We are Gods 2: FONTS and PARAGRAPHS

STANDARD FONTS IN EBOOKS ADVICE:

… limited to a minimum number used … one, two at most.

I agree that a bunch of fonts confuses the eye if they are too different from one another. But what’s a font?

Books, Trad or E, are limited by physical parameters. And devices change how much can be fit on a line. You might use Open Sans for most text and Open Sans Narrow for chapter titles because the font allows more characters per line.

Or, you might use a font like Deja Vu because it has serif and non-serif versions. This can distinguish chapter titles from subtitles. 

… eReaders [render unpredictably] … a font that may look fine on an iPad may not render the same way on a Kindle or other device…

Absolutely. The question for me was, what’re the programs doing? I have a test title on Amazon and I load all kinds of variations of stuff in there to see what it looks like on multiple devices.

The variations included: serif or non, normal or italic, relative size

I create all my titles on Google Docs (I don’t have Word. I download an rtf file and upload to Amazon.) in Georgia because the font size jumps from 14pt to 18pt. That relativity seems to be maintained by programs even if the style changes. The 4pt difference is best for the way I format a time jump and usually shows up well no matter what I view it on:

formattingebook
Rendering the 4pt difference at a time jump.

Spacing is an issue, also, as different programs can smoosh your lines together for a solid black body of almost unreadable text. Yeah, not user-friendly.

I got these numbers from an article on eBook formatting:

  • Line spacing 1.39
  • Add line after paragraph

And from the same source:

  • left justify
  • no first line indent

This is how the text on this image from my Kindle was formatted.

Another area where fonts are critical is on book covers, that’ll get a whole other post.

All paragraphs should be indented. …

Print books are indented to save paper.

If there’s a space between graphs, it adds a significant number of pages. If there’s no space and no indent, the book is one long paragraph and close to impossible to read.

Indenting without spacing is difficult to read on most cell phones or readers. IF you keep the extra spaces between graphs like Amazon does, it’s not terrible. But many programs don’t.

Here’s a comparison between a Draft to Digital rendering and a Kindle rendering. (Note that Kindle now has left justification.) D2D had a problem with consistency.

kneescompare
D2D on the left, Kindle on the right, rendering the same draft.

You might think the page on the left is better.If so, do that. But don’t do it because someone said you should. For me, as a reader, the indent fatigues my eyes far more, making several small adjustments to find the next line, rather than one. And I hate the way it looks. (Though I steal the line across the page under the title. Very clean.) Also, the blocks with space take up more room, but we aren’t paying for paper and ink.

I do other things like not write a graph longer than four lines so my readers rarely face a sold block of text. The question we all need to answer is: what’s best for the reader?

As our own publishers, we make these choices. We experiment or see what works in other eBooks.  Over time, a consistent style will emerge, naturally. We are creating tradition.


NEXT: EMPHASIS FORMATTING (italics and underlines and CAPS, oh, my!)

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