Unlike copyediting, which focuses purely on the text, proofreaders engage with the book after the interior has been designed and laid out. That means that in addition to keeping an eye out for egregious grammar errors and typos, the proofreader is focused on aesthetics: eliminating typographic gaffes such as widows, orphans, and runts; marking bad breaks and word stacks; and ensuring design elements such as subheads and running heads are handled consistently.
As a writer, the process of designing books can be overwhelming. You already know what good book covers and interiors look like, and you probably already know some of the basic concepts of design, but you may not necessarily know the right terms to use.
Women make up the bulk of sci-fi readership in addition to romance readership. They aren’t put off by “masculine” covers. Yet women writers still find themselves marginalized on the shelf by curly script and a florid indulgence of pink. Which begs the question: to what purpose?
The first step was to pick a font; this was not an easy task as there are literally millions of fonts out there. Luckily I was restricted to choosing from the hundreds that Ooligan already has the rights to. So I browsed through hundreds of fonts, tried out a couple dozen, printed out eight, then finally sent in five.
Books come in all shapes and sizes, from picture books for children to 1000-page, text-only novels. No matter the book or who it’s for, design matters. The design can set the tone and expectations for a book. A reader expects something much different in the design of a horror novel compared to a romance. Good design is invisible, especially with text-heavy books. It is the lack of distraction that makes the design good. While image-heavy books can—and should—focus on aesthetics, how they are put together and designed should not distract from the content.
As a self-published author, it may be intimidating to start with all of the online outlets claiming they can make your book the next bestseller. After all, you’re a writer, not a designer. To help make the process a little less intimidating, here is a brief list of options that can give your book the beautiful face it deserves.