Formatting and the book editor

Formatting and the book editor

Formatting documents an important part of writing and editing a book

Formatting is an inherent and extremely important part of the book publishing process. It includes using fonts, sizes, styles, colour, headings, quotes, and spacing to ensure the page is easy to read. Excellent formatting exists when it serves a meaningful purpose in the text, is applied consistently throughout the text, and is not noticeable to the reader.

Formatting is paramount to a book’s readability because if a reader gets lost on your page and has a bad reading experience, they may put down your book and you could lose a reader for life. Incorrect spacing, over use of fonts, poor use of paragraphs, as well as issues with quotes, captions, and footnotes can lead to a poor reading experience. If this happens, the reader may stop reading your book, want a refund, leave you a bad review, or never buy a book from you again. Whereas, the correct use of colours, complementary fonts, proper spacing, and correct indenting provides an enjoyable reading experience. Therefore, your reader should be considered in every formatting decision.

“When it’s done well, it’s not something a reader notices, but when it’s not done properly, it’s all the reader notices.”

The formatting requirements differ between ebooks and print publications. Professional editors are skilled in using formatting to create meaning and provide the reader with an enjoyable reading experience. Editors will consider scene, story, and pace when they format where chapters start and finish. Our editors approach formatting both book types with specific guidelines, and they will work with you to ensure that your text is formatted correctly for your chosen distribution method.

However, formatting is ultimately the responsibility of the person publishing the book. Therefore it is the writer’s responsibility to manage the project and collaborate effectively with both the editor and the designer. This is because the editor can only be responsible for the formatting prior to when the book is typeset. Likewise, the designer can only be responsible for the project once they come on board, which is only when the book is almost complete. The editor formats for semantics, while the designer formats for layout, it is the writer who needs to ensure that the formatting meets their reader’s needs.

If you would like some help with formatting your manuscript, but have no idea where to start, please upload your document to Dropbox, and provide us with the link via our Contact Us page. One of our editors can then provide you with information about what needs to be done.

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