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How to Publish a Book – formatting the pages

Posted by in Books for Sale , Self Publishing on June 23, 2011

We see a lot of books where every page including the Title page is numbered or a new chapter starts on an existing page of text. Here we show you how to publish a book – formatting the pages to give a ‘professional look’. We get used to books being laid out in a fairly standard way so issues like these stand out and make the book look poorly produced. Have a look at a selection of books you buy from any book shop and look at the layouts to see the common ‘structure’ which we should all be following.

Your book will need at least page numbers, new pages for each new chapter, chapter headings and possibly a Table of Contents. Microsoft Word makes creating these simple if you know how.

Let’s start with Section breaks and Page breaks. These are often used incorrectly which causes all sorts of confusion when formatting the document. A ‘Section Break’ starts a new section that has its own headers, footers, page numbers and page orientation. A ‘Page Break’ keeps the existing headers, footers, page numbers and page orientation and just forces a jump to a new page.

So when formatting your book, the first few pages (Title page, Copyright Page, Dedications page, Contents page etc) are not normally page numbered so this will be a ‘Section’. The last page BEFORE you start your page numbering (normally Chapter 1, Page 1) you would insert a ‘Section Break’. For example to do this in Microsoft Word 2007: –

    Page Layout;     Page Setup section – Breaks;
    Section Breaks –    Next Page.

This will make your page numbering start at Page 1 FROM the section break NOT from the first page of the book.

New chapters should be started on New Pages. You achieve this using a ‘Page Break’ which makes any text after the page break start on a new page. To do this in Microsoft Word 2007: –

     Page Layout;     Page Setup section – Breaks;
     Page Breaks –       Page.

A Table of Contents can be automatically generated in Microsoft Word very simply making it much easier to manage as you update and change things around. Each Chapter heading should be formatted with the pre-defined Style in the ‘Styles’ section on the ‘Home’ tab. Normally you would use ‘Heading 1’, ‘Heading 2’, ‘Heading 3’ etc for the titles at different levels. Once you have styled your Chapter headings and sub heading, insert a new page where you want the Table of Contents, go to ‘References’ tab and select the ‘Table of Contents’. You can then choose the style from the list. Your Table of Contents will then be generated automatically.

A good video showing this is at –  (wait until the advert finishes.)

How to Publish a Book from Skoobebooks. You write it. We sell it.

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  • I can’t agree more, in regards to getting your book typeset properly. The finished product looks so much better – and ultimately, looks professional and in turn easier to read.
    I always stress the importance of this step to my clients – after all, all the effort it takes to writing a book, why let it all down with the layout.
    Some great tips here!