Helping Publishers Sell More Books in More Ways
How to Make a Book:
The Interior and the Body of the Book
Thank you to Creative Minds
Press for providing the content for this FAQ.
What is Front matter?
• What is a Half Title page?
• What is the Series Title or Frontspiece page?
• What is the Title Page?
• What is the Copyright Page?
• What is a Dedication?
• What is an Epigraph?
• What are the Table of Contents?
• What is the Foreword?
• What is a Preface?
• What are the Acknowledgements?
The Body of the Book
Even if your day-job is as an English teacher, you WILL make mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and assembly of the document in the course of writing a book. Really. If John Updike, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Amy Tan have line/mechanical editors, so should you. A poorly edited book is one of the single biggest faults cited when booksellers say they won't take self-published books. Why not prove them wrong?
There are two kinds of editing and then there’s proofreading.
Developmental—sometimes called Content or Substantive—Editing takes place after the writer has done their early revisions but needs help in shaping the book in its final form. Most books require some help in this direction. Developmental editing is essential, especially for new writers.
Line—also called Mechanical or Copy—Editing prepares the manuscript for the typesetter. Typesetting requires errata-free text. This is your last chance to remove spelling errors, omissions, incorrect facts and logic flaws.
Proofreading is an examination of a printer’s proof, looking for any errata that might have crept in during typesetting.
Not all books are laid-out the same. Open any five books (not of the same series) and see how the type (font) looks on the page. Then there's spacing (kerning and leading) between the lines and between the characters themselves. You might want to read this book to get started: On Book Design by Richard Hendel.
Note how the
chapters are arranged. Do they start
on the same page, on opposite pages from the end of the last
chapter or is there a blank page between each one? That's a design
Now look at the pictures in the book. How are they displayed? Again, this is a design choice.
Printers don't just take a manuscript and dump it in to book form. There's a step needed. Considerations need to be made how the interior will look. This includes many factors regarding fonts, kerning, leading, chapter breaks, front matter, indexing, back matter and many other details.
Most often programs like Quark or InDesign are used. If you have never attempted to use advanced computer programs, it's a good idea to hire a professional. If you plan to publish several books, it's time to take a class or do a tutorial on one of these programs.
What are Fonts?
Fonts are all letters, numbers, special characters and spaces in a give face (the stylistic appearance of the type). There are thousands of fonts, some are not appropriate for book text, some are. For instance, Times New Roman is fine for a textbook, but not a novel. Arial is fine for a computer book, but not for 'most any other application.
There are two basic font types: serif and sans serif. Serif has little extra lines constituting the character, sans-serif (like these) does not. Serif is generally preferred as an interior text font style. Check out this useful website to understand more about fonts.
The spacing between the lines is called leading. This refers to the original way printing was done: Leading refers to strips of lead that were placed between lines of lead type, generally kept consistent in a given typeset page. You can increase or decrease line spacing to get more or fewer lines per page without changing the font size.
The Kern in lead type is the part of a letter that extends beyond the body or shank (which was rectangular) of the letter, effectively overlapping the adjoining letters or spaces, especially in italic fonts.
Kerning more generally refers to spacing between individual pairs of letters. Lead type was inherently proportional (the width of each type shank was generally proportional to the width of the letter), aided by a kern or overlap for certain characters where a shank at full character width would cause too much space. Certain character pairs, such as W or T plus any lower case character that does not have a stroke above the midpoint of the line (a e o u g p, but not i t l k, for example), don't look right unless the character cells overlap a little, especially in serif fonts. Professional grade fonts generally include embedded kerning tables that typesetting programs use to render correct spacing with problem character pairs.
This is what makes some newspaper columns look strange if they have t o o m u c h kerning. This is not to say kerning is poor typesetting. It can help eliminate Widows and Orphans. But it must be used carefully or the line looks strange.
a modern computer typesetting term referring to the uniform spacing
of characters in a font, separate from
kerning adjustments; tracking is a fundamental part of how the font
designer intended the font to appear. Tracking adjustments are used
to increase or decrease overall character spacing to help justify
text. Most typesetting programs allow you to change the overall
tracking for a font (usually through the use of "styles") globally
modifying the spacing and appearance.
A Widow is a word or short fragment of a sentence at the beginning of a paragraph that is continued on the next page. Not only does it look "unlovely" but it wastes space.
An Orphan is the end word or short sentence fragment that is separated from the paragraph body on another page. It also wastes space.
If this is just going to be a book for your friends and family, it's probably fine. If you are targeting a larger market—and you are not an expert in Word for publishing (and most of us are not)—you need professional typesetting such as you can get with InDesign or Quark. The third biggest fault in a self-published book is the lack of professional typesetting. Again, a bookseller will look at the interior. If it looks like it's a Word document, she's unlikely to buy the product—and she won't be the only one to reject it.
InDesign or Quark are two of the most powerful and popular typesetting programs. There are other programs as well, such as TeX (if you are interested in this program, you should view the TeX User's Group Website), but they are more difficult to master.
Many printers are fine with either software program and can accept files from either a Mac or PC platform. However, there is a growing trend among printers to ask for files in Adobe Acrobat PDF.
Go to this website for a wonderful tutorial on how to set up PDF files.
How do you put the interior together?
Front Matter is all the pages that come before the actual body of the book. In many cases, the assembly follows this way:
The page numbers are lower case Roman numerals (eg: ii, v, ix) ( you don’t have to use them, but we include them for clarity here). The page on the right is called the Recto, the page on the left, the Verso. In some cases, we can only suggest you place the item there, since it’s impossible to predict how many pages you will have.
Title (page i, the first recto): Gives
only the title of the book, omitting the subtitle and author’s
name. No page number on this page. Note: See Title Page
Blank, Series title or Frontspiece (illustration) (page ii): If your book is a series, this is where to put that information. No page number on this page.
Title page (page iv): Shows full title, author, publisher’s name, city and logo (page iii). No page number on this page. Note: Make sure, when you are working with a cover designer, that she or he uses a font you can reproduce on the Title pages. Nothing looks more amateurish than a title page with a different font than the cover
Copyright page often referred to as "the Verso" (page v) contains:
• Publisher’s name, address, website and logo.
• Any disclaimers and/or warnings about usage
• Author(s)’s name(s)
• Copyright 200_ [author’s name]
• Acknowledgment of editors (some editors insist on credit in the Copyright page and cover designer(s)).
• Edition Number
• Permissions for Reprints
• LCCN / CIP (see explanation)
• Printing information: Where printed, ie: "Printed in China."
Dedication (page vi): Where you can thank those who made a difference to you.
Epigraph (page v): A quotation from another work pertinent to the book. Be careful! You should have a permission from the author or publisher if the work is not in the public domain (the rule of thumb is that a work is in the public domain if the author has been dead over 100 years). There is no "Fair Use" in a commercial enterprise. See Ivan Hoffman’s webpage or Lloyd Rich's site for articles pertinent to this subject. Always include a line below the epigraph giving attribution (who wrote the quote and where it’s from).
Table of Contents (page vii): For a novel, this may not be needed. For a non-fiction, this is a very effective Point Of Sale (POS) marketing tool (see explanation). Include each chapter’s headings
Foreword(recto): This is usually written by someone other than the author. Note the spelling of Foreword. Barnes & Noble has a specific line on their "rejection of book" form. Spelling it "forward" is not different and unusual. It’s simply wrong. The author of the Foreword is always acknowledged at the end. Many times, their book title(s) are included as well.
Acknowledgments (recto–although this can also go in the Backmatter): This is where you thank all the people who helped you bring the book to life. This is where editors most often get thanked
Back Matter contains information about the contents of the book, but too interruptive to include in the text. Here are the items one may include in the Back Matter, in this order:
Appendix: Contains text of documents supporting the book, charts, tables, lists, and other matter the author considers important to the reader, but doesn’t wish to include in the body of the book. There may be more than one appendix. They are lettered (Appendix A, B, etc.).
Index: An Index is an important tool for any non-fiction work. This one feature can help to sell your book as much as a great cover. For more information about indexes and their importance see the American Society of Indexer’s website or read John Culleton's/ Wexford Press' excellent webpage.
What are End Papers?
End Papers are the first and last pages in a book. These are almost always white in a paperback. End Papers in a hardcover are often done in complementary colors to the cover. This costs extra.
The Body of the Book
The Introduction, if needed, is the first Arabic numbered page (ie: 1,2,3). Think carefully before you include an Introduction, as it is often skipped by modern readers.
answer is, it depends! There are three main styles for
Type 1: Chapters always start on the recto, leaving the opposing verso page blank: this is a formal style for either non-fiction or fiction. In a non-fiction book with Chapter end-notes, this is the preferred design.
Type 2: Chapters start on recto or verso, the page following the end of the previous chapter. This is what is usually found in non-fiction and fiction.
Type 3: Chapters start several lines below the end of the previous Chapter, on the same page, recto or verso. This is usually found in fiction, frequently in genre fiction (ie: Westerns and Romances) and some text books.
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Thank you to Creative Minds Press for providing the content for this FAQ