Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Style Proofs

picture of style proof v1
Style proof v1
I have to confess, when the style proofs arrived, I was buzzing with excitement. My words looked like a real book! It was very tempting to reply immediately and say, "It's great! It's great!"

But...

I had to remember that this is what the book will look like, once it's printed and on the shelves. People will look through it and the appearance of it may push them towards buying it or could drive them away.

I'm no expert in design or fonts or layouts etc. I do know that although I had a paperback version of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, I never read it because the font was just too small. I bought the e-book instead, because I could re-size the font. I'd been given the copy of Cloud Atlas; if I'd been browsing in a bookshop and flicked through it I would have put it straight down again.


If someone like me, with a science background and a C grade in art 'O' level will make a decision about buying a book based on flipping through it, I'm guessing that those more skilled in design, or who care more about these things than I do, will be swayed for/against a book too.

Of course, there is always the option of buying the e-book, as I did with Cloud Atlas. Would I have done that if I didn't know the author? Possibly. Possibly not. The cramped font and line-spacing could have cost the author a sale.

picture of style proof v2
Style proof v2
So what does a science graduate with a C grade in art 'O' level do, to ensure that the decisions made at this point won't be a barrier to someone buying the book in the future?

Ask for advice!

I've been discussing the fonts and layout and so on, both with my production manager at Matador and with friends and family. Some of the friends and family are very artistic; others are not. All opinions have been helpful! All of my friends and family read books and know whether they would be attracted or put off by different fonts and layouts.

The final fonts are yet to be decided, but it's been an interesting experience getting to this point.

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