Today I have a guest post from Adam Dreece, author of the Yellow Hoods series. For more information about his books, click here, otherwise, onto the 5 Steve Jobs-type things he fussed over once the books were written!
With the words done and the cover art complete, there was plenty that I insisted on tweaking until I felt they were just right. Here’s the top 5:
1. Font size
I opted to have an 11pt font instead of the standard 9pt font. As a dyslexic and as someone with supposedly large eye apertures, and knowing that there will be younger and older readers reading the book, I decided to opt for higher print costs but make the books easier to read. The slightly larger font allows for less information to be pulled in for people like me allowing for better focus, is less intimidating for the younger person and makes those needing glasses more comfortable. I couldn’t very well create a book that I wouldn’t be able to read comfortably, now could I?
2. Word frequency in paragraphs
My dyslexic brain finds patterns very easily. Some books will have a good 8 to 10 paragraphs in a row (and I’m not exaggerating, he says looking at a specific book on his bookshelf) that all start with a character’s name. My brain will focus on that, and now it’s fighting for my attention to investigate other patterns. I also lose my place easily because of the repeated structure. Thus I decided to make sure, unless it was impossible, that my books don’t have a repeating start.
3. Look from ten feet away as well as in hand
People need to be pulled in by the book, which requires it to be clearly visible from a distance and up close. I have put the book covers and looked at them from a distance, approach them, played with them, until it looked and felt right.
4. Weight of the book
I wanted the book to feel the right weight, to have credibility in how it felt in the hand and for the make being charged. It sounds funny, but I’ve watched countless people do that. They look at the cover, they read the back of the book, and then I watch their hand bob up and down slightly as they weigh its value and their decision. I’ve been told many, many times that “my books are great value” even before someone has read them.
5. White space around the text
One thing that drives me absolutely batsheep crazy is when an author has such narrow margins that it looks like they thought you were allowed to write on every possible space on the page. To read what’s in the bound margin, you have to break the spin, then the words go all the way from about a quarter inch or less at the top (he looks at another book on his shelf) all the way down to the very last row of the page. For my brain, its unreadable. There’s no place for my fingers, there’s no framing of the text.
This is done to reduce printing costs, and again, I’d rather make a bit less money but provide a much better reader experience than save myself 4 pages and ticked off a reader.