So I have a real book. I got the proof copy of the novel from the printers last week. In general I am very pleased with it, it is compact, well designed, and looks good, professional, like a real book. It is a physical object that I, in part, have created. To hold it in my hand and flick through the pages, seeing words that I wrote, definitely made an impact.
There is just one problem with it, the inside margins are too narrow. I gave it to a couple of people to look at, and they didn’t really comment on this, but I noticed it. The margins were set at 15mm on the inside and outside, but when the book was printed and bound the binding took up about 2mm of that space on the inside, and so it looks a little cramped. It is still readable, but it might not be as comfortable a read as it should be.
So I had to go back to my book designer, Martin, and ask him to adjust things a little. What he has done is just move the text over about 2mm. In other words it is exactly the same organization, but the inside margins are now 17mm and the outside are 13mm. The text is going to be closer to the edge of the page, but that is fine, there is enough room. I think it will make a big difference to readability.
It is curious to think that such a tiny change can make such a significant difference, but it will. For book design you need to think in such small measurements as millimetres, and one or two each way can effect how you experience a book. There is some research to suggest that the design of a book and its layout can have a greater influence on how someone enjoys that book than you might think, so it is important to get it right. This, I think, is one lesson I have learned from this whole process.
Right now I am trying to sort out the e-book. In fact it is already on Kindle, and I have had six sales there, though there are still things to be worked out with the file and layout. The iBook should be up this week. But more of that later…….