Week 9: Treat Yo Shelf!

Taylor P -

Hi, friends! Welcome to a busy, busy week! I can’t believe my project will be over next week; I feel I have barely scratched the surface when it comes to the world of publishing. As I’ve been reflecting on my research, I’ve realized how privileged I am to live in a time when book publishing is so accessible. I look forward to what the future brings for books because I have faith it will only get better from here!

This week, I spent a lot of my time on book formatting. I mentioned last week how inexperienced I am with format, and wow—I learned how absolutely true that was! Here are what considerations publishers have to have in mind when formatting:

  1. Margins! Margin size is incredibly important because it makes the book readable. There are certain specifications for margin size on the sides of a pages and the top/bottom of pages, and it all has to fit with the size of the book spine. 
  2. Headers and footers: these include the page number, author name, and book/chapter title that you see on every page in books. Sometimes, they are different fonts/font sizes, so it’s really crucial to ensure each page matches. 
  3. Fonts! I am a font enthusiast—when I first started writing on a computer, I became so excited about choosing what fonts fit with different types of books (I’ll admit, I am a Comic Sans hater. If you know, you know). Font type and size are hugely important based on book genre and publishing house preference. 
  4. Chapter Titles: some books only have numbers for chapters, and many books have chapter titles. 
  5. Table of Contents: do you put spaces between the chapter titles and page numbers, or do you have a series of ellipses? I don’t know, don’t ask me, I’ll have a breakdown about it!

As for the book cover, there’s much more to consider, things like bleed, margin, spine, barcode placement, and overall design. The book cover was really fun for me to design—I chose a very simple, clean design to make it easier for myself. Going for something complex would only make my job harder.

For my personal process, I downloaded an 8×5” template from Amazon KDP to Microsoft Word. I then copied and pasted my entire book into that document, allowing for it to correct the margins automatically. However, I did have to format the headers/footers, font, chapter titles, and table of contents by myself. That took a lot of time and concentration. Here are some choices I made in regards to this process:

I wanted to have a header on each page with the title of my book, but as I learned, poetry doesn’t lend to easy formatting. I had to cut the header and make it look less professional for my poems to align with the margins properly. 

—As for my font, I chose Times New Roman because it is simple and widely-regarded as the best font for books. A part of me wanted to be fancy…but I didn’t want to regret my font choice. 

—I decided to use roman numerals for my chapter titles because it looks pretty bodacious.

Overall, I am really happy with the way my book turned out. Though I spent many hours wishing I could watch a show finale I’ve been putting aside, I am glad I was productive! I learned how much effort it takes to format a book, and with all that work, my book is really quite simple compared to many others. Getting the experience of formatting a book is something that will benefit me for my entire career. 

Aside from formatting, I also continued my editing process. I basically dissected every poem, line by line, until I was satisfied with the punctuation, word choice, and flow. This process of editing has really taken a lot of my energy…I’ll be quite relieved when it is finished next week.

Lastly, I did not write a report like I had planned. Formatting took way more time than I anticipated, so I decided to write that report my last week of my project! I hope to submit my manuscript and cover to KDP early next week; with that, it takes anywhere from 24 hours to a week for acceptance. I’m sure mine won’t take too long because my book is short and formatted properly. While I wait for publication, I will work on gathering my data and finishing up all the loose ends of my project. This has been a long journey, and seeing the finish line so close ahead only motivates me to get everything done! These next few days will bring about an amazing end to my project. 

Until next week (my last week!) when I have to say goodbye, I want you all to remember, in the words of the Happy Mask Salesman, whether a parting be forever or merely for a short time…that is up to you.

I made a little ad for my book…I plan to send it out next week once I get published!

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    Hi Taylor! Wow, I had no idea that there are so many specifications for formatting! I love your ad, and I can’t wait to buy your book!! Did you find that it was harder to edit some poems than others?
    Taylor Phelan
    Hey, Maddie! Yes, I did find that to be difficult! I had to cut a lot of poems that I love because they didn’t really fit the theme, and that was tough!
    Hi Taylor! I saw your "flyer" on Instagram! The amount of work you have put in is amazing! Do different publishing platforms allow for more flexibility in format?
    Congratulations!! I did not realize formatting took so much work too! Which part of publishing a book has been your favorite part?

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