Choosing a Font

Fonts are an important to a books success. Not just for esthetics, but more importantly, also for readability. I have many clients ask me, “What font should I use?” Unfortunately, this is not a decision that I can make for you. I am always a fan of the easily readable Times New Roman in an 11pt, but that may not be your cup of tea. So now, how do you decide? Here are some things to consider:

What the heck is a serif, and why does it matter?

As defined by Dictionary.com
ser•if
noun Printing

A smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M.

The little lines at the bottoms and tops of letters are serifs. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? Wrong. Serifs make smaller text much easier to read. Often, fonts that are sans serif will appear to print out more lightly, and will make your text body much more legible. The general rule of thumb is that serif fonts should be used for body text, and that it is ok to use sans serif fonts for titles.

What size of a font should I go with?

I really recommend a 10 or 11pt for most fonts, but a good idea is always to print out a page of text in that size, in the format that your final book will be, and ask yourself, is this legible? Some fonts are super tiny, so a 10 or 11pt is really more like a 7 or 8pt in any other font.

For headers, do the same thing. Create your page full of text, and then test out your header sizes at the top. This will probably be easier to do on screen, with your view set at 100%, than if you were to print it, because your perspective will be skewed if you print the page, and have all of the additional white space from the 8.5 x 11 paper surrounding it.

There are so many fonts out there. Where do I find one, and how?

Do you have an idea at least of what you want? For instance, do you want a classic looking text, or a clean one? A cursive? I always recommend checking out DaFont. It is my absolute go to for fonts, every time, hands down. With an incredible collection, all that you need to do is search for the type of font that you want (great ones for titles can be found under typewriter or passport!) and maybe a detail like serif, or sans serif, if necessary. Make sure, though, that you check out what the usage rights are. The creators of the font may have stipulations for using their font. If not, make an effort to at least make a donation to them. That keeps these guys going, and where would we be without them?


What exactly does POD mean?

What-exactly-does-POD-meanPOD means Print on Demand, but we all know that there is a lot more to it than that. There are different types of print on demand, each adding their own twist to the meaning.

There are the one at a time POD printers who retail your books. These guys are the CreateSpace’s of the world. CreateSpace, for example, is a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Amazon.com lists your book, someone buys it, CreateSpace prints it, and Amazon.com ships it. These guys are really aimed at first time DIY authors. I don’t believe that they offer a hard cover option.

There are one at a time POD printers like Lightning Source, who market your book on a few different online stores, as well as in the Ingram catalog. These guys act more like distributors These guys work in a very similar way to CreateSpace. They are more aimed at experienced authors. They will take anyone on, though, and they are incredibly friendly.

Both of these types of POD printers have a set, low price for one book at a time. They do this by printing your book with hundreds of other books that have come in, and fall into the same “bucket” as your book.

Short run POD are printers who specialize in runs of soft cover books, typically from as few as 5, to as many as 1,000. Past 1,000, short run printers will often suggest that you find an offset printer.  Cost per book will get less the more books you order. There isn’t a break point, like there is in offset. It is literally cheaper per book at 400 books than it is at 399.

Now that you know the difference, how do you know what is right for your needs? Check out our previous blog, How Do I Find The Right Printer for Me?


Should I Use Pinterest for Marketing?

Should-I-Use-Pinterest-for-Marketing1

Imagine if you have a cookbook. Take a good picture of a dish, put that recipe up on your site or blog, and then pin it using that picture. When they click on the picture, it will link it back to your site, and back to the recipe. Make sure that you have a great call to action button on the page somewhere that says BUY MY BOOK!! Of course, you can word it better than that (writing is your thing, after all!) but you get the point.

If you are utilizing your blog to market your book, then find a picture that you can legally use (don’t infringe on copyrights) that represents what your post is about, and pin it! You would be surprised at how quickly these pins can be shared, and by how many people.

Check out this awesome article from Wise Ink, and learn more about how you can effectively use Pinterest, and then give it a shot. What’s the worst thing that could happen? (Make sure that you keep writing and don’t just sit on Pinterest all day. That is the worst thing that could happen. It’s addictive!)


Writing by the Seat of Your Pants

We figured that most folks will still be recovering from a chocolate bunny binge over the weekend, so we would keep it light today. Below is a hilarious infographic that highlights that there are two types of writers, those who are methodical, thoughtful and well planned, and then those that fly by the seat of their pants. If you are the latter, you will definitely relate to the infographic below. (I know that I did!)  To view the original infographic, visit the blog, Andy’s words and pictures.

Have a happy week, and lay off of the mini eggs!

Writing-by-the-seat-of-your-pants


Back It Up!

I received an email from a client today, and that is what prompted me to write this post. Something terrible happened to them this weekend. While they were away from home, doing a book signing, thieves were ransacking their home. They stole everything, including the family computer. The family computer, which contained all of the photos of their 4 children from birth to current, and her entire book.

While backing up her hard drive would not have likely done her much good, because these people would have likely stolen the external hard drive as well, it made me think. How many times have I heard that saddening story from a client? That something had happened to their computer, and that they had lost all of their files.

We try to keep as much on hand as possible, but sometimes things happen in our system too, and we lose previously printed files. Also, we frequently have the PDF files, because that is what we request for printing, but not the source files that the PDF was created from. You can make very minor changes to a PDF file, but there is no guarantee that it won’t cause huge shifts in your files either. Another thing that I hear is that they had someone design their files for them, and they can’t get into contact with that person. Or, something happened and the designer’s own backups were deleted. So what you can do to be sure that you won’t be sharing this story with me someday down the road?

Back your files up! If someone else created your files for you, ask them for a copy of the source files, as well as any applicable fonts or links. Put all of your files together, in a well labeled folder, and then back it up! Make a disc of your files, put them on a jump drive, and maybe on an external hard drive as well. There really isn’t such a thing as having your files backed up in too many places. Also, be sure that, when you make changes to your files, update them, etc, that you update all of your backups as well. While you are at it, back up all of your important files. What harm is there is doing it?  You can even pay someone to come in and back up your files, and to keep them off site in what is called a cold storage, if you really want to.

The important thing to remember is this. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to keep your files up to date and backed up as safely as possible. If you experience catastrophic computer failure, the last thing that you want to add to your list of stresses is whether or not you still have all of the files that you need.

As for our wonderful clients who have found themselves in a terrible situation that was out of their hands, please, share their story. Hopefully the thieves who helped themselves to the lives of this family will feel some remorse and return their computer, at the very least. You can view the story here.