48 Hr Books Blog

We hope that the following blog entries will explain and simplify the process of turning your words into actual books. We'd love to hear from you, either with comments, or with suggestions for future blog posts. We're here to help!

Our optional novel and book formatting service make it easy to have your inside layout look like a bestseller. With our new reformatting styles, we'll give your book the professional feel you’ve been seeking.

Understanding reformatting can be tricky, so whether you are formatting yourself or using our reformatting services, we asked one of our reformatting experts some common questions to help get you started:


What are some tips for reformatting a word document before converting to a PDF? 

Make sure your document is the correct page size. We offer free book templates that open in Word to get you started! They are available in four standard book sizes.

Margins should be .5 to .75 on all four sides.

Use page breaks or section breaks instead of the paragraph return key to force a page break or start a new Chapter on a new page. If you use paragraph returns rather than page breaks or section breaks when the pdf is generated, the text may reflow from page to page incorrectly. The chapter title may begin on the same page a chapter ends. We cannot correct this formatting in a pdf, so it’s important this is set up correctly in your word document prior to sending your files to us.

Check the table of contents to make sure the chapter titles and page numbers match up.

Check your word document for font, font size, and spacing consistency throughout your book.

Always check your PDF once the word document has been converted to pdf. You may notice errors that you did not see in your word document or the pdf is not quite the same as the word document.


How do we apply the “bestseller” styles to your book?

We look at your files and reformat to the bestseller style of your choice. You will select this on your online order form. However sometimes the bestseller style you choose does not apply to the type of book you are publishing. In this case, we may contact you and offer some suggestions of what we think may work best! Regardless of what style is ultimately chosen, we will clean up the word document and make everything consistent in your files before converting to pdf.


What is the best way to send corrections to us if we are reformatting your files?

The best way to send corrections is in writing in an order note through your account or via email. We do not take corrections over the phone. It is our company policy!

The best way to send corrections is in a list format, indicating the page number, paragraph, line number in the paragraph, and desired correction: 

Example: page 60, paragraph 3, line 2 (not sentence number) and what the correction is. Sometimes it is easier for us to understand the correction if the word before the correction and word after the correction is written out. 

If there is an excessive amount of corrections, we may send our formatted word document to you so you can make the corrections, then have you send your corrected file back to us.

Please do not send a corrected word document back from your original word document, as this requires us to start reformatting from the beginning, incurring a new reformatting fee. If you have any questions about properly sending us corrections to avoid this, always contact us and we will tell you exactly what we need from you!


What are some general errors we encounter when reformatting files?

·      Wrong page size 

·      Wrong margins 

·      Not using page breaks or section breaks

·      Page numbers not being centered in the footer

·      Do not use a paragraph return after each line or sentence. Only use the paragraph return when you want to end a paragraph and begin a new paragraph, title, or subtitle.


What are some technical issues you have encountered when reformatting a file?

Pictures not being cropped properly, or not scanned at the correct dpi.

Getting Charts and pictures to fit in congruence with specific chapters when reformatting 

·      Charts and forms can be very time consuming when changing a file from an 8.5 x 11 document to a smaller size such as 5.5 x 8.5.

**Pictures and charts add time to reformatting.


Any additional information on reformatting that would be helpful for customers to know?

Show Hidden Characters / invisibles: This is a useful tool to help edit your word document and see mistakes, such as something not aligning, or the indent being too far in. This is like a light switch you can turn off and on and none of the invisibles will print. They are there to help edit your document more efficiently.

For instance, Word uses special characters to indicate the end of a line or the end of a paragraph. A blue dot will indicate a space between. If you notice a larger space between words and use the hidden invisibles, you may notice two blues dots which means you have too many spaces between the words. Just delete one of the blue dots and the spacing between the words will be corrected.


Interested in our reformatting services? You can select this on your online order form. We normally require PDF files, but if we will be formatting your book, you will need to upload your original word document. Once you approve your formatted document, we will convert it to the final PDF!  Keep in mind that reformat orders take a bit longer, so if you’re in a time crunch, always let us know. Still have questions? Call us at 800-231-0521.

Every author has a different writing process. By researching some famous authors, it was interesting to see how each one differs in their individual approaches. We are continuing this series by investigating more of our favorite writers.


Haruki Murakami is an early riser who often starts writing at 4 am. After writing for several hours, he takes a break for physical activity – either running or swimming. He believes that repetition and routine is the key to writing a successful novel.

Notable works: Norwegian Wood, A Wild Sheep Chase, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Quote: “There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.”


Joan Didion writes during the day, then reviews her writing and takes notes before dinner with a drink. She believes that once she has her first sentence, then she has her story: “What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”

Notable works: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, Salvador

Quote: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”


Jack Kerouac liked to sleep in and write through the night by candlelight: “The desk in the room, near the bed, with a good light, midnight till dawn, a drink when you get tired, preferably at home, but if you have no home, make a home out of your hotel room or motel room or pad: peace.

Notable Works: On the Road, Big Sur, The Dharma Bums

Quote: “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry”


Ray Bradbury didn’t need to follow a routine to write, simply because he enjoyed writing that much: “My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.

Notable works: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man

Quote: “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”


John Steinbeck believed in the simple act of writing one page each day then correcting and rewriting once completely done, as to not interfere with writing flow. Everything Steinbeck believed in stemmed from avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed: “The simplest way to overcome this is to write it to someone, like me. Write it as a letter aimed at one person. This removes the vague terror of addressing the large and faceless audience and it also, you will find, will give a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness.

Notable works: Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

Quote: “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”





To learn more about the writing process of some of your favorite authors, check out our previous posts in this series, here and here!











There are many decisions that go into planning the printing of your book. What size do I make it? What kind of paper should I use? Do I want a paperback or hardcover? We’ve already answered some of these questions in previous posts, and now we’re tackling binding. We’re breaking down our different book binding options: what we offer, the recommended page counts for each, genre-specific binding, spine size, and more.  


Let’s start with spine widths. We have a basic formula for calculating the correct width of your spine for paperback and hardcover books. We’ve made it easy for you by providing cover size calculators. Simply enter your book size, paper stock, and the number of pages and we’ll tell you what size to make your cover and spine.


Perfect Bound (paperback): (16 – 1,050 pages)

Paperback books are the most popular binding option, and for good reason.  They are the most cost-effective, versatile, and compliment most genres. We print paperback books in just 2 business days, so if you are in a time crunch, paperbacks are going to be your safest bet.