Professional editing, ghostwriting and book formatting services.

Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process

How do indie authors work with a freelance book formatter? This blog post explains the outline for Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process in five simple steps.

1) Book a formatting slot

To request your formatting slot, simply email with:

  • your book’s total word count
  • whether it is a fiction or nonfiction book
  • whether there are any additional features to be included (images, graphics, illustrations etc.)
  • your preferred deadline for the formatting to be done

If I can fit the formatting into my schedule, I will confirm the exact start and finish dates and send an invoice for a 10% (non-refundable) deposit to secure your slot. The balance is paid on completion.

2) Before formatting

As soon as I have received your deposit, I will send you a formatting checklist so you can choose your interior preferences. These include:

  • book size
  • book style
  • font choice
  • front and back matter inclusions

Please email the final version of your manuscript, as a Word document, along with your completed checklist, at least a day before your formatting is scheduled. I only accept thoroughly edited and proofread manuscripts to be formatted. I reserve the right to decline to format a manuscript that has not been through these stages. If I have to decline to format a manuscript for this reason, I will retain the deposit. My blog post 5 ways to prepare a manuscript for formatting tells you everything else you need to know.

Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process

3) During formatting

I will complete the formatting as per your preferences and requests (software permitting). Depending on my schedule, formatting is usually done within 3-5 working days. However, for an additional fee you can request a quicker turnaround time, which I will always consider if my schedule is flexible enough.

4) After formatting

Once the formatting is complete, I will send you the first PDF version of your book. This will need checking extremely carefully. My formatting services includes one free round of revisions. Please let me know what changes you would like to make either by marking up the PDF itself or by providing a separate list, including the book page numbers and whereabouts the changes are, for example: change ‘confidentially’ to ‘confidently’, page 12, paragraph 3, line 1.

I will then make the changes (software permitting) as quickly as possible and send version two back to you to check again. If there are any changes I can’t make, or changes that have detrimental knock-on effects to the layout, I will always explain why.

Finally, once you have checked version two and are happy to sign it off, I will generate the EPUB digital file and send that too, along with my final invoice. Both versions will be exactly the same except the EPUB will also include hyperlinks to your website/other books/social media accounts etc. if requested.

In the uncommon event that one round of revisions isn’t enough, further revisions will be charged at £10 per round (minor text/layout changes only). Amending book style and/or book/font size and/or adding (more) images and/or lots of text (classed as major changes as they significantly alter the existing formatting) will be charged at £25 per round.

5) Extras

I am always happy to share your book on social media and my website once it has been published – just email me or tag me on Instagram to let me know when it’s ‘live’!

Further minor revisions can be made for just £10 per round for the life of the book. (These may include: adding a pre-order link for a new book, updating website/social media links, amending dates for new releases etc.) The new version can then be uploaded to replace the old version online.

And that’s Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process in five simple steps! Please see below for some frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How much does book formatting cost?

A. Fiction and nonfiction prices are structured as follows:

Fiction formatting prices:

  • £99 for a text only manuscript which contains up to 50,000 words
  • £109 for a text only manuscript which contains between 50,000–70,000 words
  • £129 for a text only manuscript which contains between 70,000–90,000 words
  • £139 for a text only manuscript which contains between 90,000-100,000 words
  • £149 for a text only manuscript which contains over 100,000 words

It then costs an extra £10 to add up to 3 interior images/graphics/illustrations. Or an extra £20 for 4-6 images/graphics/illustrations. And an extra £30 for 7-9 images/graphics/illustrations, and so on.

Nonfiction formatting prices:

  • Nonfiction formatting begins at £149 for a manuscript which contains up to 50,000 words with no interior images/graphics/illustrations.

It then costs an extra £10 to add up to 3 images/graphics/illustrations to a a book containing up to 50,000 words. Therefore, the prices become:

  • £159 for up to 3 images/graphics/illustrations
  • £169 for 4-6 images/graphics/illustrations
  • £179 for 7-9 images/graphics/illustrations
  • £189 for 10-12 images/graphics/illustrations
  • £199 for 13+ images/graphics/illustrations

(I personally wouldn’t advise more than 15 images maximum per book in order to minimise the possibility of awkward spacing on pages, which then significantly affects text placement.)

Please contact me for a bespoke price for formatting a nonfiction book over 50,000 (with or without images).

Q. What software do you use for formatting?

A. I use Vellum formatting software. These blog posts explain more about it:

Which Vellum Book Style Should I Choose?

Is Vellum Formatting Suitable For My Book?

5 Reasons NOT to choose Vellum formatting

What are the pros and cons of Vellum formatting?

Which Vellum Chapter Heading Background Should I Choose?

Q. Do you help authors upload books to Amazon etc.

A. No, I do not currently offer this as an additional service. However, I can signpost you to reputable resources to help you to do this stage of the process yourself, or recommend professionals in my network who do offer this as a service.

If you have any other questions that don’t appear here regarding Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process, please ask in the comments, contact me directly, or send an email to

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