It helps me to format my word processor to the specifications for the type of work I’m writing before I start writing. This helps me visualize the book as it’s going to be seen when it’s finished.

For example, when I’m writing my poetry collections, I format my word processor to 5 x 8 and set my margins for where I want the writing to fit on the page. I select the font and text size that I want my poetry to be published in and then I start writing. This way, I’ll know exactly what it’s going to look like when it’s finished and physically in my hands and the hands of my readers.

Common sizes for various writing types:
Fiction & Nonfiction: 6 x 9
Children’s Books: 7 x 10
Textbooks: 8.5 x 11

Most Books have margins at 1 inch on all sides with a 5 inch indent for each new paragraph.

The most common fonts for print books are Baskerville, Sabon, Garamond, Caslon, and Utopia. The more common fonts for ebooks are any of the sans serif fonts. Overall, the goal is to make the text easy to read and help the eyes flow to the next letter quickly.

Formatting the book before you write is a good way to keep yourself motivated throughout the writing process. It can also be extremely helpful during the editing step as well.

Dawn Zauner – Writing Expert
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