This blog was featured on 10/24/2018
Why Formatting Is Important
Written by
Maria Murnane
October 2018
Written by
Maria Murnane
October 2018

Recently a friend of mine came over for a visit, and as we were chatting he noticed a short book sitting on my coffee table. I explained that an indie author had sent it to me in hopes that I might enjoy it enough to promote it through social media. My friend picked up the book and began leafing through it, then looked up at me and asked, “What’s up with the weird formatting? This looks like a Word document.”

All I could do was shrug and say, “That happens a lot with self-published books.”

The unusual formatting that caught my friend’s attention included the following:

  • The book was double spaced, both within paragraphs and between them
  • The first chapter started on page 17 

My friend doesn’t know anything about publishing, but he does know what books usually look like, and the irregularities made a negative impression on him because they just didn’t look right. The book in question had other problems in addition to the formatting, including a number of grammatical errors, but to the casual reader those are less obvious. Formatting issues are always obvious. If you decide to pursue the indie route and as a result your book doesn’t look like the ones found on the shelves of a bookstore, people are going to notice. 

Uploading your book to a self-publishing platform may be free, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend money getting the manuscript in shape. If you aren’t familiar with formatting programs such as Adobe In-Design, hire a professional to do it for you. Otherwise you risk turning off readers on the very first page, regardless of how good the actual content of your book may be. And after all the work you put into writing it, that would be a shame.


Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at










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