Friday, November 7, 2008
If you read this book,
you may want to re-do your book
Unfortunately, there are lots of really ugly books being published now.
The rise of desk-top publishing, self-publishing and Print-On-Demand has made it possible for anyone with a credit card and blood pressure above zero to act like a publisher.
There are no licensing requirements, and unlike years ago when future printers worked as apprentices to expert printers, anyone can now put words on paper. A lot of those words are just dumped, with little or no preparation, thought, knowledge, or artistic ability.
(The worst-looking book I've seen lately is Best in Publishing & Print on Demand by David Rising. Rising tries to advise authors on self-publishing, but his own book is a great example of what not to do.)
Fortunately, there's a WONDERFUL book that will tell you what to do.
The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici is both a beautiful book to look at, and a complete yet easy-to understand reference work that will be invaluable to any self-publisher.
It will help professionals using sophisticated publishing software, and will even help amateurs like me who are trying to make the most out of Microsoft Word.
It will help you avoid stupid mistakes, and enable you to make your books both prettier and more professional. It includes the typographical history, secrets and tricks that used to be passed from father to son (but seldom to daughters).
I had a course in printing back in eighth grade, and a course called Advertising Art Production while in college. I've also worked in advertising agencies, I've designed award-winning websites, and have written several books. But Felici taught me a lot. He taught me so much, in fact, that I am revising two of my books.
Price is $50 (before discounts) but it's worth every penny if it helps you avoid looking like an idiot. If you buy it from Amazon.com, the price is just $31.50.