Tips and Tricks: Book Formatting 101

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Make sure your words don’t end up in the gutter!

You have the story. You’ve edited and re-edited it. Now its time to upload your file and publish your book, but before you press “Save and Continue”, make sure your book is consistent with your vision.

Ready, Set, Format!

Formatting is one of the most important steps in creating your file for Lulu to make sure a cut off head isn’t in a photo book or a word falling off the page. Important things to look out for include consistency, page size, paragraph sizes, etc. Go through the Editing Checklist to make sure your file is ready to go through the PDF process.

The Gutters for the leaves…. And other words in Book Formatting

There are many terms to understand in order to format your book correctly.

Below are just a few of key words to add to your publishing vocabulary.

  • Gutter – The inner margins of two facing pages in a publication
  • White Space – the border around the text; should be at least 1″
  • Bleed – The portion of an image that extends beyond the post-trim area of a page.
  • DPI – Dots per Inch; A measure of a device’s resolution; For graphic purposes how big your picture should be.

Want to Know More?

There’s plenty of information on the Book Formatting FAQ and in the Support forums if you get lost or just want more clarification.

2 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks: Book Formatting 101”

  1. Using the Lulu template. PAGE NUMBERS: Should the template auto page the document or do I have to use the footer option. After pages 3-4, it stopped showing page numbers. PAGE BREAK: within a given chapter can I let MS Word auto continue to the next page or do I have to create a page break every single page. My impression is only inserting a page break at the beginning of a new chapter. HEADER: when inserting author and title, do you include the marks or delete them. The names do not always continue on the next pages. Do you have to insert them on each page or should they continue automatically? Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Ann,
      I’ll do my best to cover these questions, but please bear in mind that Word has numerous versions and even functions a little differently from Mac to Windows, so my responses may not be 100% for your case.
      Page Numbers: When you insert the page numbering, it should continue through the entire Section. Generally, when you create a Section Break, the two sections will automatically link (the button in the Ribbon is ‘Link to Previous’). So, in most cases, the page numbering will just keep going. Word is known to do some really weird things with page numbering as you manually edit them, say for example removing the individual page number from a Chapter Title page or a page with an image.
      If your numbering stopped after a couple of pages, the most likely scenario is that there is a new Section starting, and this section is not linked.
      Page Break: I would let Word auto continue. The only time to use a Break is to force content to the next page, such as at the end of a chapter.
      Header: I’m not certain I understand the ‘marks.’ I would delete anything in the Header aside from your name & title though. Setting the Header to repeat can be tricky, as Section Breaks work for the Header AND Footer. You’ll need to make sure they are linked properly across Sections (or unlinked if you have pages you don’t want the Header appearing). Much like the page numbering, the Header content should continue automatically.

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