Formatting or Typesetting: Get Your Book Ready for Publishing

I was recently asked if copy editing services include typesetting. Of course, the answer is no. Typesetting and formatting are not normally done by a copy editor. You can also get the information about books formatting via

Some developmental editors may assist authors with some type of formatting just to get the manuscript into a more readable condition, but the interior layout of a book is either the publisher's or the author's responsibility, not the editor's.

First of all, formatting and typesetting are not the same thing.

Formatting has to do with setting the fonts, margins, headers, footers, page numbers, bullet points, etc. to make the manuscript look like a book and not an email, Web page, or essay.

Some POD (publish-on-demand) companies will accept a formatted manuscript and use it to print your book. But, beware! They print exactly what you send them as long as it fits within the print parameters they require. So, if you have awkward line breaks, orphaned or widowed headings, mismatched fonts, inconsistent margins, or other formatting problems, the book will look amateurish.

Typesetting has to do with making a book camera ready for a printer, usually needed for off-set runs (bulk quantities). This requires InDesign or some other interior layout program that most editors do not own or know how to use. This is a job for a graphic designer.

Typesetting is typically handled by the publishing house if you go the conventional route to bring your book to market. So, if you self-publish your book, you will have to provide files your printer can use. This means you may have to hire someone to layout the book's interior.