A Writer’s Tale

Some friends and I are working on a special project. It’s a Facebook Group called A Writer’s Tale. The idea is to post a short story — something readers can enjoy in 10 minutes or so — that will showcase your work.

This seems like a better way to find new readers than just Tweeting “Buy my book!” over and over. It’s a new group, and the rules are being worked out as we go. Come join us! We need writers and readers.

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Running Heads

The running heads in a complex book serve as a navigational aid. In a book divided by parts, the left head names the part, and a reader can flip through the pages to find the section desired. If the right running head names the chapter, navigation inside the part is possible. Read More »

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Margins

Margins provide a frame of white space around the text, insulating it from the scenery around the book, the other things and people in the reader’s field of vision. Read More »

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Legibility and Readability

Legibility is concerned with how quickly one can process the information presented, especially under adverse circumstances. Readability is concerned with comfort over time. Read More »

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The Title Page

Considered by many to be the single most important page of the book, the title page traditionally includes the title of the book, the author or authors, and the publisher. Sometimes, the editor is noted here as well. Often included is the location of the publisher’s main office, or the city where the book was printed, and the date of publication – but these are more and more to be found on the title verso (aka the copyright page). There may be some illustration or ornament.
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The First Verso

The first verso page of a book, which is also the back of the bastard title, is often simply blank. Other common uses for this page include a list of the author’s previously published works, a quote, or a dedication. Read More »

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The Half Title

The Half Title (sometimes called “the bastard title”) is the first page in most books. Occasionally, a publisher will place reviews or blurbs before the half title for commercial purposes. It is usually just the title, printed in a quiet way, in a face related to the rest of the book. Small caps in the basal text face are popular, although the type may also match the chapter heads. Read More »

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Trim Size

What trim is: If your book is being printed on a large press, it will have several pages printed on one large sheet of paper, which will then be folded and cut (or “trimmed”) to size. The method of arranging pages on a large sheet so everything comes out properly when folded and trimmed is called “imposition.”

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Paper

Of all the “given” specs, paper is most often the one handed to you. 20 to 30 pounds offset white is common. If you enjoy the luxury of deciding the paper, you would do well to contact the printer’s paper supplier. Paper is hard, soft, smooth, grainy…. It has pull, warp, texture, depth…. It can be cut, folded, perforated, scored — you get the idea. It is complex and changes often. Read More »

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Binding

The best binding for your book is the one that serves the reader best. That will depend on your book and the needs of the reader, so let’s look at the most common binding methods and examine their strengths and weaknesses. Read More »

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