There are many ways to design a book and many opinions on what looks best and what’s right and wrong. I always try to keep things as simple as possible and work to make the interior of the book look good while still being easy to read.
When I published my first book I had little experience in design so I decided the best way to learn was to go to a local bookstore and study books on the shelf. I looked at many genres and learned that it was difficult to find two book alike. Design seemed to be a matter of choice and opinion. I advanced my research to finding the designs that I really liked and then I studied how I could improve them and make them mine.
One of the things I noticed and found troubling was that many books had quite narrow margins next to the spine of the book. This made the book difficult to read plus you almost had to damage the spine to read comfortably. The second thing I noticed was that some fonts were much too small. The only reason I see for the tiny font is reducing the number of pages. Within reason this may work but if the font gets too small to read comfortably it’s not a good idea.
I even saw several books where the design involved a very narrow margin at the spine but a large and generous margin at the outside edge. This may be considered an attractive design but I didn’t care for it and have never used it on any of my books.
My method is to allow adequate white space, a large enough font, and sufficient room at the spine to make the book comfortable to read.
As to fonts, there are plenty of design articles to provide information for a good choice. If in doubt I would format several pages with different fonts and then print them and select the one that seems best.
There is much more to learn about design and you might even consider hiring a book designer if you are unsure how to proceed.
We’ve all heard, “There’s no free lunch!” To a large extent that true, but not always. For example, there’s some great software applications that are free with no catches. A great example of that is Open Office, an excellent office productivity software and GIMP, a great graphic software to name just two that don’t attempt to sell you anything. And, I’ve attended some valuable webinars and tutorials that were free even though they did try to sell me something at the end. I made good use of the information and purchased nothing. I’m sharing this because I’m encountering something interesting.
For the past two weeks I have been placing posts on Facebook, Linkin, Twitter, and my blogs for a free self publishing workshop that’s coming up on January 28th in Austin. I placed one on this blog also. The workshop is in a small room so I can only accommodate ten attendees. At first, I thought because it was free my problem would be selecting ten from many. As it turned out, only six attended but all of them learned a lot and received the two free books.
I’m trying to figure out what happened. Perhaps no one believed it was free because there’s a catch to everything. That’s often true but the only catch with this workshop was that I can only take ten. The workshop was free, short (three hours), and included two free books that covered everything in case anyone missed something. You can check them out the books at http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/
Maybe they believed that I had some motive that would come as a surprise at the workshop. Well, I did have a motive but it was no surprise. As an independent publisher my business depends on authors accepting and trusting my expertise, reliability, and honesty. By conducting this workshop I got to know the attendees and share my expertise with them and they might tell their author friends about me perhaps bringing me some future business. It’s even possible that an attendee may contact me for help in the future but there was nothing to purchase at the workshop nor any sales pitch. It’s the same as this blog and my other blogs and websites, just an opportunity to share my expertise so others get to know and trust me.
I guess it’s also possible that the response was been poor because I didn’t promise that publishing a book will make you rich or even increase your income. I definitely want attendees but not enough to make those statements. No one knows what your book or any book will do once it’s published.
After having a long conversation with someone interested in “publishing” a print book I realized that many individuals don’t know or understand the difference between publishing a book and printing a book. I spent time explaining to this individual what’s involved in publishing a print book and I decided to write about it to help others understand what I do when I publish a print book.
Basically, printing a book is what happens when you prepare a manuscript using some kind of word processing software and then take it to a printer and they print it exactly as you’ve prepare it. If you have created a cover design, it will appear either as the first page or on an actual cover page.
Once the book is ready you pick up the copies and do whatever you planned to do with it. Perhaps you will give it to friends and family. Perhaps you will try to sell it.
Printing is an important step in the publishing process but it’s only one step and much preparation and works involved in publishing.
Publishing is the complete process and I will detail all the steps I take in publishing print books for myself and others instead of just printed in my next post.
I use PagePlus to create the print ready files for my books because it is a great desktop publishing application and a real bargain. Even the newest version (X6) is available from Serif, the software maker, for only $99 and older versions (X4 and X5) which are perfectly adequate, are available from sources like Amazon for $10 to $25.
PagePlus allows you to easily create a print ready file with only text or will images, tables, etc. You can even import a pdf file and then edit it completely. You can create every chapter of a book separately but as part of one file and then convert the entire file to a print ready pdf with ease.
I believe in the right tool for every job and for publishing the right tool is a desktop publishing application not an office productivity tool like Word. It is especially geared for publishing and ensures the best results consistently.
You can get complete information on how to use PagePlus for preparing print ready files in my new book Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and eBooks For Yourself and Others. Complete information is available now at http://selfpublishingworkbook.com