layout, fonts and more

Holidays are over, layout is underway, cover designs are going back and forth between m e and Jill, who is doing the design work. There’s a logo for PJ Press, too.

For me, because the details of designing and laying out a book are the least known aspects of this project, having Jill involved is essential. She knows the technical business of what used to be called typesetting and now is computerised. Selecting a font went differently from how I expected. I had a couple I liked, maybe a bit old-fashioned, but had the right feel – Garamond and Bookman. When I saw them in a page sized as for the book I wasn’t so keen. Jill came up with Bembo and bingo! there it was. In fact, what we are heading towards is using that one font, in different sizes, for everything, including the cover, which Jill tells me is unusual. But so far I like it. The text will be in Bembo 10pt, with spacing between the lines as Jill has worked it out for readability, 5mm para indents.

We have gone for a simple page layout, page numbers centred at the bottom, no headers, chapters numbered but not named, each one starting on a new page. The book has three parts, each part starting with a quote so each of these will have a full page. There is a lot of detail to decide on. It matters, I think, and the end result should be that the reader doesn’t especially notice any of it.

The cover is looking great. Pink (a kind of a melony pink from the artist’s image) and grey sound bad but are looking good. The hardest part is the words for the back cover. As soon as I start writing something the cliches flow in a great torrent. One of the main plot points is not one I want to reveal on the cover, it’s an unusual, possibly shocking, decision the protagonist made in her early life and to talk of a ‘secret’ in the blurb straightaway suggests sexual abuse, which has nothing to do with it. I’ve read lots of advice on how to write this and none of it is helping. I’ve just emailed version 3 to Jill but who knows if it is the final one.

My next job is to go to the sales website and work my way through that.

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