While self-publishing has grown simpler in recent years, this does not imply that you should skimp on quality production. Simply because you can publish your book quickly, design your book cover online, and design your book in Word, does not mean you should!
The more individuals who self-publish and cut shortcuts on editing, design, and layout, the less credibility self-published writers have in general. That is why it is crucial to publish a professionally designed book, removing any question that your work is unsuitable for a conventional publisher. When you prioritize quality above speed market, you demonstrate to your readers and a target market that you took the chance to create something worthy of print.
By the time an author reaches the layout stage of their book’s creation, they are often sick of looking at their text. They want the book done at this point. When authors or writers assume the position of layout designer, they are most often unaware of the breadth of information, ability, and know-how required for the layout process.
Working with a skilled layout designer may help you save a great deal of time, and frankly, humiliation. You do not have to be a designer in addition to being an author.
Here are some of the most frequent layout design errors we encounter in the self-publishing world:
The majority of writers are readers. They have probably read dozens, if not hundreds, of books throughout their lives; this expertise implies that they understand what it takes to create a book layout. Ironically, the majority of writers are unaware of all the design aspects that go into a book. You are unaware of them since they are executed professionally, and your brain glosses over them.
Our brain becomes aware of anything that is out of order only when it is out of order. When a reader pulls up a self-published book and notices that the design components do not conform to the standards of conventional publishing, they notice it.
As a result, it is better to avoid making assumptions about the many design components that go into a book. At the absolute least, contact an expert to determine which design aspects would function best in your book. Several things you may have overlooked include the following:
- Does the chapter begin with a big letter (referred to as a drop cap)?
- Are all chapters start on the left or right of the book, or do they alternate between the two?
- Is a table of contents present in your book genre (in general, fiction and memoirs lack a table of contents)?
There are many variables and assumptions to mention, but in general, try your best to study books in your genre to determine current and popular trends.
Font selection is critical. Fonts that look fantastic on your computer or in your marketing or advertising materials may not necessarily perform well on the inside of your book. While the choice of serif or sans serif is irrelevant, what is critical is the readability and spacing of the letters.
Cleaner typefaces provide a more pleasant reading experience. Typeface sizes often vary between 10 and 13 points, although this mainly relies on the font itself. Century Schoolbook’s 13 point font is much bigger than Times New Roman’s 13 point font.
Additionally, the font selection should complement the book’s cover design and mood. For books with a more lighthearted theme, opting for Avenir or Century Schoolbook may be a good choice and Adobe Garamond or Minion Pro for heavier or more serious subjects.
Margin and Column Spacing
Margin and column spacings are the most significant obstacles and a dead giveaway that your book was not correctly created. At the same time, margins vary according to the book’s size and content. For instance, if you have produced more than a 100,000-word book, you may be forced to make margin concessions.
However, if your read is shorter (15,000-20,000 words), you may wish to increase the margin to assist with the page count. Generally, you will want to ensure that the space between the lines, referred to as leading, is adjusted to approximately 16. It is not a matter of whether your sentences are double-or-single-spaced; instead, it is a matter of establishing a gap between the lines.
Leading may range from 15-18 points, depending on the typeface, book design, and content. Ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, one of the greatest peeves for spacing is the additional space between the paragraphs.
For some reason, nearly all self-published authors include this additional space in their manuscripts. Paragraphs should flow naturally into one another; there is no need for a gap between them. (Pick up the closest print book and examine it to understand what is trying to be portrayed.)
Inclusion of Headers and Footers
Another seemingly minor option is the placement of headers and footers. You may position them on top, bottom, center, or right/left-justified. Additionally, you have control over what occurs there. The author’s name and book title appear in the headers/footers of most fiction and memoir books, whereas the title and sub-title or the title and chapter titles appear in the headers/footers of the majority of self-help books. There are so many possibilities here; look at other books to see what appeals to you.
While it comes to headers and footers, one of the most common errors made by self-published authors is to include headers, footers, and page numbers on blank pages throughout the book. For instance, if all of your chapters begin on the right-hand side of the book, you may sometimes see a blank page on the left-hand side. That page should be entirely blank, with no headers, footers, or page numbers.
Whether you employ a layout designer or try to design the book yourself, the most critical aspect is maintaining consistency—multiple perspectives on a project aid in the elimination of discrepancies. When designing your layout, it’s not always obvious what doesn’t fit up.
Simple details like whether or not your headers include a semicolon, whether or not your bullet point sentences contain periods, and so on may make your layout seem incomplete if they are not detected throughout the design process.
Additionally, remember that breaking a rule is acceptable as long as a rule is broken consistently throughout the text. While a layout designer is not looking for changes during this period, they check for formatting and consistency issues.
Once your book reaches the layout stage and you see it in print, further changes will likely surface. Said, things seem different in print than they do in a word processing document. Bear in mind that you will be so close to getting a book published once you reach this stage. Continue on your current path and produce a high-quality book that you will be proud of and want to market.
If you believe that creating your book is a possibility for you, you should certainly give it a try. If this seems too much stress for you and you’d instead focus on marketing, try choosing a layout designer to give your book a clean, professional, and polished appearance.
Are you looking for a literary agent? Handing your book to publishers is a daunting task. However, companies like Quantum Discovery can help you with your needs when it comes to having your book delivered to the right publisher. Contact our professionals by calling (888) 755-6875 or visit quantumdiscovery.net to know more.