Let me start by saying happy April Fool’s Day! I’m not good at pranks, so I won’t give a lame attempt at one right now, haha.
What I would like to discuss is formatting your manuscript. Formatting is obviously a big deal when it comes to writing books. It gives the book a clean, professional look; and it helps the reader to know that either the writer has a good team, or they know what they are doing and are taking the time to make sure their book is actually completed.
Now, I don’t particularly know if there is a “standard” or “professional” look for the font and spacing of a book. But, I would like to think that the writer should have some sort of creative control of it. (Except if it’s an academic paper, but that’s entirely different, of course.)
Font: One of the main things I can never seem to decide on is my font style and size. I always change it several times, even when I’m writing the first draft. For some unknown reason, the change of font every now and again sometimes helps me to keep writing. I almost wonder if it’s because it’s just something new. It gives me a new style to look at so that I don’t get bored of looking at the same letters for 70,000 words. Perhaps I’ve stumbled upon a new kind of inspiration? Who knows.
Spacing: It would appear that Microsoft Word thinks it’s pretty funny to add a space after each paragraph. Well, when I first started self-publishing I didn’t even seem to notice this. So, my formatting was quite messy and I had to spend that extra time fixing it. Grr. Luckily, I found a way to change it right from the start so I don’t run into that problem again.
Then there comes the technicality of how far to space the font. Single space? Double space? 1.25? I did a quick Google search yesterday and the general consensus seems to be 1.2 is the “standard” font spacing. This helps make it easier to read, and can help bulk up the page size. Now, of course content should matter more than how long the book is. But, for me at least, I’m generally attracted to books that are a bit longer in length. It helps me to believe that there’s a good, long story in there that will keep me engaged, and it helps me to know I’m not wasting my money on a book I’ll finish in an hour.
Chapters: During my Google search, I also found that sometimes people like to always start their chapters on the right page. This seems unnecessary and is a waste of paper. While it is another way to bulk up the page count, I don’t think it really impacts the story or book in any significant way that it just wouldn’t be the same if some chapters started on the left page.
What about you? How do you like to format your books? Do font and size affect how much or how inspired you are to right? Do you have to have your book formatted a certain way?