Writing a book takes work. Trust me, I know, I’ve written four of them so far. (And now I’m sucker enough to go for number five!). And as idealist as we may be, and say “all that matters is the story”, and we’d be wrong. Because it’s not just about the story. Packaging matters. The world’s best book packaged in an unprofessional way looks and feels a bit ‘naff’ to the reader, and plonk, back on the shelf it goes. And cover-design is only half the packaging, because as your mother always told you: it’s what inside what counts. Some people spend an awful lot of time on their covers, spend time and money on editors, beta readers, proofreaders, but don’t even think twice about how a book looks on the inside. And that’s precisely where all the work of writing a book will go to waste. If the book does not read well, physically, it will get put down, and that’s where it will end.
Reading should be a pleasurable experience for the reader, and if not pleasurable, at least it should not be a chore. And I’ve seen tons of badly designed books that feel as if they were printed directly from Microsoft Word. No offence to Word, but it is a word processor, not a layout package. Bad spacing, erroneous justification, typefaces (fonts) reminiscent more of a high school flyer rather than a book…
To wit: Do you know what a widow is? No, happily, it is not a lady whose husband has died. And an Orphan? Likewise, it is much more mundane than it sounds. In book layout design, widows and orphans refer to one-liners, and no, not the funny type. A widow is a short line-or worse, a single word-at the end of a paragraph, and it looks a bit weird in print. It leaves too much white space, distracts the eye and breaks the “flow” of the paragraph. As for an orphan, it’s the same single line at the end of the paragraph, but now it breaks across the page! It’s ugly! And then, of course, there are the dashes, en and em, neither of which should ever be confused with a hyphen. And when and where do you put the spaces? Should one even put in spaces before or after these things? And now we need to talk about ragging, leading (as in led-ding, not lee-ding), kerning, optical character spacing and… It can get quite technical to get a book to look good, no matter how good those words may be.
But it is not just about “ugly“. Eye strain and “reader’s fatigue” are real things, and if your book isn’t designed well, it will set in early. You don’t want that: you want your reader to keep on reading.
This is the job of the typesetter. We take care of all those tricks that keep people engaged with your text so that you don’t have to. Years of study, doing graphics and layouts for other people, and ‘figuring it out as I go along’ has brought me to the point where I can offer this service to the writer, and turn a word document into a print-ready manuscript. A manuscript that is not only technically correct, but beautiful.
Because beautiful books sell. So: Get a professional InDesign typesetter. Your readers will thank you.
Prices start from as little as $150 / R1,500 per 50,000 words – contact me now for a quote.