Interior Formatting for Print Books, Pt. 3
If you are planning to self-publish DIY, there are any number of texts available for download to help you with your interior formatting specific to the umbrella company you choose to publish with.
You’ve likely heard that the first page of your book should fall on the right-hand side of an open book, that it should be Page 1, and that the page number should be invisible. What you may not know is how to get the first page of your manuscript to fall on the right page. There’s front matter to consider and often that pushes the body of your work to the left page.
So how do you create a Blank Page before Chapter 1?
Well, you don’t hit the Return key until you get to a new page, that’s for sure. If you create a blank page using that technique your formatting will go wonkie when uploaded to your publishing site.
The best way to create a blank page is to “Insert” a Page Break just under the last line of text on the last page of front matter (that might be an acknowledgement, introduction, or letter from the editor – it may even be a second half-title page if you have a lot of front matter between your 1st interior title page and the start of your manuscript. Regardless, place your cursor on the line just below your last line of text on the last page of the front matter and insert a page break.
The word processing program you’re using should automatically push your cursor to the next blank page. This will be your blank page. Now, insert another page break. You might find it easier to work on this formatting while having your document set to “show paragraph marks and other hidden symbols” – the strange double-staffed P in the paragraph section of your word processor.
You will be pushed forward to the next blank page and this is where you format your heading for the first chapter of your book and insert your main body text. This is Page 1. This is the page you want your cursor on when you “insert” your page numbers.
The page breaks you put in before this official first page will tell the program that you do not want numbered pagination before this point in your book. In the settings of your add page numbers you will find an option to exclude the number from page 1 – choose this and the first page of text will have an invisible number 1 as a place holder with a visible number 2 on the next page and so on. This is what you want.
If you would like to have Roman Numerals to paginate your front matter (never your title pages or copyright though!) then make sure there is a page break immediately after your title page. Then, as before, place your cursor on the first page you’d like to paginate, add page numbers, go back into page number settings and change the numeration to Roman instead of Standard.
If you are unfamiliar with these settings in your word processing program this might take a bit of patience and practice before getting the exact results you want. However, that is the essence of DIY, right? By doing it yourself you’ll be able to save nearly $200 by not hiring a book formatter.