Format Editing

This is one of the last stages of editing before a book or story is actually published. Who does this type of editing depends. Traditionally published books and magazines have their own editors to do this for the author. Independent authors and vanity presses often put this onto the author, who may do it themselves or hire editors.

In a publishing house or magazine, the Format Edit includes three types of editing. For our purposes, looking at this from the self-publishing, independent author perspective, I prefer to put them under one umbrella. To understand how to properly format your book and have it ready for print, however, it is important to look at what is involved in each sub-edit.

Production Editing

This is all of the work necessary to present your story in the format that you the author and your publisher want. For us independent authors, that publisher will be the retail platform of your choice. Some platforms, such as Amazon, are easy to use and are very forgiving when it comes to formatting. Others, such as Smashwords, are very demanding in how everything is to be formatted. If you are going to be converting Word documents yourself into .epub and other formats, then understanding how to properly format your work is vital.

Production Editing includes typesetting, page formatting, fonts, and your cover. If you include illustrations in your work, the final placement will be decided here as well. You will pay special attention not only to the flow of text around your illustrations, but how your illustrations affect page breaks.


This is the manual programming and coding that goes into Production Editing.

“But I don’t write code,” you say.

Fair enough. If you are using a program like Word to write your story, you probably will do little or no hand-coding for your formatting. You will still be taking this step, however, if you are formatting your own book. When you are making decisions about the font style, paragraph indention, and all the other little style things you need to worry about, and setting them for your pre-loaded styles in Word, you are doing Mark-up and Coding.


This is the stage when everything is put together for a Proof. If you are using a self-publishing platform like Amazon, Smashwords, or Createspace, you will not be doing the work in this. When you upload and a proof is created for you, they are the ones doing the Mock-up. Your job is to review the proof and make sure everything looks the way you want it to. If it does not, go back to your other formatting steps and fix what is wrong.

By the way, that review of your proof is what we will be talking about next time when we look at Proofreading.

Until then, good writing and good editing everyone.



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