NOTE: I am no longer doing formatting.
There are several ways for indie authors to get beautifully formatted books these days. First is software.
I’ve used the software, VELLUM for nearly a decade. It creates beautifully formatted books and is fairly easy to learn. The downside to it is that it only runs on MAC ios and that if you want to do something other than a straight narrative text, there are some tricks to learn to incorporate things like images, tables, graphs. It is still my go-to software for the vast majority of my own books.
However, there is a large community of Vellum users and a good users guide.
A software that works for both MAC and PCs that is similar to Vellum is ATTICUS developed by the Kindlepreneur crew with Dave Chesson. It runs on the Internet, not as software on your computer. It uses a templating-system like Vellum. It has many more templates to choose from, and you are able to do some things in Atticus that are difficult or impossible to do in Vellum.
One downside to Atticus is that it takes a little longer to learn because it has so many options. Another downside is that it runs on the Internet (in the cloud). If you have a slow connection that could be frustrating.
DON’T WANT TO INVEST IN SOFTWARE?
Even if you don’t want to invest in software or feel really uncomfortable learning a new program, there is a still a way to get your book formatted in ebook for free.
Draft2Digital is an aggregator. That means you load your book with them and they deliver it to all kinds of distributors (e.g., Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and many more). You simply upload your Microsoft Word document with your book and D2D will to magical machinations in the background to format it for you. They will give you a preview so you can see what it would look like in an ereader. Yes, this is at no cost to you. In fact, you don’t even have to decide to use D2D to distribute the book. Of course, they hope you do, but it’s not a requirement.
D2D also has the ability for you to use that file and format it for print. They even have a cool print cover-maker to help you there. And they now will take that formatted print book and cover and load it to Ingram for you, too. So, no excuses for not knowing how to make it look good or work at Ingram.
DON’T WANT TO USE SOFTWARE BUT STILL WANT A SPECIAL FORMATTING FOR YOUR EBOOK AND/OR PRINT BOOK?
Then you have to pay someone. If you google book formatting you’ll get lots of options.
If you want my recommendation, it’s below.
Birds of a Feather Press is run by the inimitable Jay Artale, an author herself and digital nomad. Jay started Birds of a Feather Press in 2016 as an indie author resource site for travel writers and other nonfiction authors. She later added her formatting services when she realized how complex this can be for some authors. Though she began it to help authors, she quickly realize that she really enjoys formatting books. She is one of the few formatters I know who is equally good with nonfiction and fiction. She also is able to do formatting for very unusual books, like her own wonderfully illustrated poetry book, A Turbulent Mind: A Poetry Collection of a Mother’s Journey with Alzheimer’s. A book I have read and HIGHLY recommend to anyone touched by Alzheimers in their own life, family, or friends. So, whether you need a basic narrative fiction or nonfiction formatted interior or something more complex and unique, Jay Artale is a reliable, kind, and thoroughly professional person to employ.