Posted by: nancycurteman | April 30, 2017

How to Format a Novel

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Every author needs to know how to format a novel. Of course this knowledge is essential if you choose to self-publish because the full responsibility for correct formatting will rest with you. But it is also important if you choose to work with an indie publisher or even a midsized publisher because you need to look for correct formatting when you proof your novel. Here are some formatting strategies:

Margins Your book has two types of margins: Exterior (top, bottom, and outer edge) and the “gutter.” Exterior margins should be set at one half to three-quarter inch. The “gutter” should be set at one inch so when the book is bound, all the inside print will be visible.

Font Most publishers and readers prefer black, twelve point, Times New Roman font. Use a larger font size for your title and chapter headings.

Page Numbers Insert your page number in a footer at the bottom of each page. Place them on the outside of each page (left side on even-numbered pages, right side on odd pages). Do not put page numbers on the title page.

Headers A header usually consists of the author’s name on the left side of even-numbered pages and the book title on the right side of odd-numbered pages. Don’t place headers on the title page or other pages that are not part of the actual story.

Title and Author Page Center your title about half way down the page. Double space and add your author name.

Copyright Place the copyright page on the reverse side of the title page. Along with the copyright include statements that no part of the book may be reproduced, etc. You can also add your ISBN number and contact information on this page.

Chapters Begin a new chapter on an odd-numbered new page. Use bold text and type the chapter number about one-third down from the top. Skip a couple of line spaces and begin the text of the chapter.

Scene breaks Insert two or three blank lines for new scenes. Center a symbol or set of symbols of some kind in the blank space—# or *** or •••

Justification Justified text adds a tailored look to your novel. Line up both the right and left edges with hyphenation to avoid one word ending up as the only word on an otherwise blank page.

Indents New paragraphs need half-inch indentions.

Formatting your novel is pretty straightforward and essential to ensure the presentation of your novel will not include any errors that will distract your readers from enjoying your story.

More tips:

6 Ways to Create Powerful Verbs
How to Add Creative Transitions to Your Novel

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