Matters of the Manuscript: Layout Design, Typesetting and Formatting

You’ve always dreamed of being a author and now that moment has arrived. You’ve been working hard, researching  and proofreading. You finally have a finished manuscript now what do you do? Once you’re book is finished and edited, the next step is to create the look of the manuscript that you are seeking.  The look of the manuscript is called the layout. The layout includes

  • design
  • typesetting
  • formatting


The design of  your book will be based on what it is you are creating. When I speak of authoring most people have one type of publishing product in mind…a book , fiction or non-ficion. But there are many types of publishing products to be created. For example, there are

  • ebooks
  • catalogues
  • magazines
  • brochures
  • workbook

So depending on what type of book you are developing you must make it visually appealing and in line with the type of product you are creating.  The design can make or break your product.

Your manuscript might have been created in Word, but Word  is not a design program. Believe me, I know. I create all of my products with Word. Then I hand it off to a designer so they can do what they know how to do.  These are some of the many elements  to consider when determining the  design of your book.

  • chapter heading design
  • font selection
  • text flow with correct indents
  • running headers and footers
  • copyright page layout
  • drop caps
  • tables and indexes
  • lists and bullets
  • layout of photos and images
  • front and back matter, including dedication and call to action pages.

The design is the overall look and feel of your precious product and it should not be ignored.  Next up is typesetting.


Typesetting is the process of preparing text and images for publication using a desktop publishing program. This work seems simple but there is much to take into consideration when you speak of typesetting.  This type of work includes

  • margin size
  • font choices
  • layout
  • widows/orphans
  • leading (spaces between lines)
  • image preparation placement
  • preparation of the final product for printing or publishing on the internet.

This task is a task that is best left up to a professional.  There are so many nuances that must be considered when formatting the book.  Some programs that are used for typesetting are  InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat and sometimes Quark, Pagemaker and Publisher.

Next up is formatting


Formatting typically means  getting the document in its proper form to deliver to the proper mediums.  In the last section we discussed formatting a document which could be done in Word or word processing program. Here is where change the format must be changed based on  where and how  the document  will be sold. Check out the different types of formats below.

Types of formats

The following are the most common formats for book publishing

  • Paper book – soft cover book
  • Hard cover – self explanatory
  • Audio book – audio recording of the book
  • Mobi – Kindle/Amazon ebook system
  • ePub – for all the other systems like iBook, Barnes and Nobles, Smash Words
  • PDF – Word document to portable document

Now each of these require certain specifications and your document has to be formatted to meet those specs. If not, they will not be sold or delivered   in the desired medium. So the formatting allows you to sell your book in different ways on different platforms.

If you want to sell your book in print, it will be formatted for a printed document.

If you want to sell an Amazon ebook , it must be formatted  for Kindle.

If you want to sell your book on Barnes and Nobles and iBook store then it has to be formatted as ePub.

So you see there is much that goes into formatting a book, but knowing the purpose is most important thing.

After this piece you are well on your way!!!!

If you need consulting on any part of the publishing process, you can always contact us at



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