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How to Format Word Online for Writing a Book

So you’ve decided to write a book. Congrats! You’re in the right place. You can find help here on how to format your novel, novella, or short-story to make it the best it can be.

Why should you put in the extra effort to format your work? Let’s look at some of the benefits of professional formatting:

Improved Overall Readability

When you format your work, you’re essentially making it easier for your reader to understand what you’re writing. Many wordsmithing tools can do this for you. For example, the built-in word processor in Microsoft Word or Google Docs enables you to easily change the font, size, and color of your text. The layout of your work can be changed to suit any aesthetic needs you may have. You can also add headers and sub-heads to help organize your thoughts. All of this can increase the readability of your content and make it more accessible to a wider audience.

Navigating Complex Legal Issues More Easily

In addition to improving your work’s readability, formatting your work can also make navigating complex legal issues more easily. Because your work will be presented in a standard format, the chances of legal disputes arising are greatly diminished. This will also make the process of getting your work published much smoother. Self-publishing services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make it easier for authors to get their books into the hands of as many readers as possible. The reduced risk of legal issues combined with the increased flexibility this service offers means that self-publishing is the preferred route for many writers.

Increased Publication Opportunities

One of the biggest benefits of professional formatting is the increased opportunity for publication. The simplified publication process means that more books reach a larger audience. This in turn creates greater cultural impact and leads to more opportunities for the writer.

Fulfills the Functionality of a Book Club

Another major benefit of formatting is that it can fulfill the functionality of a book club. Reading a book can be an immersive experience, and sometimes you need a little help concentrating. A book club is a great opportunity to read and discuss a work with others. Some book clubs even meet up in person once a week to discuss the books they’ve read and to socialize. Using digital tools such as tablets and e-readers makes it much easier for members to participate from any location. This greatly increases the potential for social engagement and enables the group discussion that makes book clubs so special.

These are just some of the ways that formatting your work can improve your writing experience. This article will walk you through the steps to take before submitting your final copy to make sure that everything is formatted correctly.

Book Review Guidelines

Before submitting your final copy for publication, you should ensure that you adhere to the book review guidelines of your choice. Most scientific journals, for example, require that all manuscripts be reviewed by at least two independent reviewers before being accepted for publication. During this process, the reviewers will give you feedback on your content and suggestions for how to make it better. You may be asked to respond to these suggestions in a revised manuscript.

Whether you choose to seek publication in a scientific journal or trade publication, it’s essential that you follow the guidelines set by your target publication. Be sure to check the website of your choice to see what formatting standards they have in place. Additionally, many publications have digital copy standards that you must follow while formatting your book. Depending on the complexity of your final manuscript, it may require some research to familiarize yourself with these standards.

Checklist: Things to Include When Formatting Your Book

When formatting your book, you should ensure that you cover all the necessary bases. Be sure to check off all the items on this checklist before you begin further moving around with your manuscript. You should also be sure to use a spellchecker and run-of-the-mill grammar checker. After you’ve completed this checklist, you can move around with your manuscript without any concerns.

  • The title of your book should be included at the top of every page.
  • The summary of your book should be included at the top of every page.
  • Every chapter should have a heading (e.g., Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc.).
  • Every section of your book (e.g., Prologue, Part One, etc.) should have a heading (e.g., Prologue, Part One, etc.).
  • Every paragraph in your book should have a heading (e.g., Paragraph One, Paragraph Two, etc.).
  • The page number should appear after each quote or paraphrase.
  • Use an outline or editorial team to help you navigate the complexities of structuring your book. Preferably, you should use a content planner to help you develop a schedule for the completion of your content.
  • Have someone read through your content as you’re drafting it to ensure that it flows well and that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. This person will also help you identify places where further information is needed.
  • The content of your book should be presented in a systematic fashion for the best possible flow of information. To this end, each part should be divided into numbered or titled segments. The more you adhere to this pattern, the smoother the reading experience will be for your target audience.
  • The content of your book should be accurately cited and referenced according to accepted standards. For instance, if you’re using APA rules, all direct quotations must be cited using the APA style. If you’re citing a website, it must be properly attributed.
  • Your book should have a foreword, biography, or equivalent author introduction. The introduction should contain a brief biography of you or a short author biography if you’re a new author.
  • Your book should have an acknowledgement section which lists all persons and resources that contributed to its creation. This must include both the individuals and companies that funded the research or production of the content.
  • Your book should have a dedication section expressing gratitude to the people who helped you reach this point. This section should be a brief expression of appreciation for the people who helped you with your research, read and reviewed your content, or otherwise participated in the creation of your book.
  • Your book should have a section called “Bibliography” which is a list of all the sources used in its creation. This should include both the printed and digital sources.
  • Your book should have a section called “Index” which is a comprehensive list of all the acronyms, abbreviations, and terms used in its creation. This should include both the print and digital versions.
  • Your book should have a section called “Appendix” which includes all the necessary evidence required by the reader to understand the nature of the topic. This can include both the printed and digital versions of the book.

Getting Started: What Format Should You Format Your Book Into?

When you start formatting your book, you’ll need to decide what type of format you should use. While you can certainly use your default word processor’s layout, you may want to consider using a specific format instead.

This is especially important if you’re seeking publication in professional circles as opposed to simply sharing your book with friends and family. When seeking publication, you’ll need to choose a format that suits your target audience’s needs. For example, if you’re seeking publication in a scientific journal, you may want to consider using the Harvard or APA style. If you’re seeking publication in a professional society, you may want to consider using The Chicago Manual of Style or some other appropriate style. It’s also essential that you use a format that is accessible to as many people as possible. While you may ultimately choose a format that is most comfortable for you, the people reading your work will have to work harder to understand some portions of your content if the format is not familiar to them.

Why Are You Choosing to Format Your Book?

While you can certainly write your book in any number of formats, you should consider choosing an appropriate one that will maximize the potential for your work to be read and appreciated by the largest audience possible. Choosing a format also has implications for how you’ll ultimately sell your work. Some formats, such as the Harvard or APA style, are commonly accepted and easier to find a buyer for. If you decide to self-publish, the simplicity of using Microsoft Word or Google Docs will save you a great deal of effort as you go through the publishing process. Many self-publishing platforms make use of these common word processing tools to streamline the process. This brings us to our next point.