Follow STTBooks on Twitter

Our Author's Guide

view on

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « Immagination and Truth in Memoir and Family History | Main | Preparing Photos for Your Memoir or Family History Book »

    Should I Format My Memoir or Family History Book in Word?

    We are often told by people who want to self publish their memoir or family history that they have already formatted their book including illustrations in Microsoft Word. This is really unfortunate. Publishers require don’t work with books in Word format. So the effort the author has put into his book is largely wasted.

    If you plan to self-publish choose a printer / publisher and find out what their specific guidelines for submission format are. A few printers will accept files in a Rich Text (.rtf) document with notations for placement of illustrations and scanned photos in a separate file. Most, however, require PDF files to specific page size specifications.

    Creating a PDF to submit requires considerable skill in using complex software programs like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign or QuarkXPress. These programs take years to learn. If you’re not experienced at working with them, your best bet is to look for a book designer to prepare your files.

    In submitting to a book designer you do not need to format the material. Your photos must be in a digital format. Scan them at a minimum of 300dpi and save them as .jpg, .psd, .tiff or .eps files. Do not use .bmp or .gif files because they will not print at high enough quality. Photo files should be submitted separately from your text. The designer will place them later as you direct. Submit your text files in word, but don’t worry about formatting. You can indicate chapter breaks and placement of illustrations, but leave the rest to your book designer. Your designer will work with you to design the cover for your book.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (1)

    Thanks for your comment, Michael. You’ve raised an interesting question.

    We certainly value Word for word processing, and if your book contains text only, Word might be sufficient. (A little design know-how never hurts in Word, either.)

    However, the design of memoir and family history books usually features many images: precious family photographs, scanned artifacts, and other illustrations. The quality of the images is crucial to the success of the book.

    If you have ever tried formatting images together with text in Word, you know how frustrating it can be, and how awful the results inevitably look. That's why we design books in Adobe InDesign. It offers many superior options to control the quality of images and page layout.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:19AM | Unregistered Commenteradmin

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>