Why Font Matters

The font of your text says a lot more than you might think. In addition to being a creative way to present your text, various fonts convey various attitudes and ideas. For example, Times New Roman, the most popular font in the US and the preferred font to be printed books and magazines, is called to convey authority and information.
Why Font Matters
When writing a document for publication, it is important to use a non-proportional font, a font with each character having the same width. This includes Times New Roman and Courier, the most common fonts for manuscripts. Non-proportional fonts make the text appear to have been typed on a typewriter, and the publishing industry is known for being anti-computer. This is changing and will change, but for now it is still important to submit your manuscript in an acceptable font if you plan to have your book printed.

Ebooks are another story. In an ebook, fonts can be used very creatively. The trick is to use restraint and balance. Do not use more than 4 fonts, as this can be very obnoxious for readers. Be consistent with fonts too—use the same font for all headings, even if you use a different font for the body text. You might use one font only for the cover or title page, or one font for one section, depending on the subject matter.

Font size is also worth considering. A traditional manuscript needs to be set in 12pt font, while an ebook can use another size, usually larger because the text is designed to be read onscreen. The same rule goes for font size: do not vary the size too often. Yes, headings might look better in a larger font in your ebook, but do not change the font size of the body text from paragraph to paragraph.

For a traditional manuscript (for your novel for example) should always be in all black. Ebooks may use other colors. The reason a printed manuscript must be in all black is mainly because there is no point in using color – the manuscript is designed to be easily read by a potential agent or publisher, and odd colors can make it hard to read. Also, the manuscript you turn in for possible publication is no the same as the printed manuscript which goes to press, so your color choices will not be reflected in the final copy or the actual book if it is published.

Of course, there are always exceptions to these rules, and some vanity publishers have no regard for the “old school” guidelines, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Some publishers will not read your manuscript if the fonts are wrong. Some will. It’s your choice ultimately.

Often, writers do not have time to care for all the nuances of manuscript preparation, and a professional editor is hired to format the manuscript. In addition to proofreading your work, professional editors are available to properly format your manuscript. Therefore, if you don’t have time to go back through and correct all the odd fonts and varied sizes or colors, you can simply enlist a professional editor. I have done this work many times, and it is always satisfying to maximize the potential of good content by ensuring it is properly presented. For more information on fonts visit fontvilla.wordpress.com.

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