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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

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

Nan Barnes

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.