short story book layout

Book Template: Free Book Layout Templates for Word & More

BY Angelica Hartgers | Oct 14, 2020 | Writing , Design , Printing , Production

Do you need a book template to get started writing your book ? If so, you’ll want to download a book layout template before you start typing up your manuscript. This will save you a ton of wasted effort and formatting issues later on!

Whether you're writing a fiction book or a nonfiction book , you'll want to start writing as quickly as possible to reach your goal of becoming an author .

A book template can help you do just that by saving you time from having to set up your own book file.

Select your book writing software, then you can find a book template that is already set up and formatted to get started writing. Using a book template, you’ll begin writing your book by typing your manuscript directly into your template. Once your book is written and ready for edits and production, the template will come in handy since it’ll already be in a common format and file for you to start the book production and publishing process. 

Even better – the book templates listed in this article are absolutely free. Since self-publishing costs come out of the author's own pocket, it's important to save money where you can, so that you can use that budget to hire professional editors and cover designers .

Here are the top free book templates:

Free fiction & nonfiction templates.

Please note that several of the sites listed here offer book production services. This article does not review the quality of the services provided by these sites, so we aren’t able to provide any endorsement or testament as to whether these companies are good to work with or not. 

In this article, we are simply listing the free book template resources that self-published authors can utilize as they write a book.

Get A Nonfiction Book Outline for Your Manuscript!

short story book layout

Get Our 6″ x 9″ Pre-Formatted Book Template for Word or Mac

We will send you a Book Template for US Trade (standard paperback size).

short story book layout

If you're writing a book and need a template to help you organize your chapters, content, and format, then we have a book template for you!

When writing a book, templates are helpful to keep you on track and plan for which content your book needs to include.

Here's where you can download a free template for book writing:

Can I write a book in Microsoft Word?

Yes, you can write a book in Microsoft Word, and it may even help you write your book faster and increase your writing focus, since you can save time formatting and setting up your book layout. You can write a book in Word by downloading a free book template, by using the standard book template Word offers, or by setting up your own (which is more time-consuming).

Because Word is a flexible word processing system, you can simply use a book template within Word, and start typing your book directly onto the page.

Even if you don't use a book template, you can still write a book using Microsoft Word – just be aware that you may have to spend more time formatting your book when it's time to publish it .

How to write a book in Microsoft Word

To write a book in Microsoft Word, simply download a free book template, open the file, and start typing your manuscript into the template. 

You’ll want to be sure that you download a book template that is formatted specifically for Word, and all of the sites listed in this article offer Word templates. 

Once your template is downloaded, you can then open it on your computer, and make any modifications as needed. 

Then, you can start typing your manuscript directly into your Word template. That’s it! 

You don’t need a fancy template to start with ; you can simply make do with the free templates that are available for download on these sites. However, if you want to purchase a template, there are some paid book templates that you can buy if you choose to. 

Here are the steps to write a book in Microsoft Word:

#1 – Step 1: Download a Microsoft Word book template (more instructions on this below)

#2 – Step 2: Open Microsoft Word on your computer and click “File” then navigate to “Open.” Select your book template file.

#3 – Step 3: Your book template file will open and appear on the screen. You can now start typing your text directly into Word.

#4 – Step 4: Click “Save” often throughout your writing process, and before you exit the Word application.

Does Word have a book template?

Yes, Microsoft Word offers several templates within the application, including book templates to choose from. Different sizes and formats are offered, depending on the type of book you are writing.

All of the available book templates are customizable and editable, which means you can tailor the template to fit any specific requirements you need for your book.

To access the standard book template in Word, follow these steps:

Reasons to use a book template

short story book layout

Every author has their preference on writing tools, and one that continually tops the chart is Microsoft Word. 

It’s your standard word processor, and while it seems basic, it’s super versatile and easy to use. 

If you don’t need a fancy writing software , or are just getting started as an author on a low budget, Microsoft Word may be your best bet. 

It’s readily available, user-friendly, and has all the nuts and bolts you need (including a powerful editor). 

Ready to find your perfect Microsoft Word book manuscript template? Here we go! 

Here's 5 reasons why you should use a book template to write your book:

If you don't want to fuss with setting up a book template in Word, or want more variety in templates to chose from, consider downloading a pre-made book template for Word.

There are several sites that offer free downloadable book templates, and they are already set-up and formatted specifically for writing a book . You can download the template, then open it in Word, and get to writing!

These sites offer free, downloadable book templates for Microsoft Word .

KDP Free Paperback Manuscript Templates

For a basic manuscript template, use these free book layout templates from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). 

Download them here .

If you plan to publish your eBook to KDP , these templates will work just fine. They are available in all of the common standard book sizes. 

Download blank templates, or pre-filled templates with sample content, if you want to have an overall example of how a book will appear with the template. 

kdp book layout template

If you need a book template for Word in a language other than English, these templates will be helpful as they are available in a variety of different languages. 

Once you download the files, a .zip folder will appear on your computer. Once you unzip the file, you will then see zipped folders for each language.

You can unzip the folder in the language you need, which will give you access to the various size book templates.

BookBaby Free Book Template

With several different sizes to choose from, BookBaby offers a variety of book layout templates depending on the type of book you are writing. 

From standard book sizes to niche-specific sizing options, you’ll want to be clear on which type of book template size you need for your story. 

The common standard sizing for most printed books is the US Trade 6” x 9” which is listed under the Interior Text Templates category. 

bookbaby book template sizes chart

Once you find the correct size for your book, you can download the free book layout template by clicking the orange “Download” button underneath the corresponding size. 

The .zip file will then download to your computer, and it contains the template file. Once you unzip the file, you can then open the Word book template (it will be the file that ends in “.doc”). 

If you need additional instructions, BookBaby offers some helpful information in the “Using Our Templates” section. You can check out their specifications, and even download their Book Printing Preparation Checklist PDF. 

bookbaby template instructions

DiggyPOD Free Book Template for Word

A book printing company, DiggyPOD offers free book layout templates for your book interior and exterior. While the sizes offered aren’t as extensive as some, you can find the most common sizes for book printing available. 

If you’re just getting started with writing your book, download the interior template. 

If you’ve already written your book, you can use the resources on the page to create your own book template for your typed manuscript. 

book template for word sizes

DIYBookFormats Free Templates 

This site offers 5 free minimal book layout templates that you can use with a variety of programs , Word included.

These templates offer different designs, not just your standard text and format options. While you can access five templates for free, any additional access to other styles will have to be purchased.

short story book layout

You’ll also have to do some extra clicking and typing to access these manuscript templates (unlike some of the other sites listed in this article).

The free book templates are a gated offer, which means you will have to provide your email address , and then the templates are sent directly to your inbox. 

Once you download the .zip file, you’ll want to unzip it. Then, you can open the folder for each styled template, and select the file you need. If you are using Word, you’ll want to click on the .doc or .docx file, depending on which Word version you are using.

The site also provides some helpful tutorial videos on how to format your book in Microsoft Word, if you want to skip the template and do it all yourself. 

48HrBooks Word Templates

This site offers four of the most common standard book sizing options available – no email required. Perfect for use if you haven’t started typing your story yet, these Microsoft Word book manuscript templates are straight and to the point. 

To begin your download, look under the “Free Book Templates” heading, and scroll down to the “Inside Pages” option. You can then click on the book icon for the corresponding size you need, and the file will begin downloading automatically.

book template inside pages chart

If you need further instructions, there is also a handy PDF that you can download with more info. 

BookPrintingUK Template Generator

Featuring an easy-to-use design, this responsive template generator is great if you know the specifics of your book’s layout, such as binding and size. 

You can start by selecting which program you are using to write your book, and Microsoft Word is the first option you can select. 

You’ll need to know the document type needed, the book option, template size, color (if applicable), and orientation to generate your template. 

template generator instructions

One thing to note is that this site is for UK book printing, so it will be UK sizing. However, you can always look up the US equivalent with a quick Google search, if needed.

UsedtoTech Free Word Book Template

A simple, clean design, this free Word book template is specifically for the standard 6” x 9” book , which is the most common book size for printed paperbacks. 

To download, you’ll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the “Download” button. This will prompt the download of the .zip file to start automatically. 

Unzip the file, then select the file that ends in “.docx” or, if you need to, you can download the .pdf file. 

This book template for Word features a minimal design, and is free – no email required! 

free template book template download instructions

Book Template Outline Generator

If you need a done-for-you book outline to fill in your book's contents into, consider using a pre-made outline for your nonfiction or fiction book.

This is not a print-ready format for your book, but an actual outline to organize your manuscript.

Use this Book Outline Generator to select your genre and immediately get access to complete outline – all you need to do is add your content!

outline book template

Once you choose your book type and generate an outline, you'll get access to a done-for-you book template in Google Docs . You then follow the steps in the document to get started.

How do I make a book template in Word?

If you prefer to make a book template in Word that is customized to fit your specific writing needs, then there's an easy way to do this, too.

Microsoft Word is a versatile word processing tool that's relatively easy to learn and super customizable. You can make a variety of projects, including a novel or book template with a little learning and direction.

The key is to start simple with one of the pre-made templates in Word, then format and customize the book layout to fit your needs.

Please keep in mind that depending on the Microsoft Word version your computer or laptop has, the step-by-step instructions may vary, since older or newer versions may have different menu items, names, or placements.

Here are the steps to make a book template in Word:

How many Microsoft Word pages equal a book page?

As you start writing in your book template, you can easily track the word count. But, that doesn't necessarily tell you how many actual “book pages” you have typed up.

Depending on how you like to track your progress, it might be helpful to know how many Microsoft Word pages equal a book page. While this will vary depending on your book's genre and writing style (some authors are more wordy than others), there is a rough ballpark range you can use.

1 – Determine what your book's word count goal should be

First, we recommend determining how many words your book should be. You can use this Word & Page Count Calculator to plug calculate how many words you should aim for as you write your book. It calculates the word count depending on your book's type, genre, audience.

2 – Use the Word Count tool in Microsoft Word

As you write, it's important to keep track of how many actual words you are writing. Word has an easy tool that makes it super simple to keep count, and it updates in real time.

Again, depending on your version of Word, there may be a different way to access the Word Count tool, but you can play around with it a bit – it almost always will be in the “Tool” menu.

Here's how to track your book's the Word Count in Word:

3 – Determine how many Word pages equals one book page

Once you have determined your writing word count goal, and know how to easily track how many words you've written using the Word Count tool, the next step is to figure out how many Word pages equal one book page.

To do this, you will first need to understand that there will not be a direct correlation. In other words, there isn't an easy, super accurate answer. The reason for this is because it will depend on your finished book's page size.

A standard US paperback novel is typically printed as a 6 in. x 9 in. book, but it can be printed in a variety of other sizes depending on your book size.

Your book page in Word will be the standard paper size of 8.5 in. x 11 in. Therefore, the variance in size between the Word book template and your finalized printed book means there isn't an exact equivalence.

Generally, a paperback novel in the standard print size can contain about 250-300 words per page. In Microsoft Word, one page in the standard size and 12-point font will be about 500-550 words per page.

So, a rough estimate is that 2 paperback printed pages will equal 1 Microsoft Word page, more or less. Please note that this is a very rough estimate, with several variables involved.

The only way to find an exact correlation is to set your Word document up to be the same size as your finalized printed book. So, you could set your word document up to be 6 in. x 9 in. However, there will still be some variance due to margins, printed text size and typeface, paragraphs, etc.

The best thing is to just go by your desired Word count and worry about the printed pages later. Focus on getting your story out, and the rest will follow suit once you get there!

Start typing your manuscript into the book template

Once you find your perfect Microsoft Word book manuscript template, you’ll be ready to start typing up your book! 

Achieve your writing goals by committing to writing each and every day. Find a fellow author friend to make yourself accountable, or attend a writing conference to drive urgency for your writing career.

Once your manuscript is typed and self-edited, you can start the editing and production process to get your book published and into the hands of readers!

When you're ready to write a new book, you can use the same book template, or make your own!

Which book templates did you find the most useful?

Need some help along the way as you self publish?

short story book layout

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Book Template Download: Structure of a Book & More

Posted on Mar 15, 2023

by Hannah Lee Kidder

Book templates can save you so much time.

Have you ever gone on a road trip with no idea where you’re headed? A fun adventure, maybe, but sometimes we don’t want to waste that kind of gas.

To get to our destination as efficiently and as low-effort as possible, we grab ourselves a roadmap and make a plan. That’s what a book template can do for your writing process.

Some writers might prefer “discovery drafts,” where you start writing to see where it ends up. Some people will even tell you not to use a book template at all (from our experience helping thousands of people write and publish books, we think not using one will only lead to your own frustration and lack of progress).

To each their own! But if you’ve clicked on this post, you’re probably interested in a more direct route to writing a strong book and publishing your book successfully .

Pages 1

Book Outline Template Generator

Choose your Fiction or Nonfiction book type below to get your free chapter by chapter outline!

Enter your details below and get your pre-formatted outline in your inbox and start writing today!


Thanks for submitting! Check your email for your book outline template.

In the meantime, check out our Book Outline Challenge.

Pages 2

Let’s talk about the roadmap of book writing to get you there quicker:

What’s a book template?

There are tons of forms of book templates for different genres and preferences, but a book template is essentially a plan for what to include in your book and where it goes. This can streamline the process from writing to publishing, getting your book done a lot quicker than if you were winging it.

So why should you use a book template? A template is your roadmap. Knowing where you’re going will help you foresee obstacles, plan ahead, and get to your destination quicker.

Why waste time muddling through the order and format of a book , when you can just use a template and know exactly what you need to get done?

Before we talk about what might go into a book template, I want to mention my biggest tip for using them: personalization . Making your own template would ensure that it suits your needs and style. Feel free to take the elements listed in this blog, tweak and customize, then save YOUR book template to use for future projects.

Want to just grab a book template easily? Fill in this form and check your inbox!

Contents of a Book Template – For Nonfiction & Fiction

Let’s look at the content you might find in a book template. The elements might be different based on the genre , particularly between fiction and nonfiction works.

Fiction Book Templates

We’re going to cover a fiction book template first, because fiction should have fewer sections and subsections–it will most likely be separated by chapters because fiction is almost always meant to be read linearly.

An example of a fiction book that might be read out of order is a Choose Your Own Adventure book, or something else that turns a story into a unique format. But most often, fiction books are read from beginning to end, which makes a novel template very straightforward.

Here are the contents of a fiction book template:

This list covers most elements you’d see in a fiction book template. Tweak it and twerk it to your preferences, then save your template for future books!

Grab a fiction-specific book template by filling out the form below:

Nonfiction Book Templates

Nonfiction can have a much wider range of elements because writing a nonfiction book requires you to follow a wider range of formats, but you’ll see a lot of the same elements we saw in fiction templates.

Here are some things you might see on a nonfiction book template:

Now for the content of the book itself–a nonfiction book could have a few different structures and frameworks depending on what your book is about.

Nonfiction Book Template Frameworks

Let’s look at three different types of nonfiction frameworks–sequential, numerical, and problem/solution.

Book Structure 1: Sequential Framework

The Sequential Framework arranges information according to a step-by-step sequence. This framework is most effective for books that are written to describe a step-by-step process. 

A book that follows this type of framework is one by Lise Cartwright, Side Hustle Blueprint: How to Make an Extra $1000 in 30 Days Without Leaving Your Day Job!

The layout for a nonfiction using the sequential framework might look like this:

Step 1: Chapter 1 – First part of the process Chapter 2 – Second part of the process Chapter 3 – Third part of the process Step 2: Chapter 4 – First part of the next step Chapter 5 – Second part of the next step Chapter 6 – Third part of the next step Et cetera, until the steps of the process are complete.

Book Structure 2: Numerical Framework

The Numerical Framework organizes information by listing a specific number, keys or rules to support the author’s point, then uses smaller chunks of content to support the key/rule.

A book that follows this type of framework is 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

Number 1: Chapter 1 – Introduction to the point Chapter 2 – Supporting content Chapter 3 – Summary of the point Number 2: Chapter 4 – Introduction of the next point Chapter 5 – Supporting content Chapter 6 – Summary of the point Structure 3: problem/solution framework

Book Structure 3: Problem-Solution Framework

A problem and solution framework organizes information so readers are able to clearly identify a problem and understand the solution you have to offer. This framework is often used in combination with the numerical framework.

A book that follows this type of framework is Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning: The not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8am .

Main Problem: Chapter 1 – Introduction to the problem Chapter 2 – How the problem came to be Chapter 3 – Impact of the problem on the reader Main Solution: Chapter 4 – Introduction to the solution Chapter 5 – Supporting content Chapter 6 – Supporting content Chapter 7 – Supporting content Chapter 8 – Next Steps

Those are three common frameworks for structuring the actual content of a nonfiction book. Again, templates should be customized for the specific writer and book , so feel free to take these elements and alter them into whatever format would best suit your needs!

Book templates are a powerful tool in organizing your books and streamlining the writing and publishing process. Seeing exactly what needs to be done helps you organize a plan to do it efficiently and effectively.

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Hannah Lee Kidder

Most popular blog posts, what is self-publishing school.

We help you save time, money, and headaches through the book, writing, marketing, and publishing process by giving you the proven, step-by-step process and accountability to publish successfully. All while allowing you to maintain control of your book–and its royalties. Learn to publish a book to grow your impact, income, or business!

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Most writers know that a great cover is a necessity when self-publishing a book. It grabs a potential reader’s attention and tells them, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, what to expect from your story. Unfortunately the inside pages (referred to as the book’s “interior”) are sometimes not given as much thought or attention.

Book designer Erik Spiekermann once wrote, “I have seen too many books with great covers but horribly designed content. It’s like great packaging, but when you open it, the food inside looks brown and boring. It may still be nourishing, but my appetite is gone.”

I have seen too many books with great covers but horribly designed content. - @espiekermann

Whether a book will ultimately be read on paper or an e-reader, interior book design can make or break a reader’s enjoyment of a book. Book layouts are particular and definitely not one-size-fits-all. The design also must be adjusted for the style and genre of the book. For example: an art book should never crowd the graphic elements with too much text—the point is the reader wants to see the art! A sloppy, rushed or mismatched book layout sends a bad message to the reader and can make the book difficult or tiresome to read.

A strong book interior is pleasing and well-balanced in two important areas: typesetting (font, type size, space between the lines, and hyphens that break the lines) and layout (margins, columns, and illustrations and art).

This article will take you through basic elements (and most common pitfalls) of both typesetting and layout design. If you keep these in mind and understand their importance, your next book layout will be a success.

good book layout

Trim size —

Selecting a trim size is the first step in the book layout project. Will it be a standard size (like 5.5 x 8.5 or 6×9), which is best for the long chapters of a novel or memoir? Or maybe a wide art book with a small caption of text on each page and lots of room for large photographs?

If your book is over 250 pages, a small trim size (5 x 8 or smaller) will create a thicker book, which can turn off a potential book buyer. If you write poems with long lines you might choose a wider format so your lines won’t have to break.

You’ll also need to choose whether you want a paperback, a hardback with dust jacket, or a casebound with the art printed directly on the cover. Hardback and casebound books carry higher production and shipping costs.

Even though they are technically blank space, margins are perhaps the most important part of a book layout. A book page has three margins (outside, top, bottom) and a gutter (the inside margin where the pages are glued or sewed together). Each of those margins has a particular job: the outside margins give room for the reader’s thumbs when they hold the book.

The top margin is where you’ll usually find the author and name of the book, as well as the page number (more on those later!). The bottom margin provides a pillow of white space that supports your text block. The gutter makes sure the text doesn’t slip into the glue area. Traditionally, the outside, top, and bottom margins are close in size (often around half an inch each), while the gutter is the largest (usually .75 – .9 inches).

Bad margins in book layout

Typography basics —

The next thing to settle on is typeface. Books are traditionally set in serif fonts like Garamond, Caslon, Baskerville and Goudy, but guidebooks, art books, cookbooks, and other genres use sans-serif for their modern feel and for ease of reading.

Whatever font you choose, make sure it’s legible and well-suited for book layouts. Make sure it has italics, semibold, bold and small caps all included. Commercial books (like thrillers and mysteries) are usually set a bit bigger because their audience tends to be older. A comfortable size for most books is 11pt font.

Equally important is the white space between the lines, known as “ leading .” Leading makes sure your readers can read your book without getting a headache from all those lines jammed together. Because books with more pages cost more money, there’s an incentive to cheat and get as many lines on a page as possible. You may save a few cents on each book, but your design (and its readability) will suffer. As a general rule, aim for 33-36 lines on each page.

Running heads and feet —

Running heads are the little lines at the top of the page that give the reader all the pertinent info—author, book name, and page name—as they read. Sometimes the page number will be at the bottom of the page, making it a “foot.” They help the reader chart her progress in the book and find her way back if she loses her place. Usually centered or placed slightly to the left and right of the text margins, running heads and feet also provide a nice visual frame to your text block. They should be small enough to not intrude on the text, while still legible and clear.

Art and images —

If your book has photographs, illustrations, or art of any kind, the layout must be designed to accommodate them. Depending on the genre, the text and art will interact in different ways. If you’re writing a children’s book, the very small amount of text per page will go right on top of the art. If it’s a cookbook , you might want a photograph of the food on the left, with a two-column recipe on the right. A true photography book might have large, beautiful photos on each page, with simple captions under the photos and a brief introduction by the artist at the beginning. Always give the art room to breathe—one great photo is often more effective than a collage of many.

Signature details —

These are the fun little details that really make a design pop and separate a well-designed book interior from one cranked out from a template. It’s essential to start your chapters or sections deep on the page (called a “sink”) to create visual cue for the reader and give them a mental break before they dive into the new material.

The sink is a great place for a graphic element or fun type design. Add a dramatic drop cap or set the first line in a different type. (Here’s a tip: use that secondary font again in your running heads to create a motif!) Within the chapter, a cute graphic can be added to clearly define sections and bring a little visual flair to your page. Make sure it’s small and fits the aesthetic of your interior.

sink and drop cap book page design

Common mistakes —

The most common mistake in a book layout is not leaving enough white space. Make sure your margins are ample and your leading is generous, without looking gappy. Word processor documents do not make good book interiors—be sure to change double dashes to the longer em dashes and take out the tab space most programs add automatically at the beginning of each paragraph.

Understand that hyphenated words at the end of lines are unavoidable but make sure the word doesn’t break to create a different word—like “overpowering” becoming “over-powering”— which can confuse your reader. Keep an eye out for single lines marooned at the bottom (“orphan”) or top of a page (“widow”) with no paragraph to support them.

short story book layout

Get a great book layout design for your masterpiece —

A strong layout is a collection of small decisions on the designer’s part. From leading to font choice to margin size, the most important principle is strict consistency—if you make a design decision on page three, you have to be willing to stick with it through two-hundred or more pages!

Before diving into your book layout project, think carefully on these six areas of the page: trim size, margins, typeface, running heads and feet, art and images, and contrasting lead lines. Thoughtful decisions at the outset of the book layout will ensure the process runs much more smoothly and the final product will be well-appointed and comfortable for the reader’s eyes.

Ready to get a high-quality, customized interior for your book? Hire a layout and typesetting expert today!

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Posted on Aug 30, 2020

Guide to Book Layout: What Makes a Book More Readable?

When authors think about book design , the first thing that pops into their heads is usually the cover. We’ll be the first to admit that cover design is incredibly important — but book layout is arguably just as important! After all, your cover may attract readers’ initial interest, but your interior design needs to maintain it.

Whether you plan to hire a book layout designer or typeset the whole thing yourself, it’s crucial to know the basics of interior design so you can ensure a quality final result. To that end, we’ve compiled this guide to book layout, with advice from some of Reedsy’s top-rated designers.

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The key elements of book layout

Book Layout | Example of a book mixing images with text in a creative way, to showcase excellent book layout design

“I believe a book’s style and functionality comes only through careful assessment of content,” says Adam Hay , a cover and interior designer with over 30 years’ experience in the field. Depending on your own work’s content, book layout will depend on the demands made by the topic and content, so be prepared to be flexible.

To give a few examples, content-led design is especially important for image-heavy books like cookbooks , photography books, poetry , and catalogs. However, authors formatting text-only books should still remain conscious of subject matter and genre conventions — which typefaces are used, how chapters are divided, etc. When in doubt about what your content requires, flip through books that are similar to yours and take note of which design elements crop up.

Now let’s make sure you have a solid grasp of the three key elements of book layout: alignment, margins, and trim size.

1. Alignment

Any book with a substantial amount of text (which is to say, most of them) relies on carefully considered alignment. You might be thinking: “Okay, I’ll line up the text. How hard can it be?” Well, harder than you think. Professional alignment means that both spacing and grids must be flawlessly adjusted to the needs of your book.

For alignment to be done well, your lines need to have consistent vertical spacing, as well as be spaced so they’re all roughly the same length (or “justified”). Don’t rush into automatic word processor justification, though, or you may end up with some really awkward-looking stuff . Instead, use specialized book design software like the Reedsy Book Editor , that hyphenates some words for subtler justification, or hire a layout designer to manually adjust the text.

You’ll also need a consistent grid, which means making sure the text lines up horizontally from page to page. This may be tricky if you’re printing physical copies of your book, as print companies sometimes skew the grid even if you’ve sent them a flawlessly aligned file. So if you’re printing on demand , make sure to order a test copy before mass-printing your book.

Book Layout | Example of perfectly aligned book grid lines, held up to the light

In order to maintain a standard line length for your margins, you’ll need to determine how wide they should be. (Also keep in mind that “margins” aren’t just the space on either side of your text, but above and below as well!)

Luckily, there’s a clear-cut answer to this question. For a standard-sized book, your outer (or “rag”), top, and bottom margins should all be about 0.5 inches each, while your inner or “gutter” margins should be 0.75-0.9 inches. This ensures that your text isn’t swallowed up when the pages are bound, and that all your margins ultimately appear about half an inch wide — just enough space for someone to hold a physical copy of your book open.

When formatting your text for ebook distribution , your gutter margins can (and should) be thinner! The standard for ebooks seems to be about 0.5 inches all around. Most ebook formatting tools will calibrate this automatically, but it’s still worth checking before you upload.

Book Layout | The interior of a textbook with perfectly sized margins as an example of excellent book layout design

3. Trim size

We’ll squeeze in just one more technical element — this only applies to those of you printing books, so if you’re going digital, feel free to skip ahead! Basically, you want to make sure that your trim size complements the length of your book.

You’ll find genre-specific trim size guidelines in our post on standard book sizes , but the vast majority of print books are one of the following:

How do you choose? Simply consider how many words your book is — your goal is to produce a book that's neither too thick nor too skinny. So to get the perfect goldilocks book, go for the trade format if your book is over 125,000 words, and choose digest for books under 100,000 words.

If your book is between 100,000-125,000 words, it’s really up to you! Either trim size will look reasonable; your only other consideration may be whether you’d prefer hardcover or paperback copies. (For hardcover, the larger trim will be better.)

short story book layout

Zooming in: interior design details

Let's zero in on some of the details that will make your book flow. Though you might think of certain design details as more distracting than engaging, a good designer knows that honing such details is key to a smooth reading experience!

“Clarity and readability turn on the smallest of details,” says cover and interior designer Euan Monaghan , “from the font used for page numbers to the letter spacing of small caps. These details are received subconsciously by your readers. [When done right], the book will simply feel good to read.”

In constructing your own book’s interior, pay close attention to:


Typography encompasses both typefaces (e.g. Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.) and font styling (bold, italics, font size, etc.). Typography is genre-dependent, so you may want to research other books in your genre as you refine yours.

Running heads and feet

These are formatted lines at the top and bottom of each page, containing information like the chapter title (at the top) and page numbers (at the bottom). Keep the font size small and make sure they're either centered or aligned with your rag margins.

Ornamental scene breaks 

You may have specially designed ornamental breaks, you may want to use dots or dashes, or you can disregard them altogether and just add extra white space.

Line spacing 

Again, be sure to align your text evenly, and try to avoid widows and orphans (isolated lines in the body of your text).

Book Layout | Example of a cookbook double page spread showcasing beautiful typeface balanced with a gorgeous image.

White space

White space can be used in many ways — and can easily tip into bad design.

For text-only books, white space is mostly rags and gutters, the margins on either side of your text. As mentioned, when typesetting , make sure these are measured properly; you don’t want massive margins constricting your text. Also mind the space around chapter headings! Each chapter should begin with a “sink” that takes up roughly one-third of the page, with plenty of white space to pillow the chapter title.

When it comes to books with images, white space is used in more diverse ways. The crucial thing here is to ensure sufficient visual breathing space between text and images. Resist the temptation to cram as many elements as possible onto a single page — it won’t look dynamic, it’ll just look busy. Remember that white space is your friend.

Book Layout | Example of a children's book, an illustration-heavy genre requiring some careful (and always endearing) book layout choices.

Art and images

Though you’ll want to adhere to convention in terms of technical aspects like alignment and margins, you can still experiment with header type, images, and other visual elements in your book. 

Interior and cover designer Stewart Williams exemplifies this intrepid spirit: “I often create original artwork in Photoshop from multiple images,” he says of his creative process. “Strong typographic solutions are also an option… [such as] scanning text from old newspapers and magazines for a more organic, edgy feel. I always work toward a solution that fits the work of each particular author.”

As with white space, design-heavy books present more opportunities for innovation. You can even add a few illustrations , as long as they don’t feel too jarring! Black-and-white, minimalist illustrations usually do the trick in an all-text book, as seen below.

Book Layout | Example of a book where an illustration has been sleekly incorporated at the start of a new chapter.

A striking example of a chapter heading illustration. Designed by Stewart Williams .

Book templates for a flawless book layout

Too much information? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our free book templates! To help you format your book to a professional standard, our free Reedsy Book Editor tool offers three different layout templates: Reedsy, Classic, and Romance. 

Book Layout | Examples of the free Reedsy book layout templates

As you can see, each template comes with its own distinct flourishes, with Romance being the most ornate of the three to suit genre conventions. 

You may also notice that each sample here contains the same opening text, but the words align differently in each to fit the needs of the page. We’ve worked hard to make this free typesetting and formatting tool available to everyone, and you can sign up to use it right here .

Finally, if your book does pose some design challenges, you may want to hire a professional for this task — you’re mere clicks away from finding the perfect layout designer for you! We hope these tips have helped you gain insight into the world of interior book design, and wish you the best of luck.

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Self Publishing School


Make a Living Writing


Book Design Case Study: Short Stories by Erika Dreifus

by Joel Friedlander | Jan 13, 2011


Case Study: Quiet Americans: Stories by Erika Dreifus

Design Brief: The author is a short story writer and a contributing editor for The Writer magazine and Fiction Writers Review and an advisory board member for J Journal: New Writing on Justice . Erika’s writing practice encompasses fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Erika is also the editor/publisher of The Practicing Writer , a free e-newsletter featuring advice, opportunities, and resources on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.

Constraints: Quiet Americans was to be published by Last Light Studio , “an independent, author-friendly cooperative micropress.” Erika originally contacted me to design a cover for the book to help the publication. Eventually I was also asked to design and produce the interior. I was given free rein to create covers and typography that would be suitable for this book of interconnected stories, all based around Holocaust survivors and mostly set in New York City.

Erika Dreifus book design

Raw Material: Erika’s manuscript was complete, and the cover design was open to inspiration. I spent some time reading the stories, which I can’t recommend highly enough. The tone of the book was very influential in my design process. Many of the stories “reframe familiar questions about what is right and wrong, remembered and repressed, resolved and unending” among characters who try to come to grips with the different worlds they inhabit.

Production Goal: The book was designed from the outset for digital printing and print on demand distribution. It ended up at CreateSpace , who did a fine job on the finished books. Since the manuscript wasn’t that long, we picked a trim size of 5.25″ x 8″ which makes for an intimate reading experience, and I’ve since used this size for several other books.

Challenge: Create an inviting environment for these affecting stories, while leaving the communciation between the author and her readers as direct as possible.

A Refined Reading Experience

Probably the most interesting part of the book interior was the typography, inherited from the cover design. In experimenting with various typefaces to try to find exactly the right tone, I stumbled on a font I hadn’t used in quite a few years, but which seemed oddly perfect for Erika’s book: Bell Gothic.

You might wonder why it’s called Bell Gothic, but here’s the secret: this typeface was designed for use in phone books, to be legible at very small sizes. When enlarged to the size of the chapter titles it reveals strange and interesting letterforms that you can’t really appreciate when it’s small. Erika approved the design and here’s how it looks:

Erika Dreifus Quiet Americans book design

Click to enlarge

Erika Dreifus Quiet Americans, book design

Using drop folios (page numbers at the bottom of the page) allows you to put a few less lines on each page, thereby expanding the page count of the book. It works well here.

Book Cover Design

I spent a lot more time on the cover, going through various designs to find one that perfectly suited the book. I kept coming back to images of the city, and then found this image on :

Erika Dreifus Quiet Americans, book cover design

Although this photo of the New York skyline was not impressive in itself, there was something about the tone of the picture and the viewpoint from which it was taken that grabbed me. Through a process of many trials, I finally hit on a way to impart the exact flavor I was looking for. By layering the photo with layers of white and a slate gray color, then manipulating the blending modes and opacities of the various layers, I got the effect I was looking for. Here’s a detail of the layered elements:

Erika Dreifus Quiet Americans, book cover design

Due to the delicate nature of the tones on this cover, I was a little concerned that the printing wouldn’t stay in balance. With delicate grays, any variation in ink or toner density can have the result of a radical color shift. In an early printing, the cover did go in the wrong direction, but the printer corrected this error, and the cover is now a reliable and accurate representation of the design.

This project was very satisfying to work on. I loved Erika’s stories, and she was open to any design approaches I suggested. Although Quiet Americans was not a self-publishing project, the author was able to get completely involved in the design outcome of her book. Publication date is January 19 (but it’s is available now), and the book has already started to draw support: it’s featured as a recommended book in the Jewish Book Council’s weekly e-newsletter .

Buy Quiet Americans on Amazon Erika Dreifus’ author website ISBN: 978-0982708422 Size: 5.25″ x 8″, 164 pages Price: $13.95 Typography, book layout and graphics in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Typeset in Adobe Garamond Pro, Bell Gothic and Myriad Pro Digital printing by CreateSpace

All Amazon and CreateSpace links are affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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9 Best Book Writing Templates [+ Free Download]

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Writing a book can be a daunting task and there is never any shame in getting some help. You should constantly be learning how to become a better writer.

Utilizing the many resources that are available to you will make the process easier and more efficient. There is no telling how long it will take to write your book, so some book writing templates can help speed the process up.

A book writing template acts as a guide that writers can rely on. It helps you create the blueprint for your book. They are useful tools whether you are learning how to write a book, or are already experienced in the craft.

Book writing templates are most useful for new writers who are still wrapping their head around the whole idea of writing a book. A template will give them the structure so all they have to do is let the creativity flow.

Especially for those learning how to write a novel length piece of 50,000 words or more, a book writing template will help you. It will allow you to stay organized and focused while you see your project through to completion.

The Benefits of Book Writing Templates

In addition to helping you do the writing itself, book writing software with templates have many advantages. They are there to help your book be the best it can in all areas.

Some of these templates are built into their own software, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take them and do what you want with them.

Using these templates in conjunction with Squibler may be beneficial if you are wanting to stay really organized and efficient. It is a fantastic book writing software that is designed for book writers specifically.

Between Squibler and these brilliantly designed templates, you’ll be learning how to become a better writer in no time. The templates themselves have many benefits:

Professional Design

While the content itself is the main purpose of your book, aesthetics still need to come into play. From the layout to the font, you want it to look good. Knowing how to write a book isn’t only about storytelling.

There are book writing templates that will help you with these things as well.

Book Writing Templates are Easy to Use

When trying to write a good book , you don’t want anything to overcomplicate the process. Book writing templates are there to make things easier.

A template will be easy to understand and implement.

Better Publishing Experience

When it comes time to publish your book, having the right book writing template will make for a better experience. You will already have your book laid out the way it should be.

And, if you have chosen a template with design elements as well, you won’t have to worry about the way it looks. This makes for a seamless and stress-free publishing process.

Book Writing Templates Save You Time

Writing a book directly from scratch is overwhelming and not always necessary. Book writing templates will give you a head start on the structure of your book. This will save you valuable time.

Even as you begin the writing itself, having the template there to guide you will save you from getting lost in your own story. Once one section is finished you can move onto the next.

You will never have to sit there and wonder where you should go or what should happen.

Characteristics of the Best Book Writing Templates

While book writing templates will vary in what they have to offer, many of the core characteristics will remain the same. These attributes are ones you can look out for when selecting the best book writing template for yourself.

The Best Book Writing Templates are Comprehensive

The best book writing templates are often made by professionals. This means they know what they are doing. They are well versed in the world of writing and they know what will help you.

This means they should be detailed and thorough. Nothing should be missing from the process you are trying to create. For example, a novel outlining template should have sections for all basic aspects of writing a novel:

Different types of books will have different requirements, but the template should include all of them.

The Best Book Writing Templates are Customizable

A good quality novel outlining template created by a professional will have a good structure that is effective. However, this doesn’t mean their method is set in stone.

A good template will allow you to customize it with ease while still maintaining its own basic structure.

For example, you might want to add more chapters than the number that is being recommended. Or, perhaps you choose to rearrange some aspects of the given novel structure. Making changes is okay – the templates are created as guides only.

The Best Book Writing Templates are Not Complex

While some book writing templates are expansive and cover lots of ground, they shouldn’t be complicated. A good template will be straightforward and easy to follow.

You should be able to navigate your way through it and know what you’re looking at. For example, the layout should have a proper flow – things should be in order. In a novel writing template, note, research, and brainstorming should all sit next to each other, while chapters and scenes are kept together.

Learning how to write a book is complicated enough. Your book or novel outlining template should be simple at its core.

The 9 Best Book Writing Templates

Many writers swear by using a template and won’t start a project without one. Because of this, many options have been created. It can be hard to find the right one.

Start by identifying what type of book you are writing, and go from there. First, find a template that is relevant, then look for one that matches your likes and preferences.

While there are hundreds of templates available, these are some of the best and most common ones. If you are new to templates, it may take going through a few to find your favorite.

Most of the templates listed below can be used with Microsoft Word, Scrivener, Adobe InDesign, or Apple Pages.

For avid Scrivener users, we do have a more comprehensive list of Scrivener templates that you might find useful as well.

The Three Act Story Plotting Template

This template focuses on the most basic level of story structure there: the beginning, the middle, and the end. This is known as the three-act story structure.

The three act template will walk you through all the elements of each act.

The Beginning:

The Middle:

All of these stages will be laid out for you. Once you have finished brainstorming your story, you need simply to write through every element. This will form an excellent baseline to create an engaging and effective novel.

For more details and some questions to prompt each section, check out Evernote’s version of the three-act story plotting template here.

The Story Beats Template

This template was born from the world of script writing. It breaks the story down into “beats.” These continue to move the story along as each “beat” or milestone is completed.

This template is also available in more detail from Evernote.

The Spark Template

This book writing template was designed for novels and nonfiction books alike. It can be used with Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Adobe InDesign.

The Spark template is created to help you format your book for publishing, with less of a focus on the content itself.

This template offers support for both print and e-book publishing. You can find it available for purchase by clicking here.

The Pulp Template

This is another template that was created mainly to help you format your book for publishing. It offers a sleek and stylish design that is perfect for fiction as well as literary nonfiction.

You can buy it by clicking here.

The Britannia Template

This template is designed specifically for nonfiction writing. Another template to assist you in formatting your finished copy, it is easy to both understand and use.

It is compatible with Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Adobe InDesign. To preview and purchase the template, click here.

The No-Nonsense Novel Template

This is another book writing template that is useful for beginners and first-timers. It is an extension of the basic novel writing template that comes in Scrivener by default.

the template isn’t complex however it does offer some guidance in terms of structure and outlining. It contains sections for things like characters, settings, research, chapters, and scenes. In addition to these, it gives you a folder with a nine-point outline.

This basic but helpful template is designed for Scrivner and can be downloaded here.

The 30-Chapter Novel Template

This book writing template is a fantastic choice for first-time novel writers. While not every single novel is going to be 30 chapters, that number is a good average.

This template has a section for each of its 30 chapters already laid out for you.

Not only are they already created, but there are questions and thoughts to guide you through each chapter.  These prompts are designed to keep your story on pace and keep events happening where they should.

30 chapter novel template

All the chapters set up for you with their corresponding prompts. This is helpful for first-time novelists who may struggle with structure. It can also help in brainstorming for your outline if you choose to create one.

The World Building Leviathan Template

This book writing template is designed with fantasy in mind. Writing a fantasy novel requires extensive world building.  A fantasy typically takes place in a realm or domain that is created entirely by the author.

This means that things such as physical laws, governments, and social classes need to be figured out. You also need to decide if you are writing a story about humans or other species. All of this is called world-building.

Building a world from scratch can be a terrifying and overwhelming thing to grasp. This is where the leviathan method comes in.

The leviathan method is simply a step-by-step look at your world. It asks you questions that create each piece of your new universe.

It is a comprehensive creation process, with a total of 52 steps. The steps and what they look like can be seen below:

book writing templates

As you can see, there are also sections for a “story bible,” characters, research, and more information on the world itself. A more complete world building template does not exist. This is where you want to be creating your fantasy.

Learning how to write a novel in the fantasy genre is an especially arduous task with all the different elements. This detailed and comprehensive template will take some of the pressure off.

It requires much time and effort, but it’s a template that will give you a whole new world by the end of it. If you think you have what it takes to go through the entire leviathan method, you can download the template for Scrivener here .

For a simpler and more straightforward fantasy template, you can check this one out:

fantasy novel template

This template still walks you through a fantasy novel. But, it focuses more on creating a novel that has a good structure, with fantasy specific elements.

The Personal Template

You may decide that none of the existing templates are going to work for you. It can happen – everyone is different. If this is the case, you may consider creating your own template.

Studying the professional templates already available will give you an idea of what to include for it to be successful. You can consider things like outlines, acts, parts, and varying structures.

You can create a personal combination of all the elements and suit it to your project specifically.

It won’t always be an easy task, but it may prove to be worth it in the end. You will be able to follow a guide that was curated especially for your book. If done correctly, this can help you create work that is truly fantastic.

You are never truly done learning how to write a novel. But, as you gain experience, you may be able to create successful templates of your own for others to use.

For a simple, generic guide to curating your own template, this example can be helpful:

general fiction template

This is an outline for a novel with no specific genre or style. It has some basic prompt for writing general fiction. You can easily add to this one and make it your own based on your book.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Book Writing Template

Each template is different and you will need to decide which is right for you and your book. These are some factors to consider when making the decision.

Easy Navigation

Even in a large and extensive template, navigation should be easy and fast. There should be no delay or confusion when it comes to flipping from one chapter or section to another.


A good template will be responsive and versatile.

It should be compatible with multiple devices and fit on multiple screen types and sizes. This ensures the maximum amount of accessibility among users.

It Should Have a Theme

The template you use should fit the theme of your book.

Don’t try to use a nonfiction template for your novel. Using a world-building fantasy template probably won’t work when trying to write a romance either.

More general templates can be good if you don’t know exactly where your story is going just yet.

For example, you know you want to write a nonfiction book but you haven’t chosen a topic yet. This general template will be helpful in sorting out the details:

general nonfiction template

You can easily add to this template to make it more specific for your book, once you figure it out.

Assess the Features and Abilities

Depending on the template’s intended usage, the built-in features will differ. Make sure you understand the available features of your chosen template. Not every feature will work for every book.

A Template Which Supports the Right Tone

You want the template you choose to use the correct language. You want to tell your story in the proper voice. Find a template that works with the style of your book.

There is a difference in the way fiction and nonfiction are written. Find a template that agrees with what you are doing.

How to Use Book Writing Templates

Many templates are versatile and serve many purposes. However, they are generally used for either planning and outlining, or actually writing the book. Below are some tips for planning and writing your book with a template.

For the Planning of the Book

As a writer, planning is always of the utmost importance. You want to achieve a good result, and those don’t come from thin air.

In addition to book writing templates, there are some other things you can do to collect and organize your thoughts. These methods are useful and effective when used in conjunction with your chosen template.

The Snowflake Method

The snowflake method is a specific process that is used to tell a story. There are steps to take and certain things you need to do to make it work.

This method is well-suited to writers who like to work in chronological order. If you like to start at the beginning and write straight through to the end, this method is for you. If you are interested, you can check out the detailed instructions we created for writing with the snowflake method here.

Track Your Story With Time

It is, of course, important to be aware of the plot of the story you are writing.

In addition to this, however, it is helpful to also consider the passage of time throughout your story. When planning the events of your book, note the time frame. How many days, months, years have passed?

Did this event happen in the morning or evening? This is a simple method that can help you keep track of where your characters are at all times. It will also help ensure you don’t get timelines mixed up and overlapped.

Chapter Outline

This is a method of writing that goes well with the 30 chapter novel template mentioned above.

The idea here is to simply outline each chapter before beginning to actually write.

To do this, go through the plot you have created and break it down into individual chapters. Once you have done that, create an outline for each chapter. This can include potential scenes, events, important revelations, character developments, etc.

Of course, things can be changed along the way. This is just one way of getting an overview of your story as a whole.

Using Book Writing Templates to Create Your Storyline

While the use of an outline is widely debated, there is no denying the need for a good quality storyline. Outline or no outline , this requires extensive knowledge of your characters and the world around them.

Well-written and relatable characters will give meaning to your story and make it memorable for the readers. There are a few things you can do to ensure you keep track of your characters as well as develop them correctly.

Create a Master List

This may or may not be necessary depending on your cast of characters. Some books contain a small handful of characters, in which case a master list might be moot.

However, any story with a large number of characters – whether big or small – is at risk of getting them confused.

This is why it might be a good idea to create a master list and keep it somewhere accessible.

All you need to do is create a list of your characters and note a few identifiable features. Name, brief backstory, and role in the story should suffice. Keep this on hand in case you need to remember who someone is or what they are supposed to do.


In addition to a master list, it may be worth creating short biographies for each main player in your story. Details of their past and their current life situation. This will help you keep everything straight in your mind, which will translate to consistency on the page.

Readers will pick up on holes and inconsistencies in your character’s stories in no time if you allow them to be there.

Character Development Sheet

A character development sheet is something that should be done for your protagonist as well as all the other main characters.

All this entails is a list of every attribute or characteristic the character possesses. Even small things that may never appear in the story can be important in you knowing who the character is at the core.

This knowledge, even if not mentioned in the book, can be helpful in figuring out how a character would react or what they would do in a situation. This will help you create the most believable and authentic story possible.

Your readers will love a character that so closely resembles a real person.

Do Your Best Work With Book Writing Templates

If you are struggling to write your book or just want to get done faster, you can never go wrong with a book writing template. They are there as a guide and are by no means set in stone. In addition to helping you create your book, they really want to help you learn how to become a better writer.

The template you find might be a perfect fit for your book. You may find yourself making zero changes.

Or, there might be a template that you love, but it needs tweaking to fit your project. This is fine too.

While these templates are some of the best, the options really are endless. So, open up your favorite book writing software, grab your template, and get to work!

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Story Writing Format: How to Format a Short Story + Examples and Templates

short story book layout

by Kelly Hart

Updated Sep 20, 2021

Short story manuscript formatting is slightly different from novel and book manuscript formatting , and it’s always a good idea to check submission guidelines for each magazine or anthology you wish to submit to, as they can—and do—differ. Lucky for you, applying industry-standard formatting to your short story manuscript is pretty easy!

Why does short story manuscript formatting matter?

Editors of magazines and anthologies are just as busy as agents and publishers, so it’s important that their first impression of your manuscript is a good one. The best way you can do that is to make sure it looks how they expect it to look —i.e., professionally-formatted.

When an editor recieves a manuscript that’s formatted in a quirky, unusual, or unexpected way, it makes the author look like an amateur. And that’s never the impression you want to give to the person reading and judging your writing. You want to look like a professional writer who knows their way around the industry.

Besides looking amateurish, a short story manuscript that doesn’t follow industry-standard formatting rules makes it harder for the editor to read. The rules are there to make all manuscripts equally legible, so that the editor can quickly read many of them in a day.

How to format a short story manuscript

Below are the basic formatting rules you need to apply to your short story manuscript:

Set the margins for your manuscript to 1 inch (2.5cm) on all four sides. This is usually the default setting in Word, but check the settings on your computer to be sure.

Align to the left; the right-hand side should remain ragged.

Use 12 point Times New Roman for the entire manuscript. Courier and Arial fonts may also be acceptable—check the submission guidelines of the magazine or anthology.

Black text on white pages only. No other colors are appropriate.

Indent each paragraph by half an inch (1.25cm). Don’t do this by hitting the tab key; instead, set indentation in Word using the Format → Paragraph → Section menu, or see this tutorial.

Lines should be double spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs.

Single space between sentences, after periods.

Indicate scene breaks with a blank line, and center a hash mark (#) in the center of that line.

The header in the top right corner should contain your name, then a key word from your short story title, followed by the page number. For example, Hart - My Story - 2 . Don’t put this header on the first page.

After the last line in the manuscript, center a hash mark (#) one blank line after the end. Or simply write The End . This assures the editor that no pages are accidentally missing.

Never underline text; use italics when you mean to emphasize or italicize words.

Unlike a book or novel manuscript, a short story manuscript doesn’t require a separate title page. Instead, follow these rules for the first page of the manuscript:

Include your personal details at the upper left. This includes your real name, email address, and other contact information.

Include the approximate word count at the upper right, to the nearest hundred words.

Center the short story title about a third of the way down the first page.

Include your name on the next line after the title. This can be your pen name, and make sure to precede it with by .

Begin your story a few lines below your byline.

If you’ve followed all these steps, you should now have your short story manuscript formatted to the industry standard!

An example of a well-formatted short story manuscript

Remember these tips before you send it in.

Always check the manuscript submission guidelines of the magazine or anthology you’re submitting to! Different markets may have unique formatting requirements, and you should always do as they ask, even if it contradicts the rules we’ve set out here.

Keep a copy of the exact manuscript file you submitted in a special location, in case you update the master manuscript later. It’s always good to know exactly what version of a manuscript you submitted to a market, so you don’t get confused with edits you might have made after submission.

Download a short story formatting template

We’ve prepared this helpful Word document template for a short story manuscript submission that you can use as a base for your own writing. Check it out!

Download the short story formatting template (docx)

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Download the FREE children's book template here .

Journey to Kidlit

How to Write a Children’s Book Template

Take the first step to writing your children’s book story. Download the free children’s book template here to help you get started.

It took me 4 years to learn everything I needed to write a children’s book and another year to actually write a good story. If only there was a “How to Write a Children’s Book” template to help me when I started. 🙈 I know that it would’ve taken me WAY less time than that to write a good kid’s book!

Once you know what you’re doing up front, you can expedite the publishing process . Because you’ll know how to draft a character, develop your plot, and write your story with focus in a way that will make it ready to send to a publisher.

Let me show you how to do that. 👇

How to Write a Children’s Book in 3 Easy Steps — AKA an easy children’s book template:

There are three main things you need to know when you want to write a children’s book:

Once you are able to answer these three questions, you’re able to start writing your kid’s book. (Think of this like a “How to Write a Children’s Book Template”.)

Here’s how you can start to answer these questions.

Download the free children's book template

1 – Who’s your story about?

We learn in elementary that every story has a character and that’s still true for your children’s book. Your character can be –

Anyone who is the focus of the story you’re trying to tell is who is the star of your story.

2 – What’s the point of your story?

This is what Lisa Cron loving refers to as your “so what factor” and what I call your — why does someone need to read your book slash why should they care about that person you just chose to tell your story about in question 1?

The answer is what your story focus should be.

Now, I know that there are some of you who want to write a story about a child who’s kind to others or who learns how to be more courageous or self-confident. However, that’s NOT the point of your story.

Your story focus needs to be an external goal outside of the character’s inner thoughts so it can drive the plot. (Something like to make a friend on their first day of school or slay the sleeping dragon.) That is the point of your story.

The rest is just a theme or takeaway after the reader finishes the book. It isn’t a reason to get them to start reading.

3 – How will it end?

Otherwise known as the conclusion of your story — you must now decide what’s going to happen to your character in the end. Are they going to get what they wanted all along? Do you have a surprise ending that the reader might not be anticipating?

There are 2 things that are important to think about when putting together the final piece of your children’s book template:

You do not have to have an English background or know how to draw or even have ANY experience in writing to create a children’s book. Anyone can learn how to do this!

All you need is the proper tools.

So to save you tons of time and research, I’ve created an easy to follow, step-by-step template to get you started. Download the “How to Write a Children’s Book” template here .

Because EVERY book deserves a place on a child’s bookshelf if you write it well enough. 😚

And if you want more help writing your children’s book, check out these other articles around the blog:

Download the Children’s Book Template and Get Started Writing Today!

Download the free children's book template

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Thanks for these great starting tips. I look forward to seeing the template and moving forward on the ideas I have.

You’re so welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful. Keep going with your story! 🙂

Hi, I would like to receive a free template to start writing a childrens story book. I think the template would be really helpful. I attempted to sign up and not received anything. Would you be able to resend it to me. Thank you, Vivian

Hi Vivian! Thanks for letting me know. I sent you another email. Double-check for “Brooke Van Sickle” or “[email protected]” in your spam folders if you don’t see it. Happy writing! 🙂

I’d like free template

Hello dear! The Template doesn’t arrive to my email 😕 I’ve tryed 3 times and nothing could you help me pls? Thanks Regards Sara

Hi Sara –

Sorry to hear about that! I just sent you a separate email to this address with the template attached. It’s coming from [email protected] . If you don’t see it, be sure to check your spam. Hope it helps improve your story! Can’t wait to hear how your writing journey goes! 🙂

Hello Good evening I would love to receive a copy of the template if its still available. Thanks in advance

Hi Logan – Thanks for reaching out! Just sent you an email — check for it from [email protected] . (It might be in your promotions or spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)

Good Morning, I did not receive my free template as of yet. Can you please help or resend it? Thanks Regards Farasha

Hi Farasha! Sorry about that. You should see an email from me — look for “Brooke – Journey to KidLit” or “[email protected]” in your inbox. Thanks for letting me know!

Thank you . I’ve written the book.. But unsure if success .. It’s very good I’ve been told.

I would love to receive the free template for my daughter. Thank you.

Hi Reina! I just sent you an email with a link to the template. Check your inbox for something from “Brooke Van Sickle” or “[email protected]”. Have fun writing your story!

I like writing children’s book ladybugkate

I am looking forward to writing my own children’s book, thank you. Also would love to collaborate with anyone writing books specifically for babies and toddlers, to include on my website and perhaps in a package for a children’s clothing business I’m working on. Anything educational would be great.

Wonderful! If you’re looking for a hybrid publisher at all, I recommend checking out They’re a great resource to help you with ending, illustrating, and having books printed. Good luck with your writing journey ❤

I have submitted my name and email a few times and still haven’t received the template. Can you check on it?

Hey Molly! I saw that – and it looks like it keeps bouncing. Do you have another email address or do you have any added security features that may be preventing it from being delivered?

Good morning, I promised my ladies prayer group to have my children’s book completed by my birthday which is tomorrow! It’s a simple story about how I launched my multicultural children’s consultant business from one act that happened to my four year old son at pre-school. The story is 30 years old but the challenges are still the same today. I’ve got most of the book written but it’s difficult writing it in WORD not knowing how to place the photos. Is their a template in your downloadable? As a former teacher and now nonprofit youth advocate, it’s time to share this story with the world. Thanks in advance!

Hi Margo! That’s awesome. What a fun book 🙂 And yes! It’s free to download — here’s the link to get the template: Excited to hear how it goes!

Good Morning, I did not receive my free template as of yet. Can you please help or resend it? Thanks Miguel

Just sent you an email — check your inbox. 🙂

Thank you for this post and template! I have been sitting on this idea for a while and am finally ready to start on my project!

Yay! I’m so excited for you. 🙂 You’re most welcome! Have fun getting it started!

Hello, really excited to move forward with this I have been working on it for a few years now. However, I have not received the free template to get started. Can you please send it again? Kindest regards, Marissa

Thanks for letting me know! Just sent you an email. 🙂

Hi I did not receive the template as of yet! Could you please resend!

Thank you for your time!

Just sent you an email from [email protected] !

Hi Brooke, thank you so much for taking the time to create this template. My template showed up under the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, just a tip for those of us requesting it in the future. 🙂

Having a hard time receiving the email. Very interested in the free template!

Hi Katie! Just sent you an email — look for the subject line “here’s your CB template!” from Brooke – Journey to Kidlit. 🙂

I would love the template as well. I did submit but it never arrive. Thank you!!!!

Hey Annie! Just sent it to you again — check for the subject line “Here’s your children’s book template” from Brooke – Journey to Kidlit or [email protected] . Sometimes it goes into Spam or the Promotions tab in Gmail so check them both. Let me know if you see it!

I submitted my information for the template, but I still haven’t received it. Can you help?

Hey Shawnteyana! Just sent it to you again — check for the subject line “Here’s your children’s book template” from Brooke – Journey to Kidlit or [email protected] . Sometimes it goes into Spam or the Promotions tab in Gmail so check them both. Let me know if you see it!

Hi Brooke, Thank you for making this helpful toolkit available! I’ve tried to download it and checked my spam, but can’t see an email from you. do you mind sending it again, please? Can’t wait to get started!

Hey Odette! Looks like you were able to get it. Have fun working on your story! 🙂

Hi Brooke. Good morning. I’ve submitted my name and email, but don’t see the template. Given some of the comments already posted, I checked my spam prior to posting my comment. Would love to use it. Thanks.

Just sent it your way! Check for an email from [email protected] — sometimes it goes into your promotions folder in Gmail.

Hey! Could I get the free template as well? I’ve been looking for something like this to help, it’s so hard getting started! Thank you!

Hey Kenzie! Thanks for reaching out. For sure! Just sent the children’s book template to your email — check for something from [email protected] in your inbox. (It might be in your promotions folder if you don’t see it right away.) Have fun working on your story!

Hello! I would love a copy of the Children’s Book Template. I tried the download button above and it didn’t seem to work for me. So excited about this!

Hi Lucy! Sent the template your way — let me know that you received it. 🙂

Hello, can I get the template as well. It didn’t send it to my email and I checked all the places.

Just sent it to you Angie! Check for the subject line “here’s your children’s book template” or an email from [email protected] . (Might go into spam or promotions.)

Nice Brookeva God bless you for sharing

Thanks a lot for the knowledge. Kindly send me a free template.

You’re most welcome! You should’ve received an email with the template for you to download, too. Comes from broke @ journeytokidlit — be sure to check spam and promotions folders if you don’t see it.

Good day, I would love the free template..looking forward to it. thanks in advance

Thanks Angelique! Check your inbox for an email from [email protected] Have fun working on your story!

Hi I would love to get the free template but I’m not seeing it in any of my folders. Please send me the free template. Thanks in advance.

Hi Fi! Sent an email but be sure to check your spam/promotion folders for [email protected]

Hello, I been trying to get a template but no luck. Could you help me please.

Hi Sullay! Sent the template over in an email but be sure to check your spam/promotion folders for [email protected] Have fun working on your story!

Hello, I entered my email a few times to receive the template and have not received it. Would you be able to send it to [email protected] ? Thanks!

Looks like it might’ve gone into your spam folder. Just sent you a separate email with the PDF!

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short story book layout

Formatting Tips for a Children's Book Layout

August 20, 2021 (Last Updated June 22, 2022)

short story book layout

Do your dreams include writing a children’s book? Books for young readers (and young listeners) help nurture a love of literature. For many, book reading is a treasured childhood memory. It’s no wonder many self-publishing authors enjoy the challenge of creating children’s books.

The layout of a children’s book is different from a book for older readers in many significant ways. Illustrations take great precedence - to some extent, even more than words. Good illustrations keep kids engaged and even attract buyers. (Parents instinctively reach for books with the most charming cover illustrations.) 

The word count must consider the shorter attention spans, and placement of the copy should work with the illustrations and flow of the book.

So how do you lay out a children’s book?

Because children’s books are not text-heavy and often contain large graphics or illustrations, the layout can be tricky. Before you can begin, here are some general children’s book layout tips.

What is the average word count for a children’s book?

The average word count for a children’s book depends on the age of the reader. Typically, the average recommended word count for a kid’s book would be:

Ages 4 - 6: 1,000 words or less

Ages 5 – 9: 2,500 words

Chapter books for ages 7 – 9: 10,000 – 12,000 words

Short novels or middle-grade novels for ages 10 - 12: 20,000 – 25,000

If you’re working on a book for babies or toddlers, your text might use even less words - or illustrations only. There are no hard-and-fast rules about word count for children’s books, but these are some good perimeters to keep in mind when writing a children’s book manuscript.

With this in mind, a children’s book page layout will rely heavily on placement of light copy over larger illustrations.

How many pages are typically in a children’s book layout?

Children’s books (including picture books) are typically 32 pages. However, you can select any number of pages you’d like to tell your story, provided it’s not too long to hold a small child’s attention. Since many children’s books do have low page counts, you may choose to print your children’s book with saddle stitched (stapled) binding. If you do opt for saddle stitch binding , it’s important that your book contain an even number of pages. Paperback binding is also a popular book binding option for children’s books and can accommodate as little as 16 pages.

Now that you’ve considered these factors, you’re ready to begin your children’s book layout.

How do you lay out a manuscript for a children’s book?

The most important rule of formatting:  set up your files the same size as the finished book. If your children’s book will be 6” x 9”, then your files also should be 6” x 9”. (Having trouble changing your page size? 48 Hour Books can help! )

Children’s books are typically a 7” square or 7” x 10”, so that is often a good choice for your kid’s book layout. However, you can make your children’s book whatever size you prefer. Larger book sizes, such as 8” x 10” and 8.5” x 11” are also popular.

We offer a full FAQ section on our website, here . You’ll find a FAQ section devoted to file setup and PDF creation. We also offer reformatting services , where our in-house designers reformat your children’s book manuscript to look like the interior of best sellers. Another great option is to use a book-formatting template.

Where can I find children’s book layout templates?

Using a book template (or a book formatting template) is the easiest way to lay out your children’s book manuscript. With a book layout template, you simply open the template in your word processing program and start typing. These templates are an easy way to get a professional-looking children’s book manuscript.

48 Hour Books offers free book layout templates for formatting both interior and covers. These templates take the guesswork out of sizing, fonts, spacing and margins. A book-formatting template makes your children’s book manuscript print-ready. (You don’t need to wait until after you’ve written your book to use the template either. Just download our free template before you’ve written the book and start writing directly in the template.)

Using a book template ensures proper formatting for printing. 48 Hour Books also offers a book cover size calculator, which is also   free. Determine the cover size of your children’s book easily. The book cover size calculator considers the number of pages in your book and the type of cover you’ve selected (we offer both perfect bound and case bound options.) These factors determine the width of the spine of your children’s book cover.

How do you design a children’s book cover?

Imagery is so important for a children’s book. You want color, lively illustrations, and a designer with the skills to give personality to your characters. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional illustrator for your children’s book. This is never more important than on the cover.

The cover of a children’s book is an important element to attract readers. Since these books are highly visual, many book buyers select them based on the cover illustration alone. If the cover catches their attention, they’re more likely to pick it up and skim the content. Without a colorful, eye-catching cover, a children’s book might have great content and no one will ever know!

48 Hour Books prints full-color covers at no additional cost. We also offer our Create-A-Cover service for only $100. Or, have one of our in-house designers create the perfect book cover for you. We have expert designers, who help you choose imagery, fonts and even a perfect a color scheme. You’ll talk to the designer over the phone, so they work with your input and direction.

Print Your Children’s Book with 48 Hour Books

Are you ready to make a children’s book? 48 Hour Books prints bookstore-quality books and offers superior customer service. Our team loves to help self-publishing authors. If you have questions about how to lay out a children’s book or anything in general, we’re here! Find out more about How to Write and Publish a Children’s Book and check out our blog for more tips and tricks for authors.

To talk to our friendly customer service team, we offer phone, email or online chat .

short story book layout

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