rather focus your time on writing or marketing your book, it might be worth hiring a professional.
3. Budget: Hiring a professional formatter can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of your book. If you’re on a tight budget, DIY formatting might be a more cost-effective option.
4. Complexity of the Book: If your book is a simple novel with minimal interior graphics, DIY formatting can be a viable option. But if your book includes a lot of images, tables, charts, or special formatting, a professional might be better equipped to handle the job.
5. Quality and Professionalism: A professionally formatted book can add to the overall reader experience and make your book look more polished. If you’re aiming for a professional appearance comparable to traditionally published books, hiring a professional formatter might be worthwhile.
In the end, it comes down to your personal preference, skills, and resources. If you decide to format your own book, there are plenty of resources online, including tutorials and templates, to guide you through the process. However, if you’d prefer to focus on other aspects of publishing your book or if your book’s layout is complex, hiring a professional formatter could be a beneficial investment.
Can you format your own ebooks?
Just like formatting a book for print, the decision to format your own ebook for Kindle depends on several factors:
1. Skills and Expertise: If you’re comfortable with technology and are willing to learn, formatting your own ebook for Kindle can be a manageable task. There are several tools available, like Kindle Create, that are designed to simplify the process.
2. Time: Ebook formatting can be a time-consuming process, especially if it’s your first time. It requires careful attention to detail and, depending on the complexity of your book, it could take a significant amount of time. If you’re not able to devote this time, you might want to consider hiring a professional.
3. Budget: Hiring a professional formatter can incur costs, so if your budget is tight, formatting your own ebook might be a more economical choice.
4. Complexity of the Book: If your ebook is text-heavy, like a novel or a memoir, you might be able to handle the formatting yourself. But if it’s a more complex book, with many images, tables, or special formatting requirements, a professional formatter might be necessary.
5. Quality and Professionalism: A well-formatted ebook can greatly enhance the reader’s experience. If you’re aiming for a high-quality, professional-looking ebook, hiring a professional formatter could be a beneficial investment.
Remember, while formatting your own ebook can be a rewarding experience and give you more control over the final product, it’s essential to maintain a high-quality standard. A poorly formatted ebook can lead to negative reviews and a poor reader experience.
If you decide to format your own ebook, make sure to thoroughly check the final product on different devices and in different formats to ensure it appears correctly. If you have any doubts or concerns, it might be worth getting a professional’s help.