Before I share the do’s and don’ts, I can tell you that when in doubt – OUTSOURCE IT!
I strongly recommend that you use a typesetter for your book to ensure your book design and layout look as professional as possible.
You can easily find someone on Fiverr who is quite experienced.
That said, to make it easier on your typesetter and to reduce your cost, I suggest you learn the basics when it comes to which are the best fonts to use in your book and which ones you should avoid at all cost.
As a general rule of thumb professional editors will tell you that “sans serif” fonts are best kept for titles and sub-tiles, while “serif” fonts are best for the text.
The logic behind this recommendation is that “serif” fonts are way easier on the eyes.
That said, when looking at a book online or an e-book, sans “serif fonts” tend to be easier for us to read. But when we read a book on paper, it is much better to use a “serif font” for the body of the text.
It’s a small detail that can have a huge impact when it comes to reader experience because it affects readability.
But how in the world are you supposed to know what’s a “sans serif” or a “serif” font when this is your first attempt at self-publishing and you’re not a trained typographic expert?
Using sans serif font for things such as title and chapter headings, but serif for the main text, will create a believable and visually appealing book for your buyer.
I’ll walk you through the steps and I’ve added images so you know exactly when to use which type of fonts. I also should add that you’ll find “sans serif” and “serif” font options on both the MAC and PC.
Quick Definition Of “Sans Serif” Versus “Serif” Fonts
Before moving forward, I wanted to offer a formal definition of both because if you intend on writing more than one book, the terms “sans serif” and “serif” will show up frequently.
“Sans Serif Font”. This is the font that does not have the small projecting features called “serifs” at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning “without”. Sans-serif fonts tend to have less line width variation than serif fonts. In print, sans-serif fonts are used for headlines rather than for body text. The conventional wisdom holds that serifs help guide the eye along the lines in large blocks of text. Sans-serifs, however, have acquired considerable acceptance for body text in Europe.
“Serif Font”. In typography (the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible), a serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol, such as when handwriting is separated into distinct units for a typewriter or typesetter.
Best Fonts To Use For Your Book:
Now that I’ve given you a proper definition, I want to show you the difference between the two different types of fonts you’ll be working with:
Now, let’s look at the best and worst font to use for your book.
***Here’s a hit, each bolded font name is the actual font! This will allow you to see why a font might or might not work for your book.***
A) 7 Best Fonts To Use For Your Book:
1. Helvetica. This is a“sans serif font” that’s not nearly as overused as Arial. Helvetica is a more creative font than Arial for your titles and subtitles.
2. Calibri. It’s alas the default font for Word for titles & headings. Calibri works in word processing when you’re typing up manuscripts, but it’s too recognizable to print in a final book. It’s personally not my favourite, but it works for publishing.
3. Garamond. This is a great “serif font” that’s clean and professional looking for the text of your book.
4. Georgia. This is another “serif font” that works for the text of your book.
5. Courier. This font is good in a portion of a book or article that you specifically want to look like a typewriter for some reason. It should only be in short bursts, though, since proportional fonts “flow” better.
6. New Gothic MT. This is a “sans serif font” that could work well for titles and sub-titles depending on the “feel” you’re trying to go for with your book.
7. Chalkboard. This is a “sans serif font”that reads well for your titles and sub-titles are more original than Arial. This might not work for all book genres, but it might be one to consider.
8. Cambria. It’s alas the default font for Word for text. Cambria is not offensive, but it’s not the most attractive font either. If you don’t want to fuss too much over the perfect font, you can default to Cambria, if you hire a typesetter, they may help in coming up with a more original option.
B) 10Fonts To Avoid At All Cost For Your Book:
1. Arial. This is a great “serif font”, but way too overused. It’s all over the net and all over print media.
2. Cooperplate. This font is fully capitalized and it would be impossible to write an entire book in a capitalized font if readability is important to you – and it should.This is definitely a font you should avoid.
3. Courier. Yes, I know I put it as part of the list of “best fonts”, but I did explain why. You may want to have a typewriter feel if you’re writing a fiction book, but do NOT write an entire book using that font.
4. Curlz. This is a font that really works for a 7-year-old birthday party invitation, but not for a book. Even if you’re writing a children’s book, I’d recommend against using it in the titles, as remember the parents are most likely going to read that book.
5. Brush Script. Since you can barely read the name of the font because it’s script and italic, it’s wise not to use it in your book because your reader will have a hard time reading it as well. This font looks quite amateurish and you can do better than that.
6. Papyrus. Take a cue from the name of this font and keep it for Power Point presentation on historical facts and not for your book – unless it’s a book on ancient Egypt.
7. Cracked. Perhaps you might be writing ahorror fiction book, but that’s not even a good enough reason to use Cracked. It’s not the most reader-friendly font.
8. Apple Chancery. This is a cutesy font that’s not appropriate for the text or your book or your titles or sub-titles.
9. Desdemona. I’m not quite sure why this font is available in Word, but I’d highly recommend you refrain from using it anywhere in your book. Honestly, I’d place it at the top of the list to win the Award for worst font for readability.
10. Dazzling Divas. This is the same concept as the Curlz font– it might be cute as a signature or font for an invitation, but not even romance fiction novelists should attempt to use this font in their books.
There are other fonts, but if you’re looking for a professional book and e-book, I’d follow this list. Most readers are not typographers and are probably oblivious to the subtle differences among typefaces and most first time Indie publishers might find themselves in the same boat.
That’s why I highly recommend hiring someone for Fiverr who will make your life way easier.
If you have other fonts to recommend, please leave your comments in the comment area below.
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