You know what can take away all the joy of finishing your book? Realizing that you have hours of tedious work to improve it from the technical side. And I don’t mean editing here, but formatting the text. Line by line, often word for word. Especially since it’s a job that could have been avoided.
Learn everything I know about how to write a book in Word here. I will tell you step by step about formatting the text that can be sent to the publishing house (this area is the focus of the entire article), will enable you to prepare an e-book, create a copy file for the client and avoid later technical corrections. Above all, I promise it will be very practical.
Microsoft Word vs. Google Docs
At the beginning, it is worth noting that the following guide will be useful for you, regardless of whether you use standard Word or Word online (Google Docs). You can only find differences in the placement of certain functions.
Where to get Word for free and fully legal?
Microsoft Word (versions from different years) is a program with more features, but to use it legally you need to purchase a license.
If you want to have full (unlimited) access to the free program, it’s worth using Google Docs. Anyone with a Google (“Gmail”) email inbox, which is also completely free (and one of the best on the Internet) can access them for free. To take full advantage of “Word Online” you need Internet access, but it is also possible to work offline.
All the screenshots you will see below come from Google Docs. In this article, I will alternate between using the original name and the name “Word online”.
I use this terminology so that other people looking for free Word could come across this article.
A quick guide on how to get your free Word online
If you have never had contact with Online Documents, below I will describe step by step how to start them. If you are familiar with this program, go straight to the next part of this article
- To get a free Google email, go here: https://accounts.google.com/signup
- After creating an account and entering the mailbox in the upper right corner you will find an icon of 9 points that form a square. After clicking on it, you will expand the list of other available services (screen below). Select “Disk”. You can also access it directly via the link: https://drive.google.com
- “Google Drive” -> the “My Drive” tab(left menu) is the place where all your Google Docs will be saved by default.
- Click on the big plus image and then on “Google Docs”.
That’s all. Now we’ll get to how to write a book in Word online. Below you will find a description of all the settings, thanks to which you will create a text perfectly prepared for the publisher.
How to write a book in Word
Even before we start non fiction ghostwriting a book, it is worth setting the appropriate parameters for the text being created. We do not decide about them ourselves! Publishing houses adopt certain standards that are worth knowing in advance.
- Appropriate file name
Before we go into the settings, make sure you name your file appropriately. In Google Docs, you need to give a title to save the document.
Personally, I recommend you a very simple formula.
- Book title (possibly working).
- Date of edition.
Personally, I save a backup version of the file on my hard drive and in a separate folder at least once a day (but during intense writing days – even several times a day).
Including in your title the date you are working on the text is one of the best tips for writing a Word book in my opinion. This way, you can easily find other versions of the files and avoid accidentally overwriting a newer version with an older one. This type of “archive” will also be helpful if you decide to revert to a previous version of a scene or chapter.
- Text formatting
- Let’s start by setting the Times New Roman font(sometimes other fonts are also accepted, but this one is the most popular).
- Font size: 12 points.
- Then – justified text(the text fills the full available width), or “left-aligned”).
- Leading 1.5 lines(this is the space between lines of text).
- The next step is to set the indentation on the first line of each paragraph. To do this, select “Format” -> “Alignment and indents” -> “Indentation options”on the toolbar
Here you just need to click on the “First line” under the heading “Special indents” and confirm the changes with the “Apply” button.
- Save the settings as “Text style”
This way you won’t have to reset everything in the future
- To do this, select “Format” -> “Paragraph Styles” -> “Plain Text” -> “Update” Plain Text “to adjust”.
- Track title and chapter titles
- It is best to center the title of the novel / story / guide(central alignment) and set the size to 14 points.
- The same applies to chapter titles or their designations (“Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”).
Often times, publishers do not indicate any specific specifications here (you should check it before sending your novel to a specific publisher!) – Then it’s best to keep it simple.
- Don’t forget to save the formatting as “Format” -> “Paragraph Styles” -> “Update” Title “/” Subtitle “style to adjust”.
- Record of dialogues
If you’ve never looked for information on this topic before, I recommend that you do so before writing a novel. I will write an article about it soon. It will complement your knowledge on how to write a book in Word so that it is prepared as well as possible for the needs of the publisher.
- I recommend that you set the automatic overwrite of the target “dash” here, which appears after pressing the minus on the keyboard “-“, for the so-called dash, which is the writing mark that starts the dialogues “-“. It will greatly simplify your struggle with how to write a book in Word
- To set a dash select “Tools” -> “Settings”,then manually add a “minus” sign (-) and paste “dash” (-). You can copy it from this text. Don’t forget to commit the change.
- Page numbering
If you want to insert page numbering, you can do it very easily by selecting “Insert” -> “Page Numbers” -> on the toolbar and then clicking on the tile where the numbering is in the lower right corner of each page.
The most common mistakes made by those who wrote a book in Word
- In the first place there must be too little involvement in checking the text before sending it to the publisher.
It is worth telling the painful truth here – even the best plot will not defend itself if the text contains a large number of basic spelling, punctuation, grammatical, stylistic and lexical errors. Why? Because it will be rejected in advance, without further exploring its contents. If you had to extract one piece of information from this article on how to write a book in Word, let it be – a thorough text check.
- Manual spaces, that is, double (and more) spaces.
One of the most important things about an article on how to write a Word book is to make sure that all the formatting is done automatically. All the settings I described above will make your text look exactly as it should.
- Manual word breakdown and transfer of “orphans”.
It is not possible to do this before the text is finally broken, in other words – it is not your job as a writer, unless you want to make the work of those who will do it much more difficult once you receive your final text.
- Incorrect spelling of punctuation marks (full stop, comma, exclamation point, question mark, semicolon, colon) and writing the text in parentheses.
They must adhere to the words they follow and be separated by a space from the word that follows.
You already know everything about how to write a book in Word, from the technical side.