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Formatting a Book Manuscript with MS Word

This piece comes to us from local author and teacher Phyl Campbell.  Discover more about Phyl and her work at her website www.phylcampbell.com.  Also, formatting can be stressful, so please enjoy a few pictures of beaches while you work. — Katherine Cerulean, Founder

from wonderfulengineering.com "Formatting is stressful; please enjoy these pictures of beaches." -- KC

from wonderfulengineering.com

If using a POD service like CreateSpace, there are things a writer needs to do to prepare a manuscript for upload.  While each step is not difficult, there are a lot of moving parts or things that change when a writer may not want them to.  For example, increasing the font size will add pages. So will adding headers. All these moving parts can make a writer-turned- formatter into an angry heap of wet noodles, which is why a lot of people are willing to pay vanity presses thousands of dollars to prepare manuscripts for them. However, with a good guide, and a better chunk of TIME (two weeks or more is optimal), any willing writer may format his or her own material for POD.

from d-beach.com

from d-beach.com

Some things should be done during the writing process. Inserting page breaks (not the same as hitting ENTER/RETURN until hitting the next page) between chapters, applying styles to chapter headers and body text, and setting page size. A typical mass market book size is 5×8, so a proper page layout would be 5 wide and 8 tall.
Yes, writers can take the above steps after manuscripts are complete. It is my personal preference to have as many steps already done as possible.

from play.google.com

from play.google.com

Another step I’m always meaning to do as I go, but don’t because I’m frequently adding, removing, and re-arranging chapters, is to create each chapter as a separate section (LAYOUT > BREAKS > SECTION BREAKS > NEXT PAGE). Writers that have 10 or fewer long-ish chapters probably aren’t as bothered by this as writers who have many chapters that are only a few pages long. I fit the latter category.
Insert Page Numbers (I insert page numbers as footers because it is less complicated than adjusting the spacing to include my name, book title, and page numbers at the top)
Create mirror margins (LAYOUT > MARGINS > MIRROR MARGINS).
Create headers.

Writers should pick up a mass market paperback from their genre or that they enjoy and plan their headers to match. This is where sections come in handy. Writers will notice that popular mass market industry standard does not have headers on the same page as a new chapter. Formatters achieve this by clicking a few boxes in the Header Design tab. Add a header. Go to that header. The MSWord command ribbon will change to show options for the DESIGN of the Header. Find and check the boxes for different first page and different even and odd pages. As the writer-
turned-formatter gets used to the bugs of MSWord, they may have to click these boxes for each section several times as they move about pages and chapters.

Check progress by saving often, then selecting FILE > PRINT > Print to PDF. A separate dialog box will come up for the writer to name the PDF being saved. I name my files with the Book title, date, and time – no punctuation.
This allows me to see my most recent save most easily. Then I open CreateSpace, go to Interior Files, and upload the latest PDF. I have to wait a few (up to 10) minutes for processing, but then CreateSpace will tell me about any errors or inconsistencies.

from 7-themes.com

from 7-themes.com

Create front and back matter. Interior title pages, previous works by page, copyright page, about the author/artist page, upcoming book page, dedication page – looking at other mass market books will help writers determine where all these pages should go. Using the CreateSpace check as a guide, writers can choose where to insert pages, including blank pages, into their manuscript (back in MSWord) to preserve page placement.
Because headers and page numbers are not supposed to be seen on front and back matter, I create each page of front and back matter as a separate section and click the header box “different first page.”

from beaches.com.au

from beaches.com.au

This guide comes as a result of publishing more than 10 books using MSWord. I know more after the tenth book than I did after my first. I will know more after publishing book number 15 or 20, undoubtedly. Any writers who are aware of mistakes I am making or other shortcuts, easier or better ways to achieve the same results, feel free to educate me. I’m as happy to learn as I am to share what I know.

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About katherinecerulean

Novelist, founder of The Athens Writers Association, and enthusiast of all things awesome and magical. Need my help with ANYTHING? Just ask!

10 responses »

  1. Alan - Robert Alan Black

    Hello AWA regular members

    Who in the group might be able to help me with learning about copyright fair use in books?

    *Alan* *2016 – Develop Your Skills & Knowledge of* *Leading – Communicating – Teaming – C,r,E,8,N,G!*

    Robert *Alan *Black, Ph.D., CSP, DLA, TM: AC-Gold http://www.cre8ng.com alan@cre8ng.com 706 353 3387 *GOOGLE+ posts* https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/robert%20alan%20black

    *My Angels & My Demons*

    On Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 8:02 AM, Athens Writers Association wrote:

    > katherinecerulean posted: “This piece comes to us from local author and > teacher Phyl Campbell. Discover more about Phyl and her work at her > website http://www.phylcampbell.com. Also, formatting can be stressful, so > please enjoy a few pictures of beaches while you work. — Katherine Ceru” >

    Reply
  2. Alan - Robert Alan Black

    only quickly looked at this mailing not seeing the breadth and depth of it.

    Have now printed a pdf to read later.

    I am seeking help in take my MSWord book and turning it into a Kindle and e-book format

    Are any of the AWA members experienced in doing those?

    *Alan* *2016 – Develop Your Skills & Knowledge of* *Leading – Communicating – Teaming – C,r,E,8,N,G!*

    Robert *Alan *Black, Ph.D., CSP, DLA, TM: AC-Gold http://www.cre8ng.com alan@cre8ng.com 706 353 3387 *GOOGLE+ posts* https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/robert%20alan%20black

    *My Angels & My Demons*

    On Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 8:02 AM, Athens Writers Association wrote:

    > katherinecerulean posted: “This piece comes to us from local author and > teacher Phyl Campbell. Discover more about Phyl and her work at her > website http://www.phylcampbell.com. Also, formatting can be stressful, so > please enjoy a few pictures of beaches while you work. — Katherine Ceru” >

    Reply
    • Hi Alan, I don’t know anyone off hand who’s a specialist in that topic, but feel free to check out our ‘upcoming events page’ and join us on the last Sunday of the month for our informal, monthly meeting. We can certainly talk about your question there and pass on all we know. Best wishes!

      Reply
    • I have converted to Kindle format from Word. You can contact me through my website (I am the guest blogger).

      Reply
  3. Great info, am archiving this for reference.
    And yes, it is stressful — appreciate the beach pics!

    Reply
  4. Based on my experience with two works, ASHES AT THE ALTAR and JANUARY IN SLAVERY, the advice is MOST helpful.

    Reply
  5. Katherine et al. — good to see you at Lickskillet. Does the Athens Writers Group have regular meetings? I’d like to sit itn

    Reply

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