Select Book Genre or Market
Books come in all types, fiction or nonfiction, and for all ranges of audiences. Children's books can be activity focused (how to count) or just plain fun (coloring books). Nonfiction books can be serious history, how-to (i.e., build a birdbath), or cookbook recipe collections.
Choose a title
Choosing the subject matter of your book is very important, of course. But selecting the book's title (and possibly subtitle) may be the most important piece of writing you will do for your book.
Choose the Subject or Personality of the Book
When you choose your book's subject, you're also choosing how it will be categorized (what genre and sub-genre), how it can be marketed (business books for business people, mysteries and romance to fiction genre readers, graphic novels to comic-book lovers), and what kind of cover will appeal to its intended audience.
Create a properly formatted manuscript
Creating a properly formatted word processing document helps your final printed book meet book buyers' expectations.
Sections of the book
Books are complicated and have many parts with different purposes. The following outlines the most common sections of books found in bookstores, typical content, pagination, and header/footer conventions.
The first section readers see upon opening a book is called the front matter. This contains important information such as the book's ISBN, cataloguing-in-publication (CIP) data, and statements of copyright ownership.
Convention also dictates that a book has two pages, the left and the right. Obvious, yes, but this is important because certain pieces of information should be displayed on either the right (recto) or the left (verso) page.
The first page the reader usually sees upon opening a book will be the right-hand half-title page. It usually displays only the book's title, not the author name, subtitle, or other parts of a full title page (see below). The inside of the front cover is left blank.
Publishers also typically leave the reverse of the half-title page (the following left-hand page) blank. However, a number of items could appear on this page: a list of the author's previous works or other titles if the book is part of a series. If none of those exist, this is where a dedication could be placed.
The title page always appears on the right and contains:
Full title, including the subtitle if one exists;
Some publishers choose to place the table of contents on the R page opposite the copyright page (also called imprint page), while other publishers instead place the dedication here. It is more important to remember that convention states that half title, title, foreword, contents, and preface should be R pages, and should appear in the order given.
Pages following the preface might include an introduction, list of illustrations, list of acknowledgements, and a dedication if this hasn't been shown on the half-title L page. The various List of" sections might instead be placed in the book's back matter. Other sections of a book that appear in the back are index and about the author" statement.
Following pagination standard convention" often results in blank pages appearing in the front matter. Where blank pages are found, they are included in the pagination flow, but neither the number nor the header/footer should be displayed on the page.
Covers & spine
Book layout and margins
Keep in mind the different treatment of various book sections outlined earlier. Different sections may be treated with different layouts, fonts, and font sizes, although it's best to have unified set of treatments so the book reads and flows well.
The kinds of images you incorporate and the type of paper used for printing help define — or detract from — your book's personality." Focus on the needs and expectations of your target audience when making these decisions.
Typefaces & font sizes
Typography convention holds that sans serif faces should be used for display headers and book covers while serif typefaces are used for body text to ease readability. You should use whatever faces or combinations of faces best express your book's personality," but keep in mind that sans serif fonts may be difficult to read for an entire book.
The most widely used typefaces for book body text include Baskerville, Bembo, Garamond, Janson, Palatino, and Times Roman (although this more of a newspaper font).
Of course, you will want to use larger point sizes for display headers, and much larger point sizes for your book's cover copy.
Make sure your cover typography stands out sufficiently to be read; almost everyone really does judge a book by its cover. On the average, a bookstore browser spends eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover. Not much time to make a sale, particularly if your cover can't be read or doesn't stand out
Page numbers are never displayed on the title, half title, blank, or promo pages.
By convention, lower case Roman numerals — ii, iv, x, etc. — are used throughout the front matter pages. Numbers for the body text of the work are displayed using Arabic numerals: 1, 2, 3, etc.
Generally, numbering of the body text begins at the end of the front matter. So, if the last page of the front matter is numbered x (10 in Roman numerals), the first page of the body text will be 1 in Arabic numerals. This will typically be, though not always, the first page of Chapter One. Numbering with Arabic numerals continues to the final page of the book
Odd-numbered pages always appear on the right. If you've decided to force all chapters to start on right pages they will all be odd-numbered and may follow blank pages. Feel free to disregard this rule, however, if you want to save pages. But remember that blank pages should never be numbered or display a header/footer.
Typically, L page headers contain the Title of the book and R pages display Chapter titles. Another format places the author's name in L page headers and book titles in R page headers. Neither headers nor page numbers should be displayed on beginning Chapter pages — whether L or R — or on blank pages.
The minimum page margin to use is .5 inches on all four sides, but feel free to use larger margins. We have Microsoft Word templates available for download below that sets margins for different-sized books of varying page lengths.
If your book has margins that are smaller than .5 inches, we cannot guarantee that it will be fully readable because the binding may obscure content in the inside "gutter" margin. Therefore, using already formatted Word templates is highly recommended.
As you can see there is a lot to creating a good book. Let us do the work for you....
Send us an email to Kevin Wilson, our editor-in-chief, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling