Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PURPOSELY SAID - Dr. Linda F. Beed

An Interior Look
By Dr. Linda F. Beed

Reading is a pleasure that was introduced to me in the lap of my father. As a little girl I would sit in his lap as he read his Alfred Hitchcock mysteries. From time to time I would point to a word. With patience he would enunciate each word for me.

Like most children I sought to emulate the actions of my parents, especially when it came to books. I would sit for long periods of time running my finger up and down the pages of books and columns in magazines. Before I could read I became familiar with the interior of a variety of reading materials.

The interior of my childhood friends were important to me for no other reason than the fact that they existed. As a seasoned reader, the content of a book is my major interest, but just as important to me as the interior/inside of the book.

I do not have enough fingers and toes to tally the amount of books I have set aside simply because the interior was too distracting.

As a bona fide ‘I Spy’ I sought to learn as much about the industry as I possibly could. When typesetting became the topic of discussion, I went into sleuth mode and set out to learn.

Simply defined, setting type or typesetting is the process of putting text into the right style and size of type and the desired arrangement on the page. In others words, it is the process that gives your book ‘eye appeal.’

When formatting your book there is much to consider:

  • Book size

  • Font

  • Margins

  • Line spacing

  • First page of chapter placement

  • Pre-pages

  • Placement of page numbers

  • Placement of name and title

  • Paper color

The budget of the independent author must be seriously considered for the allocation of contracted services. Printers charge by the page and those pages must be divisible by four. Therefore, you must strategically plan.

Book Size: The option of choice is dependant upon the printer you choose. If your funds are minimal you may want to consider 6x9 rather than the standard 5 ½ x 8 1/4. By doing so you are able to cut your production costs in this area.

Font/Line Spacing: Most books are ‘10/Times New Roman.’ Consider your readership. If your novel appeals to an older readership you may want to consider ‘12/Times New Roman’ and 1.5 spacing.

NOTE: Do not mix fonts, i.e., Times New Roman, Arial. The combination of fonts is very distracting to readers. However, using italics for inner thoughts is permissible.

Margins: Margins are dictated by the size of the book. Consult your typesetter/printer for specifications.

Pre-Pages: These are the pages in the front of the book that include:

  • Title page

  • Legal page (ISBN, Copyright info, etc.)

  • Dedication (optional)

  • Acknowledgements

First Page of Chapter Placement: There is no hard fast rule regarding this. Traditionally, the first page of a chapter begins mid-way down the page and does not have a page number or header.

The option of placement is up to you. Some choose to begin higher on the page in order to minimize costs. Try several options to determine eye appeal. I would not suggest beginning the chapter directly after the header.

Placement of Page Number: The option here is your own. Again, try several placements to determine what works best with the header and margins.

NOTE: Page numbering begins with the first page of the chapter not with the pre-pages. The first page of your book always begins on the RIGHT side.

Placement of Title and Name: Some authors choose to have their name and title appear alternately throughout the book. This is done using the header option in your Word program.

Paper Choice: Nothing screams cheap louder than WHITE paper. Select an off white/buff paper for your interior.

The information above is food for thought when strategizing your plan of production. Do not be afraid to ask questions and push through obstacles to learn all you need to know about your craft.

Until next time, remember—Purposely Said words can destroy or create a life. Linda!

Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, children’s minister and author of Business Unusual and co-moderator of BWChristianLit and online writing and mentor group.

You can find her on the web at:
http://www.lindabeed.com/ / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / R U Living On Purpose

1 comment:

Patricia W. said...

Wow, Linda! What a workshop! I'm not planning to self-publish but this is still useful info. Information like this might make self-publishing less intimidating and help others to go down that path.

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