Craig here again.
Layout, along with removal of typos and bad grammar, is what separates a professional work from an amateurish sideshow. Everything matters, from big items like font choice, to where the last word of a sentence lands.
You see, layout isn’t an art form. It’s more like a craft. It doesn’t take technical genius or an outstanding and amazing sense of groundbreaking genius. Layout just takes an eye for detail and incredible tenacity.
When Chris and I first decided to create our first anthology, we had no idea about layout. Words like kerneling and gutters were completely foreign. Researching the terms used in my drafting program was the first step. And what a boring step it was. If you’ve never read a technical book, consider yourself lucky. Unless, of course, you enjoy the literary equivalent of slamming your head in a door.
The next step is determining the overall feel of the book. I’d never really considered font choices or things like headers when it came to books. For instance, after an exhaustive search through fonts, we chose Palatino Linotype at 11 pt size. I think it’s much more pleasing to the eye than Times New Roman. Times New Roman is just… ugh. Look, if you’re reading a newspaper it’s fine. But a book needs to be softer and more welcoming. This is something you paid out a chunk of change for. A book is something you’re going to curl up with at the end of the day. You want something that’s easy on the eyes. Palatino seems that way to me.
Next week, I’ll get more into page length and that kind of thing. Believe it or not, we actually put thought into it.