Self-Publisher: Typesetting when Designing a Book

Sample: Before & After Page Design

Typesetting is important when designing your book as a self-publisher. You have little room for trial and error and certainly do not want to loose money unnessarily.

When self-publishing we recommend replicating what you see is working in the industry of accepted print. If possible, try to replicate the professional quality you see on the shelves of local bookstores.

Most professionally print books will include a title page, several chapters, and copyright information page so readers will know you have created the book and that you do not give anyone permission to distribute it.

Self-Publisher: Typsetting when designing a book

Sample: Before & After Page Design

The Title Page

Start typesetting by creating a title page for your book. The title page actually is comprised of two pages: the half title page and the full title page.

The half title page simply contains the book’s title. Most books have this information centered in the middle of the page. Use the same fonts that your cover designer uses on your cover if at all possible to make your book look more like a professional, finished product.

After you’ve created the half title page, it’s time to make the full title page. The full title page includes the name of the publisher as well as the name of the author, and some full title pages contain an illustration of some sort. If you don’t yet know the publisher’s name, leave some blank space to put it in under the title and author of the book. Otherwise, put it at the bottom of the page, under any illustration. Again, use the same fonts as you used on the cover.

The Book Chapters

Skip a page after the copyright page and then begin typesetting the book. The text within the chapters of your book must be justified. You have to be careful of certain things when you do this.

When you justify text, sometimes you get huge gaps of white space. This is because lines that have less text need to line up with those that have more text, so typesetting programs often put lots of extra space into these lines. This can make your paragraphs look strange or ugly. To solve this problem, make your paragraphs shorter. Putting some text into a new paragraph often solves problems with extra spacing.

In addition, you have to be careful of hyphenating text when you justify it. If a word is too long for a particular line, programs such as MS Word may break the word into two parts and put the second part on a new line, separating the two with a hyphen. This is fine once in a while, but your text won’t look professional if the majority of your lines are hyphenated. To fix this, you may have to move some words onto the next line. Do this by creating a soft return instead of a hard return before the word in question. Put the cursor to the left of the word and hit the “shift” key while hitting “return” or “enter” to move the word over to the next line.

The Copyright Page

The back of the full title page contains copyright information. It’s fairly straightforward to typeset this portion of the book. Simply list the copyright information, ISBN numbers and Library of Congress number. Left-align all information. If you are writing fiction, you should include a disclaimer underneath the copyright information stating that the work is entirely fictional.

If you are unfamiliar with the look of a copyright page, find a published book that will be simialr as your and review the information included. Some, will usually include some or all of the following:

  • The year the book was firt published
  • The publisher name (this would be the name you have creating for your publishing company)
  • The name of the copyright owner (i.e. ‘Copyright © Your Name 2012′)
  • The ISBN
  • Where the book is being printed (i.e. United States, Canada, United Kingdom)
  • If the book is Fiction – the statement that the work is fiction (i.e. This novel is entirely a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is coincidental, etc.)
  • A statement of Rights – letting the reader know the book cannot be copied, reproduced, stored, transmitted or distributed by any means without your (the publishing company’s) consent.


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