You’ve poured hours into your manuscript. It has been edited, all to craft a beautiful book containing the heart of what you wanted to say. Before you can send your beloved book to the printer, the next step towards getting your paperback published is typesetting.
Typesetting is the process in which text and images are arranged on a page. In short, a typesetter is tasked to design the layout of the text in such a way that is most appealing and suited to a book’s content making for a great experience for the reader. It is a very detailed process where every frame, margin, space and font size get chosen deliberately. Every line of text gets inspected for irregular spacing and inappropriate word breaks. Strange word, sentence or paragraph breaks are corrected as they can be experienced as obstacles in the readers’ experience. Images are placed with purpose in how it relates to the text surrounding it and captions are carefully placed to not get lost in the main body of text.
A typesetter will produce a layout that compliments your message to readers so that they will hopefully add your book to their shopping baskets in store or click on the prized ‘add to cart’ button on Amazon.
We all know we shouldn’t judge things on surface appearances, but we do. We judge the proverbial and literal book by its cover. Your book design matters. It is very subjective in what it emotes in people. As an author, the design phase can feel like a rather intimidating and stressful process because you want your book to appeal to readers and stand out amongst the competition.
Authors mainly split into 2 categories when it comes to design. The first type of author has a very set idea of what they want. The second type of author seems to be relieved to hand it over for someone else to worry about.
Common mistakes made by first-time authors
You may be tempted to micro-manage the process; inadvertently snuffing your designers’ creativity or, you may be tempted to resign yourself to the fact that you don’t know ‘design’. and withhold your opinion, leaving it to the ‘experts’. Neither of these options bring out the best contribution from you or your designer – to the detriment of your book.
It’s important to have you, the author, involved in the creative process. You don’t have to be a designer to enjoy being part of the creative design process. If you feel like you are not a creative at all and would not know where to start to communicate what you’d like, then we will provide you with some handy hints on how to enjoy this process and to get the best out of your collaboration with your designer. That’s right, it’s a collaboration and you are part of it 🙂
Typesetting tips for new authors
- Give some thought to what you envision your book to look like and jot down notes to share with your designer.
- Gather some inspiration from your local bookstore. Take pictures. Share these with your designer as sources of inspiration.
- What size would you like your book to be? If there are books that feel particularly comfortable in your hand and easy to read, make note of the measurements.
- Carefully consider if you want your book printed in black & white or in colour. Is the use of colour vital to your message?
- Your personal preference matters. Plain and simple design with fonts that read well works for you. You don’t care for any fancy flourishes or overly embellished fonts. Alternatively, you may like every single creative element known to man when it comes to layout. You love creativity that brings some quirk and fun. Neither of these options are ‘wrong’ if it is executed properly.
- Pictures can sometimes take away from your message instead of adding to it. Carefully consider if the use of pictures is absolutely necessary.
- Provide your designer with the highest resolution images you can find so it will do your content justice. Pixelated (low quality) images may call the effort that has gone into you book into question.
- Keep an open mind. Even if you go into the typesetting process knowing exactly what you want, keep an open mind so that there is space for your designer to bring some ideas to the table that you perhaps have not considered yet.
your book shouldn’t feel like a stranger.
Think of designers as creative translators. We combine your input and the context of your book’s content along with our skills and knowledge of trends and best practice to produce designs to set the stage for your words to shine. The end result will likely look different from what you initially envisioned and will never be a copy of any samples you may have shown your designer. Although it may look different in the end, you would have been part of the process, maintaining a sense of ownership all the way.
Enjoy this process, have fun with it and remember, it is a collaboration.