Premature formatting means adding unnecessary work to the process, something you’ll have to remove and regenerate later. Keep in mind when you’re writing your story that you want to keep your formatting to a bare minimum. This means, no headers or footers, and no page numbers.
Two reasons. First, ebooks do not use page numbers and headers/footers, so you’ll have to remove them before you submit your file to an ebook service (either publisher or aggregator*). Second, if you decide to create a print book, and you use a layout program like Scribus (the one we use here), you’ll add headers or footers and page numbers in the layout program.
So, either way, you’ll have to remove them as you move forward.
Do the Work When It’s Time
Remember, your word processor will show you how many pages you have. There’s no need to add more work to your process.
One caveat – if you use a third party template, they may include this information and have a way of stripping it out for ebook formulation. Always follow their directions when using a template system. And if you have a publisher or agent, follow their advice for formatting.
But if you are generating a book yourself, for friends or family or to push your way to a best seller, hold off on the fancy formatting until you’re ready to produce your book, until the time it’s absolutely necessary.
*aggregator: A company that takes your ebook and sends it to multiple formats/companies, usually for a small percentage of your royalties.