Saturday, December 5, 2009


On my to do list, I managed to leave off buying an ISBN. It was on my mental to do list but somehow slipped off the typed version. A big thank you to Mary of The Woo Woo Journal Teacup Journal for reminding me of that little oversight. Mary thank you also for your fantastic comment on my last post. Advice like register your business name before you set about organising your ISBN should be straight forward, but is in reality easily overlooked.

Mary’s blog has a great deal of information on self publishing. It is well worth checking out on that basis alone. Mary does not limit herself to that single topic but posts on a wide range of interesting subjects.

One thing I have begun while I wait on little delights like business name registration, is working on layout. The joys of consistent formatting beckon.

As part of this process I have been looking at how to lay out my chapter headings. I like crisp and simple.

For example this is from Beevor’s D-Day.
I’m not sure about this style though. I don’t think the italics quite work and there seems to be too much blank space between the heading and the first paragraph.

Paula Simons, The Girl in Times Square
I think the simple use of a larger version of the text font works. Also there is less stark white.

Kate Grenville has gone for the super simple in The Idea of Perfection. Just the chapter number. I quite like this but need chapter titles as well.

So maybe a mix.
Chosen at random the top of page 10 of Veiled in Shadows.

Now because this has been such dry colourless post.
It's Summer and many of the Eucalyptus trees are flowering, this one is a pink or red flowering gum probably Corymbia ficifolia.


Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I just formatted a book for an author-friend and she spent some time fretting over the chapter headings, too. I just ended up doing something simple and she was happy. I miss the smell of Eucalyptus. The trees used to grow all along the coast near my house. The smell was so wonderful.

Kathleen Jones said...

I'm glad you've decided to self-publish Al. the state of publishing at the moment is so dire, we're all going to be doing that shortly! I wish you lots and lots of luck. Just two things - make sure there's lots of white space on your pages to make them easy to read. Self-published books are very easy to spot because usually too much text is crammed up and the margins are too small (prof publishers use book designers for their page layouts). Second thing - targeted marketing. Suss out who is likely to buy your book and target those magazines, web-sites, book suppliers etc that are used by them. Persuade people to review it where it will be seen. It's the most cost effective way to reach your audience.
good luck!!

Al said...

Hi Christy,
Simple seem to be the best when it comes to layout doesn't it.
Nothing beats the smell of the bush in warm weather. And of course you have a lot of Aussie transplants there in California. Mostly Sydney Blue Gums I think. The ficifolia is native to a small patch in WA but it is widely planted as an ornamental, its a smallish tree and the flowers just gorgeous.

Al said...

Hi Kathleen,
It is starting to feel like it won't happen unless I do it my self.
Thanks for your advice I really appreciate it!
I have read a bit about layout before and it always seems that the best trick is to look at what is published as a guide to best practice.
The marketing is the bit that seems to be the trick. I suspect you are definitely right reviews are the way to go. The hard part with getting them is getting past the self-publishing stigma. Still I can be a persistent bastard when it is called for :)

heidenkind said...

Babbling About Books and More has an entire week dedicated to self-publishing this week. Today there was a post by a self-pubbed author about how she got into it. You should check it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words and the shout-out, Al. Glad to be of assistance with self-publishing. Lots of little quirky things to figure out, but taken one at a time, all are managable.

I often look to other books for layout ideas. Kathleen is right about the white space. It gives the eyes a chance to rest. If you can find some older books to examine (late 1800s, early 1900s), you can see how layout has changed. One of my favorite old-fashioned layout techniques is to change the header of each page based on the specific subject of the page. I used this technique when I did the layout for a local history book. An absolute hoot to figure out creative headings for each page.

If you have any questions, send me a comment & I'll be happy to help. Good luck!

Al said...

Hi Tasha,
Thank you very much. A most useful link.

Al said...

Hi Mary,
You are most welcome.
Thank you for the advice, you've been there, done that. So I rally appreciate you taking the time.