Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harriet Hodgson – Avoiding Lazy Layout

Avoiding Lazy Layout

by Harriet Hodgson

Finishing a book is always exciting. If I could, I would do cartwheels down the main street of my city. I would stand on rooftops and shout, “Listen up People! I just finished my book!” Of course, I don’t do these things, but I have celebrated with dinner at a local restaurant. While I am writing I am constantly making notes about the interior design, and these notes come from my graduate degree in art.

I don’t want any book of mine to have lazy layout.

Just as a poor cover turns off customers, poor layout turns them off too. But good layout gets the reader’s attention and allows him or her to see the structure of the book. I think of layout as a road map, with top page headings that state the author and chapter, and ongoing headings that show where you are in the book. Headings should match the Table of Contents.

The graphic designer wants your book to look good and to be known for quality work. Recently I had a phone conference with the graphic designer about my latest book, Walking Woman: Step-by-Step to a Healthier Heart. Before the call, I sat down at the computer and made a wish list of graphic design elements I wanted. What was on my list?

  1. I wanted the margins on both left and right to be straight. After I finished the book I realized I had written it with a so-called “ragged right.” Lining up both margins is called justifying the text, and most publishers do it.
  2. On the opening page of Walking Woman I thanked the two people who had helped me. I asked the designer to insert something, a special line, small leaf, or other symbol, between my thanks and a quotation from the book. This would make the page look better.
  3. The white space in a book is crucial to design, giving the reader a place to rest his or her eyes or jot down notes. To add white space, I asked the graphic designer to start each chapter halfway down the page. He liked the idea.
  4. Having left-justified headings is something I also asked for. As I explained to the designer, this is something I have often seen in books. During our conversation the designer said he would probably make the headings larger than I had, and I agreed to this.
  5. To balance the left-justified headings, I asked for the chapter numbers to be at the top right. He really liked this idea.
  6. We agreed that the headings should have a different font to make them stand out.
  7. Walking Woman includes a granola recipe. “Can you make it look like a recipe card?” I asked. He said he could and could also add a shadow behind the card.
  8. Each chapter has a resource list at the end. I had centered the “Resources” heading, but the designer thought it should be left-justified to match the other headings. Good idea!

I would receive sample layout pages within five working days, the designer said. Within another five days I would receive a proof. Some may think sharing an interior layout wish list with the designer is a bit pushy; I think it makes sense. “You’ve saved me lots of time,” the designer said. With his expertise I know my book will look good, dressed up and ready to go out. Think about the interior of your book as you are writing it and make a wish list.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Health / Wellness

Rating – G

More details about the book

Connect with Harriet W Hodgson on Twitter


No comments:

Post a Comment