How To Format a Novel in Microsoft Word – Self-Publishing


– Hello everyone, my name is Mandi Lynn. I’m the author of the fantasy novels “Essence” and “I Am Mercy” and thriller novel “She’s Not Here,” and also the creator
of AuthorTube Academy, and today we’re gonna be talking about how to format your paperback novel for CreateSpace in Microsoft Word. (light music) So, I’d like to think
I’m a bit of an expert, because when I was in the process of formatting “She’s Not Here,” I had finished formatting, and then I accidentally deleted the file, so then I had to go back, and restart, and do it all over again. So I kinda feel like I
have it down to a science, which is why I finally feel
comfortable telling you guys how to go about formatting your novel in terms of doing fun drop caps at the beginning of each chapter, and how to do the headers
and footers as well, because that is the trickiest part. So, I’m just gonna jump on into it and head over to my laptop to show you. All right, so here we
are in Microsoft Word. I already have everything opened up. So, this is actually the
pre-formatted version of my book “She’s Not Here,” so I’m just gonna kinda walk you through how I format it. The first thing I wanna note is, just to start, the way I do
it is that I go on CreateSpace and I pick out which template size I want, so I will leave that link below to all the CreateSpace templates. But I do five and a half
by eight and a half, and I just kinda work off of that, and really, all it does
is just makes this page five and a half by eight and a half. So, when you get started,
one thing I do wanna note is this navigation panel over here. So, the way you reach that is under View in Navigation Panel. This is great because when
you hit that little button, you can actually jump
around chapter by chapter, so it’s a huge lifesaver. So, I’m just gonna walk
you through a few things. So, I have a few different title pages. This is the initial title page. I created this based off of the cover. It just leaves me a
place to sign later on. Then I have the copyright page, and then I have another
title page with my name. And then, if we scroll down, we have a list of books
that I’ve also written, the dedication, a blank page, and then we jump straight
into chapter one. So, the trickiest thing you’ll have when formatting a manuscript is getting these headers
and these numbers correct. So, on traditional books,
when you have a chapter, you have a fancy little title here, and there’s no page number,
and there’s no header, but everywhere else, there is. So, you can see, on the even pages, I have my book title,
and on the odd pages, I have my name. Where you want it doesn’t really matter, you just have to be consistent. So, the way you set this up is you have sections. So, if you look, we can actually see the separated out sections, so I’m gonna start at the beginning here because the sections start there. So, we have section one, section two, section three, section four, section five, section six, and so on, until we get section seven right here, with the different. Now, I do wanna make a note that the reason I have everything at the beginning here as section breaks is because if I don’t
do it as section breaks, I’ll actually end up with all my headers and footers up here, so I do each of these pages as its own individual section, and then I make sure this little link to previous is unclicked. So, the reasoning for this is because of the page
numbers and the headers, so I’m just gonna open it up. So, we have up here checked off different odd and even pages. That makes it so we can edit these headers right here. However, with the page numbers, you have to go in and add
the page number separately, so you’ll have the page number here, and then you’ll notice
there’s no page number here, so the way you do that
is you gotta highlight, go over to page number,
and format page number, and make sure continue from
previous section is clicked off. Now, before things get too confusing, I do wanna tell you how to start little sections just like that. So, I’m gonna go ahead and hit
the little paragraph button so you can see what’s going on. But instead of page breaks, I use section breaks. So, the way you add in section breaks is going to layout and then breaks, and then you can either choose next page, continuous, even page, or odd page. So, I would, nine times out of 10, say use next page. In this instance, I used odd page, just because things were
getting a little funky and I’m still not quite sure why. So, when it comes to getting
this chapter page perfect, the thing you need to keep in mind is that you need a section
break before the chapter as well as during the chapter. So, the one that goes before the chapter will be on this page up here, and then the one that
goes after the chapter will be right here down here. But you just have to know that the one that goes down here for the last word of the page, needs to be a section break continuous. So, when we do a section
break before the chapter as well as after the chapter, you’ll notice when you go to click on the header and footer, so we have section six
here, section seven, and for some reason, section nine. That means I probably have
two continuous ones in here instead of just one, but
either way, that’s fine because as long as it
breaks up the section. So, when that happens,
that means we can do almost just about whatever we want. However, you have to keep in mind that this section cannot be
linked to the other sections. By default, this little
link to previous button will be clicked off, so
when you go to delete, before you delete, you need to click, you need to hit the link to previous, and then click link to previous. And then you also wanna do that for the corresponding page. So, this is an odd page, so we need to go to the
next odd numbered page and make sure it’s
clicked off here as well. And of course, everything’s
already pre-formatted, so it’s not highlighted up here. But once you make sure
things are unlinked, then you can go ahead and
delete the section up here, and then you can delete
the page number down here. So once you initially have
your chapter page set up, you know, you’ve got the
blank on the top and bottom, but everywhere else is still keeping the header and footers, you’re gonna wanna go ahead and make this look really nice. So, the way I like to do
it is that I actually, all my chapters have a sort of preset up here that I create, so I make sure that all
my presets are made. That way, if I ever do make changes to the chapter headers, it’ll make it change automatically to all of them. So, again, what I did just then was I went to my little preset
and then I clicked modify so I could go ahead and
modify this if I would like. So if I wanted it to be
72, it would make it 72, however that looks ridiculous
so we’re not gonna do that. So I have my chapter
header and then I have my chapter subheader, which is right here. So you can see chapter
header, chapter subheader. And then of course you’ll notice that the chapter actually starts about halfway down the page. That is industry standard. Another thing you can do
to make your chapter page look really nice is to have this drop cap. So I’m going to show you
really quick how you do this. You would basically
highlight the text there, then you go to Insert and we see this little drop cap option, so we’re gonna go ahead and click Dropped. And there we go, it makes it nice and big, and if you need to make changes, you just kind of sort of double click right on the border there and you can change the distance from text and a whole bunch of other things. But that is just an easy way to kind of make it look
really professional, and it’s something simple without getting too over the top. So my only note for these drop caps is just to make sure
that they all look nice and they all look similar. So make sure, of course, the
same font, the same text size, and they’re lined up the same. So here I have the text
going all the way to the edge and then I have just the
bottom of the T coming just a little bit below the line here. So when it comes to the
actual body of the text, you’ll notice that the
words go from edge to edge. That is because up here we
have it set for justified, so that means that it
goes nice, edge to edge. However, sometimes we
get little screw-ups. So I will show you one. So here’s an example of a little whoopsie. Because it’s set for justified, it really wants to spread
these words out really nice. Now, a really easy solution to fix this is actually just take your cursor to the end of the sentence and hit Enter. And it makes it nice and pretty again and it’s actually a
really simple solution. So the next thing I want to talk about is widows and orphans. So if you aren’t familiar
with graphic design terms, that is basically when
this little, lonely word– he’s just kind of floating around. So we can see that “story” was supposed to be a part of this sentence but it’s the last word of the sentence and it ended up on the next page and it’s kind of ugly. So, there’s a few different
ways you can solve for this. You could either go over
to this page and hit Enter until this kind of joins
it on the other page. Or another option is
that you could go ahead and highlight this whole page as well as the little orphan over there, and then change the
paragraph spacing just enough to fit that one last line on the page. So now we’re just getting
through the whole novel, we’re going through each chapter and making sure it looks pretty. We’re checking pages for
anything that looks obscure or if there’s random words hanging, and if there’s blank pages
or anything like that. And then finally we’re gonna
get to the end of the novel, where once again we
just have random pages. So we have our Acknowledgements section and also the About the Author section. So the reasoning I have
this blank page is here is just that I wanted
this About the Author page on an odd-numbered page so I just put this blank page in there to kind of give me that space. So another note on sections, you’ll notice that I have
sections going on here again as well. So the rule formatting when
it comes to formatting a novel for print is basically you’re
never gonna use a page break. If you use a page break, your
page numbers in your headers are gonna get all screwed up,
so just always, always, always use a section break. And that goes for in here as well. But again, once you have
your sections in here, just make sure the link
to previous is un-clicked and then you can delete
your headers and footers. I cannot stress enough the importance of the linked previous button, because it is gonna be your enemy and if you don’t have that done correctly, you’re just gonna have a lot of headaches. So one thing I do wanna note is that as you are finishing up your formatting, just to make sure you keep on
going through the manuscript, page by page, just to make
sure you don’t spot any issues, because it’s very, very easy
to screw up your formatting. And I sometimes even like to
just print out the pages myself at home, just to make sure
that things look correctly and then I’ll print it
through CreateSpace, but I just found that when
you’re really thorough it saves you the time
that you would have spent being frustrated when CreateSpace, or whoever your printer
is, rejects your novels. That is it for today’s video. I hope this helped you figure
out how to format your novel. It’s extremely difficult,
but once you figure out how sectioning works and how
the headers and footers work, you’ll notice it gets a lot easier. If this video was helpful for you, let me know in the comments down below, or you can request other videos. If you would like to stay up-to-date on everything I’m up to, you can subscribe to my
newsletter and when you do, you get my free “How to Conquer
Writer’s Block” mini-guide, as well as the first three
chapters of “She’s Not Here.” Thank you all for watching, be sure to give this video a thumbs-up, comment down below, and subscribe.

17 Replies to “How To Format a Novel in Microsoft Word – Self-Publishing

  1. Formatting a novel can be one of the trickier parts of self-publishing. I've made this video not only for all of you, but for myself as well because I know when I go to format my next novel I'll probably forget how to do it and will need to re-watch this video.

    Let me know in the comments if you found this video helpful!

  2. Word is good for writing, not typesetting books. Try Scribus (free typesetting program) or Adobe InDesign. I own some novels that were made with Word, and there are some small things that annoy me. So, have a look at Scribus.
    Also, what program do you use while writing? Do you format while writing or use a distraction-free mode?

  3. THIS!! Formatting is one of the things I hate the most! Thanks for this video Mandi, I'm sure it'l help a lot of indie authors 🙂

  4. This was really helpful, I have learned to format in school but still, I learned a few new stuff from this video. Have a blessed day, Mandi!

  5. Do you know if you use the same formatting for KDP and Ingram or are they different? Thanks for the video-very helpful!

  6. You should not be formatting a book for publication in Microsoft Word. That's not what it's made for and you are going to get a subpar result, especially when converting to ebook. Use Adobe InDesign. Or better yet, pay a professional and stop worrying about it.

  7. How did you create your interactive outline? That is that part that I am having the most trouble with. SMH

  8. Weird, your video won't play past the 26 second mark. Even cleared my cache and changed resolution. Oh well….

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