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?


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Saving as a PDF

Now, for the final step. Why do printers ask for PDF files? Not all computers have the same fonts and settings, it varies quite a bit. If you send me a word file, and I have different fonts or settings, I will open up your file, and your font will change, or your set up will shift, and I will be none the wiser. There is no warning or pop up like there would be in the Adobe Creative Suite programs, or Quark. Just silent change that would leave you scratching your head and wondering what the heck happened! A PDF is like a snapshot of your file, and what you see is what you get. With that being said, it is imperative that you keep you original word file as well. If you were ever to want to change anything, a PDF is not the place to be doing it.

You have the option to save as a PDF, or to print to a PDF. Save as a PDF, as printing to a PDF will result in an 8.5 x 11 document with your little book page floating in the middle. Saving as will maintain your page size, as well as your margins.

1. Click on the file tab.

1-Click-on-the-file-tab

2. Select Save As.

2-Select-Save-As

3. Select where you want to save.

3-Select-where-you-want-to-save

4. Choose PDF on the drop down list.

4-Choose-PDF-on-the-drop-down-list

5. Click save.

5-Click-save

 

It really is that easy.


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Inserting Photos

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While it won’t actually add to your manuscript’s word count, it can add a lot of value, depending on the book, to have some photos or images. Here is how to do it.

1. Click on insert tab, and then select picture.

1-Click-on-insert-tab-and-then-select-picture1

2. Select browse, and find your image file. Click the Insert button.

2-Select-browse-and-find-your-image

 

3. Resize the photo to the correct size on the page. Hold the shift key while doing this, so that the photo doesn’t distort. Only do this to make pictures smaller, not larger. Making them larger will result in pixilation.

3-Resize-the-photo-to-the-correct-size-on-the-page1

 

4. Right click on photo and select Wrap Text.

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5. Choose how you want your text to go around your photo. Ie. Square

5-Choose-how-you-want-your-text-to-go-around-your-photo1

6. Right click on the photo and select Insert Caption.

6-Right-click-on-the-photo-and-select-Insert-Caption1

7. A box will now open up, click ok. Erase the text that it automatically puts in the box, and replace it with your caption. Now you can adjust your font, size, color, etc.

7-A-box-will-now-open-up-click-ok


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your Page Numbers

You can easily set page numbers in Microsoft word as well, and you can have a different first page & odd & even pages with page numbers as well. You can choose to have your numbers start at different points, if you have multiple files, and you can also choose to have Roman Numerals, if you so choose. If you are not wanting page numbers, or Roman Numerals for your title page, table of contents, etc, I will suggest creating a separate front section, and then putting them together once you have PDF’d the files.
1. Select the Insert tab

1-Select-the-Insert-tab1

2. Click on Page Number

2-Click-on-Page-Number

3. Select top or bottom of the page, whichever is your preference. From there, scroll down and select a style. If there is not a style that you like, select a top or bottom option that is in the right position, and then go to the header or footer and double click. I always prefer to do this, and then set the page numbers up to either fall on the outside corner of the page (different odd & even) or to be in a different font, etc. If you want your numbers to start at something other than 1, go to the list and select Format Page Numbers.

3-Select-top-bottom-or-format

 

4. If you select a style, you are set and ready to go. However, if you chose Format Page Numbers, enter the number that you want your first page to start at. For instance, if you don’t want the first page to be page one, input 0.

4-If-you-select-a-style

5. If you chose to go your own way, you can now start by double clicking on the header or footer, wherever you chose to put your page numbers.

5-If-you-chose-to-go-your-own-way

6. Now you can choose where your orientation, font size, font type, etc. You can also choose to have different odd and even pages. This comes in handy if you would like to do the page numbers on the outside corners of your page. Put the odd paged numbers in the right corner, and the even paged numbers in the left. However, remember that whatever you choose for your page numbers will affect all other headers and footers that you have.

6-Choose-your-font-and-orientation

6b-Different-odd-and-even-pages1

7. Double click on the center of the page, and you will return to your normal text body.


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your Headers

Though sometimes confused with titles, headers are actually the type that is at the very top of the page, often justified to the left or right, depending on which side the page falls on. You can easily set headers in Microsoft word, and you can even have different odd and even ones, as well as a different first page. With that being said, you can not have your headers change throughout the book (ie. When a new chapter starts) and you can not have some of the pages not have headers. If you are wanting different headers for each chapter, or blank headers for your title page, table of contents, etc, I will suggest creating those sections separately, and then putting them all together once you have PDF’d the files.
1. Select the Page Layout tab

1-Select-the-Insert-tab

2. Click on Header

2-Click-on-Header

3. Go all of the way to the bottom of the list, and select Edit Header. You will now find yourself in your header.

3-Go-all-of-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-the-list-and-select-Edit-Header

 

4.  Select different first page, and different odd and even pages, if you want them, at this point. We recommend that you select different odd and even pages. See step 6 for more information. If you choose different first page, be sure to create your odd page header on page 3, instead of page 1.

4-Select-different-first-page-and-different-odd-and-even-pages

5. Adjust the spacing for your header. You may want to play around with this a bit, to find the right distance to allow for your current margin settings. You may also find that you need to readjust your margins at this point to allow room for headers. We do not suggest any spacing for your header smaller than 0.25”

5-Adjust-the-spacing-for-your-header

6. Choose your orientation of where your header should fall on the page now. We suggest different odd and even headers so that you can have odd page headers fall on the right side of the page, and even page headers fall on the right. This will prevent your header from getting lost in the gutter. If you do choose to have them the same on every page, your best bet is to have them be centered on the page. To choose the orientation, click into your header, and then go to the home tab.

6-Choose-the-orientation-of-where-your-header-should-fall-on-the-page

 

7. Select your text size, color and font now.  I suggest doing it in a slightly smaller font, and perhaps changing the color to a darker grey. It makes it less predominant on the page.

7-Select-your-text-size-color-and-font

 

8. Put in your text now. If you have different odd and even pages, you will have to repeat steps 6 & 7 on the next page.

8-Put-in-your-text-now1

 

9. Double click on the center of the page, and you will return to your normal text body.

9-Double-click-on-the-center-of-the-page-to-return-to-the-normal-text-body3


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your Margins

This week we will discuss setting your margins using Microsoft Word. We always suggest a minimum of 0.5” for margins, and using a mirror margin to set a gutter edge of 0.25”. A margin is the space on the top, bottom, left and right side of the page in which no print will go. If you want an image to go right to the edge of the page, at that point, you will need to set a bleed. This is not something that you can really do with Word alone. The gutter is an additional bit of space that is added in so that the small amount of space that is lost to the bind is not noticeable. Setting up mirror margins sets the gutter so that it always falls at the center of the page.

Normal Margins:

1. Click on the Page Layout tab.

1-Click-on-the-Page-Layout-tab1

2. Select Margins

2-Select-Margins1

3. Scroll down and select Custom Margins

3-Scroll-down-and-select-Custom-Margins

 

4. Now, put in your top, bottom and side margins, select mirror margins, and add in the gutter.

4-Now-put-in-your-top-bottom-and-side-margins

 

 

Your margins are now set!


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Choosing a Page Size

Many authors create their manuscripts in Microsoft Word, because it is a fairly versatile program. There are limitations to it though, and there are ways to work around those limitations.

Whether your intention is to hand your manuscript over to a professional for typesetting, or to take the task on yourself, you can save yourself time and money by getting started using Word correctly in the first place. If there is less work for your typesetter to do, or less work for you in the end, the savings will definitely trickle down to you.

For the next several weeks, I will cover some of the different functions of MS Word 2010, as well as some work arounds.

This week, we will start with setting a page size.

To change the page size:

1. Click on the Page Layout tab.

1-Click-on-the-Page-Layout-tab

 

2. Select Size.

2-Select-Size

3. Scroll all of the way to the bottom of the sizes list and select More Paper Sizes.

3-Scroll-all-of-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-the-sizes-list-and-select-More-Paper-Sizes

4. Where it says width and height, select the type and put in your desired width and height. It will immediately turn it to custom size when you do that.

4-put-in-your-desired-width-and-height.

5. Make sure that it says Apply To: Whole Document at the bottom, and then select OK.

5-apply-and-select-OK


What to Expect from Your Print Company

What-to-Expect-from-Your-Print-CompanyIt is a good question, what will your print company do for you as a part of their regular services? This is also a good question to ask. I, of course, can only speak for what Blitzprint does as a normal part of their service, and I have outlined some frequently asked questions below.

Will you tell me if there is something wrong with my files?
If there is something obvious, like your book files are set for a different size than you have been quoted, if your pages are missing bleeds when they need them,  your spine is the wrong size, so on, and so forth. We will sometimes catch other issues, like if you have your black and white images set to CMYK instead of grayscale, but we don’t guarantee that we will catch that. Our main concern is that your files will print and create the book that you were quoted for, so, those are the details that we look for.

Will you tell me if my sections are in the wrong order?
This is not something that we would look for. We don’t question the sequence in which you set your sections of your book up, as this is your book, and we will assume that it is set up the way that you want it to be, if that is how you have sent your files to us. Even if we are doing typesetting or formatting work for you, we will not question the order of your chapters, etc, because we will assume that your files are as you want them to be. This is something that would be tackled by your editor.

Will you tell me if I have grammatical or spacing errors?
If we notice something significant, or by chance, we will definitely mention it to you, but this is not something that we look for. This also falls under the jurisdiction of an editor.

Will you tell me if my photos are not going to print out well?
If we are doing a proof for you, there is a good chance that our prepress department will take a look at your photos and let me know of any concerns that they have. However, this is something that we try to make an effort to do, but not something that we charge for. As such, we can’t guarantee that we will catch every issue with photos. For that reason, I always strongly suggest a printed proof for books that contain images or any sort of grayscale or gradient.

Can I see a copy of my book before I go to print?
We will gladly send you a proof. A PDF proof is included in your pricing, but a printed proof would be additional, and something that you would need to request specifically.

Can you put an ISBN barcode on my back cover?
Yes, we definitely can, and yes we will, at no additional charge to you. However, with that being said, you must mention that you are requiring a barcode to be added at the time of placing your order.

 

Do you have any questions here that I missed? I will be glad to answer them in a future post. Send them to me at networking (@) blitzprint.com.


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


Should I Edit My Book?

should-i-edit-my-bookThis is a question that I hear a lot.

In my opinion, yes, you should. I understand that your sister’s, husband’s cousin is a high school English teacher, and that he checked over your books, and that you are an accomplished writer who majored in English in university. I understand that you had everyone in your local writers group look over it and give you reviews. I understand that you have jumped through every inexpensive and free hoop to have others edit your book. However, unless a professional and experienced editor, being someone who went to post-secondary specifically with the intent of being an editor, who dreams of grammar and breathes syntax, and who makes this their bread and butter, works with your book, it really isn’t going to mean much.

But it’s expensive!!!

Ok, so it costs money, and that isn’t something that grows on trees. I get that. I understand that you have put a lot of work into this book, and that you feel like, now, that you have completed the writing process, you are done. You want to get this show on the road, and get this baby printed, converted to an eBook, just on the market already.

I have to ask you though, would you do your hair up, or spend some time putting on your makeup, and then proceed to waltz out of your house naked? Not likely. I also imagine that you wouldn’t feel like you had put your time in after a few years of raising your kids, and send them off into the world on their own at five either. I know that these are extreme analogies, but really, it’s true. If your book isn’t polished, then it really isn’t ready for literary consumption yet. Would you think that it would be fair for you to pay for a book and not have it be the best that it could be?

I’m not giving my book up to some stranger, just so that they can mess it up!

I know that it can be a scary thought, as well. Many authors self-publish because they don’t want to lose control over their content. The thought of giving their book to an editor and saying, here you go, do as you wish, it is intimidating. It is important that you find an editor that you are comfortable with, and that you are sure is the right fit. Get them to do a couple sample pages for you, using pages where you are the most concerned about the content, and see what they do. Express clearly to them what you are trying to convey, and what tone you are trying to set. Then, once you are sure that you have the right person for the job, trust them.

They are there to help you, and to help your book. They are only being honest and looking out for you if they tell you that something is wrong with the way that you wrote that sentence, or that you have a part in your book that doesn’t actually pertain to the story. They aren’t trying to bully you. Also, if you get an editor that uses a format like Word, where you can choose to accept or reject changes, you have the power to do just that.  Listen to what they have to say, learn from them, and grow as an author in the process.

At the end of the day, though, I will tell you what I tell all of our authors, the decision is yours to make.