The Interior of Your Book

Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today. D. L. Finn posted last week about book formatting. If you haven’t read it, you can do so by clicking this link. Today’s post also deals with the same subject but is directed toward the style.

Last time, I talked about the importance of a good-quality cover. Today, we’ll discuss the interior design of your book.

A poorly formatted book can lead to its downfall. Spacing, alignment, and chapter headings that are inconsistent are a sign of amateurism. We’re writers. If we’ve published and made money on our writing, we’re professionals. Why would you want to spend weeks and months writing and editing only to have improper formatting turn readers away?

For the purpose of this post, I’ll use screenshots from Atticus, a writing and formatting software. (Denise mentioned Atticus in her post last week.) These images are stories from my recently-released short story collection.

What does the formatting of this image make you think of? Romance, a happily ever after story? Ghost Bridge is what the title implies. It’s a ghost story. And while there are elements of romance included in the story, the formatting does not match the genre. Let’s look at another example.

This style and font speak sci-fi to me. It wouldn’t be my choice for a family-fiction story which is what “The Homecoming” is.

Here’s a third.

Again, I think sci-fi with this one. Not the best choice for romantic suspense. Because my short story collection was multi-genre, I used a more generic formatting style. It’s a simple style that fits each story in the multi-genre collection.

My point is this. You work hard to produce a good story, and there is a lot that goes into publication. Whether you do your own formatting or have someone do it for you, make sure it fits the genre. Not sure about doing the cover design? Hire a professional.

Some compare publishing a book to giving birth. As a parent, you want the best for your child. Wouldn’t you want the same for your novel?

59 thoughts on “The Interior of Your Book

  1. Great post Joan. Formatting is so important, and for me. the wrong font on a cover annoys me. But the wrong image bothers me more. If people don’t have an eye for these things they should hire out. Don’t mislead the reader. 🙂 I’ve seen so many books on Amazon you can’t even make out the author’s name, with lame font and color. Font matters. 🙂

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  2. Pingback: A Character is Made Up of More than the Physical by Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author

  3. Interesting points. I know when I read books, bad formatting and messy interiors take away from a good story. Writers take so much time and effort to craft their worlds, characters and plots, it should not be undone due to bad formatting. Some time, thought and care can really make a df

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    • You are welcome, Beem. I recently tried to read a poorly formatted book and ended up putting it in the DNF pile. A shame too because it had potential. I’ll add that it was an advanced reader copy, so I hope the published product looks better. However, the publisher didn’t do the author any favors by putting something that bad out for people to read.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Atticus has some scene break dividers, but I found some vectors on Deposit Photos that I liked better. I was able to upload them to use in the book. As far as pictures, I’ve not included them in a book.

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  4. Great post, Joan 🙂 I spend a lot of time trying to decide which fonts work best. I love the examples on how a font can lead to a certain expectation of what is inside the book. It really does speak loudly and can push away certain readers if not done right. Thank you for including the link and mention too! Xo


  5. I don’t know if you have the answer to my question, Joan, but I’m going to ask it anyway. I like to choose specific fonts for my book interiors. They convert easily to my paperbacks, but when I load my books on Kindle, they all convert to a plain old generic Kindle-font. Chapter headings are particularly annoying since I put some care into choosing those fonts. Do you notice this and is there a work around? Thanks either way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure of the answer, Diana, but I believe Kindles are set up with only a few available fonts. However, I recently read a book in which the text messages sent by a character were in a different font, so there is probably a work-around. Too bad “the powers that be” limit the font choices for readers.

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  6. Thanks for sharing, Joan. I’ve said before I have no desire to learn to format or to pay for the software, which is why I will continue to pay someone to format for me for the time being. Maybe I’m being lazy, but it’s just not anything that pulls me. I love your examples here and can see where the formatting of even chapter titles can say so much about the book. C.S. Boyack’s books are a good example of using images on chapter headings. I can see where there is so much potential for making an attractive book.

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    • Menagerie was the first book I used Atticus for formatting. it was easy to learn. Back in the early days, I did format a couple of books using only Scrivener. My publisher formats all my books, but since I went Indie with Menagerie, I did it myself. I haven’t used any images as chapter headings but I have an upcoming project where that’s a strong possibility.

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  7. Spot on, Joan!

    You mentioned Atticus, but another of my favorites from Dave Chesson is Publisher Rocket. It’s a great app to see the fonts used on the covers of books by bestselling authors. Looking at bestsellers reinforces your point about making sure the font used supports the genre.

    For those who want to know more about the association of fonts to genres, here’s a link to get you started, and the PDF is free:

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Atticus has some interesting pre-built options, though none really worked for my books. I had to customize mine, which wasn’t hard. I agree with you—the interior needs to match the tone/genre just as much as the cover does. Great post, Joan.

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  9. I bought Atticus last year and have yet to open it. I really need to do that. Until I’m able to tackle it, I’m happy to hire a professional to do my formatting for me. As you said, Joan, when so much work goes into a book, the last thing you want to do is make it difficult to read because of sloppy formatting–or use fonts that don’t match the genre.
    I’m surprised by the number of indie books I pick up wherein a new chapter starts on the same page as the last scene of at the previous chapter. A simple page break would take care of the problem. Little things like that, while not changing the story, do detract from the presentation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think we purchased it about the same time. It was easy to learn, but I don’t blame you for hiring a professional if you aren’t sure. I haven’t tried Atticus for writing – I’ll stick with Scrivener – but they’re always updating and adding new things.

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  10. Pingback: The Interior of Your Book | Legends of Windemere

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