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7 Book Layout Errors You Will Want to Avoid

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Joel Friedlander wrote a great article “7 Formatting Errors That Make Your Book Look Unprofessional”, helping self-publishing authors to get to know the in- and outs of book layout. This is not the only useful post, a whole cornucopia of advice for authors who want to create print books can be found on www.TheBookDesigner.com, Joel’s website.  He asks: “Although our books may be self-published, we sure don’t want them to look sub-par, do we?”

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Books Should Look Like from Traditional Publishers

Writers certainly try to launch their books without the long delays or the uncertainty if they get a traditional publisher contract. The best way to have a great book layout is through a professional.  However, some authors don’t want to use a book lay-outer, or don’t want to fork out the costs involved.  Another way to solve a lot of these print book formatting problems while also getting a well-designed, industry-standard book, is to use a book template.  Joel Friedlander created this fantastic solution. Find out more and see the available designs at: BookDesignTemplates.com.

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More and more writers are taking advantage of the new tools of Print-on-Demand and create and publish their own books.  Authors becoming “do-it-yourself” book lay-outers need to avoid an amateurish look of their books.
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Joel Friedlanders List of Errors to Avoid
“Some of the errors I see when reviewing self-published books are very easy to correct, if you only know how:”

  1. Putting page numbers on blank pages.
    Blank pages have no text or images on them, and that means they should be truly blank.
  2. Using running heads on chapter opening pages or blank pages.
    Just like page numbers, running heads (the type at the top of a page that shows the book title, author name, or chapter title) have no place on a blank page, just leave them off so the pages are truly blank.
  3. Using “rag-right” typesetting.
    This means that the left and right margins of your page are straight and all lines except the last line in a paragraph are all the same length. This is what your readers expect to see in your book, so make sure you give it to them.
  4. Double spacing between sentences.
    Only one space between sentences.
  5. Using both indented AND block style spaces between paragraphs.
    If you add spaces between your paragraphs, make sure you don’t also indent the first line.
  6. Putting the odd numbered pages on the left.
    When you open a book, it just makes sense that the first page is page number 1, and that has to be a right-hand page. This rule is absolute, and you should never, ever number your pages with even numbers on right-hand pages.
  7. Making super small margins to save pages.
    CreateSpace and other print-on-demand services charge based on number of pages. But that’s no reason to shortchange your readers by making your page margins too small just to save money. Small margins will make your book hard to hold and difficult to read, never a good result.

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He adds: “Paying attention to these details of book formatting will help ensure that your books look and work the way they are supposed to. Your readers will thank you for that, and it’s your readers you should keep in mind throughout the publishing process.”

My advice:  Just visit a bookstore and browse through traditional book titles, or check out the first pages of Amazon print books and you will likely not find any of these seven errors listed by Joel Friedlander. Making it right from the beginning will save you an amazing amount of time and frustration, and your reputation as a self-publisher.
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Understanding Fonts & Typography
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/understanding-fonts-typography/

Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/08/book-layouts-page-margins/

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How Book Sales are Influenced

… by attractive front cover design.  Five tips how you can create appealing book covers.

Visit bookstores, your library, or go to the internet and research as many book cover designs as possible.  

You learn as much from badly designed books as from beautifully designed books.

In the Western world people read from left to right, top to bottom.

Position your text and image in appropriate levels of importance.

Put your title in the top half of your cover. 

Avoid centering all the text on your cover or title page, this looks pretty unprofessional.  

Right or left aligning creates much cleaner lines.  Never use more than three different fonts on your cover, to not confuse your reader – this includes bold, italic or underline variations.

Use bold or complementary colors, but NEVER use a white or a very light background.  Use light font on dark background for dramatic effects (novels, spiritual, etc.) and dark on light for easy readability (self-help, how-to, business books).

The elements should be clean, not cluttered and the font easily readable,  the text balanced in size and style to the graphics.  Allow at least 0.5″ in from the trim guides to place all your elements. This will ensure enough allowance around the cover’s edge and provide a more tailored look. 

Give your finished cover the thumbnail test.  Your front cover image should look crisp and polished when reduced to post stamp-size for display on online bookstores like Amazon.

Your potential book buyer looks first at the front cover; then turns to the back to read further. Draw her or him in with a catchy back header.        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Book Sales, Marketing

 

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Book Covers: Are they showing the Heart and Soul of Your Work?

 

eat-pray-love-elizabeth-gilbert

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Covers are often challenging to design as they should show the heart and the soul of the book in one single image and at the same time should be visually striking and appealing. 
“23 Creative Book Cover Designs and their Story” is a showcase of creative book cover designs, indicating the typefaces used for the title or text:

http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/creative-book-cover-story

Many brilliant background images are diminished by bland typefaces, despite hundreds of Photoshop tutorials all over the web. Are there too many tutorials confusing the cover designer?
“40 Extraordinary Photoshop Text Effects” shows detailed tutorials, how to create amazing book title effects, step by step and using lots of screen shots.

http://www.problogdesign.com/resources/40-extraordinary-photoshop-text-effects

Using various colors, filters, and effects available in Illustrator and Photoshop, you or your book designer can create book titles that are both, original and effective. Remember always: Your title and its appearance is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.

More about fonts for book titles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typeface
http://www.dafont.com/themes.php
http://www.1001freefonts.com
http://www.identifont.com

Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about brilliant book titles in one of his blogs:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/06/how-to-write-book-titles-for-people-robots

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