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Format a Book in Atticus: My Favorite Formatting Software

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Formatting with Atticus is a total breeze! Like, way easier than trying to do the same thing with Scrivener or Word. And just as easy as Vellum, if not more so. 

Plus, Atticus is almost half the price and it’s available on Windows too. 

So, if you’re looking to format your book in Atticus, don’t even stress about it. We’ve got a super easy walkthrough of all the formatting capabilities coming your way.

We’re going to do it in six easy steps

Step 1: Let’s Make a Book, Because Why Not?

create a book with atticus

First, open up the Atticus dashboard and hit that ‘New Book’ button. If you have your manuscript saved somewhere else, don’t worry, you can upload it too.

Next, you’ll see three fields to fill out – Name, Author, and Project. The Name is, well, the name of your book, no need to include the subtitle here. Author is where you put your official name or pen name, and Project is where you can group your books by series, pen name, world, you name it.

And don’t stress if you don’t have a title or series name yet, none of these fields are required and you can change them whenever you want. Let’s get that book published,

Step 2: Filling in the Blanks Like a Pro

book details in atticus

It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and actually start building out your book. I know, I know, it’s exciting and a little intimidating all at the same time. But don’t worry, you got this!

First things first, head on over to the Book Details page by clicking on that fancy little tile in the top left corner with your book title on it. This is where all the good stuff happens, like all the meta data for your book lives. You’re going to be spending a lot of time here, so get comfortable.

Now, there’s a ton of fields to fill out, but don’t let that scare you. Some of them will even be used on the auto-generated Title Page, so it’s important to pay attention. Like, you can upload your book’s cover, add a subtitle if you’re feeling fancy, and even change the language if you’re feeling bilingual. Plus, you can add all the deets about your publisher, like a logo and a link to their website.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to fill in all of this information right away. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to play around with the options. But it’s good to know what’s available to you and where to find it, you know? It’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.

So, take a deep breath and dive in. You’re one step closer to publishing your book!

Step 3: Upload or Write, Either Way, We’re Winning

input text in atticus

Here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the actual writing part. I know, I know, it’s exciting and a little overwhelming all at the same time. But don’t worry, Atticus got your back.

When you’re writing in Atticus, you can just start typing away and fill things out as you go. Or you can upload a book from DOCX or RTF formats which will automatically fill in the correct spaces for you. Ain’t technology grand?

With Atticus, you can create separate ‘elements’ to coordinate the front matter, body, and back matter of your book. These are like the building blocks of what will eventually become your beautifully-formatted book.

Here’s a list of the different elements you’ll find in Atticus:

  • Front Matter: Copyright, Title, Blurbs, Dedication, Epigraph, Foreword, Introduction, Preface, Prologue
  • Body: Chapter, Full Page Image, Custom (for unique needs)
  • Back Matter: Epilogue, Afterword, Acknowledgements, About Author, Also By

Additionally, you can add your own custom chapter titles and subtitles to each chapter, as well as the front and back matter, so it will say whatever you want it to say in the heading. So go ahead, be creative, and make it your own. 

Step 4: Making Your Text Look Pretty, Because That’s Important

formatting text in atticus

Okay, so next up we’re taking a look at all the different formatting tools within the Atticus word processor. Trust me, there’s a lot of them and you’re gonna want to know about them.

First off, we got the Undo/Redo buttons. These are like the standard keys that let you undo or redo certain tasks, so you can keep from making permanent mistakes.

Then there’s the Chapter Splitting button. This is a game changer, it lets you split the chapter in two, starting from wherever your cursor is set.

Next, there’s the Endnotes section. If you’re feeling fancy and want to create an endnote or even footnotes (which you can’t get anywhere else), this is where you would do it.

We also got the Alignment section, where you got the standard options to align left, right, or center. Plus this is also where you can adjust the styling for quotes and verse.

And right next to that, we got the Block Quote and Verse section, where you can convert a piece of text into a fancy block quote or verse format.

We also got the Image section, where you can add images of any size or shape, with several options on sizing and alignment within the text. 

And if you’re feeling creative, there’s the Ornamental Breaks section, where you select where the ornamental breaks go. These are like scene dividers that create an artistic break between scenes.

We also got the Links section, where you can add links in your text, and the Lists section, where you can create ordered or unordered (bulleted) lists. 

And let’s not forget the Subheadings section, where Atticus lets you create a special format for your subheadings.

And for those of you who like to get a little more advanced, there’s the Advanced Settings section, with endnotes and monospace, small caps, and other such options. 

Most of these will not be needed in most circumstances. 

And of course, we got the Text Formatting section, where you got your standard options to bold, italicize, and underline selected text.

So in this step, all you have to do is run through your manuscript and see if it needs any of these in-text formatting capabilities. Certain features like subheadings, ornamental breaks, and quotes are likely to be needed for many of you. And other features like images and links are very likely to be used in back matter.

Be sure to run through everything and make sure you’ve formatted everything as needed. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Step 5: Picking the Perfect Theme, Because First Impressions Matter

chapter themes in atticus

Alright, now we’re getting to the fun stuff! In this step, we’re diving into the themes and custom theme builder in Atticus. Trust me, there’s a lot of capability here, and you won’t necessarily need all of it.

For many of you, all you might need is a pre-built theme and you’re good to go! But keep reading if you’re feeling fancy and want to customize these things, or build your own with the full capabilities of Atticus.

First things first, hit the ‘Formatting’ button in the top center. This will open up a list of pre-built themes that you can choose from. These themes are designed to fit many genres, and it’s highly likely that most authors will find one of these that will work for you. Plus, it comes with a device previewer that will show you what your book will look like with these themes.

But if you’re feeling extra creative, and want to customize your own theme, just select ‘Create Custom Theme’ in the top right corner and it will open up a page with several clear steps to build your theme. Let’s walk through them:

  • Choose a General Layout: This is where you’ll select the overall look of the chapter theme, including where the title, subtitle, and potential image will be located, in relation to your text.
  • Select an Image: If you’ve chosen a general layout that uses an image, step 2 will let you upload that image. You can also include an individual image for each chapter with the toggle button. Note that if you choose not to have an image, this section will be grayed out.
  • Chapter Heading Settings: Next comes a section that gives you the ultimate flexibility. This is where you choose all the different fonts, sizes, alignments, widths, etc. for each element included on the chapter theme, including: Chapter Number, Chapter Title, Chapter Subtitle, Header, Footer. The header and footer refers to the text found at the top and bottom of each page, including the page numbers. So if you want a special size and font for your page numbers, you can have them. Note: this is only for the print version of a book.
  • Name Your Theme: Lastly, you have the simple task of naming your theme. Once you’ve named it and hit ‘Save Theme’ then your theme will become available in the ‘My Themes’ section of the formatting settings.

So go ahead, have fun, and make your book look as unique as you are!

Step 6: Fine-tuning Like a Boss

chapter heading settings in atticus

In addition to the theme builder we talked about earlier, there are a couple of additional settings that you should definitely get to know. Some of these are pre-set for you, and others are for print only, but you might want to consider adjusting them to match the tone that you’re going for.

This area is divided into several subsections, so let’s break each of those down:

  • Chapter Heading Settings: This is where you get to play around with the chapter headings. You can choose if the chapter number, title, or subtitle appear in each chapter heading. You can choose what the chapter number looks like, whether it’s a number, a word, or has the word ‘Chapter’ involved. You can even select the alignment of the heading to be left, center, or right.
  • Paragraph Settings: This is where you adjust small stylistic changes like having your first few words of each chapter capitalized, or whether your paragraphs should be separated by a space or with an indent.
  • Ornamental Breaks: This is where you select the style of your ornamental breaks. If you’ve followed these steps, you should have placed the ornamental breaks in Step 3, but you can adjust the style for all of them here. Atticus has a wide variety of pre-built ornamental breaks, but you can also upload your own in this section with a custom image.
  • Ebook and Print Settings: In these sections, you can specify if any color images you have should be for all versions or for ebook only. This is useful when you need a print version with all black and white images. You can also change the start page for the ebook (in case you specifically wanted the ebook to default to a different start page).
  • Header and Footer: This area will let you select the placement of your header and footer (for print books), and what exactly is displayed on each side of the page.

Step 7: Export That Bad Boy

exporting a book in atticus

Hold onto your hats because it’s time to export your book!

Atticus has several export options, including EPUB, PDF, and DOCX. 

  • EPUB is the most common ebook format and the most recommended for uploading to Amazon or other ebook retailers. 
  • PDF is the print file for your book, formatted to include the correct margins, trim, and other formats based on your settings. 
  • And we recommend exporting to DOCX in order to collaborate with editors, audiobook narrators, etc., rather than uploading to Amazon, as DOCX exporting does not retain the formatting.

There are two main locations where you can export. You can do so either from the formatting settings area, where it is located on the right, under the devices previewer. Or you can find it in the Book Details area, which is also where you go if you want to export to DOCX.

For all three formats, you can click and download immediately. And you’re done!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it folks, you are now a pro at formatting your book with Atticus. No more boring and frustrating formatting for you.

You’ve got the tools, you’ve got the know-how, and now you’ve got the attitude. You’re ready to take on the world with your beautifully formatted book. So go forth, my writing warriors, and conquer the publishing industry with Atticus by your side.

And remember, don’t let anyone dull your shine. You’ve got this, and your book is going to be a hit. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to show off your new skills! 

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