Make Decisions for Your Printed Book

Now that you have your manuscript edited and proofread, you are almost ready for the next step – publication.

Before you can begin formatting your manuscript for print, though, there are some decisions you’ll need to make.

Decide on the Size of Your Book
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make about your book is its size. Trade paperbacks measure 4.625 x 6.75″. You won’t find a template of that size in most print-on-demand book production companies; however, you can come close with 5 x 8″. Other popular sizes include 5.5 x 8.5″ and 6 x 9″ (popular for non-fiction). Choose the 5 x 8″ for the best fit to market.

Choose a Paper Stock
Paper stock should be cream or white créme – you don’t want to blind your readers by choosing a bright white paper. The cremé white stock is 441 pp/in, which means it takes 221.5 sheets of it to equal an inch in depth. That will determine the spine size of your book. Most companies will provide a cover template based on your page count, but you’ll need to know what paper stock you want them to use when printing so your cover artist can make your spine the right width.

Choose a Paper Stock for your Cover
Cover stock should be 12 pt C1S or matte cover. Whether you choose glossy or matte finish is up to you. Visit a bookstore and look at covers to help you decide which finish will work the best for yours.

Choose a Font
Most e-book offerings will take your file and convert it using fonts that work for their e-readers. There are only a few that work, so they’ll automagically convert your fonts when making the .mobi file (for Kindle) or .epub (for Nook, iTunes and a variety of other readers). Most will not allow embeddable fonts, so you’ll just have to allow the reader to convert your favorite to whatever it can display. The readers will also allow a human reader to set the font to a size larger or smaller. Your downloadable PDFs will use the same font as your print book.

At this point, you need to choose a font that works for the print version of your book. The following list is made up of the fonts most often recommended for print. Take a look at them and decide which one you’d like for your book.

  • Minion, with Poppi Laudatio for chapter titles
  • Garamond, with Helvetica Neue Bold Condensed or Chaparral for chapter titles
  • Caslon, with Myrial Pro for chapter titles
  • Janson, with Lithos or Neuva for chapter titles
  • Palatino
  • In my next post, I’ll go over how to set up your book template and all the files you’ll need to create a professional book.

    Happy writing!

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