The inside of your book is just as important as the cover. The font, the design, the attention to detail that a professional designer takes will keep your readers turning pages, and the layout also plays a vital role in getting good reviews.
As readers, we take for granted all of the subtleties, the hundreds of decisions that go into creating the interior layout of a book. Professional book designers know how to make your text flow, especially in non-fiction, where there are usually subheads and categories that must be taken into consideration.
One of the biggest reasons to use a professional designer is that bookstores and dealers can spot an ill designed book from a mile away. No matter how great your book is, if the interior layout isn’t up to par, retailers will want nothing to do with it.
This is a list of a few errors that will get your book the boot.
Blank pages on the right hand side of your book. While it is acceptable to have pages with no copy on the left, the right side should always have text.
Using page numbers incorrectly.There are some pages that must have a number while others should never have a number. Title and copyright pages should never be numbered, as well as blank pages.
Incorrect placement of running heads. A common mistake made by DIY book designers is that they often use these (the part at the top that gives the title or authors name) from page one to the last. Running heads should never appear on a blank page. So say your chapter ended on the right, leaving the left page empty: this means no running head, no page number.
Starting your book on the left. One of the greatest mistakes you can make is by having page 1 on the left side. Throughout your entire book odd numbers will be on the left and the even numbers will be on the right. This is a dead give away to retailers that your book was not professionally designed.
Not justify your typeset. Justifying is when you have a straight alignment on the right side of the column, just like the left side. The lines of your text have to be adjusted, otherwise you’ll end up with what is called a “rag right”.
Widows, orphans, and squares. This isn’t descriptive titles for people, but lingo for certain type sets. Wikipedia’s definition of widows and orphans is: short lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph, which are left dangling at the top or bottom of a column, separated from the rest of the paragraph.
This can be corrected by setting your print to keep two lines together at the beginning and end of every paragraph. However, it is becoming more acceptable to forgo this to keep your pages “squared”.
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