The Author’s task is to write the story. The Book Formatter’s job is to put the story in a standard (and sometimes creative) format recognizable to the industry and to readers. If there is a mistake in the print book or ebook design, a reader will feel that something is wrong. This can lead to a subconscious decision that the book production is amateurish or self-published, and may influence the reader’s opinion of the author.
An experienced print Book Formatter will organize the front matter, the body, and the back matter. Sections of the book will begin on the recto, or right hand side, of the book. Front matter is numbered differently from the body. Headers, footers, chapter headings, drop caps, formatting of graphics, tables, bullet lists, recto formatting and tables of contents are all handled by the Book Formatter.
A good Book Formatter will be comfortable with the mechanics of book design, yet be receptive to the requirements of the author. Authors may have a style in mind for the print book and the Book Formatter’s job is to help get the idea across to the reader using existing standards as guidelines. Good communication between the author and the Book Formatter is essential!
Formatting ebooks is a little different. An experienced ebook Formatter will format in a way that offers the best presentation on a variety of reading devices. Because there are so many reading devices in reader’s hands, ebook formatting must be kept simple and there is less room for creativity.
Finally, a Book Formatter may guide the author through the process of getting her book ready for Createspace or ebook publishing.
It is important to note the difference between a Book Designer/Formatting service and a Conversion Service. Many so-called “book formatting” services simply run a manuscript through a software program which spits out a file that will upload to Kindle or Createspace. The resulting file will not be an attractive, professional looking book. At Sarco Press, all books are properly formatted in a way that looks attractive and professional, and which provides a pleasing experience to the reader!