After you’ve finished the mechanical and substantive edits of your manuscript, it’s time for the book page layout. The book layout design phase of the self-publishing process prepares the guts of your book for its final ‘look.’


Many who are new to self publishing often forget to provide enough space for margins. You will want to have white space all around the perimeter of each page, including around running heads and folios. It is recommended that there be a minimum of 0.75” of white space in the gutter (center of the book). There should also be 0.5” on the other three sides.  Never have any margins closer than 0.5” to the edge of your trim.

Header & Footers

"Headers" and "Footers" are those parts of text or graphics that are printed at the top or bottom of every page in a document. Headers are printed at the top of each page; Footers are printed at the bottom of each page. Headers and footers can be the document title and a page number, or they can also contain graphics, multiple paragraphs, and fields.

Follow these steps for your Headers and Footers.

1. Open Microsoft Word.

2. Open a new Word document.

3. Click the “Insert” menu. To edit the Headers, click on the “Header” button and enter text in the Header. To edit Footers, click on the “Footer” button and enter test in the Footer.

4. Click the down arrow under “Header” and then click on “Edit Header.” A design menu will pop up, which gives you options for formatting the Header. Likewise, to check out the options for formatting the Footers, click “Edit Footer” under the Footer menu.

Table of Contents / Introduction / Copyright

After you’ve formatted the Headers and Footers, it’s time to turn your attention to the Table of Contents, Introduction and Copyright.

Table of Contents

If you're creating a DOC file on a PC, use Microsoft Word's built-in Table of Contents creator.  You’ll find the steps here––

If you create a DOC file on a Mac, you can use Microsoft Word’s Bookmark and Hyperlink functions to manually build a Table of Contents. Hyperlink will enable you to link to a text formatted with a heading style or any part of your book that you marked with the Bookmark function.

You can also create an HTML file to add HTML tags, using one of these methods:

–– Manually add A HREF HTML tags

–– Use a free tool, such as Mozilla Seamonkey HTML Editor


Your Introduction should be a brief, intriguing summary about your book. The Introduction can completely focus on the contents within the book or it can also include extraneous details that serve to spike the reader’s interest in what follows. The Introduction can be a prelude to the first chapter, or even a journey through your manuscript creation process. It’s up to determine what your Introduction is about and how long it is.


Usually the copyright page is placed on the back of the title page. It will include the copyright notice, including the word ‘copyright,’ the symbol ©, the year, and the authors’ names. Most publishers use both the word ‘copyright’ and the symbol, although it’s only necessary to use one or the other.

The copyright page will also contain the publisher’s name and address and the International Standard Book Number (ISBN).  It’s not necessary, but it’s advisable to also give credit on this page to the printer and designer.

Page Layout Software

Because many self publishers create the content of their manuscript in Microsoft Word, some often make the mistake of trying to perform their page layout in Word.  While Word does a good job of providing the tools required to write your manuscript, it does not do such a good job of laying it out. Oftentimes, what you see on your screen will look completely different on another computer that has a different set of printer drivers. Headers are suddenly moved around and even converting a Word document to a PDF document can lead to a sudden addition of dozens of extra pages.

A better idea is to utilize Adobe’s InDesign CS6  professional page layout software that enables you to design and publish a broad range of documents. It is loaded with a number of key features, giving you control over the typography of your manuscript and letting you create page layouts more efficiently. You can also access Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite from within InDesign to publish apps for a broad range of devices. Because this software is expensive and not easy to use, many authors use a desktop publishing service like Alta Graphics offers to do this final page layout. To keep costs low, make sure your edits are complete before having the manuscript moved to InDesign as all future changes will need to be made in that program not MS Word.

Create Final PDF to prevent reflow

If you are going to use MS Word to create a final layout, you will need to create a PDF of the final document. Since PDFs are a locked format, reflow is not a problem when files are opened on different computers. You can read your PDF document with Acrobat Reader or another program like it.  If you need to download Acrobat Reader you can find it available for free at several online sites.