Formatting Your Book Files Using InDesign – Part 1

Now that you’ve made some decisions about how you want your book to look, it’s time to format your book for print. One of the many applications available for producing not only a great looking printed book but also the files you’ll need for your Kindle and ePub versions is Adobe InDesign®. Since this application is available on a monthly subscription basis, you don’t have to pay big bucks to own it – simply purchase a one-month subscription and use the app as much as you need. Renew the subscription if you’d like, or allow the subscription to lapse until you need it again.

Bookfiles and Chapter Files
Each of the chapters and the various front matter and back-of-the-book files for your book will be separate InDesign files. All of these files are then pulled into a book file. From the book file, you’ll be able to output a PDF for print, output an ePub file that can be used for Nook, iTunes, Smashwords, and Kobo, and, with a free downloadable plug-in from Amazon, a .mobi file for Kindle.

Book Template for Novels
Novels generally have four sections:

  1. Front matter, which includes a title page, copyright page, and dedication page
  2. Manuscript, which includes some number of chapters and possibly a prologue and epilogue
  3. Excerpt featuring a future book
  4. About the Author page

Note: You’ll need a table of contents if you’ll be making an ePub and/or .mobi file from InDesign, but you won’t use it for print purposes.

Book Template – Overall

An overall template can be used to help format the individual files that make up your book. Check with your publisher for guidelines for gutters and margins. The page count and paper choice will determine the width of your gutter. To create a book template, launch InDesign and perform the following steps:

  1. Choose File > New > Document
  2. In the dialog box,
    1. Set up your template page
      1. Size = 5 x 8″ (or whatever size you want your printed book to be)
      2. Facing pages
      3. Larger gutter margin than outside margins; f the gutter = 0.75″, then the outer margins = 0.25, 0.375 or 0.5″ depending on page count
      4. Top and bottom margins = 0.5 to 1.0″
      5. Header and footers = 0.25″ to 0.5″ from top and bottom
  3. Click Save Preset and assign a name for future use (such as Paperback)

new_document

Master Pages

When working in InDesign, you’ll just need just three master pages for your book – A, B, and C. Their page sizes will be based on the dimensions you set up in the prior section. To set up a master page, perform the following steps in the InDesign file you created above:

  1. Choose Window > Pages
  2. In the Pages palette, select New Master …  new_master
  3. Set up a Master A, B and C based on the guidelines shown below
    1. On the master page spreads, use the text tool (T) to click and drag out the text boxes for the headers, footers and text areas. Position them according to the margins set up in your document.
    2. Type in the information that will appear on every page (see below)
    3. For page numbers, choose Type > Insert Special Character > Current Page Number. Be sure the page numbers are positioned at the outside margin – not in the gutter!
  4. To select a master page, simply click its icon in the Pages palette or choose Layout > Pages > Master Pages
    A is a two-page spread with headers, footers and text blocks.

      The left header is for your author name in the italics version of your book’s main font.
      The right header is for your book’s name in the italics version of your book’s main font.
    B is a two-page spread with footer, chapter start and a text block that starts around two inches below the top margin.
    C is a two-page spread with no headers or footers – just a text block for use on your title, copyright, dedication/acknowledgement, introduction to excerpt, excerpt, and author pages.

pages

Setting Up and Formatting Front Matter Files

Title Page

title_page

To set up your book’s title page in InDesign, perform the following steps:

  1. Choose File > New > Document.
  2. Select the preset template you set up earlier
  3. Choose File > Save As and give it a logical filename without spaces (such as titlepage.indd)
  4. Apply master page C
  5. Choose Window > Paragraph Styles   paragraph_styles
  6. From the Paragraph Styles palette (click the upper right corner), select New Paragraph Style  paragraph_style_dialog
  7. Assign “Style Name” to be BookTitle 
  8. Select “Basic Character Formats” and choose your Font Family and Size and Leading

    • Note: For a title font, choose one appropriate to your genre and make it large, but not so it overpowers your page. Take a look at some paperbacks you have on hand to use as guides. paragraph_style_booktitle
  9. Select “Indents and Spacing” and set the Alignment to Centeredparagraph_style_body_indent
  10. Click OK
  11. In the page window, type in your book’s title and click the paragraph style in the Paragraph Styles palette to apply the style to your book title
  12. Repeat steps 5 through 9 to create an Author style and type in your author name  basic_character_formatsindents_and_spacing
  13. If you have an imprint or logo for your publishing company, insert it centered near the bottom of the page. Be sure the image is in JPG format and sized to its finished printed size at 300 dpi.
  14. Choose File > Save

Copyright Page

To set up your book’s title page in InDesign, perform the following steps:

  1. Choose File > New > Document
  2. Select the preset template you set up earlier
  3. Choose File > Save As and give it a logical filename without spaces (such as copyright.indd)
  4. Apply master page C
  5. Choose Window > Paragraph Styles
  6. From the Paragraph Styles palette, select New Paragraph Style
  7. Assign “Style Name” to be Copyright
  8. Select “Basic Character Formats” and choose your Font Family and Size = 8 pt. and Leading = 9.5 pt.
  9. Select “Indents and Spacing” and set the Alignment to Left
  10. Type the following information for your copyright information:
    1. Boilerplate for fiction
    2. Book title
    3. All Rights Reserved
    4. © Year Author Name
    5. Cover image © <name of where purchased>. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
    6. Credit / Copyright for cover design
    7. Publisher name and website
    8. ISBN
    9. Library of Congress # (if you have it)
    10. Trademark statements (if applicable)
    11. Printed in <Country Name>

The e-book version of the copyright page should include all but the “Printed in” line as well as the boilerplate information for e-books. If you’re distributing through Smashwords, follow their guidelines for what to include.

  1. Choose Page > Insert Page to add a blank second page (the back side of the Copyright page will be blank in a printed book)
  2. Choose File > Save.

Dedication or Acknowledgement Page

dedication

To set up your book’s Dedication or Acknowledgements page, perform the following steps:

  1. Choose File > New > Document
  2. Select the preset template you set up earlier
  3. Choose File > Save As and give it a logical filename without spaces (such as dedication.indd)
  4. Apply master page C
  5. Choose Window > Paragraph Styles
  6. From the Paragraph Styles palette, select New Paragraph Style
  7. Assign “Style Name” to be Dedication
  8. Select “Basic Character Formats” and choose your Font Family and Size = 11 or 12 pt. and Leading = 13.5 or 14.5 pt.
  9. Select “Indents and Spacing” and set the Alignment to Centered
  10. Adjust the text bock to start 2″ below the top margin
  11. Type your dedication and / or acknowledgements
  12. Choose Page > Insert Page to add a blank second page (if your acknowledgements fill less than one page)
  13. Choose File > Save.

Now that you have the files complete for your front matter, it’s time to start the chapter files.  I’ll cover the steps for those files in my next post.

Make Decisions for Your Printed Book

Now that you have your manuscript edited and proofread, you are almost ready for the next step – publication.

Before you can begin formatting your manuscript for print, though, there are some decisions you’ll need to make.

Decide on the Size of Your Book
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make about your book is its size. Trade paperbacks measure 4.625 x 6.75″. You won’t find a template of that size in most print-on-demand book production companies; however, you can come close with 5 x 8″. Other popular sizes include 5.5 x 8.5″ and 6 x 9″ (popular for non-fiction). Choose the 5 x 8″ for the best fit to market.

Choose a Paper Stock
Paper stock should be cream or white créme – you don’t want to blind your readers by choosing a bright white paper. The cremé white stock is 441 pp/in, which means it takes 221.5 sheets of it to equal an inch in depth. That will determine the spine size of your book. Most companies will provide a cover template based on your page count, but you’ll need to know what paper stock you want them to use when printing so your cover artist can make your spine the right width.

Choose a Paper Stock for your Cover
Cover stock should be 12 pt C1S or matte cover. Whether you choose glossy or matte finish is up to you. Visit a bookstore and look at covers to help you decide which finish will work the best for yours.

Choose a Font
Most e-book offerings will take your file and convert it using fonts that work for their e-readers. There are only a few that work, so they’ll automagically convert your fonts when making the .mobi file (for Kindle) or .epub (for Nook, iTunes and a variety of other readers). Most will not allow embeddable fonts, so you’ll just have to allow the reader to convert your favorite to whatever it can display. The readers will also allow a human reader to set the font to a size larger or smaller. Your downloadable PDFs will use the same font as your print book.

At this point, you need to choose a font that works for the print version of your book. The following list is made up of the fonts most often recommended for print. Take a look at them and decide which one you’d like for your book.

  • Minion, with Poppi Laudatio for chapter titles
  • Garamond, with Helvetica Neue Bold Condensed or Chaparral for chapter titles
  • Caslon, with Myrial Pro for chapter titles
  • Janson, with Lithos or Neuva for chapter titles
  • Palatino
  • In my next post, I’ll go over how to set up your book template and all the files you’ll need to create a professional book.

    Happy writing!

    You Wrote a Book … Now What?

    How do you become a published romance author? First, you write a romance novel. Then …

    And it’s the “then” that stops most writers from becoming a published author. What’s the next step? Where do you go if you’ve queried every romance agent you could find with a Google search and received few or no replies? If you submitted your manuscript to Harlequin and discovered it’s too long (or too short) for their various imprints? If you exhausted every avenue of finding a traditional publisher?

    If you truly believe you have written a book worthy of publication, it’s time to consider one other publishing option – the option where you are the publisher.

    Years ago, the term “self-publishing” gained a poor reputation when vanity presses offered authors the opportunity to publish their books at sometimes extreme prices with the requirement to purchase hundreds of copies or more. The author ended up with a garage full of unsold books and an empty wallet. Even today, there are several publishing houses that sell overpriced services – editing, formatting, cover design, printing, reviews, and marketing  – that make it next to impossible for an author to ever make enough in royalties to cover their production costs. (I know, because I used one of them. If it hadn’t been for the sales of the e-books I produced and published myself, I never would have recovered the expenses of having the paperback version produced. More on that later.)

    In just the past five years, self-publishing has given the literary world independent authors. Indies publish their books directly to readers using self-serve publishing and distribution platforms such as KDP, Smashwords, Nook Press, All Romance e-books, and others. Their books represent nearly half  the titles on the bestseller lists. And as time goes on, more and more traditionally published authors are giving up their publishing deals in favor of becoming independent authors.

    So, are you ready to become an indie? If so, you’ll need help in the form of the following:

    1. Beta readers. Line up a group of people willing to read your novel and provide honest feedback (and hopefully a marked up manuscript showing where they might have found errors). Reward them with a dinner and movie and a copy of your final book so they’ll be willing to do it again for your next book.
    2. Editor. Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to pay for this service. Find one by doing a search based on the sub-genre of your romance and ask for recommendations from published authors. A good editor will read your entire manuscript not just for typographical errors, but for organization, sentence structure, grammar, tense, point-of-view, transition troubles and more. Editing takes time, so be sure you allow your editor the time necessary to do the best job on your manuscript.
    3. Proofreader. After you’ve input all your editor’s suggestions, you’ll want a proofreader to go through your manuscript one more time. You can’t trust yourself to do this – you’ve read your book so many times, your mind will fill in the missing words or overlook the duplicates.

    Once you have a solid manuscript, you’ll be ready for the next step. I’ll cover formatting for print in my next post.

    One Year and Six Books Later …

    If someone had told me exactly a year ago that I would have six books available for sale by the end of 2013, I probably would have responded with last year’s least favorite word – whatever.

    After spending several years writing some of those books and most weekends trying to find an agent (without success), I had about given up on ever seeing them published. But I was motivated. I wanted to pay off a home improvement loan, and royalties from those books seemed like the best way to do it. 

    Now, that home improvement loan isn’t quite paid off, but it will be by this time next year. To do it, I’ve had to spend nearly as much time to prepare those books for publication and market them as I did writing them in the first place!

    How did I go about it? Probably not the best way, nor the least expensive way, but I know better now. I’ll share the steps (and mis-steps) in occasional posts over the next few months in the hopes that someone can benefit from my experience. And save some money, too.

    Happy New Year!

    This entry was posted on January 4, 2014. 1 Comment