Blogs » Writing Help, Advice and Tips » Pre-Formatting


  • When beginning to write, most people just open up their word processor and write. Once things get shifted around for the book format, it makes things fit strangely, leaving widowed or orphaned lines dangling and separated from the rest of their paragraphs. Many publishers will not accept books that have too many of them, as it makes the writing look sloppy. There's a simple way to fix this, however! Liliom Press prints books in the 6x9 format. If you have a publisher or are self-publishing, you can choose your print format as well. Knowing that ahead of time, you can pre-format your pages so that you can see how your work fits on the page while you're writing. This allows you to make edits and adjustments while you're working, instead of having to rewrite entire sections at the end.

    (Note- Depending on your program, this might be a little different, just make sure the page sizes (H&W), margins, and the footer height are all set to these specifications. We are using Open Office for these directions and screenshots.)

    Every word processor has some form of page setup box.
    In Open Office, it is in the top toolbar, under "Format", select "Page".
    In Word, it is under Page Layout.
    In LibreOffice, it is in the top toolbar, under "Format", select "Page".

    Once there, set your page size at 6.00 for width and 9.00 for height. Orientation is always "Portrait". In the margins, all margins should be set at 0.79, except the left one, which you will change to 1.00. Below are examples of how it should look in Open Office for the page and footer formatting.

    Now, what this does is it presets your book size, including the footer where the page number has to go. Without that, as soon as we add your page numbers to the final manuscript, it will ruin the formatting you just did. Always add that footer and the height/spacing the way it needs to be done. Liliom Press doesn't use headers, so make sure those are turned off.

    For CHAPTER headers, please set the document to 1.5 spacing, then hit "enter 9 times. Put the chapter header on the 9th line, centered. Space once, and start the writing on the next line. Add only one space between paragraphs. This is for normal writing. Anthologies will have their own spacing requirements, and we'll post the requirements for those in the format listing for each anthology.

    When writing, it's best to also use the Book mode. This lets you see how the printed book will be laid out, helping you to see which page chapters will start on, and where page breaks are needed. That is shown below, notice in the bottom right, the icon that looks like a book with the pages turned down on opposite ends. That's the one you want to click to turn blue, as shown in the example. This is also how your setup will look once everything has been completed.

    Congratulations, you are now ready to sit down and write your masterpiece! Remember, every great novel started one word at a time.