I’m in love … with my new book formatting


Right, so if you’re playing along at home you’ll know that I’m in the process of sharing … well the process!  Week 1 saw me sharing why I believe manuscript assessments are a good starting point. In Week 2 we talked about the value of good quality beta readers and now, in Week 3, the real fun begins: formatting your manuscript into a book.


Up until this point we’ve employed experts and discerning friends to help us.  This is something you are going to do on your own and therefore it is also where you can go horribly wrong.

When I formatted Diary of a Penguin-napper I did it using Adobe InDesign as I happened to have the software and managed to work out how to use it without giving myself a bald spot from pulling out too much hair.  You can read about my InDesign adventures here.  That was back when I had loads of time and infinite patience for the whole experience.

This time, I’m pressed for time, plus it’s been 12 months since I’ve used InDesign and yes, I’ve completely forgotten how to use it and no, I’m really not interested in using up any more hours of my life learning how to use it again.

And luckily for me, I didn’t have to.  Say hi to my new best friend: Book Design Templates

This site was created by Joel Friedlander (The Book Designer) who is font of knowledge when it comes to all things self-publishing and he knows a badly formatted book when he sees one!  He created this collection of pre-made book formats, which writers can download (alongside a set of easy instructions) to help them format their book).  It is, however, so easy that I only made it through the first few pages of instructions before I had the hang of it.

For my new book, Ruby Marvellous, I’m using on of the children’s templates called Affection.  Yes, I’m feeling the love for it right now.  Here is a sample of what the first page spread in my book looks like:


Cute, huh?

I know that I previously said that I’d be InDesigning everything because I love it so much.  Well, this is something that I love just as much and it has taken much less time/patience/sanity, so that it a plus too.

In addition (because I’m clearly just full of helpful information tonight!), I’ve got another top tip for you.  Did you know that you can use Adobe Acrobat to compile groups of PDF documents?  It’s really easy to do:  you just choose the option to ‘Combine Files into PDF’ from the start menu, add your files in the correct order and voila! One PDF made for you! Love it and it’s been great to use to add all different pages, sample chapters, etc all into one PDF to upload to Createspace.


4 thoughts on “I’m in love … with my new book formatting

  1. Sally –

    What a great resource. We used Leanpub for the book (it was free and we were able to upload it to the other sites). Is it perfect, no, but it is a GREAT start. Then we downloaded a template from Createspace and manually did it in word for the print.

    I LOVE these though and thank you so much for sharing them, as I think we’ll check them out when Darling Daughter finished up book 2 and might have some funds to pay for a few more things.

    Congratulations, by the way on making all of your goals – that was a fun post to read, too!

    • franklybooks

      Thanks Christine! It is so tricky to work out what to be spending money on and where to save it to try and do it myself. I’m really pleased with the way the new book interior has turned out and I can’t wait to see what my cover designer comes up with (by the end of this week hopefully!) That’s easily the most exciting part!

      Good luck with Book 2!

  2. So confuse me why don’t you! I loved your post about how much you love InDesign. I have been using one of Joel Friedlander’s templates in Word 2013 and have been satisfied with the results as I produce family history books. My clients have been too! BUT… I fear that Word is compressing my photos to 220 when I make a pdf using Word and even when I check the box not to compress, it says the default compression is 220. I really need to keep the 300 dpi. What do you think about me learning InDesign so I can have control over producing a quality pdf? Perhaps I just need Acrobat? Any thoughts you may have would be appreciated! Thanks, Linda

    • franklybooks

      Using InDesign is great, although I have been happy with the interior to Ruby too – and it’s much easier to make simple updates! If you’re doing a lot of books perhaps it might be worth learning InDesign to get a really high quality finished product?

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