Yes, the inside of your book matters as much as the outside

I also could have titled this post: Who thinks about this stuff? The answer being, anyone who self-publishes.

Newest Book CoverWith the cover firmly in place (with a new font picked out as well), the next step in my book making process is to focus on the inside of the book, the interior formatting and font selection. After enduring the nightmare of Kindle-ready formatting (that will be another post), I was looking forward to working in InDesign to make Servants & Thieves a pleasure to read.

Aside from the obvious choices–what the chapter heads should look like, whether to use a drop cap or not, and what to do with section breaks–there are several typesetting considerations that I never considered until now. Here’s the short list of things I had to ferret out of the vast universe of the Internet to help make reading the book easier. (Kind of a punch-list of formatting.)

  • Convert any straight quotes to “curly” quotes
  • Ensure there’s only one space after a period
  • Make all dashes (- -) into “em dashes” (—) and space them with “thin spaces” (gotta have InDesign to do stuff like this)
  • Convert all ellipses to periods separated by (you guessed it) thin spaces
  • Decide on the hyphenation rules (how many letters in the word, how many before, after, etc.)
  • For each page, make sure there are at least two lines of text at the top
  • For each paragraph, make sure there are no single “floating” words at the end (if possible)
  • If a line is skipped at the bottom of one page (for spacing), the facing page must match as well
  • Ensure there are at least four lines of text on the last page of a chapter
  • Remove header from all chapter pages

I know there was more stuff as I went through the text, but this was newer material for me. I had studied how other books were put together, and a lot of this made sense, but it wasn’t until I had a checklist did I put it into practice.

Here’s a sample of chapter one, which shows the formatting for chapter heads as well as the first section break. Shows you almost everything but the page headers. Okay, here’s page two and three as well, to give you an idea of how that turned out.

Getting closer by the day to finishing out this process! The Lord willing, we’ll get it done.

Books by Derrick

Servants & Thieves

Wanderers in Time:
Book One

Servants & Thieves Available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.

Prophets & Liars

Wanderers in Time:
Book Two

Prophets & Liars Available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.

Conquerors & Kings

Wanderers in Time:
Book Three

Conquerors & Kings Available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.


NaNoWriMo Results

Two years now, Derrick has participated in National Novel Writing Month, and completed the 50,000 words necessary to be a winner.

2009 Nano Winner   2011 Nano Winner