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How to Write a Book in Google Docs: Expert Tips and Techniques

Have you ever dreamt of writing a book that captivates readers and leaves them wanting more? Crafting a story that transports people to another world, or sharing knowledge that changes lives, can be both exhilarating and daunting. But fear not, for there is a tool that can help make your writing journey smoother and more efficient. Enter Google Docs, the word-processing platform taking the writing world by storm. With real-time collaboration, multiple device access, and customizable formatting options, Google Docs can be the go-to choice for aspiring and experienced authors.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey of discovery, exploring how to write a book using Google Docs successfully. We’ll share tips and tricks on how to break up your outline, create front and back matter pages, and make the most of Google Docs’ features to optimize your writing experience and enhance the final result. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, embracing Google Docs as your primary writing platform can significantly impact your productivity and the overall quality of your book. So, buckle up and get ready to unleash your inner author as we embark on this adventure together.

Creating a Google Docs Account

Before diving into writing a book in Google Docs, one must create a Google account if they don’t already have one. A Google account provides access to Google Docs and other apps like Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.

To create a Google account, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Google Account creation page.
  2. Fill in the required information, including your first and last name, desired username for your email address, and a secure password.
  3. Enter your phone number to verify your account. Google will send a text message with a verification code to ensure it’s you creating the account.
  4. Complete the remaining steps, including adding a recovery email address, inputting your birth date and gender, and agreeing to the terms of service.

After completing the signup process, you can access Google Docs by:

  1. Going to Google Docs.
  2. If you’re not automatically signed in, click “Sign in” on the top right corner of the page and enter your newly created Google account credentials.

Once signed in, you’ll see Google Docs’ main interface, where you can create, organize, and share your documents.

Here are a few essential tips to navigate the Google Docs interface:

  • To create a new document, click the “+” icon, or select “Blank” under “Start a new document.”
  • Google Docs autosaves your work as you write, so there’s no need to worry about losing progress.
  • Use the toolbar at the top of the document to format and customize text, add images, and insert other media.
  • To collaborate with others or share your document, click the “Share” button at the top right corner and follow the prompts.

With your Google Docs account set up and the interface familiarized, you’re all set to start writing your book.

Advantages of Writing a Book in Google Docs

Collaboration and Real-Time Editing

Google Docs is an excellent tool for writers because it offers seamless collaboration and real-time editing capabilities. Authors can share their documents with co-authors, editors, or beta readers for simultaneous editing and feedback. This collaborative feature streamlines the writing process and helps improve the quality of work. Additionally, Google Docs allows users to leave comments on specific sections of the document, simplifying the review and revision process.

Automatic Saving and Version History

Google Docs eliminates the fear of losing work due to software crashes or computer issues. The word processor automatically saves and backs up documents to Google Drive. It also features a version history that records changes made to the document, so writers can quickly revert to a previous version if needed. This functionality ensures no work is lost, and writers can focus on their creative process.

Accessibility and Compatibility

Google Docs is accessible from any device with an internet connection, making it a convenient writing tool for authors on the go. It is compatible with multiple file formats, including Microsoft Word (.docx), making it easy to switch between different writing platforms if needed. Google Workspace, which includes Google Docs, is free to use, providing a cost-effective alternative to paid word processors like MS Word. Some other advantages of writing a book in Google Docs include:

  • Access to built-in basic editing tools
  • Cloud storage for ease of access and secure storage
  • Integration with other Google Workspace apps for improved productivity
  • Availability of templates and add-ons for enhanced functionality

Writing a book in Google Docs provides numerous benefits to streamline the writing process, save time and money, and enhance collaboration between authors and their teams.

Setting Up Your Book Template

Using Inbuilt Google Docs Templates

Google Docs offers a variety of inbuilt templates for various purposes, including book templates. To access these templates, log in to your Google account and open Google Docs. Click on “Template Gallery” to view the available templates. Look for a booklet or brochure template that suits your needs, or search for “book” in the search bar. Select a template and start customizing it as per your requirements.

The inbuilt book template may already have the formatting and styling options, such as fonts, margins, and headers. However, you may still want to make adjustments specific to your content. Be sure to check and update the following:

  • Text styles and fonts
  • Page size and margins
  • Headers and footers
  • Table of contents

Creating a Custom Book Template

If you prefer creating a custom book template in Google Docs or the inbuilt book templates do not meet your requirements, follow these steps:

  1. Open a new Google Docs document and save it with a suitable title.
  2. Set the page size and margins according to your publishing specifications. This can be done from File > Page Setup. The most common formats for books are A4 or 6×9 inches.
  3. Choose a font and text size for your main content. Google Docs offers many font options, but it’s generally best to stick to easy-to-read fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Garamond.
  4. Format your headings and subheadings using text styles. This helps maintain consistency throughout the book and makes it easier to create a table of contents later.
  5. Set up headers and footers for your book, including page numbers and relevant information, such as the book title or author name. You can do this by double-clicking on the top or bottom of the page to access the header/footer menu.
  6. Include images and supporting visuals where necessary. Google Docs allows you to insert images, drawings, and tables.
  7. Create front and back matter for your books, such as the title page, copyright information, dedication, acknowledgments, and author biography pages.
  8. Generate a table of contents by using the “Insert Table of Contents” option from the Insert menu.

Remember to save your document regularly to maintain your personalized book template in Google Docs. Using these steps and customizing your template, you can create a professional-looking book ready for publishing.

Organizing Your Book Content

Creating Chapter Headings and Titles

When using Google Docs to write a book, start by creating chapter headings and titles. To do this, utilize the styles feature in the toolbar. Select the text for your chapter title, then choose the “Heading 1” or “Heading 2” style based on your preference. This visually differentiates the chapter headings and improves the overall organization of your content.

Utilizing the Document Outline Feature

Google Docs offers a handy feature called the Document Outline that lets you easily view and navigate your book’s structure. Once you have set your chapter headings using styles, the Document Outline will automatically list your chapters in a sidebar. To access this feature, go to the “View” menu and select “Show document outline.” This will help you see the overall flow of your book and makes editing and rearranging sections a breeze.

Page Numbering and Formatting

Proper page numbering and formatting are crucial for your book. To insert page numbers in Google Docs, go to the “Insert” menu, select “Header & page number,” and choose your preferred numbering style. If you want to start page numbering after a specific section or page, such as a front matter, use section breaks by going to “Insert” and then “Break.” From there, you can choose “Section break (continuous)” or “Section break (next page)” based on your needs.

Additionally, ensure your margins, font type, and font size are consistent throughout your document. To manage your page setup, locate “File” in the main menu and select “Page setup.” Make sure all margins are set to one inch, and confirm that the “Page orientation” is set to “Portrait” and that the “Paper size” is “Letter.”

By following these steps, you will effectively organize the content of your book in Google Docs, making it easier to write, edit, and publish your work.

Writing Tips for Fiction and Non-Fiction Writers

Developing Your Idea and Manuscript

Whether you are a fiction or non-fiction writer, the first crucial step is developing your idea and manuscript. Start by brainstorming and researching ideas you are passionate about or knowledgeable about. Jot down notes and the main points you want to cover in your book.

When developing the manuscript, consider key elements such as:

  • Characters: Strong, memorable characters can make your story engaging and relatable.
  • Plot: A well-developed plot keeps readers interested and provides structure to your book.
  • Pacing: Striking a balance between fast-paced sequences and slower, more descriptive passages create an enjoyable reading experience.

Creating an Outline to Guide Your Writing

Before beginning actual book writing, it’s essential to create an outline that guides your writing. An outline can help ensure your plot, characters, and writing style consistency. Determine the topics or chapters you want to include and list them down in a logical order.

Some steps to creating a useful outline are:

  1. Structure: Decide on the overall structure of your books, such as the introduction, chapters, and conclusion.
  2. Key Points: Identify the main points you want to address within each chapter or section.
  3. Subtopics: Break down your key points into manageable subtopics.
  4. Timeline: Arrange the topics chronologically or in a way that makes sense for your narrative.

Tools and Features for Enhanced Writing

Google Docs is one of the available tools for fiction and non-fiction writers that offers various features to streamline the writing process. Some helpful tools include:

  • Styles: Use the built-in styles for headings, subheadings, and text to maintain uniformity throughout your book.
  • Tables: Insert tables to organize data and simplify explanations.
  • Comments and Suggestions: Share your draft with collaborators and gather feedback on your writing.
  • Version History: Keep track of your edits and document progress over time.

Google Docs also allows for easy integration with other useful writing extensions and add-ons, such as grammar checkers and thesauruses, to further enhance your writing experience.

Editing Your Book

Using Google Docs Tools for Editing

Google Docs offers a variety of inbuilt tools that can help authors during the editing process. The ‘Suggesting’ mode allows you to make changes that appear as suggestions rather than direct edits to the text. This is particularly useful for tracking changes and keeping your original draft intact.

To access special features like grammar and spell check, go to ‘Tools’ in the top menu and select ‘Spelling and grammar.’ This will ensure that your manuscript remains polished and professional.

For additional formatting, you can use the built-in styles available in Google Docs or customize your own to suit your book’s format. You can also insert and resize images, create tables and bullet points, and more to enhance your manuscript.

Collaborating with Editors and Beta Readers

One of the advantages of writing a book in Google Docs is the ability to collaborate with others easily. First, ensure that your document-sharing settings are adjusted to allow the appropriate level of access for editors and beta readers. You can grant them edit access, comment access, or view access, depending on your preference.

To share your document, click on the ‘Share’ button in the top-right corner and enter the email addresses of your collaborators, or generate a shareable link. You can also use the comments feature, allowing your collaborators to leave feedback on specific text parts. The ‘@’ mention function can notify specific collaborators about changes or discussions related to the manuscript.

Google Docs version history makes tracking changes and revisions simple. Navigate to “File” > “Version history” > “See version history.” This allows you to view previous versions of the document, making it easy to track your editing progress or revert to an earlier draft if needed.

By utilizing the editing tools and collaborative features of Google Docs, you can ensure your book is polished and ready for publication.

Easily Exporting and Sharing Your Book

Exporting to Different Formats

Writing your book in Google Docs provides flexibility when exporting your document into different formats. One common scenario is exporting a Google Docs file as a Word document, which Microsoft Office users widely use. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open your book project in Google Docs.
  2. Click on “File” in the top left corner.
  3. Select “Download” from the dropdown menu.
  4. Choose “Microsoft Word (.docx)” as the file format.

Google Docs also supports exporting to formats like PDF, EPUB, or plain text. You can choose the desired format from the “Download” submenu in the aforementioned steps.

Sharing with Google Workspace or Microsoft Office Users

Collaborating with others is an essential part of the book-writing process. With Google Docs, sharing your book project with Google Workspace or Microsoft Office users is a breeze. Follow the steps below to share your document:

  1. Open your book project in Google Docs.
  2. Click on the “Share” button in the top right corner.
  3. Enter the email addresses of collaborators, or generate a shareable link.
  4. Set their permissions to “Can edit,” “Can comment,” or “Can view.”
  5. Click “Done.”

Microsoft Office users without Google accounts can access the document via the shareable link. If desired, you can also export your book project to a Word document (as described earlier) and share it with them directly via email or cloud storage services.

Following these best practices, you can easily export and share your book project with collaborators, whether they use Google Workspace or Microsoft Office.

Transitioning to Publishing

Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission

When preparing your manuscript for submission, it’s essential to ensure it is formatted correctly and professionally. Utilize Google Docs’ features to create a clean, consistent document.

First, double-check your text styles are consistent throughout the document, such as headings, subheadings, body text, and captions. You can set and update your styles in Google Docs. Next, insert a table of contents, which can be added utilizing Google Docs’ “Insert menu.” To further organize your manuscript, consider creating front and back matter pages, including title pages and acknowledgments. This gives your submission a polished, professional appearance.

Creating an eBook with Google Workspace Tools

For authors wanting to self-publish, creating an eBook can be done easily with Google Workspace tools. Start by downloading your manuscript from Google Docs as an EPUB file. This format is compatible with most eBook readers and publishing platforms.

In addition to your manuscript, consider creating supporting materials such as charts and graphs in Google Sheets and visual presentations with Google Slides. These tools can enhance your eBook, making it more engaging and informative for readers.

To make your eBook visually appealing, use the “Insert menu” to add images and other visuals to your manuscript. When inserting visuals, use high-resolution images and appropriate credit when necessary. Google Workspace tools can be powerful for eBook creation, and learning to leverage them can result in a polished, professional final product.

Final Thoughts on Writing a Book in Google Docs

Google Docs has proven to be an excellent tool for authors looking to write and organize their books. Its easy-to-use interface and collaborative features allow writers to focus on their narrative and structure without getting bogged down by complex formatting issues.

One key benefit of using Google Docs is the ability to create separate documents for different parts of the book. This way, an author can manage chapters or sections more efficiently, keeping their work organized and streamlined. Additionally, with its cloud-based storage, there’s no need to worry about losing work due to hardware failure or accidental deletions.

Writers can also use free templates available online, which can help structure the manuscript more effectively. These templates often include predefined styles for headings, body text, and other elements, ensuring consistency throughout the book. Furthermore, authors can customize these templates to fit their unique preferences and writing style.

Lastly, the collaborative features in Google Docs enable authors to share their work easily, making gathering feedback from beta readers or editors more straightforward. With real-time editing and commenting capabilities, the revision process becomes more efficient, resulting in a well-polished manuscript.

In summary, Google Docs offers numerous benefits to authors, including organization, collaboration, and access to free templates. Its user-friendly features make it a powerful resource for writing and publishing a book.