Typography & Indie Authors

I like to do things myself.

This can be good. This can be bad.

As an indie author, typography is one of those jobs that I have no business doing, but I find myself doing it anyways.

I know many authors are by-passing the print versions of their books and just releasing e-Book versions. I’m still of the opinion that releasing a book on paperback is still a valuable endeavor. It widens the parameters of possible reviewers. It reaches a lot of people (including my friends and family) who do not yet have devices. Plus, it’s just ultra-cool holding one’s newly published book in your hand.

So, I’ve been working on the proof version of The Reach of the Banyan Tree, and I’ve been reminded that, even though I’m no typographic expert, I’m definitely better than I was when I released Beauty Rising.

Honestly, the first print version of Beauty Rising was pretty bad now that I think about it. I had broken every rule about fonts – who knew what a serif was anyways – I broke every rule about layout – oh, should it have been justified – and I even started page one on the wrong side – though I did fix that after I received the proof. Even with all of those mistakes, I still thought the book was awesome. It was still readable, though it also wasn’t edited as well as it needed to be.

That was my first shot at this typography thing.

The Recluse Storyteller was much better overall in regards to what a standard book should look like. I started modeling my books after layouts I had seen elsewhere. I liked the layout of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and got a bunch of ideas from there about different ways to do chapter headings and different styles of fonts for different purposes.

My goal is to make the paperback copies of my books attractive and readable. If the mechanics don’t stand out to the readers, then I’ve reached my goal. Someday, perhaps, I’ll have someone who knows what they are doing to do all this work for me. But for now, I’m learning, getting better, and producing books of a much higher quality than just two years ago. I will not rest until my books can stand up against any other one out there. I’m sure some experts out there would be quick to point out that I’m not there yet.

But I will be.

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