Book design tip
In book design, a widow is a short line ending a paragraph that appears at the top of a page. An orphan is the first line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page or column. Per The Chicago Manual of Style, widows should be avoided. Orphans are okay because they are always a full line, never a word or two.
When I was presenting a book design workshop at a Willamette Writers Conference years ago, a woman said that the house style of her publisher, the Penguin Group, was to allow widows if they were a full line.
“Self-published books don’t usually look this professional,” was what my client Pauli Halstead was told by the traditional publisher who picked up her book. My goal is to make a book look as professional as possible so it can easily compete with traditionally published books. I follow the rules in The Chicago Manual of Style and I work with kerning or the number of lines on the page to eliminate widows in the books I design.
ALL Publications turns 24 years old on October 24! The first 12 years I spent writing and designing newsletters and brochures, and the last 12 years I’ve focused solely on book design, which I love. The number of authors who return with more books for me to design amazes me because publishing can be hard work. Not to mention book marketing.
As successful authors have found, they are their own best marketers. Even traditional publishers want to know about their authors’ “platforms” and how they are going to market their own books.
For help with marketing, M.J. Rose has written “How to Write Attention-Grabbing Promo Copy for Books.”
Maureen Driscoll released book 4 in the Jasmine Cottage series: Where Souls Embrace. I had the privilege of designing this cover, as well as her others, and she frequently tells me when readers mention they purchase based on the covers. Here’s one such comment.
Finding Land: Stories of Japan by Marian Pierce chronicles the adventures of two card-carrying members of the Tokyo’s “Foreign Wives of Japanese” club at the height of Japan’s economic boom years. I designed the cover and interior pages of the print book. Marian presented at a workshop (good marketing!) and her firecracker personality comes through at 26 minutes into this video.
Cannonball Run 1919: A Transcontinental Motorcycle Journey by Vahan M. Dinihanian, Jr., is based on the diary of Erling J. Hangerud. It illustrates two adventurous young men who rode from Portland, Oregon, to New York City via the Yellowstone Trail on a 1918 Indian Powerplus and a 1918 Harley-Davidson. Their mishaps and successes take us back to that era, along with vignettes describing significant historical details relevant to their journey. I designed the cover and full-color interior.
Help for Independent Presses
Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.