A Vampire’s Tale: Printed books, interior design for such, and ready for print-on-demand documents (distributors).

Later on, we’ll dive even deeper into cover creation since I’ve already given you a few jewels about that end of the workload. This post is about what should be applied to your book’s print version. I’ll be referring to your book as a manuscript since that’s what it is before it’s printed. Word, Libre, or something else, the basics are the same.

I’ll make the distinction now between fiction and non-fiction novels. The advice I give in this post is meant mostly for those of us who create works of fiction. Authors of non-fiction can use these techniques as well, although more concernment and critical judgment is needed. What they are is a design with a certain amount of flair intended. It’s design, like the cover, typefaces or fonts, and the actual story is to encompass the reader within a kind of event. So they can enjoy the story (the show) or what might be unraveled before them.

As such, these techniques don’t have the same kind of leniency within non-fiction works, although they can be applied just the same.

All of the images in this post can be downloaded with a simple right click so that you can study them in their true proportions.

This is mostly about aesthetics though, which can change over time and is mostly a judgment call, or maybe the author wants to add something different or unique to the work. As we all know by now, the world we once knew is up for grabs so anything can fly. Be that as it is, I can only describe how to layout a book similar to the ones I’ve read and tout the styles I like, possibly incentivizing them all the while.

What you do or how you layout yours is your choice entirely.


This is what I’ll cover and try to expand upon hoping to give you some kind of edge up.

  • Justifying text.
  • Author and Book Title placement on the pages.
  • Page numbers, counts, and where to start counting.
  • Copyright notice, Acknowledgements and other author todo’s like Forewords, Afterwords, and ADs.
  • Covers for books which shall be printed.
  • Templates and software.
  • The .pdf

So, grab a beer, maybe a mocha, or a soda.


Justification is a fairly simple one, such we’ve all noticed right away when we first began to formulate a way to present our written work. It certainly looks better overall, but that’s mostly exemplified within printed books. Since while reading, you’ll sometimes have both pages open, it just lays out and looks better.

The other reason is to keep the sentences in the passages from trailing into the gutter. The gutter is an area like the margin or borders close to the spine or the middle of the book if you have it open. Justification forms a border which is not to be crossed within the left and right pages of the book and keeps the text from entering the spine of the book. Without justification, depending on the quality of the printed book, some can encounter unnecessary wear and tear due to the reader needing to open the book more than its capable of without deteriorating, so they can read the trailing text.

There are also some shortcomings in getting it done which one needs to be aware of and examine.

The biggest obstacle which can easily snare you if you haven’t thought it all the way through is the font you use in your manuscript. Some fonts (some of those really good-looking free ones you might have downloaded) aren’t very compatible for various exposes of text. Once justification is applied, you’ll sometimes find your text spread across the page with too much spacing between the words. From what I’ve heard it’s a matter of what kind of font that’s used, but it’s not only that.

Some fonts are merely for decoration to be used in a banner or some other advertisement such as a poster or in the cover for some books. For display of prose or any extended expenditure of text, they often don’t work out so well. Some are just poorly designed from a technical aspect with mismatched spacing and some other deficiencies.

There is software which can handle that, and some can with a razor like finesse. But for most of us, we use what we can use so your best bet is to choose another font, if it doesn’t work well with your manuscript.

You’ll have to do your own research on how to work that out. It can be as deep as looking into the Font organizer for your OS which will tell what kind of font it is that your using, or maybe someone has minimized all the fuss into a few safe fonts you should stick to. I use trial and error for the most part. I often begin designing the interior layout of the book as I’m writing the manuscript so I can usually pick up on those errors easy enough if they occur.

The truth is, I haven’t really investigated this from a technical perspective. It could be a certain number of words or characters need to be present before justification will engage. I’ll take a deeper look into it in the near future and append my results to this post if I discover anything useful.

Another option is to rewrite, possibly expanding or simply rephrasing the idea you’re trying to get across with the last few sentences. A much worthier expenditure, it’ll enhance your skills for one, which as you know, might come in handy.


This too is easy enough to understand. All you have to do is pick up one of your favorite books and have a look.

Usually, the author’s name is on the left pages of the book, and the title for the book is found on the right pages of the book. This demarcation usually doesn’t begin until the story starts, after a few pages into the book, after the first of title pages, copyright, and other declarations.

I’ve yet to learn where this standard came from or when it came into practice. It makes sense since the novel is the creative work of an author. So, reading from left to right the author’s name should be listed first with the title of his work following. It’s easy to believe it’s a pure vanity, but what it’s also, is a kind of introduction or announcement of the presentation which is your book.

Omar Daniels, Subterfuge. Omar Daniels presents. And so forth. It can just as easily work in the reverse, to that effect, but sticking with some status quo is not always bad. Too much disorder can leave one lost and disorientated.

Another thing to take notice of is the placement of page numbers, and which side is odd numbered or even numbered. If you’ve noticed, page one, an odd number, is usually on the right page. But, we read from left to right.

The reason the odd numbered pages or page one is on the right is also aesthetic, I think, although I like to believe that starting on the right with the story is appropriate given what one must do and declare before the story begins. As well as it being in the proper position in relation to the introduction.

Sticking with this established format, like having no title or author labels on either the section beginnings (Part I, II, and so forth) or on any of the pages which begin with a chapter title, is ok. And, denying any front and back book matter like the copyright notification, acknowledgements, or afterwords the same is a fair play in most corners.

Have a look at the preceding image to get a gist of what I mean or have a look through your favorite book.


More aesthetics but it could mean something to someone out there, depending on what they know or how they feel about a novel.

Page numbers, unlike the author and title labels, I use throughout the book once the novel begins. This means I don’t use them for any of the front matter and begin counting with page one being the first page of the story. Prologue, Part I, Chapter One, etc. Depending on what’s going on with the styling of those pieces count will pick up no later than the first page of Chapter One. I do however like to remove the page numbers from any new section pages in the book, like Part II, and Part III.

So, with a nice prologue, and new section page, the first page of chapter one usually lands somewhere between pages 3 and 7. If you dive right in with chapter one, no matter what true page it’s on, chapter one and the page count should begin with 1.

Some of these techniques can be applied to eBooks as well although how far you can take it or what success you may achieve is still a matter of what individual device your reader is using. It’s not so much limiting as it is involved to get ahead of.

Again, it’s mostly a style and as such is meant only to convey something which may not be malleable to the reader. There are usually no Table of Contents within a printed novel so the page count is almost insignificant except for a few instances and its most apparent uses.

Within eBooks, such intuition appears to be abstracted, since you usually only see one page at any given time. And since you can’t flip through to where you left off like you would a printed book, page counts seem to have returned to serve their original intent.

However, most eBooks do have a Table of Contents within them, or the eBook reader software provides one based on the page and section breaks which occur throughout the book. Despite this, the same level of insignificance when it comes to page numbers, applies whilst formatting an eBook as well. And, although you may not flip through an eBook like you would a printed book (yet you can with today’s software) most eBook Readers’ software will enable you to pick up where you were when you last read a particular title. Current technology can provide for this convenience across devices, no matter where in the world you are.

Other than to remember where you left off, which eBook reader software handles for you, or their most apparent use, which is to accurately record the document, that’s how important or not is the page count within novels.

Luckily, page counts and where they start can be handled very easily depending on the software you use. Once in that section I’ll let you know how to go about inputting your material into a word processor so that it won’t be so difficult to change later on if you do choose to create a print copy of your book by your own means.


I haven’t come across a book where the copyright is the last page of the book so far. Of course, it could be placed there if one wanted. It could, not even appear in any creative work if you really want to take on the hardest of creative approaches. Regardless, most will want to post one, and perhaps it is better to make one aware that your work is not to be given away, right off from the beginning.

Acknowledgements are almost exclusively placed in the beginning of a novel, although not always, since it takes so much work to get one done. Thanking whoever helped you out in that endeavor or campaign before you start your story will probably be appreciated.

Forewords and Afterwords go where they sound like they should go, obviously.

ADs can literally go anywhere, but only the most conniving would place them anywhere but in the farthest reaches of the book, most preferably all the way at the end.


As when you submitted your manuscript, the distributor of your wares which you choose will most likely provide a template to help guide you with your cover creation. It will graphically explain or provide the specs which need to be adhered to. Those specs are defined mostly by the size of your book and whether it’s a hard back or paperback, the capabilities of the distributor, and their printer.

What I mean is, read the manual, or in this case the instructions which came with the template. Since this post is aimed at helping you, I’ll let you know that what you need to worry about is keeping any text within the cover within the guidelines provided on the template. The text I’m referring to is the book’s title and author. Keeping in mind which space on the template each section of the cover belongs in helps as well. Front cover, back cover, and spine.

The template does help you create a better cover. Once you develop more skill and technique, your limits begin to disintegrate and before you know it you can literally go nuts on all over the canvas. Choosing to stay within the styles of the genre you’re writing would be best though, in the beginning. Because success is still distinguished by what a person likes, which is the reader, or whoever might purchase your book.

Hard back covers usually have sleeves although I’m sure there’s a printer who can do something exquisite and possibly exclusive where a sleeve is not required. Paperbacks are pretty much standard by now, since there’s still a decent demand for those.

I purchase paperbacks whenever I choose a print book to read so that’s what I publish. I’d would purchase more hard backs, hopefully I’ll publish at least one, but until something more impressive than a paper sleeve making up the outer exterior becomes feasible, I’ll leave them be.

Once you gain a template for your cover, my advice is to create your cover (per your preferred imaging software) as a layer below your template. Change the opacity of the template to somewhere around 15-20 percent, enough for you to see through it and keep working. Some software will let you turn off that layer so you can focus and then you can simply turn it back on to check and make sure everything’s square. From there create each piece of your cover, front cover, back cover, and spine, then simply arrange them according to your template.

That’s just one way to do it, and there are a million others. With vector images, you can create to your hearts content without worrying if your design can be scaled without losing resolution. Such makes fitting it into a template a true matter of cut and paste. So they say.


This section is close to the end because some have the tendency to grab this kind of know-how first then immediately head off for the races while knowing not of their odds, or if they can even win. You need to know what was covered earlier or at least have a plan or idea of which way you want to go, otherwise, the forthcoming difficulties will only infuriate you and prove as more of a distraction than anything else.

No matter what software you choose there are a couple of techniques you should apply so to help your manuscript’s transition from manuscript to a print-on-demand document, or to an eBook simpler. The most helpful of all pragmatisms I’ve come across so far is the almighty page break.

Use it and use it well. Whether dissecting your manuscript into chapters and parts or separating the individual pieces of front and back book matter, once you load your manuscript into another software to do more engineering your life will be much easier if you format the original manuscript as well as you possibly can. What I mean is, you have to spec, the s*** out of it.

Setup your headings and style definitions. Those too enable you to separate your manuscript into logical parts which other processing and formatting software will likely be compatible. It will allow you a greater degree of control if any swooping changes need to occur. I suggest you try to forecast what kind of spacing you’ll use and try out a few fonts to see which is more appealing for the story you’re writing. You should keep your reader in mind, or the genre you’re writing foremost in your mind while doing this.

It all comes into play if truly on your own and having such setup prior to writing can make the work more enjoyable. This rule is flexible and as stated throughout this post, it’s more about aesthetics. I often find the fonts and styles I use help keep me motivated to continue writing and help to focus my interest on the story.

From my experience page counts don’t translate well from software to software. Whatever rendition of the book your creating, you’ll have to learn the software you’re using to adjust that, if possible. Just getting a page number to appear or not can sometimes be a wrestling match. It is of little concern, if you’re committed to doing it all yourself then obviously, you’ll have to learn how if you hope to keep going.

Once you move into preparing the print-on-demand copy, again you’ll usually find some sort of template from the distributors end which can aid you while you create your document. Copy and paste does handle the initial lifting once the manuscript is ready, but all the other specs, like the page numbers, counts, and section labels are easy or difficult to establish depending on the software and how good you are at using them. I won’t point out any one developer over another, because they all have their merits and what would seem like flaws, but in actuality, it’s almost impossible to serve every need at any one time.


Lastly, pdf’s do a great job of enclosing a document within a file which can carry and display its document’s original design across devices. It does this in a myriad of ways and most distributors request one for submissions. Most distributors and publishers will accept a word document as well, but you shouldn’t expect the distributor to do any editing unless you’re not the one paying them directly. Pdf’s can be edited as well but you know what I mean.

A little about AI: just a little bit

It can definitely clear up some grievances you might have with the grammar. It can also provide a nice refresher of what you may have forgotten. All the while, creative writing is complex and has its own set of peculiarity’s and you’ll need to learn those rules if your aim is to write beautiful prose. This is particularly true of novels.

Some of those rules are solid advice which has stood the test of time. Some of it is merely a slant since no one who enjoys reading is unacquaintanced enough to not understand what their reading. More than anything, whichever rule applies the most happens because it’s well received or for the moment is liked by at least most. Subjectivity is a huge part of this game, so, when in Rome…

Don’t let the beholden or the naysayers fool you either. People like what they like.

What do you like and what do you hope or want to convey to others with your text>? Email me and let me know.

Best of luck,