FCTB: The Book Interior

Blog Post 38 FCTB Book InteriorBy now, you’ve gathered all of the text that you’ll need for the outside of your book.  But what about the inside or what’s called the book’s interior?  If you’re preparing a hard copy, which is the focus of this series, then the interior of the book plays a critical role in the cover’s design.


A book cover is more than just the front of the book.  It’s the entire outside, starting on the front and wrapping around to the back.  Books vary in thickness, which impacts the width of its spine.  A good cover designer will ask you about the number of pages in your novel.  Completing the book’s interior will give you that number.  It consists of more than the story, and those pages can add up.

For more details, please also see James Scott Bell’s Self-Publishing Attack!  It provides a good primer on interior design and more resources to consult.  Another great way to learn how to format an interior is to check out the interiors of your favorite books.  Note the way they’ve been prepared, as what’s shown can be fairly consistent across books.

Depending on your level of expertise with Microsoft Word, you can either do the interior formatting yourself or contract it out to someone for a fee.  If you’re not comfortable with Word, I recommend the latter.

Below, I briefly describe each part of the interior.

  • The title page. This is where your book title and byline go. It should be on the first or second odd page of the interior. Choose a font for your title that fits the type of novel you’ve written. For example, with Panama Deception, I’ve picked a bold, modern font that fits a suspense novel. Hint: You can use that font as chapter titles if you wish.
  • Legal page. There may be a more official name, but this is where you put all of the information about copyright and other disclaimers associated with a fiction novel. If you’re quoting someone, make sure you put a statement that you’ve obtained permission or are below the limit of quotations where permission is required. Also, this is a great place to acknowledge your cover designer. They’ll often tell you what to add. Be sure to include your ISBN number as well.
  • Dedications and more. Sometimes you may want to provide a dedication to someone as well as additional text. Use pages here and keep it on the odd pages with the even ones after it blank. Don’t number these pages.
  • The text of the novel. Here’s where the meat of novel lies. Based upon Bell’s book and my own experience, here’s a few tips. First, have a header and footer of a font that doesn’t draw the eye but is different from the font of the text. That way, the eye focuses on the story and doesn’t leap first to the header. Page numbers can be either in the header or the footer, but keep your name and the title in the header only. Chapters should always start on an odd page and have no header. If you have scene titles (e.g., maybe listing a time and place), those can be a different font also.
  • Etcetera text. This consists of the last part of the book and can contain acknowledgements as well as other bits that may suit the book. Maybe you have study questions. This is a great place to put them. Last, I suggest adding in one or two blank pages so that the last page isn’t at the back cover.

From the list I’ve provided, it’s clear that a hard copy book consists of more than simply the story itself.  But the good news?

You’re now ready to proceed with the cover design.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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