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2,341 Views 6 Replies Last post: Nov 30, 2017 10:14 AM by Lorem_Ipsum RSS
Level 0 110 posts since
Apr 26, 2016
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 29, 2017 2:45 PM

Book and font size

Many say a book (novel/fiction) should be 6"x9" and font similar in size to Garamond 12.


So...I took the bait and my first novel was 6"x9" and Garamond 12, single-spaced.


It resembles a technical pamphlet or something.


After comparing it to novels I own and various books at the library, I realize 6x9 is HUGE. Some larger novels are probably 5x7? (I did not measure the other books.) And some come even smaller. And font size! While none seemed to be in Garamond, I could still tell they were NOT similar to Garamond 12, single-spaced. They all looked slighly larger and better spaced.


What do you all recommend?



And should I re-do my first novel in the newer-better size?

Level 5 4,129 posts since
Oct 27, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
2. Nov 29, 2017 5:26 PM in response to: gdavies
Re: Book and font size

There's nothing special about 6" x 9". However, check the online material about which sizes are OK for the various distribution channels. Choose the combination of format and layout that suits your text. The end result should be neither a block nor a wafer. Use your own judgement. It's always a good idea to get hold of books you like, use a rule to measure margins and line spacing and count lines and characters per line. Of course, if you feel like disregarding this advice, you can do so. It's your book, and you can make it any way you like.

Level 5 12,995 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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3. Nov 30, 2017 9:26 AM in response to: gdavies
Re: Book and font size

Those smaller novels you are looking at are most likely mass market paperbacks, produced in large volume using cheap papers, cover stock, inks, and binding methods. These are different than trade paperbacks, which use higher quality paper, covers/laminates, inks, and binding methods -- and carry a higher list price.


Major publishers commonly release a trade paperback with the same trim size and page layout as the hardcover edition, or in lieu of a hardcover edition. A mass market paperback version will only be printed if/when the book is a proven success.


The print-on-demand books produced by CreateSpace have more in common with trade paperbacks, and they must carry a similarly higher list price in order to make a profit.


6x9 is often suggested because it can be produced by any book printer in the USA with any papers or bindings they offer (which gives the serious self-publishing author, who has invested significant time or money on design and page layout, more options in the future). Some of the other trim sizes that are "standard" for CreateSpace are not available with other printers.


Garamond is the most commonly used typeface for books published in North America (making it a "safe" choice for self-publishers who don't have design training). 12-pt Garamond was used for the first US hardcover and trade paperback editions of every Harry Potter book except one (which used 11.5-pt due to its length) -- but I agree that it is a little large for an adult novel (I would use 11-pt for that).


I hope that provides some helpful explanations.

Level 4 2,943 posts since
Feb 7, 2015
Currently Being Moderated
4. Nov 30, 2017 9:39 AM in response to: gdavies
Re: Book and font size

gdavies wrote:


slightly, not slighly; saw that mistake as I posted but I don't know how to edit my post.


(And yes, I know there are Createspace docs about this but for some reason I've been unable to access any docs/resources all day.)

I suggest you use the Edit link immediately below the message.

Level 5 19,170 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
5. Nov 30, 2017 10:08 AM in response to: gdavies
Re: Book and font size

If you looked at the books you have and you feel one or more of them is a good model for what you want, set up a new file using all the measurements you can make from your model book.  The most common except might be the inside margin where CS has minimum margins that your model might not meet.


I recommend taking this new file, and put in the copy from several pages of your model book.  I will scan the book and convert to editable text. I use freeocr or Acrobat's convert to editable text feature.  There are lots of resoucres available for converting scans of text to editable text.  Then I would adjust the the typeface, type size, and leading so that these pages match your model.  You won't be exact, but you can be very very close.


Depending on how much control you want, you might want to take a look at Type and Typography, link below.


Also, I would avoid using a CS template.  They are often corrupt or easily corruptable.




Bleeds,  free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary: free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations for  CreateSpace users Type & Typography: free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary, and type specimen pages  Free: list of free PDF downloads; selfpublishingforum: spam free forum. Contact  for graphics, design, and typesetting help.



Level 4 2,943 posts since
Feb 7, 2015
Currently Being Moderated
6. Nov 30, 2017 10:14 AM in response to: gdavies
Re: Book and font size

In addition to Maaku's, Lighthouse24's, and Walton's excellent advice, be aware that reducing trim size is likely to increase page count and therefore printing cost, unless you also reduce the font size and/or margins.


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