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 penningandplanning@gmail.com 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, you can request a quicker turnaround for an additional fee, if it will involve me working during evenings and/or a weekend to get it done for you.

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. 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. The formatting services includes two rounds of revisions.

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.

Repeat the step above if you need further revisions after checking version two. I will again make all the changes possible and send you version three. Once you have checked version three 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 desired.

In the uncommon event that two rounds of revisions aren’t enough, further revisions will be charged at £10 per round.

5) Extras

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

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.The fiction formatting prices are:

  • £69 for a text only manuscript which contains up to 50,000 words.
  • £79 for a text only manuscript which contains between 50,000 – 70,000 words.
  • £89 for a text only manuscript which contains between 70,000 – 90,000 words.
  • £99 for a text only manuscript which contains over 90,000 words or any length manuscript which contains interior images/graphics/illustrations. 

Nonfiction formatting begins at £99 for a manuscript which contains up to 50,000 words.

Q. What software do you use for formatting?

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

What book styles does Vellum offer?

Is Vellum Formatting Suitable For My Book?

What are the pros and cons of Vellum formatting?

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

A. No, I do not offer this as an additional service as it requires you to divulge your personal and financial details. However, I can signpost you to recommend resources to equip you to do that stage of the process yourself.

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 penningandplanning@gmail.com.