How to make your book stand out is really important, but you don’t want it standing out for the wrong reasons. For instance, you don’t want to take away from the information or making it harder to physically read.
There are certain things that you just can’t mess with when it comes to making your book stand out.
My two – not to be messed with – rules are;
- Font choice
- Layout styles
Let me talk about the second one first – layout styles
Just like you wouldn’t design a book so it reads from back to front (although I do know that middle eastern books are laid out that way) you mustn’t stray too far off the beaten track when it comes to layout.
My guidelines are;
- Have large inside margins so that you’re not having to ‘break the spine’ of the book to read it.
- No hyphenation. I think this is just lazy typesetting practice, especially when the word splits over two pages.
- Confusing heading hierarchy. In fact, this is such an important topic I’ve written an article that goes into specifics of how you can use Microsoft Word to help you with formatting and you can read it here.
Now, let’s talk about fonts. (I can’t get Salt ‘n’ pepper song out of my head now!) Again, it’s important to stick with basic rules of how we (as humans) read text.
Rule number 1 – if you’re reading text on paper (handouts, or in books), then you should always stick with a serif font for the body copy. This is where the letters have tiny curly cues on the ends of the letters. These curly cues actually guide the eye and help with reading. (However, interestingly, people with dyslexia find it harder to read serif fonts and there is a specific font which has been developed to help with reading – the font is called Dyslexie Font and was designed by Christian Boer for a graduation project.
Examples of serif font are Times New Roman, Minion Pro, and Garamond. (If you don’t like any of these, don’t panic, there are literally hundreds of serif fonts to choose from so have a word with your designer and make sure you pick one that you’re happy with.)
If you’ve read a book that was harder to read than normal, you’ll probably find it was because the font was a san serif font (no curly cues). You probably didn’t know why it was hard but trust me, it is, so don’t try and make your book look ‘different’ by choosing this style of font as most readers will struggle with the content.
Where you can use san serif font;
- Online reading material
Now, I like to use san serif for headings, and book titles as it contrasts nicely with the main body text, and it gives a bold clean look. But because headings
are usually only a few words it’s not hard to read.
Websites on on-line material; funnily enough the opposite is true for online reading. We seem to be able to read san serif fonts on screen much easier than their serif counterparts – so keep this in mind if you’re writing material that will be read on screen.
Rule number 2 – Don’t go above 12 point. In fact, most of the books I design are in 11 point. Font which is too big will just make it seem childish, so keep the body copy to either 11, 11.5 or if you really have to, 12.
Rule number 3 – Don’t ever, ever, ever, use Comic Sans. Ever!
So how can you make your book stand out without changing the rules explained above?
Well, firstly make sure your information is in YOUR voice, that it’s got enough differentiation so that it’s not lost if the topic you’re writing about is popular, and that the cover is designed in a way that grabs readers’ attention.
The second way you can make your book stand out is by having extra resources that are tied to the book. Perhaps a Facebook group, or a link to a hidden page on your website that only readers of the book can access. You can then state this on the cover and make it enticing and juicy for the reader to buy.
Remember – you have to know your why, to make people buy.
Get all of this right and you’ll be selling your books like hot cakes, all the while proving you’re the expert to come to in your particular field of expertise. #winwin.
If you’re thinking of writing a book, but not sure where to start, go and download my 7-step workbook which is available from my website, www.thebookrefinery.com – or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get a book discovery call booked in.