Today I’d like to talk about a service both Cara and I offer — interior formatting — and why authors really do need to use it!
Everyone knows why they need editing and cover design done for them, but interior formatting is definitely a less-discussed service.
Why should you bother with it?
Let’s start by defining what interior formatting is.
To quote our website:
Interior formatters for paperback create a print-ready PDF file for the author with embedded fonts, images, placement, headers & footers, etc. They will work with the customer to choose fonts, decide on dividers and flourishes, and other details.
Interior formatters for ebook create a document for the author with a functional (clickable) table of contents and page breaks inserted accordingly.
Interior formatters come in after editing is done and prepare your files for publication.
If you’re an independent/self-published author, you know how frustrating getting the chapter headings to line up or making the page numbers stay where they belong can be.
So let’s dive into why interior formatting is an underrated service!
You won’t run late on your publication date.
Most authors forget about interior formatting. They put it off until the last minute — only to realize that they are not able to do it.
This happened to me. With my first book — before I studied formatting — I had no idea what I was doing. My book ended up publishing several days later than I’d intended due to the formatting errors I couldn’t seem to correct!
I can’t even begin to count the post I’ve seen in writer forums with people struggling with these kinds of issues. If you don’t believe me, you’ve probably never published a book!
Not everyone has the time or skills to learn how to properly format a book — trust me, it’s more complicated than it looks — so hiring an interior formatter is the best option available.
Readers won’t be turned away by an unprofessional interior.
Did you know that it’s unprofessional to use ‘tab’ rather than the indent function? What is the proper line spacing? What page should a new chapter start on? How do you get the headers to stay where they belong?
All these questions can be answered by an interior formatter. But does it matter? Well, yes, it does.
With these kinds of mistakes and many more, varying from ebook to paperback, a reader can get turned off.
If they’re experienced in the publishing world, they’ll know what the issue is, roll their eyes, and put it down. If you didn’t put effort into the interior design, why would they believe you put effort into anything else?
If they’re not, they’ll still know that something’s off — that this isn’t how professionally published books are put together. If it’s really bad (or unreadable, as in the next point), they may put the book down. However, either way, you’re giving off the wrong impression about your business!
Sometimes books are simply unreadable.
Now, I’m one of those people who can’t read anything in Arial font. However, while that is more of a mild irritation, some books are absolutely unreadable.
I’ve seen paperbacks with all the pages mixed and messed up. I’ve seen ebooks where photos, drop caps, and dividers completely obscured paragraphs of text.
Some authors just don’t realize how quickly their formatting can go from ‘passable’ to ‘horrific.’ The other thing to consider is that with the various kinds of reading devices for ebooks — from various types of Kindles to tablets to phones — what may look great on your device may be obscured on someone else’s.
Fortunately, interior formatters are trained to make sure no matter the device and no matter the format, the book still looks great!
They’ll know if you’re missing something in the front or back matter.
I have seen self-published books without a copyright page! But a more general mistake is those who mess up the order of all the various front and back matter that most publishers include.
Interior formatters can give you a gentle nudge to get that content together — and they also know the proper order to put it in.
In the end, it just makes your job easier.
Interior formatting is not generally a very expensive service; however, it is a difficult skill to learn.
With self-publishers doing so many different jobs, it makes sense to hire out some of the most complicated ones to the experts.
There are many different interior formatters out there who would doubtless do a great job, but I of course must recommend Reveries Co.
Our #1 goal is to help authors succeed, and we do our best to reflect that in every area of our work.
Kellyn Roth is the founder & manager of Reveries Co., an independent author service provider that offers editing, cover design, marketing help, and more to writers of all shapes and sizes. When not managing Reveries Co., Kell writes Christian historical women’s fiction & romance, worries that she’ll never be aesthetic enough for Instagram, and obsesses over her border collies.