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A Checklist for Formatting the Inside of a Book

Since my book has been published (only on KDP so far), I will start to share the steps I took to arrive at publication. If anyone wants to know more details, please email me. This list is something I could not find elsewhere and I hope I captured everything.

The first thing I looked at to prepare my book for publishing was the inside of the book. I wrote my novel in MS Word, which is where we will start.

  • Justify the document so all the words are in an even line on the left and right side of the page (except for paragraph indents on the left).
  • Choose a serif font large enough to be read easily. There are a lot of fonts. To make it easy, I chose Garamond which is in Word. I kept the font size at 12.
  • Put line spacing at 1.5 which makes it readable and does not take up too much space.
  • Turn off window/orphan control so the text goes to the end of each page. Otherwise, words on some pages will not go to the end of the page.
  • Number the pages in the upper right as “Page #.” I also kept the page numbering when a chapter started. I like to know what page I’m on and it’s annoying to me not having a page number. It’s also more complicated taking the page number off one page.
  • After the cover, the first page has the title and author centered on the page. Select “section break” for the next page so this first page can have different formatting from the rest of the book. The title page takes up most of the page with a larger font.
  • The second page will be on the left (after turning the title page). It has:
    • Copyright
    • Place of publication (if not a publishing company, I put my city)
    • “All Rights Reserved” paragraph
    • “The book is a work of fiction” paragraph
    • Credits to anyone
    • Library of Congress control number
    • ISBN for Print and ISBN for ebook
  • The third page, on the right across from the copyright page, starts chapter 1.
  • If the chapters have no titles, do not put in a table of contents. If there is a table of contents, it goes on the third page, next is a blank page, and the fifth page starts the first chapter. First chapters always start on the right page (I don’t know why). Other chapters can either start on the left or right. Ebooks must have a table of contents that can be put at the end.
  • Start each chapter on a new page by using page breaks. Center the chapter title and start the text about one third down the page.
  • Margins at the top, bottom, and inside should be 0.76 inches all around. Outside should be 0.6 inches with Gutter at 0.14 inches. Headers are 0.4 with footers at 0.3 inches.
  • Under “Multiple pages”, select “Mirror margins.”
  • Paragraphs should be indented 0.3 inches. Do not use the tab character to indent. If it is there, do a global search and replace it with the paragraph indent.

The steps in the list can be done in any order. I kept everything as simple as possible since this is my first time. Being creative on fonts, sizes, and other things can be entertaining; however, the point of the inside formatting is to make the words enjoyable to read.

Defining Success

If a nonprofit achieves success, foundations and donors are more likely to continue investing and the mission can continue. But, what is success?

Among the many definitions of success is the accomplishment of set goals. The key to meeting established goals are the measurement of specific objectives aligned with the goals. An example of a goal is to feed the hungry. Objectives would include receiving pounds of food so people will have something to eat.

Yet, most of the time there is limited or partial success. As an example, during the week there will be days when everyone is fed, some days when most of the people are fed, and days when some or none of the people are fed. Also, the variety of food on any day may not be enough. Was the week a success?

There is no absolute success in anything. Instead, there are different levels of success. While the goal could be to feed all the people all the time, there is still success if most of the people are fed some of the time.

Just setting goals and tracking objectives is rarely enough to determine success. It is the people working the mission who know if success has been achieved. Yes, there may not be enough food on some days and the variety may be lacking. However, the people in need could have other resources to get food. It could be that just helping them some of the time was enough to not go hungry.

The point of this blog is for nonprofits to put value in what is accomplished and relay this back to foundations and donors so they will understand. Numbers tell only part of the story. The people involved tell the other part.

Grant Writers Should Write Grants Only

After writing a grant, the writer should never be involved in receipt of the grant money or reporting on how the money was spent. This is the nonprofit’s responsibility.

I haven’t researched this ethical issue, this is my personal view. A grant writer should establish boundaries of what they will do for a nonprofit. Anything up to the point of submission can be the grant writer’s responsibility. Submission must be made by the executive director. After that, I think the grant writer’s responsibilities should be as a consultant, only.

  • For a nonprofit: a dishonest writer receiving grant money has all kinds of opportunities to take some of the money. They know all the details about the submission. Reporting on the grant money and a writer can control who receives the money and create false reports.
  • For a grant writer: other people can accuse the writer of dishonesty when it is someone else who is dishonest.

The grant writer should make sure the nonprofit understands the reporting process and procedures. Then, it is the nonprofit’s responsibility to correctly receive and account for the grant money. The nonprofit should report on how the money was spent.

Grant writers need to stay in their lane of responsibility. They find the opportunities and write the grants. To do anything else presents risks for the grant writer and nonprofit.

Anti-Clean Language

This blog post is about writers using profanity (obscenity, swearing, cussing, etc.). Are these words necessary in a story?

I think some profane words are all right in a novel if the words are part of the character’s personality. When a writer uses profanity everywhere, the novel is about the writer expressing a particular side of their personality. It’s not about the story.

I do not read books with excessive profanity (or graphic violence, I have the evening news for that). I think too much profanity pollutes the story with wordiness. The use of profanity can distract a reader and become a list of profane words without purpose.

Also, I find too much profanity boring. Yeah, the writer knows a lot of swear words, but can they write anything else? A writer who focuses on profane words is not focusing on the story.

If a writer uses profanity, how far should they go in the selection of words? I resent writers who use words that are anti-religious, racist, provoke ridicule, or are derogatory. Even if they keep within the character, I think this is unnecessary. If a writer wants the reader to know this about the character, they should do that in the story through active voice.

Profanity should not be the focus of the story. It should be the characters, plot, story line, and other elements in the story that make a good telling. Of course, there are readers who enjoy excessive profanity and do not care about the choice of words. That is not for me.

I’m interested in the story, plot, and characters. I enjoy word usage, style, and technique. Qualities I have never found in a novel with a list of profane words.