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Lesson#2 – Setting Up The Interior of Your Book, Part II


Just a reminder:  this  is  lesson 2 and it  continues to  deal only with the interior section of  your book, less the “front” and “back” sections.  


Okay, with any luck you have accomplished setting  up the size and interior margins for your book and you have learned how to view a 2-page display on your monitor.  Now we’ll discuss font, font size and spacing (how much between each line).


FONT

Beginners have a tendency to want to fancy things up. Don’t.  Unless it is the subject matter of your book, it is not a display of your talents in graphics and illustration.  Nor is it a showcase for the amazing 6000 font package you purchased on amazon. Keep the appearance of  your book simple.  The awe factor should be in your writing, not in which font you choose to display it.


Fonts are like pizza.  Everyone has an opinion.  Times New Roman is a font that seems to have earned the reputation for being the mother of all basic fonts.  It’s the “you can’t go wrong” font.  Wellll, maybe.  Critics of TNR will tell your it is antiquated, over-used and just plain boooorrrrrring.  So what to do?  When you have a general question like this, what else is there to do but Google It!


Ask Google to list the top-whatever (5-10) fonts used for books.  Now, don’t go crazy, just scan a page or two of the fonts suggested and  you will see the same one, two or three fonts show up constantly in all the listings.  What does that tell you?  It tells me I should select one of these and I’m probably safe.  I did this a few years ago and I selected Minion Pro.  I’ve been using it ever since.


There is one suggestion I will make and that is, for the body of  your book, stick with a serif font and not a sans serif front.  Serifs are the little tips or “wings” added to  the letter.  For example:  this is a serif letter “T” …the serifs on this letter are the little drop-down “legs” at the end of the cross bar and the little extended “feet” at the bottom  of the vertical bar.  A sans serif (sans = without) T would look like this:  T  Arial is a popular sans serif font.  The latter presents a very useful and attractive, clean appearance that works great for various situations.  But sans serif can be visually confusing sometimes, for example, small “l” (L) and capital “I” (i) look the same.

You can mix fonts in your book.  Many books use a different font for chapter headings, for example. Just make sure you are consistent and if you use a mix of fonts, make sure they are compatible and don’t clash


SIZE

I have a certain bias when I discuss the size of the font you may select for the body of your book.  My eyesight isn’t what it used to be.  While I do not need a large-print version of a book, I can’t handle a book that has jammed in all its text into the smallest readable and least spaced font.  I’ve stopped reading some magazines because the font is too small.

There are some fonts that automatically call for a larger or smaller size, but, overall, a good size that seems to fit all…is 12.  I suggest you stick with 12 for the body text of your book.  If you want to goose your chapter headings another 2-4 points, that can usually work.  If 12 appears too large for your body text, I bet 11 is perfect.

If your two-page sample on the monitor isn’t already displaying a 12 pt font, shade it and convert it to 12.  Now, before you judge if 12 is the right size, let’s discuss…

SPACING

The space between lines is another area where opinions vary.  Other factors, too, come into play that affect spacing:  font, font sizeand book size.  This is another time to check out some mainstream books that appear the way you want your book to look.  Just use good judgement: you don’t want the lines jammed together, but neither do you want too much space between them.  Play around a little with the two setting procedures discussed below to see how you can vary the spacing.  Then select a setting that looks best and is functional.

Presumably, you already have your two-page display showing on your monitor with all the things you’ve chosen so far:  book size, margins, font, font size…and now let’s add spacing.  You can adjust spacing several ways.  To begin, shade your entire two pages. The easy way to do this is to place your curser anywhere within the text, then hit control+a on the PC or command+a on a Mac. Next, with your pages shaded and the “home” button active on the menu bar, click on the down-arrow on the line spacing button on the bar right above the top ruler.  Here’s some help finding it:

After you click on the down-arrow on the line spacing button, any one of  the settings displayed will affect the line spacing on your page.  Sometimes these settings are not small enough and you may have to switch procedures.  If so, go to the very top of the screen and click on “Format,” then “Paragraph.”  The window on the left opens.  Click on the “Line Spacing” box.  Then a menu drops down.  Click on “Exactly and via trial and error, adjust the number in the box  to the right.  There now, all this should keep you busy.  Next time we will talk about page numbering.

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