There are dozens of ways to become a self-published author. It has gotten easier to put your work out there for all to see, however there are a few things that can separate the novice from the professional when it comes to formatting. Here are three formatting tips from one of our senior editors on how to make sure your self-published book looks professional.
Although in papers and online you will usually see left alignment used for paragraphs, use Justification with your book content. Below are two examples of a page using both. You can see which one looks more professional.
You can see the difference mostly on the outside margin. When you use Justified, it is a clean smooth line. The difference may be subtle, but it is a one that many professionals will catch. Also be careful that your indentation isn’t too far over or the words are too spaced out.
No Cursive Allowed
There are thousands of pretty fonts, but if we can’t clearly read them, they are no good. You’d be surprised how many people will pass up on a title because the font is hard to read. I know you may want to be different, but this isn’t the time. Use a sans-serif font for your content. You can make your chapter titles or even the title on your cover a little fancy, but always be mindful of your readers when doing so.
You also want to be mindful of your font size. Unless you are marketing your book as large print, be careful with making it too big. In general, content is font size 12 across the board. Remember, the font of your book (how the words look) is not where you want to stand out. Make your words meaningful and that won’t be a problem.
When it doubt, hire a professional
You’ve written a book, which is great, but that is not all that goes into becoming an author. You may not have time to sift through all the particulars. If you can’t get the formatting just right or don’t even know where to start, it’s okay to consult a professional. The great thing about self-publishing being so popular is that there are editors, formatters and graphic designers readily available to help your dream become a reality.
Use the resources available to you to make sure your book comes out polished and professional.