Quick Tips for Paperback Page Numbering

When numbering the pages of your paperback manuscript, the thing quite a lot of Indies have trouble with is that they use Page Breaks rather than Section Breaks. A Page Break is just that—starting a new page within the same section of a book. With a Section Break you can have totally different numbers and Headers and Footers for each section. The way to ensure that your numbering doesn’t bounce back from the first chapter of your book to the front matter is to get rid of all the Page Breaks in first pages and replace them with Section Breaks.

page-break
Section Break after title page, and again after the table of contents, and every other page you have in your front matter.

section-break
Then double click into your Headers and Footers up to and including the first page of your first chapter, and unlick Link to Previous. This will ensure that all your previous book “sections” remain separate.

link-to-previous
Finally, go to the page where you want your numbering to begin and click on Insert > Page Number. Choose how and where you want your numbers to appear, and then click back out again. Your page numbers will now begin in the first chapter, leaving your front matter lovely and number and header free.

different
If you choose to use the Different Odd & Even Pages function so that you can have your author name on one page and your book title on the page facing it, sometimes all the numbering on either odd or even numbered pages will disappear. Simply click in to that footer and Insert page numbers again—it will automatically use the correct numbers.

Rather than be nervous when getting stuck into formatting for CreateSpace, make a copy of your manuscript and mess around with these things a little first to build your confidence. Try different things with different sections. Play with your numbers. Put them left or right, or be really daring and use Roman numerals. And remember, once you’ve got it right once, you have a template to use for your next book if the thought of doing it all from scratch is just too daunting.

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17 thoughts on “Quick Tips for Paperback Page Numbering”

  1. Getting this stuff right is one of the things that gives a book that “professional” look. If you’re not sure which pages should have headers and/or page numbers, use a traditionally published book as a model and apply Jo’s tips.

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  2. This piece looks really good. It gives some very well thought out suggestions on how to work with the best layout feel of a manuscript when writing a book. It makes some excellent points that might be worth considering when any writer is thinking about the approach they should take in formatting the layout of the text. It is well suited to the kind of readers who might visit this page if they are writers or aspiring to become writers.

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