The dawn of ebooks and the proliferation of print-on-demand publishing are both great for authors. However, this change in publishing trends also means you, as a hopeful author, have to do a little bit more work with your manuscript than you once did.
To prepare your book for print, you’ll need to create a cover and set up your pages, margins, and chapter layouts. You’ll also have to perform all necessary typesetting and correctly place and format illustrations.
For the cover, unless you have experience in graphic design, it’s probably a good idea to hire a professional. With a little bit of mental elbow grease, though, you should be able to do the rest.
Laying Out Your Pages and Typesetting
This is a pretty simple process. You just need to change the layout in your word processor to match the layout for your printed book. To do this, just:
- Check with your printer to make sure you have the correct dimensions.
- Set your page dimensions slightly larger than the dimensions of your book to account for page bleed.
- Set your margins comfortably within the allotted dimensions.
Now, you’ll need to set your font. This is often called typesetting.
- Choose a common serif font, such as Baskerville or Caslon.
- Set your font to 12 point.
After you’ve done this, look at your margins again. To make your book look professional and for best readability, you should have an average of 12 words per line of text. Adjust your margins to fit this, and you’re almost set.
Managing Chapters and Formatting Illustrations
Always add a page break between chapters. Starting a new chapter in the middle of a page is confusing to the reader and looks unprofessional. You should also play with your chapter titles and headings to pick something you really like.
Microsoft Word and other word processors have the ability to easily place and format images. You should just be able to drag, drop, and resize as you need.
Finally, just convert the whole file to .pdf, and you’ll be ready to send your manuscript to your printer.