Format a Book for Self-Publication


You’ve written a book. You want to see it published. Where do you go from here?

Traditional vs. Vanity Presses

In the past, authors would choose to seek an agent and go for a traditional big-book publisher. This practice is becoming less and less popular as ‘indie’ (independent) authors learn to self-publish.  Don’t be confused between “self-publishing” and paying a company to print your book. Vanity presses abound and love to take your money to print your book. They may make lots of promises and get you to agree to buy hundreds of copies with the notion that they’ll promote you and your book. Don’t be fooled.

Self-Published Books

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Photo by Caio Resende on

Self-publishing through a print-on-demand company is totally different.  You do it yourself!  With enough technical knowledge, you can set up your book with the provided template, send it off, and within a week or two, you’re on the Amazon road. There are many such companies. I’ve worked with CreateSpace (now merging with Kindle Direct Publishing to become Media on Demand), Lulu, and Smashwords. Each are a little different. If you can do all the technical setup yourself, you pay nothing.

How Do They Make Money?

These companies can offer these services “for free” by charging an on-demand price when your book is printed. After all, nothing is really ‘free.’ Your royalty rate is from 35-70% of the price you charge for your book. What you charge for the book is up to you. Amazon takes their cut, CreateSpace or KDP takes their cut, and you get the rest. It’s paid for one book at a time as they print it. This is arranged when your book is being processed, and the percentage rate is up to you.  You design your own cover and interior design.  The company does not change it, edit it, or market it. It is all YOU. Your book reflects you.

Each print-on-demand company I’ve worked with also offers professional help for formatting, editing, book cover design, and marketing.  Of course, each of these services comes at a high price. That’s why it’s better to do it yourself – OR HIRE SOMEONE who knows what to do. Save yourself the headaches!

I Can Help You!

I can help you format your book with a professional interior design. Does this still mean you’re paying for a vanity press? The answer is no. Vanity presses “own” your book and receive a portion of your royalties. They often have a contract up to five years (or perpetuity) on your book.

When I assist others with the interior design of their book, it is a one-time fee for setup and publishing. All the proceeds – 100% of them – go back to the author once the “publish” button is pushed. It is published under your name and your logo (if you have one).  I have formatted almost thirty books and helped authors self-publish with CreateSpace or Lulu with great success. (See examples. I helped assist these authors with self-publishing as well as book cover design).

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Interior Design Guidelines

Interior design isn’t just making your 8-1/2 x 11 page fit into a 6×9 book format with mirror margins. It means selecting the right size and the color paper to match the topic. Choosing a readable web-ready font style and size, margin and line spacing that’s aesthetic to the eye, setting up headers and page numbers, and putting in an updateable table of contents is all a part of formatting. It’s knowing where to add the title page, copyright page, and all the other front copy. Back copy includes the author’s bio, and possibly an index, footnotes, or other information. It might also include adding drop caps for chapters, graphics, or pictures. Each of these must be formatted to the strict guidelines set up by the POD company.  Although a template is provided, some authors find this technical part difficult to navigate.

As a computer teacher with technical knowledge of over twenty years, my skills can help your book get off the ground without the frustration of you trying to figure it out on your own.

Sound intimating? Don’t know where to start?  Let me help!

  • Basic setup charge – $125 + $1 per 8.5×11 page of your book.
  • This includes all of the above and assumes the book has been edited and approved by you for final submission. I do not edit or change what you’ve written.
  • One free editing after proof is viewed
  • Pictures added have an additional charge as more setup is needed.
  • Turn-around time varies from 1-3 weeks.

Interested?  Give me a holler.





Website Assistance

Is it good for an author to have a website?  Many other authors will tell you “yes.”  According to, “it is your author’s platform. It is a place to draw readers, introduce them to your books, and get them to buy.”

There are two main options for creating an author’s website: a static profile page, with links to books and online networks/social media pages and a blog. Some authors only want the profile page which doesn’t change unless a new book is added. This is called the static page. The page displays the cover of each book, a description, and a link to Amazon. Having a static page means you do not have much upkeep of the website.

If the author decides to displays posts, the newest post is displayed on the front page, such as it is on this website, or it can be a separate menu item. If the author decides to include posts, it is necessary to update it regularly to keep readers coming back. Many authors decide to include both the static page and a blog page.

What to Post?

Posts can include articles relating to their writing experiences and what they’ve learned along the way. Some authors like to post personal information of interest or topics of self-help for the writer. Travel authors do well by including pictures of their travels, sparking interest in their books. Nonfiction authors might post entertaining or informative articles about their topic of interest such as Susie Kinslow Adams does about her book on Alzheimer’s, Teresa Scobee’s website with help for abuse, or Nancy Lewis Shelton’s website on storytelling. *(See their website banners below).


I have assisted several authors and artists get their websites off the ground using WordPress, Blogspot, Wix, and Webstarts.  These are all free website programs to use.  I will set up your website and then teach you how to add posts (stories and thoughts). It is a fairly simple process once everything is set in place.

Some of the website designs and banners created —

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About Domain names

If you decide to have a unique domain name adding a .com or .net to your name rather than the addition of the site maker with your name, then these programs have a yearly fee. Domain names can be purchased through sites such as and at very inexpensive yearly rates. However, it is not necessary to have a domain name in order to have a website; it’s up to you as the author.  In the examples above, there are both.



Static front page only – $250

  • Banner (top of website page)
  • Includes your book(s) cover with description, price, and links to Amazon.
  • Your picture and bio in sidebar
  • Links to your social media sites
  • Hit counter and flag map (if desired)

Four-page website – $500

  • Welcome page (with all of the above)
  • Book page
  • Bio page
  • Blog page
  • Each additional page is $50

Website Banner only  – $125

Website “clean-up/assistance” – per project


Ready to get started?  Contact me!