Why Does Non-fiction Cost More to Format?

Hand Holding Money by worradmu via freedigitalphotos.net

“The non-fiction price is so much more than the fiction price. Isn’t a book just a book?”

Yes and no.

Don’t you hate answers like that?


All professionally-formatted print books have some things in common:
  • praise for the author section
  • title page
  • copyright page
  • acknowledgment
  • dedication
  • content broken into chapters
  • about the author section, including head shot
  • other books by the author section
  • correct layout for page margins, page headers and footers, and chapter breaks
  • a few fiction books, particularly anthologies, will have a simple table of contents
  • a few fiction books will have a glossary or cast of characters



Unique to fiction are:
  • scene breaks, sometimes with ornaments
  • content that includes letters and etexts between characters, newspaper clippings
  • excerpts from other books by the same author


There are two main categories for works of non-fiction.

Memoir, biography, narrative

While memoirs are close to fiction, they will have all of the above and may also include:
  • an introduction
  • content broken into parts, chapters, and sections reflected in:
    • custom heading formats to show the breakdown
    • a complex table of contents showing all the heading levels
  • photographs
    • with captions
    • of casual quality that need to be:
      • colour-adjusted
      • sharpened
      • cropped
      • need the horizon line corrected
    • provided in colour that must be converted to gray scale
    • inserted throughout the document or in a gallery in the middle or at the end to allow colour printing

Self-help, instructional

Closer to a text book in structure, these books will have all of the above and may also include:
  • a foreword
  • additions to the copyright page for permissions granted for citations
  • content broken into as many as ten levels, each requiring
    • custom heading formats to show the breakdown
    • a more complex table of contents showing all the heading levels
  • as well as photographs, the content may include
    • tables
    • lists
    • graphs
    • charts
    • forms
    • side bars
    • lines or spaces for reader notes or exercises
    • Most of these will have captions and will need to be manipulated in some way to fit among the text.
    • The captions can be used create a list of figures.
  • citations and quotations in the text with special formatting and links to a bibliography, footnotes, or endnotes
  • reference list
  • index with links to the content, this can take a lot of time and will be priced separately

ALL of these extras take time to do in a professional manner, and then duplicate for the ebook! That’s why it costs more to format a work of non-fiction. See samples of my non-fiction portfolio.

Image courtesy of worradmu via freedigitalphotos.net.
© 2018, Joan Leacott