CHOOSING FONT AND SIZE for book publishing.
Something very important we self publishers have to deal with is picking a font and point size for our books. We probably all have a favorite font for certain things. COMIC SANS, may be my favorite of all. But I would not use it for the main text of my book. I used it on my business card, titles for some sections of publicity material, sometimes in emails, and greeting cards. I prefer NEW TIMES ROMAN for my books and most text articles. In preparing my first book, Willowtree, I printed two things I used as tools to help me decide on font and size.
First I gathered the names of possibilities from fonts I had used, or seen used elsewhere like in the drop down list of any text editor, or real books. Some authors or editors kindly noted the font on their copyright page.
I made a sheet of samples of these fonts in two sizes. It looked something like what is shown below. (Sorry I could not change font in the article. The picture below is poor).
Notice my samples contain caps, numerals, and italics. It is important to see how these look, especially if you use a lot of them.
I could compare the text in a book I liked and sometimes figure out what the font was.
Also notice the length of the line differs in each font. If you are concerned with the number of pages for cost of printing purposes, this will make a big difference. Some fonts called "fixed-pitch" give each letter the same amount of space, so an 'i' gets the same as a 'w,' which can look bad especially in larger print. 'Proportional' fonts give each letter the right amount of space to look good.
After narrowing it down to five or six suitable fonts I printed a full page of text using each. With these sheets I could easily see the ones that were comfortable to read. Some appeared darker, though they weren't. Serifs are the little squiggles or tails on a letter, setting it apart from a block letter. In my research I learned that most authors/readers preferred serif fonts to those without (sans). Easier to read. I agree.
I compared the number of lines each font produced to fill the page. The pages varied by as many as six lines. Willowtree is 240 pages in New Times Roman 12 pt. For example, it would have been over 300 pages if I used Courier New 12 pt.
This is easy to check if your complete manuscript is in MS WORD. I kept my precious file safe and played with a copy. Simply 'Select All" Then change the font and or size. In an instant you can see what it looks like and the number of pages, if you go to the Menu. Tools, Word Count. It gives page and word count. Cool.
In Willowtree, Bruce DelReno bakes some bread. So do I. I have been experimenting for years trying to make the perfect (to me) loaf. My perfect bread, is what my friend, Joe, made in West Rutland, Vermont back in the 1970's. I was working with him building an addition to his restaurant. Joe would leave for a while every day saying, "I gotta make the bread." He would return with flour all over his shirt and trousers. He made fantastic Italian bread that was the biggest draw to the restaurant. A cheeseburger using two thick slices of Joe's crispy whole wheat bread was the lunch I usually was given. I didn't tell Joe, but I would have worked all day for just that as my pay.
I have tried many recipes, tweaked them, even developed my own. There are several I make regularly.
Why am I talking bread? Many folks who have read Willowtree noticed the food theme, and have suggested I put recipes in my future books. Some have asked specifically about the bread. I am thinking of adding a recipe or two, maybe at the end of the Bruce DelReno book I am now working on. Maybe I'll put in one of my favorite bread recipes, though I never got close to duplicating Joe's.
Let's call it DELRENO'S OLIVE OIL BREAD It is a soft, light bread, good by itself, toasted, or sopping up Sunday gravy.
1 1/2 TBS active dry yeast
2 CUPS warm water (at about 110 degrees)
2 TSP salt, (sea salt if you have it)
6 TBS olive oil
1 TSP sugar
5 CUPS all purpose flour (4 1/2 WHITE, 1/2 WHOLE WHEAT, or all white)
EXTRA Oil and Salt for crust
1 500 mg Vitamin C tablet, crushed. (Optional, will act as preservative and bread will stay fresh longer.)
In a large bowl mix the yeast, sugar, salt, vitamin C, oil, and water.
Stir in 4 cups flour ( 3 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
Put onto floured surface and knead in another cup of flour.
Put in oiled bowl, turn to coat; cover with wet towel.
Let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, cut into 2 or 3 equal parts. form into 2 or 3 round balls, dusting with flour to work more easily.
Spray 2 or 3 pie pans with cooking oil, and sprinkle corn meal.
Put loaves in pans. Cover, and let rise to double (about 1 hour)
Pre- heat oven to 400. Place a sheet pan with 2 or 3 cups of water on the bottom of the oven. Steam will make a crispier crust. Alternately, spray the loaves with water several times during baking.
Cut 3 slits across top of loaves with a sharp knife or razor, not deep. Brush top with oil and sprinkle with salt. Optionally, sprinkle tops with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake until internal temp is 200 degrees. About 25 to 30 minutes. Crust will be light brown and it will make a hollow sound if you tap on the bottom.
Cool on wire racks.