Layout Planning: Advice from a Professional Typesetter

It may help to figure out the book's format (say size, portrait versus landscape, available margins, etc.) fairly early on, since it can have a big impact on how you'll organize your text, graphics, tables, etc. If you don’t yet have a publisher, look at already published books of similar topics and functions to get a sense of the possibilities.

Questions to consider:

How much text, roughly, will fit on one page? Will I have illustrations? What are good sizes for my pictures? Can I use colored text? Can I use colored or gray shading in tables or text boxes? Do I want to use footnotes/endnotes? marginalia?  tables? cross-references to other parts of the book? an index? numbered formulas? ...

If I have very few headings (many pages apart), can I help readers orient themselves with column headings, or chapter numbers/logos/watermarks?

Can the text flow freely from page to page? Or do I want to consider each page as an independent unit? If the latter, what will be some typical "page styles"? What do I want each page to look like?

It happens all the time that…

So authors should try to use page margins, font sizes, and so on so that the Word pages will already look much like the finished book (or at least of the planned layout roughly scaled to Letter/A4).

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