What is Typography, And How Can You Get It Right?

From Reedsy:

Typography is the art of arranging text in a legible and visually pleasing fashion. It’s not to be confused with typesetting, which describes the technical process of getting text onto a page.

From the lettering on a road sign to the flourishes on a Coke bottle, we see typography at work everywhere. Books, of course, are no exception. Whether you’re looking at the content or the cover, typography makes our favorite stories both readable and memorable. That’s why every indie author should keep it in mind when thinking about book design.

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Typography encompasses far more than choosing a font — and there’s a lot more at stake, too. Done right, it’ll draw readers’ eyes and get them to click “buy” on your product page. But if you phone it in, it can make your book stand out for all the wrong reasons, resulting in a sloppy-looking volume that’s a headache to read.

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1. Clear typography lets people access your story

If you say the words “book typography,” most authors will probably think of the title emblazoned on the front of their masterpieces. But before we start judging books by their covers, let’s take a look at the most important part of any volume: the text itself.

One of the less glamorous functions of typography is making a text easier to read. Clean and consistent type allows the reader to disappear into your words. Bad typography, on the other hand, diverts attention away from your writing, to the way it’s arranged on the page.

Worst case scenario, you might use a typeface that doesn’t pass the basic test of legibility. In that case, your readers will end up squinting at the page, using all their brain-space to decipher your words instead of enjoying them. Odds are, they’ll stop reading long before the book is done.

2. Beautiful typography draws readers’ eyes

Now, let’s talk about covers, an area where bold and beautiful typography can really shine. If you’re an indie author jostling for attention in a crowded marketplace like Amazon, an eye-catching title can make a reader zero in on your book.

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Choosing the right typeface for your book cover requires you to think beyond mere beauty. In addition to visual appeal, all the text on your cover needs to be:

  • readable
  • appealing at thumbnail sizes
  • genre-appropriate

Even the most gorgeous font won’t cut it if it’s illegible, confusing at thumbnail dimensions, or suggestive of, say, high fantasy when your book is a contemporary romance.

Link to the rest at Reedsy

PG suggests that, in the online book purchasing world (yes, he’s thinking mostly of Amazon), the cover is an advertisement for the book, plain and simple.

Yes, it needs to look like a book, not a microwave, but the purpose of the cover is to catch the eye of a prospective reader.

There’s a balance going on with every cover.

If your book is a romance, something about it needs to imply romance instead of science fiction. But if your cover looks almost identical to every other romance cover, it’s not likely to catch a reader’s eye in the sea of guys with their shirts unbuttoned or women in long dresses standing in front of mansions.

Yes, you can design your own cover. However, PG (who fancies himself as more appreciative of the visual arts and possessing a more nuanced eye than your typical plumbing supply shop owner) tried his hand at designing some of Mrs. PG’s early indie covers.

The covers were artistic triumphs (well, maybe artistic participation prize recipients), but they didn’t sell many books. Mrs. PG decided cheap labor wasn’t doing her very much good, so she hired a professional designer who had other clients writing in Mrs. PG’s genre and sales picked up nicely.

The Best Book Database You’ve Never Heard Of

From Book Riot:

 Recently, I was looking for books on (as it happens) readers’ advisory. Readers’ advisory is what happens when you go to the library and request a book recommendation. The librarian may ask you some questions about what kind of book you typically like, the style of writing you enjoy, and more to get at what makes a book a “good” book for you. In any case, I wanted to know more about how to do readers’ advisory well. So, in search for books on readers’ advisory, I hopped on the information highway we call the internet and headed to my local library’s website. Then, I navigated to the library’s database page and pulled up the best book database you’ve never heard of: NoveList.

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So, what does the NoveList book database actually do? The most basic and useful function of NoveList is the Title Read-alikes feature. Type a title into the search bar, hit search, and click on “Title Read-alikes.” Within seconds, you’ve got a list of books similar to the one you’ve searched for. Selected by curators, the books are accompanied by a reason they’re included on the list. There are also a pair of icons that allow users to agree or disagree with a given selection, which, when clicked, leads the user to an email form to share their opinion. For those taking their list to the library, there’s an easy print button. The Title Read-alikes is easily the feature I use the most, but there are plenty of others worth highlighting, too.

Meanwhile, the advanced search in this book database is a thing of beauty. Want something new? Try selecting the “Forthcoming” box. Trying to fill a Read Harder challenge that depends on author background? Scroll through the “Author’s Nationality” or “Author’s Cultural Identity” box.

Link to the rest at Book Riot