The Downside of Doing Your Own Book Formatting

June 27, 2022

I’m a huge supporter of doing your own book formatting. In my last post, I shared three benefits of DIY book formatting. However, doing your own book formatting isn’t always smooth sailing and tons of savings. So I encourage you to consider the following when making the decision about who will format your book.

4 Things to Consider Before Doing Your Own Book Formatting

1.) There’s a Learning Curve that Comes with a Huge Time Investment

When learning to do your own formatting, regardless of what program you use, there is going to be a learning curve. You need to learn the parameters set by your publishing platform. What formatting is acceptable, and what isn’t. Industry standards, etc.

And then you need to learn to apply those parameters with the program you’ve chosen to do your book formatting in. Formatting in Word is different than formatting in Atticus, which is different from formatting with InDesign, which is different than formatting with Scribner.

Formatting a book for paperback is different than formatting that same book for Kindle, the iBookStore, Draft2Digital, or Nook.

If you don’t have a ton of time to invest in formatting your book, it’s probably worth it to outsource this part of the publishing process.

2.) Perfection is Important

As authors, we always want to put our best foot forward when publishing. One of the great aspects of self-publishing and DIY book formatting is that you can make updates at any time. Did you catch a typo? You can easily fix it and re-upload your file. Did you catch a formatting mistake you made? No problem, just fix it and you’re on your way.

However, authors often get tired of looking at their book manuscript. By the time you’re done with polishing your first draft and then five rounds of edits. Going through the formatting process can be daunting. You might will probably get tired of flipping through and examining every page to make sure your formatting is spot on.

Other authors simply don’t have an eye for detail when it comes to formatting. They don’t have the patience required to sit with it, look through it, and give it their all. A poorly formatted book can cost you money in book sales. So, if that sounds like you, paying someone to do your book formatting is probably your best call.

3.) Can Be Costly

While learning to do your own formatting can save you the cost of hiring out, it can still be quite costly.

In addition to poor formatting costing you book sales, most formatting programs require an initial financial investment (some even have ongoing monthly/yearly fees). The way I’ve found formatting to be the most expensive is for when authors program hop. Instead of learning how to use the program they chose, they get frustrated, so they purchase another one, only to get frustrated again (because learning to format a book is hard – especially if you’re technically challenged). You can spend thousands of dollars on formatting software with nothing to show for it if you aren’t careful.

Thus, I highly recommend researching all the book formatting software available before you begin your formatting journey. Don’t just pick the first program you find. Look at the price, reviews, tutorials available, and anything else you can think of. Then stick with it. Once you learn to format your book using your software, it will be easier the next time around.

4.) Is It a Skill Worth Having?

Finally, I encourage you to ask yourself if book formatting a skill worth having. If you only plan to write one book, investing hours in learning formatting specifications and mastering a program might not be worth it. However, if you plan to write multiple books, it could definitely be worth it. That’s just something to consider when counting the cost.

If you get good at formatting, you could start an author side-hustle helping other authors format their books to earn some extra income.

However, if formatting is extremely frustrating to you, if it causes you too much anxiety, or you just simply hate it. Outsourcing is probably your better option.

What Will You Decide?

Are you going to try your hand at formatting? What helped you make your formatting decision? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Learn How To Format Your Book with Microsoft Word

Check out my step-by-step training for formatting your book for Kindle, print, and eBook distribution for just $15.

Not interested in formatting your own book? I’ll do it for you. You can contact me here.

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