The book I am writing has some chapters starting on the left (verso) page. To get them to start on the right (recto) page would mean either a major rewrite which would be a pain as I am already up to around 100 revisions and feel I have got the text exactly how I like it.
Two alternatives come to mind, either put in a blank page or put a photo relevant to the previous chapter to force the chapter start to be on the right. Neither would look great IMO.
The third alternative is not to worry.
The book is not for general circulation, just for extended family.
Not being an expert in InDesign, I know I have made some errors along the way but am getting there.
The rule of thumb is that chapters should always start on the recto page. Adding a blank or some kind of graphic on the opposite (verso) is a common solution. Of course, rules are made to be broken. If you don't mind starting a chapter on the verso, go right ahead. I won't like it, but I'll never see your book. And even if I did, there are worse things in life, right?
You can designate where you want you chapters to start in your Paragraph Styles.
Being new to InDesign, I have not used paragraph styles. I understand it is easier but I have done it all manually.
Paragraph & Character Styles are basic. I urge you to get in styles (Paragraph, Character, Objects, Tables, Cells and some others).
I suggest you take some basic InDesign tutorials, it will really help you– you can get 30-days free access to excellent ones at Linkedin Learning https://www.linkedin.com/learning/
And come back to this friendly forum with particular questions.
Hi Derek, would you recommend any particular LinkedIn course?
Scott's suggestion is the correct one. While some mass-market paperbacks save pages by flowing chapters into any position on the page, or onto verso pages, that's contrary to good book design. Make sure your text is one flowing 'story'; set your chapter heads to break to 'Next Odd Page'; and fer gosh sake's learn basic styles and apply them to your work. The small amount of time spent learning this fundamental structural feature will pay off in man-years saved in manually formatting, reformatting, and fixing up documents! 🙂
Get your hands on a copy of Michael Murphy's excellent book, "Adobe InDesign CS4 Styles." Although a touch dated, the fundamental use of Styles (Paragraph, Character, Object, Table) remains the same. Your investment in learning and using styles is the most important thing you can do to understanding and getting the most out of InDesign.
This is entirely up to you. What type of book is it? How fancy or traditional do you want it to be? Hardcover or softcover? Trade or art book? Adding blank pages to fit someone's ideal also raises the issue of paper waste. At random, I selected a 1963 softcover edition of The Scarlet Letter from my bookcase. It not only started a chapter on the verso, it was inserted towards the bottom of the page!
Novels especially, flowing narrative in general, and low-cost reprints in particular often tend to flow chapter starts like this.
Not necessarily much of an argument for doing any 'better' book this way.
Agreed, I would not do it myself, especially as a job for a publisher without their consent. However, paper waste, supply, and cost have been concerns lately, so I've had to work around the “better” ways. Plus, the OP indicates the book is for extended family distribution.
It would take a large number of chapters to break from a prior recto page to have a meaningful amount of waste... after all, a vast number of books are printed with numerous empty pages at the end to fill out signatures.
I'd call the start-on-recto practice more a mark of good book design and quality production than simply "traditional." I know I've found random chapter starts mildly annoying in some books, although I'd have to wave my hands a lot to explain why.
IF you're doing everything to cut page count, it's "allowable." But you can save more pages with judicious type and layout choices, so...
Thanks for posting the Scarlet Letter spread, JEL. Although I'd rather see chapter 12 begin on the recto page, my world hasn't collapsed because the designer started it on the verso. After all, it just a book. Right?