10 Tips To Format A Nonfiction Book

10 Tips to Format a Nonfiction Book 1

Imagine the exhilaration of sending your manuscript to your dream publishing house, only to receive a call back filled with enthusiasm to publish your book and offer you a substantial deal. Doesn’t it feel like the culmination of your tireless efforts, a testament to the belief that all your hard work indeed has paid off?

Many successful authors have lived this dream, ascending to fame overnight and celebrating the heights of their literary success. But what will bring you to that top spot? The answer lies in the careful formatting of your book. Whether it’s a nonfiction book or a captivating work of fiction, the importance of a well-written and structurally sound book cannot be overstated.

For nonfiction works, it’s not just about eliminating technical errors but it’s also about organizing and aligning the book in a way that enhances the overall readability. But why does this matter? Your prospective publishing company should not just be willing to publish your work, they should be eager to do so. 

To achieve these goals, we propose a comprehensive guide to help you in presenting your best work for editorial review or submission to a publisher. Our top 10 tips to format a nonfiction book are not just about error correction but they are a blueprint for creating a well-organized literary masterpiece that demands attention and stands out.

How To Format A Nonfiction Book - Our Top 10 Tips

Formatting a nonfiction book is a critical step in presenting your ideas cohesively and professionally. Here are our top 10 tips to format a nonfiction book:

1. Decide The Size Of Your Nonfiction Book

While formatting a nonfiction book, the trim size (physical size) of your book is one aspect that you should highly focus on, depending on the word count of your overall manuscript.

For instance, a 5 x 8 trim size is perfect for books with lower word count, while a 6 x 9 is the perfect fit for a lengthy manuscript.

On the other hand, if you chose a 5 x 8 size for your book with a word count of let us say 80000 words, then your book will come off as ridiculously long and may turn off readers.

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2. Eradicate Unnecessary Words Or Redundancies

When you format a nonfiction book, make sure that you have not repeated some words or phrases way too many times.

Also, remove any redundancies or other writing issues. By doing so, you will build yourself as a skilled author who knows how to write and make things easier for their editors too.

While a book editor is good at polishing your writing, they should not completely transform your book and put a question mark on your credibility as a writer.

Therefore we suggest that you go through your first draft at least once to avoid silly mistakes and prepare it well for submission.

3. Arrange Paragraphs According To The Genre’s Standards

Yes, nonfiction books also have genres, such as biographies, personal development, history, science, food writing, travel, crime stories, literary fiction, and many more. Each of these genres requires a different structuring and formatting of paragraphs.

For example, when you format a nonfiction book, you must indent your paragraphs, meaning that leave enough empty spaces and put the first line of a paragraph away from margin lines. 

Pro tip: We advise you to read a book or two of your genre to get an understanding of how to format a nonfiction book. As you absorb the structures and styles employed by seasoned authors, you’ll get valuable insights into the art of presenting information cohesively and engagingly.

4. Pick The Right Font Style

Many writers underestimate the power of font styles when it comes to formatting a nonfiction book. They think that readers don’t care about it, but in reality, this is where the tricky part comes in.

It is obvious that if your font size and style are easily readable, readers will glide through your book for hours without getting tired.

On the contrary, if your choice of font is either too small or overly complicated to read, then the reader will put your book back on the bookshelf.

To avoid the second scenario, you could hire a professional book editor who will pick a font that is not only easily navigational for the eyes but also suits the book genre.

5. Make Use Of Active Voice

An active voice acts as a bridge in connecting you to your readers while the use of passive voice draws them farther. 

Let us break it down for you by giving you an example:

  • Passive Voice:

 “The person’s early life and achievements were carefully studied by the writer for the biography.”

The use of passive voice in this sentence sounds more like a fact and less like a humane text.

  • Active Voice: 

“The writer carefully studied the person’s early life and achievements for the biography.”

By employing an active voice, this sentence becomes more reader-friendly, conveying a sense of effort and engagement in communication.

10 Tips to Format a Nonfiction Book 2

6. Do Not Overcomplicate Your Language

New and aspiring writers often assume that if they use big or difficult words in their writing, they will be perceived as intellectual grammar Nazis.

Instead, by doing this, they are just making it difficult for others to understand their manuscript which in the end will be rejected due to its complex nature.

If you are new to writing, be sure to keep your language as simple and comprehensible as possible. Avoid using complicated words and keep your information relevant.

7. Apply Page Breaks To Format A Nonfiction Book

When formatting a nonfiction book, incorporating page breaks is essential whether you’re preparing it for print or digital publication.

In Microsoft Word, a simple method to achieve this is by placing your cursor at the end of each chapter, and then navigating to Insert > Break > Page Break. This seamless action adds a structured format to your entire book.

If you’re formatting a book in Google Docs, the process remains the same. Follow the same steps as outlined for Word documents: place your cursor at the end of each chapter, go to Insert, select Break, and opt for Page Break. 

This consistent approach ensures a polished and organized layout, irrespective of the platform you choose for your nonfiction book.

8. Focus On Your Line Spacing

Line spacing has a huge impact on your writing style onto your readers’ minds. Such as, too much line spacing will make your nonfiction book content thin and unnecessarily long.

Too little line spacing will make your text very hard to read and the readers will get tired of skimming unbreakable texts.

Find a balance. We suggest that you use some book formatting software tools that provide different methods of efficient line spacing for the given font size and style.

9. Keep Your Readers In Mind

When it comes to the format of a nonfiction book, think like a reader instead of a writer. See if you as a reader can smoothly go through the pages of your book or if you are facing issues with your writing.

Add headings and subheadings to break your text. It will give a proper framework to your writing and make your book easily understandable.

Is the font working for the book? Are there enough empty spaces so that it does not feel like you fell into a pool of words? Is the language clear? Are you following the formatting guidelines provided by your publisher?

Ask these questions to yourself and format your book accordingly.

10. Add Page Numbers To Your Book’s Artwork

This is the most basic yet important component in the format of a nonfiction book. Adding page numbers aligns your content in one place and makes it more straightforward.

Add a table of contents at the start of your book. Add page numbers against every heading and subheading so the readers can jump straight to the chapter they are interested in reading.

Page numbers also help readers remember where they last left their reading journey and move forward without getting lost or confused. They aid in impressing your book editor or publisher and increase your chances of being acknowledged as a reliable author. 

If you found these 10 tips valuable, dig even deeper into the intricacies of creating a successful nonfiction book by exploring our blog on “10 Factors to Consider When Writing a Nonfiction Book.” This comprehensive guide goes beyond the basics, providing insightful considerations that can contribute to the success of your nonfiction work.

Wrapping Up

The art of formatting a nonfiction book is your passport to creating a masterpiece that captivates readers and entices publishers. 

By understanding the nuances of how to format a nonfiction book, you’re not just presenting information but crafting an immersive reading experience. 

From choosing the right font style to perfecting the page breaks, every detail counts in shaping your narrative into a polished gem.

Remember that your dedication to this process speaks volumes about your commitment to excellence. 

Now go ahead, breathe life into your manuscript, and watch as your well-structured nonfiction narrative leaves a lasting impact on every reader who turns its carefully formatted pages. Don’t know how to do that? Hancock Ghostwriters is here to help you out. 

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How do you structure a nonfiction book?

A typical nonfiction book structure includes:

  1. Introduction: Sets the stage and introduces the main topic.
  2. Table of Contents: Provides an overview of the book’s organization.
  3. Chapters: Divide the content into manageable sections, each focused on a specific aspect.
  4. Conclusion: Summarizes key points and reinforces the main message.
  5. Index and Glossary: Enhance accessibility and clarify terms.
  6. Appendices: Additional supporting materials if needed.
  7. Acknowledgments and Author’s Note: Offer gratitude and insights into the author’s perspective.


What is the perfect book format?

The perfect book format varies based on genre and purpose. Generally, a clear and engaging structure, readable font, and appropriate spacing are key. Consider the preferences of your target audience and adhere to industry standards for a polished result.

What makes a good nonfiction book?

A good nonfiction book is characterized by well-researched content, a clear and engaging writing style, relevance to its target audience, and a compelling narrative that effectively communicates information and ideas. In addition, a thoughtful and accessible format, including effective use of headings, chapters, and visual elements, further enhances the overall reading experience, making the information easily digestible and memorable.

How do you arrange nonfiction books?

Nonfiction books are typically organized logically, starting with an introduction, followed by chapters that flow in a coherent sequence. Consider the subject matter, and arrange content in a way that enhances understanding, such as chronologically, thematically, or by using a problem-solving approach.

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