Steps to Create a Book

Steps for Authors when writing a book

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;
   Name of the author or names of authors if the book is collaboration;
   Names of contributors, such as editors, illustrators, and translators; and
   Name of the publisher and the publisher's logo.

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

COVERS/SPINE LOCATIONPAGE NAMESAMPLE CONTENT
Front of bookFront CoverGraphic, book title, subtitle (if any), author name(s)
Inside front cover Usually blank; optional to include ISBN or UPC (Universal Product Code) numbers and bar codes
Vertical spineSpineTitle, Author(s), Publisher logo (if available)
Inside back cover BLANK
Back of bookBack Cover
  • Brief description of book's content
  • Author photo & qualifications (both optional, but highly recommended)
  • Book review/promotional quotes (definitely include if available)
  • ISBN + bar code (will be printed if available; be sure to leave sufficient white space)

Front matter

FRONT MATTER LOCATIONPAGE NAMESAMPLE CONTENT
1st R page after inside front cover OPTIONAL Promo Page OR blankIF use as Promo, include testimonials, reviews, or endorsements for the book; may also list author's other books

Otherwise, leave BLANK
1st L page BLANK
2nd R pageHalf Title PageContains only the title of the book, not author name(s) or subtitle (if any)
L page facing full title page BLANK
R pageFull Title PageDisplay full title, subtitle (if any), & name of the author(s), editor or compiler of collection, photos, etc. (if any)
L pageCopyright Page

Reverse of the Title Page contains the copyright notice, printing history, the Library of Congress Catalog number, ISBN, publisher name/address, & any additional copyright information.
Notice of Copyright consists of these parts:

Copyright 200X by [Author(s) Name]
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Published 200X
Printed by XXX in the United States of America

ISBN X-XXX-XXXXX-X

[Date of copyright = when work reduced to tangible form]
[Published & printed dates may be the same]

NOTE: When text & photographs (or other content) have different copyright owners, list them individually:

Text copyright 200X by [Author(s) Name]
Photographs copyright 200X by [Photographer(s) Name]
R pageDedication PageShort statement thanking an individual or group of individuals for their help or support
L page BLANK
R pageAcknowledgements List of everyone who helped the author produce the book

OPTIONAL, otherwise SKIP AHEAD TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
L page NOT NEEDED IF SKIP ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Otherwise BLANK
R pageTable of Contents (TOC)Lists the book's contents, arranged by chapter. Can also break down by chapter section, subsection as displayed below:

Number & Name of the chapter
  Optional: Subhead Name of a section within chapter
Number & Name of the chapter
  Optional: Subhead Name of a section within chapter

& so on
L page TOC continued if needed

Otherwise BLANK
If TOC spans more than one additional page, continue to end on either L or R page.

If end on L, start Chapter 1 on next R page.

If end on R page, insert BLANK L page, then start Chapter 1 on next R page
R page

IF INCLUDED, CONTINUE WITH L/R PAGINATION UNTIL FIRST OPEN R PAGE, THEN START CHAPTER 1

IF NOT INCLUDED, GO AHEAD & START BODY OF THE BOOK WITH CHAPTER 1
ALL ARE OPTIONAL

Foreword
Preface
Introduction
List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Disclaimers
ALL ARE OPTIONAL:

Foreword:
Testimonial or introduction by someone other than the author

Preface:
Explanation of the origins & history of the book written by the book's author(s)

Introduction:
Short summary or explanation of the book

List of Abbreviations:
List of the abbreviations contained in the book

List of Illustrations:
List of all illustrations, figures or diagrams, with page numbers of where they're found in the book

Disclaimers:
Short conditional statement about the use of the book. Included to provide a small amount of legal protection to the author

Body text

BODY MATTER LOCATIONPAGE NAMESAMPLE CONTENT
R pageChapter One

Can be spelled out OR displayed in numerals
Name of the chapter & body text of chapter. May be divided into subsections that display subheads.

Succeeding L & R pages display continuous content of Chapter 1 until end
L or R pageSucceeding ChaptersConvention dictates that each new Chapter STARTS on an R page, even if that means the preceding L page is BLANK.

However, it is perfectly acceptable to continue L/R pagination throughout the remaining body text of your book without forcing an R page start for each new chapter.

The primary reason for not forcing R page starts for each new chapter is to save paper.

Back matter

BACK MATTER LOCATIONPAGE NAMESAMPLE CONTENT
R page

IF INCLUDED, & CHAPTERS WERE NOT FORCED INTO R PAGE STARTS, CONTINUE WITH L/R PAGINATION UNTIL END

IF CHAPTERS FORCE R PAGE STARTS, USE SAME PAGINATION FOR ALL SECTIONS OF BACK MATTER
ALL ARE OPTIONAL

End Notes
Appendix
Glossary
Bibliography
Works Cited
Index
Author Bio
Order Blank
ALL ARE OPTIONAL:

End Notes:
Additional information about a statement made in the text & usually referenced by a number

Appendix:
Collection of important information & other resources

Glossary:
List of terms found in the book & their definitions

Bibliography:
List of books, articles & other resources the author used in writing the book

Works Cited:
List of books, articles & other resources the author cited in the text of the book

Index:
List of key words & associated page numbers designed to help the reader find important information inside the book. The Index should not list chapters, but rather terms & concepts found within chapters. Indexing is a combination of skill & intuition. Usually the last section in a book.

Author(s) Bio:
Short author biography (possibly including photo) is usually included in all books other than a mass-market paperback Do not include in back matter if also displayed on back cover.

Order Form:
Blank, left-hand page at the end of the book that can be used to order additional copies

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).

  • If using a sans serif font for body text (Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, etc.), do not use smaller than 8pt. size.

  • If using a serif font for body text (Berkeley, Palatino, Garamond, etc.), do not use smaller than 10pt. size.

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

Pagination, headers/footers

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.

Setting margins

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 kevin@erpgenie.com to get the ball rolling


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Kevin Wilson,
May 20, 2015, 5:06 PM
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