Expertly crafted book layout templates in InDesign & Word
Welcome! I set up DIY Book Formats after watching many of the authors I work with try to format their books themselves and make a mess of it, with amateur mistakes and unprofessional design choices. I started this site to give away some free book formatting templates; but that wasn't enough. Formatting can still be a frustrating process. So I've gone back and made some video tutorials to get you up to speed quickly.
While there are lots of other guides or resources to book formatting - just because you know the technical "How-To" behind setting up your document, doesn't mean you can produce a beautifully designed book. And I hope that's where my templates and tutorials will stand out. We go behind the basics and focus on the actual style and design; the differences that take you from amateur to professional. You should start with the basics, and then watch the videos about formatting in MS Word or Adobe InDesign.
I also made a section on ebook formatting and conversion, with some free tools you can use to easily convert your manuscript to epub and mobi formats.
Make sure to check out the "Free Templates" page and download the DIY formatting templates and guide. If you're self-publishing, it'll save you a lot of time and money. If you sign up to the email list, I'll give you another free package of formatting templates, and some free gifts to help you design and publish better books.
I thank you greatly, Derek... Your formatting templates were even more helpful than your book cover templates. The formatting was just what we needed; so I cannot thank you enough there. You have been a great help, really! -Denis Towers
I started walking through all the material you've provided and I have to say, thanks for providing so much helpful information. I have a lot to learn, but you materials have served to streamline and organized my task, making it feasible I'll be ready to self-publish something in a couple of months. Thanks for everything! -David Wallace
A brief introduction to book formatting for self-publishing authors.
Did you know that over 1 million people search for terms like "book formatting" and "how to make a book" every month? That's incredible. You'd think with so much demand, there should be a whole lot of easy tools and programs to help you publish your book.
But there aren't. Because self-publishing is a huge money maker.
The traditional publishers don't want your book to look good. They want you to fail, so people buy their books instead. The books they've approved of and invested in. There are a whole bunch of "author services" and amateur designers offering book formatting, but they don't have many samples in their portfolio, and they don't really have the experience necessary to design a professional looking book.
You want your book to look as good as possible. You don't want to perpetuate the prejudice that self-published books are no good or poorly designed. But learning how to format your book yourself is a huge effort. You don't have time for that. You want to get your book published now, and you want it to look good.
I wanted to help authors make their own books and design their own book interiors (without making rookie mistakes and dealing with hair-pulling frustrations) so I made a bunch of quality interior layout formats... plus a "how-to" guide, an epic list of fonts per genre, and some more useful stuff. You can download them for free, right now, no strings attached.
Book formatting is actually pretty easy...
If you know what you're doing - but you don't. That's why you have to pay a designer a lot of money, because they know what looks good. It's a gift. It's a skill. It's very valuable. (Also - just because someone knows how to use the software doesn't mean they have any sense of design or style...)
But on the other hand, book formatting doesn't require a lot of variation. The majority of books are laid out in a handful of ways, with only a handful of fonts. If you know the right options to choose from, you can't make any big mistakes.
Which means it doesn't have to cost a ton of money, because if you know exactly what you want, you can pay a professional for their time - usually a couple of hours - to format your book according to the specs you require.
These templates come with instructions, and the guide will also tell you where to get cheap help if you get stuck. The guide will also help you choose the right fonts to make your book unique (you'll also be matching your cover font - so spend more on the cover design, less on the formatting).
Should You Format in InDesign or MS Word?
InDesign formats really do look better than Word formats... but just a little. The truth is if the same fonts, margins and everything else is the same (very professional) you won't see a big difference. Finding someone to help you format in InDesign will cost a little more... and has the disadvantage of not being able to make changes or fix little problems yourself (whereas, if someone formats in Word, you can still fix stuff without needing the designer again).
So Word is probably a good choice, although if you're totally finished and you want it to look extremely polished and professional, InDesign is the finer option. (Also, Word is more fickle, and it's easier to screw everything up and need to go through again fixing things).
I'm including these templates in both formats so that you can choose.
While you can format yourself, I really don't recommend it. It's a huge pain. But don't sweat it, I'll tell you where to find people who will help format your book with either Word or InDesign, using these templates, for as little as $25 (which should save you a lot of money).
And the best part, they're FREE
Seriously. Click here to download them. You don't even have to give me your email. These templates are better than what some other people are charging for, but I want to support authors as much as I can. If you do sign up to the email list, you'll get a bonus package of genre-specific book formatting templates and some other surprise gifts to help you succeed.
If you want to say thanks (and help others at the same time) you can share this page, so other authors can download these free book formatting templates.
The Master Package
Most of the content on this site will be 100% free, but I'm also putting together a huge package of templates, for serious authors who want more flexibility, and a unique book design that will stand out.
Here are some examples...
These are some really nice formatting choices at a fraction of the cost of some other book design templates. Great tools at a great price! Thanks again.- Mitchell Medford, Death Beds
Most of these are "too flashy" and bold for the majority of books; I'm just showing what *can* be done. Less is more. Err on the side of caution and tone things down. Don't go crazy.
Professional authors or even book designers who are just starting out will get a lot of value out of this package. You can find out more about it on this page.
I hope you'll agree that the free resources and templates are pretty awesome. If these templates are useful to you, please share them! You could write a blog post about them or link to this site from your sidebar.
PS) I’ve been building a lot of resources for authors, including a few bestselling books that you can get for free on my main blog: creativindie.com.
Since I’ve started focusing on writing and publishing fiction, I’ve been experimenting with "guerrilla" book marketing hacks to build an author platform quickly at www.marketingforwriters.com.
And the free cover design tool and templates I’ve added to www.diybookcovers.com are pretty cool too.
Did you find something useful on DIY Book Formats? Please share!
- Free Publishing Guides
- Free Book Design Templates
- Free Ebook Formatting Templates
- How to make an ebook
- How to Format a book in MS Word
- How to Format a book in InDesign
You can use these templates! Fonts included are OK for commercial use. If you want, you can add "Formatting & Interior Book Design by Derek Murphy" inside the book (but it's not required).