Every year, I look forward to attending the online self-publishing conference called Indie Author Fringe. And every year, I’ve had fun entering the amazing drawings at IAF, and I’ve won some pretty amazing prizes. I recently redeemed my free ebook formatting from Vellum. I chose a serial I’d written on a blog in college–not something especially amazing or well written, but a solid enough book that I wanted to see it in a downloadable format. That’s the second formatting prize I won, after getting a free template from The Book Designer in 2015.
Book formatting (both ebook and print) can be a headache, and I grab what resources I can to make the process easier. A while ago, I was disappointed when Blurb’s gorgeous templates turned out to be one frustration after another with odd spacing and no page numbers past a point. Both professional options listed above were much easier, but after looking at the price tag, I have to wonder if buying a professional template or formatting software is really worth the effort. Here are some of the pros and cons to keep in mind when you’re examining options for your own book.
- It really does look nice. The customizable layout options available will make your book look professional while giving it the unique flair you want it to have.
- It’s easy. Of course, this depends on your tech skills and how well you can already manipulate book layout. But having something solid to start with is better than designing your book from scratch!
- Options! There are many different designs available. Whether you’re publishing a book of wartime memoirs, edgy science fiction, or regency romance, there is a look for you.
- It’s customizable. Are you publishing a single book or a series? One genre or five? Professional formatting services offer a variety of licenses and bundle deals to work with your individual needs.
- No worries! Kindle Direct will not withhold your book because it doesn’t meet formatting requirements. If you’re an experienced self-publisher, you’ve probably shed some tears over missing page counts or extra blank pages. It’s not a good place to be, and professional formatting takes care of that!
- Money. It does cost, especially if you have more than one book. Since writing budgets are generally small and fragile creatures, you should be careful not to spend money if you don’t need to.
- You can do it yourself. If you work hard enough, you could copy the style you like or invent one that’s just as good on your own. There’s no magic here.
- You’ll have to work at it either way. Unless you want to hire someone to do everything for you, buying a formatting service means you’ll still have to make a lot of the decisions yourself.
Whether to get professional book formatting is primarily a matter of budget. If you can afford it, it will simplify the writing process–and make your book look fantastic to your readers. Otherwise, you should attempt to learn what makes professional layouts look professional so you can duplicate that look for yourself.