Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Formatting for Dummies

You may or may not know this, but after your book is written and edited, you still need it to be formatted. 
 
What? 

Formatting puts your book into the right form to be printed and/or made into an eBook.

Formatting for printing is very different from formatting for an eBook.

So, how do you do it? Let us count the ways-be aware however, that formatting has the potential to drive you mad...at least at first-but, it's a common thing here in authorland.

1.  You can take classes at a conference like IndieReconLive.com to learn how to do it yourself. Only $40 dollars right now to register for 2 days of classes. Oct. 10-11th-just around the corner.


2.  Buy a book, like P.O.D Like a Pro, (print formatting only) by Heather Justesen. This is an awesome reference and it's inexpensive.

3.  Use a product like Scrivener (this does both print and eBook formatting). There is a learning curve, but once you’ve got it down, it’s pretty darn slick.

4.  Maybe you have an experienced friend who can walk you through it-this will need to be a very good friend. 

OR

5.  HIRE it out. There are tons of people who can do it for you to save you time for the thing that is most important-your writing. Just ask a friend who is an author for a name.

Keep in mind that some formatters only format for eBooks, others just for print, while still others do both. It's usually most economical to have someone do both for you. Average cost for someone to do both? $120-140

I do my own print formatting and hire out my eBook formatting. To give you an idea of cost, I pay $35. This gives me a Smashwords ready file, a .mobi (for Amazon) and a .epub file (for Nook and all others). Make sure the formatter guarantees his/her work.


If you are paying someone, make sure you get on their schedule as soon as you can.  And, if you are going to learn from a book, another person, or a class, give yourself plenty of time to learn. Each time you do it, it gets easier and you will get faster. Don’t give up on yourself.  Above all, be patient with yourself.

What about you? 
Have you ever formatted for yourself? Do you hire it out?  
Or, if you're new to this self-publishing world, are you going to try it out for yourself or are you going to hire it out?

5 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

Good suggestions, Cindy. I'm just the opposite. I do my ebooks and hired my old publisher to do the paper books. She did some fun stuff with the first book in the series that I wanted to carry on. I didn't feel up to the task to do it myself.

Canda said...

I've hired out the formatting for both the ebooks and print books. Maybe I should start learning on something I don't want to turn out well -- at first. It kind of intimidates me.

Lucinda Whitney, Author said...

Ebook formatting (both MOBI and EPUB) is really easy through Scrivener, but you can't do paper back formatting with it.

Lucinda Whitney, Author said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucinda Whitney, Author said...

Forgot to add, I've done ebook formatting for a friend and it turned out very nice and professional.