How much formatting should a writer do?

I prefer working with writers who use the simplest, plainest formatting possible. Even when writing my own publications, I tend to begin with a simple text document. The simpler, the better.

I would rather work with a Notepad file than a file that someone has heavily formatted without adhering to the requirements of the publisher they plan to use. All that formatting can really get in the way. Especially, if the text was formatted for different dimensions.

Every self-publishing entity provides formatted templates. They are far more than mere margins and tabs. The templates are pre-formatted to number pages directly. They are set up to create a table of contents and generate page numbers correctly. Moving content after the template is in use can really wreck your formatting, especially page numbers.

I find it much easier to keep writing separate from layout. Then copy the content in pieces and place it in the formatted template. If the original writing has heavily formatted content, it can conflict with the template.

And, templates are king.

If the template doesn’t work, the design process may have to start all over again. I have been known to strip a document back to an ascii file in order to get rid of unnecessary formatting. It’s especially troublesome with a writer who applied new formats instead of merely editing what was in place.

hackInDesign is not a writing program. InDesign is a layout program. It is an exquisite program. But, you don’t use it like a typewriter.

INDD-place

The proper way to use InDesign is to use a text program to type your words.

Then use the File/Place command to load text into InDesign.

The Text tool is for decorating text. It is not intended to be a writing tool.

Need help formatting? We can make it happen.

T::F::W::F

Make your self-published book attractive

Ask your self-publishing guru what is included in their fee. If your guru offers to “format and upload,” be sure to ask what that includes.

One of the most precious things about books is uniqueness. There is absolutely no reason not to create a beautifully unique design for self-published work. Your words deserve to look good.

A fiction book, that is straight text with just some chapter headings and page numbers, fits the bare minimum of “format and upload.”

But, would your book benefit from a little style? How about artwork and design? Textboxes. Callouts. Page borders.

Can your guru create custom page numbers, that still function and are searchable and understood by the Table of Contents and Index? They should. Otherwise, you just have words. Make your words sparkle!

hack

Use a transparent gif to decorate page numbers. Decorative page numbers are a cinch to create and they add interest to your book.

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Every book needs a cover, including eBooks. If your guru is going to do the book design, are they going to charge extra? Can they create art for the cover? Are they going to buy artwork and pass the cost on to you? If you select artwork, do you have the necessary copyright license to use it for cover art? For interior art? For both print and eBook?

If not, talk to us. We can make it happen.

T::F::W::F