Formatting That Manuscript

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I have typed in Word for years, and I’ve maybe used 10% of the tools it offers.  Two features that I haven’t used until venturing into self-publishing are the Space After, the Section Break and the Page Break.  Surely, the return key is just as good, right?  Well, maybe for regular use.  When you go changing the format of your document though, they make a big difference in how the finished product looks.

In his CreateSpace Article, Self-Published Authors: Don’t Make These 5 Newbie Book Layout Mistakes , Joel Friedlander outlines several common mistakes and how to fix them.  To be honest, I glanced over the article and thought, ah I won’t have any of these problems, and proceeded to make some of the very same. While I didn’t have any blank right pages, I had some very odd spacing problems, and I had no idea how to get Word to skip more than the first page with the page numbers.  I went back and read the article again.  This time I took notes.  Then I went and found the Createspace article A Step-By-Step Guide to Formatting Your Book’s Interior, and took some copious notes from it as well.  Much of what I learned was from those two articles.  Basically Sovling most of my fromatting problems boiled down to following simple suggestions like:

  • After creating your title page, copyright page and Thanks page, go to your layout tab and select “Section Breaks-Next Page.” This will create a separate section and allow you to start page numbering from there. You can create as many sections as you want, but this is the important one.
  • Once you type and center your chapter headings, instead of hitting the enter key, click on the Paragraph dropdown and select “space after”, and enter a number.  Friedlander suggests 42.
  • At the end of your chapter, instead of hitting the enter key until you reach the next page, select “Insert” and then “Page Break” This will keep the ends of the paragraphs from running into the headers and keep the spacing where you want it when the manuscript goes into the formatting “sausage grinder” that is electronic publishing.


There is a lot more to it, but these are some of the snags I ran into and a couple of the helpers I found on the CreateSpace website.  Best of luck with your work, and hope to read you soon!