• Kody Boye

What to Include in a Paperback Formatting Proposal


If you've landed on this page, it's because you clicked on the Kody's Guide to Submitting a Paperback Formatting Proposal link near the bottom of my formatting services page. As such, you are likely here to learn what I as an interior book designer require you provide when pitching your book to me.


So, you might be wondering: just how do I go about having my book formatted?


If you've chosen to use my services, you don't have to worry about the technical details! You leave that to me.


However--you have a bit of work to do before submitting your work to me for formatting. Don't worry though. That's why you're here: to learn what you need to provide in order to make this as smooth an experience as possible for both of us.


1. The first thing you need to be able to provide is a clean, well-edited manuscript.


What do I mean by clean?


It means providing a manuscript that has a minimal amount of formatting. This should include only bolds, italics, underlines, bullet points (if your manuscript possesses them) and nothing else. Tabbed and automatic indents are okay, but anything else (such as messing with headers/footers to add page counts and the like) won't help me with the formatting process, and will only make things harder in the progress. You may also incur additional charges if I have to go in and manually remove stuff that shouldn't have been there in the process. Remember: simpler is better, and cheaper for you in the long run.


2. The second thing you need to decide is what size you want your paperback to be.


Most manuscripts I see come through my email box eventually end up being 5x8, 5.5x8.5, or 6x9. This is because these are standard publication sizes you are likely to see on bookshelves in bookstores or in your own home.


The easiest, and best, way to determine what size you want your paperback to be is to look at your wordcount. Do you have a shorter manuscript that may benefit from a smaller reading space? Choose 5x8. Do you have a longer manuscript? Choose 6x9. I always consider printing costs when it comes to formatting a manuscript, because readers which much rather pay $14.99 for a larger format (6x9) that has four or five-hundred pages than $18.00 or $19.00 for a manuscript that is nearly double that size in a smaller format. Print-on-demand technology doesn't give authors the discounts that printers would a major print run, so take that into consideration when choosing your manuscript's printing size.


3. Consider what fonts you want within your book.


Most fonts you will find in books are pretty standard (Times New Roman, Georgia, Century, etc.) However, when formatting a manuscript, you should consider what kind of fonts you want for your distinguishing typefaces.


For example: a fantasy novel might feature a bold, fantastical font, or a treatment created by a cover artist, while a crime novel might have a bold statement font. Either way you decide to go, finding the right font for your manuscript isn't always easy. Some you pay for, others acquire attribution, while a choice few are completely free. I recommend authors try FontSquirrel first, because it features only free-to-use (commercially as well) fonts.


4. Consider how you want your headers and footers to look.


After you've picked your fonts, a designer can move on to implementing them into your project. This includes not only on the title and chapter pages, but also on the headers and footers of your document. Do you want a header to display both your book's title and your author name on alternating pages, with the page numbers beside it, or would you like the footer to display the page numbers? Look at your favorite book(s) and see how it/they have them, and decide from there.


And last but not least:


5. Make sure you have your copyright credits settled.


By this, I mean: be sure to include the name of the cover artist and editor in the email you send. Properly crediting the people who worked with you is important if you wish to build working relationships with them, and may lead to issues between you and your editor or cover artist. A word to live by is: thank the people who've helped you. The easiest way to do that is to provide credit to them.


Now, with that being said, here's a short checklist you can use to determine what should be included in your email:


  1. Your manuscript

  2. The size you wish your book to be in print

  3. The fonts you like within your book, with links to where they are free or attached in the body of the email

  4. Details about how you would like your headers and footers to look

  5. Your copyright information


If you have any questions about this list, or feel that a part of it is vague or in need of updating, please feel free to shoot me an email by clicking or tapping here. I am always striving to make this process as simple as it can be for authors, and if any part of this article confuses you, please feel free to let me know.


Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to work with you soon!


Sincerely,

Kody






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