Every writer understands the importance of making good first impressions. Every writer spends a hefty amount of time and immeasurable effort in making their book worth the reader’s time. But creating an impression is not just about the words you write. It also concerns how you present them.
Of course, all of your effort can be undermined if your pages look gawky or amateur. It is because the readers are likely to flip through the pages of your book before deciding whether or not your hard work is worth their time.
There is no doubt that every writer spends a lot of time on writing, editing, and finalizing their books. They want every potential reader to be able to find their work interesting and worth their time and money. It all starts with how your book looks.
Here are a few essential formatting tips that can increase the readability of your book.
Go Easy on the Margins
Page margins are one of the easy yet hard to master aspects of book formatting. Many writers, especially first time publishers are unable to determine the right margins. One of the reasons for this is that most writers want to get as much as possible on one page to reduce the number of pages.
Your efforts may be focused towards not overwhelming the reader with a lot of pages. However, it is easy to forget that cramped up and cluttered text can also intimidate the reader. Therefore, it is best to go easy on your margins to make your book more inviting for the readers.
Follow the Title Capitalization Rules
The title capitalization rules can vary for each style guide. The title capitalization rules can be confusing for many writers but it’s not as complicated as you might think. You can start your journey to excel at title capitalization by following the standard rules.
Most style guidelines emphasize on capitalizing all proper nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Hence, this is a great beginning for you. You can also ask your editor to help you with ensuring right capitalization throughout your work.
Use Readable Fonts
While first glances are important, they are not the only thing you should concern yourself with. Yes, you can make a great first impression with a fancy font but it may not be easy on the eyes once the reader decides to give your work a read.
Therefore, it is best to choose a readable font that can be comfortable in the eyes of the reader. This practice ensures that your reader is indulged in the contents of the book rather than spending time on deciphering each alphabet of a fancy font.
Choose the Right Color
It may sound like an obvious rule but it is important for every writer to ensure the reader’s comfort and readability. According to the industry standard, the best color option is to use black text color on white pages. It is effective and easy to print.
You can use other color options while typing and editing to give some comfort to your eyes. However, make sure to change everything according to industry standards while sharing drafts to your agents.
Pick the Right Font Size
The font size in your book plays an important role in increasing the readability of your book. It is important to just get it right and ensure that it’s neither too big nor too small. Big font may undermine the seriousness of your book and smaller font size can trigger headaches among the readers.
While many accomplished writers choose size 10-11, it is not a hard and fast rule to follow. You can play with the point type to ensure the readability of your book. An ideal test to see the readability of your book is by ensuring that there are no more than 12-15 words in every line.
Justify the Text
Every writer understands the importance of visual aesthetics for the reader. They are not limited to your book cover only. You must also make the text inside your book look balanced. Therefore, it’s important to justify your text so that it has balanced margins on both sides.
Justifying your text can put your text in a nice and pleasing rectangle and ensure that each line has the same length. This way, you will not have to worry about the reader being distracted by the unevenness of your text and the broken flow.
Indent the Beginning
Readers are often intimidated by long paragraphs and lack of flow. They want to spend their time on something that gives rest to their eyes and also fills their knack of reading. Hence, it is important to give surety to your reader at first glance.
An ideal way to do so is ensuring that the first line of each paragraph of your book is indented. Most writers prefer a quarter-inch indent to mark the beginning of a new paragraph and ensure the reader that their eyes will get the valid breaks throughout.
Distinguish Your Chapters
Many books are made up of different chapters that can help you give the needed pauses and breaks in the story line. Books can have several chapters and they may be different from others. It is best to make this clear to your reader.
It is best to ensure that every chapter starts on a new page. It is ideal to start each chapter on the right side of the book but it’s not necessary, except for the first chapter. You can also use different styles and font sizes to make the beginning of a new chapter for your book.
Make Use of Blank Lines
Every scene break is not supposed to be the beginning of a new chapter. Writers often have to change scenes in the middle of chapters. The use of a blank line between the paragraphs is the easiest way of indicating these changes.
This marker indicates to the reader that the scene has changed and they can be mentally prepared to understand the new perspective. You can also consider making the break wider with spaces above and below to ensure that the reader is ready for a new turn.