- Be a fantasy author.
- Self-published or with small press.
- Meet basic quality standards.
- Be willing to provide an original bio.
This is an exciting opportunity for fantasy authors. It is 100% free and no strings attached. We just want you involved.
To qualify you must:
Today we interview author Aarti V Raman. When we think of book publishing, we often think of the United States, United Kingdom and a few others. Few outside the industry think of India, but in fact it's the second largest English book market in the world. Nielsen predicts it will be worth $11 billion USD in 2020. Bestsellers include authors familiar to most western readers, such as John Grisham, and some less familiar such as Shouvik Bhattacharya’s Murder in a Minute, as well as Amish Tripathi, Ravinder Singh and more. So, today, for more insight we’re talking with author Aarti V Raman.
Q: What is an ISBN?
A: It’s short for International Standard Book Number. Nowadays they’re 13 digits long and unique to each edition of a book.
For those that don't know, we're in the southern hemisphere. That means it's summer, sticky hot, and a really busy time for book selling. We're rushed off our feet. But as kids go back to school and business eases out, we're ready to get stuck in to expanding our reach and engaging with authors around the world. So some questions.
Never open a book with weather.
We work in the book industry, so we're handling books every day and are used to the way the big publishers make them. Without looking at the logo or the cover, there is one dead give away we see to indicate a book is self-published. It is one common mistake A LOT of authors make.
There's huge demand out there for help with interior formatting. Authors everywhere want to take pride in their work, so we've put together this eBook for self-published authors. This eBook will give you proven tips and strategies to format the interior of your book. Simple and easy to understand, it includes practical advice and hands-on activities so you can get your formatting done with confidence.
To get the most out of this eBook, keep paper or notebook handy. Each chapter ends with a series of homework assignments so you can personalize your interior formatting. No two books are the same, so we provide exercises that help establish what you need to know for your genre. At the end of the book, with your new knowledge and notes, you'll be ready to format a clean, professional looking interior.
Buy now for Kindle.
Due to popular demand, this week we're looking at paranormal romance. We've changed the questions around a bit and are now looking at:
Paranormal Romance titles seem to be smaller on the whole than other genres. 56% in our sample were 4.1" by 6.8". 26% were 4.25" by 7". These two formats combined fall within the scope of 'mass market paperback'. 14% were 5.06" by 7.81". This would be a traditional B format. 4% in our sample were traditional trade paperbacks, or 6" by 9".
This poses some issues for self-published authors, who on the whole stood out for their larger book sizes. CreateSpace (one of the most popular print on demand services) does not offer mass market paperback as a size. IngramSpark does (4" x 6", 4" x 7", 4.25" x 7”), but they charge a setup fee. The most practical option, to fit in with the majority of traditionally published paranormal romance, would be to opt for 5.06" by 7.81".
First Line Indents
Next we wanted to look how the paranormal romance books used indenting. In particular, in this case, we looked at the depth of the indent on the first line of each new paragraph. 84% of the books used an indent of approximately 0.15". 12% used 0.2" and 4% used 0.25". Unsurprisingly, the larger indent sizes correlated with the larger formats.
As is normal, 100% of those books sampled did not indent the first line of a paragraph when there was a space between them (for example with a scene change).
As in previous weeks, we wanted to see whether paranormal romance authors used chapter titles (ie. “Deception”, “Turning Point” etc…), or just numbers (ie. Chapter 31, 31, #31, Chapter Thirty-One etc…). The results here were overwhelmingly in one direction. 100% of those books sampled (we are very wary about ever going 100% with such a matter of taste) used numbers without any other title or name given to the chapter. You can compare this to the fantasy genre where 53% of books give names to their chapters.
We also looked to see if headers ran across the tops of pages. Previously we'd found 49.5% of general fiction had headers. With paranormal romance this was way different. 76% of our sample had headers.
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Let's look at margin sizes. They're hardly the most glamorous part of a book, but if they're wrong, people will notice. Take a look at this example. It is an edition of The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante published by Simon & Schuster.
One of the first things you notice is all that white space. All four sides have margins over an inch and a bit wide. This is not normal - and what is surprising is it was done by a major publisher. It used to be that a hallmark of a self-published work was margins too big or too small for the format. I guess we all make mistakes sometimes.
So how do you avoid this? What is 'normal'?
To find out we did another one of our experiments. We randomly collected 20 fiction books sized 6 inches by 9 inches, and 20 fiction books sized 5.06 inches by 7.81 inches. These are two common sizes in bookstores. We realize there are lots of others sizes, but we'll stick to these two for now. We then looked at four key measurements. These were the top (distance from top of the page to the top of the main body of text), the bottom (the distance from the bottom of the page to the bottom of the main body of text), the outside (the distance from the outside of the page to the main body of text) and the gutter (the distance from the paper inside the spine to the beginning of the main body of text).
Lost already? Here's a diagram.
Now for the number dump.
For the 6 inch by 9 inch trade paperback books, the median margins were:
Gutter: 0.85 inches.
Outside: 0.8 inches.
Bottom: 1 inch.
Top: 0.9 inches.
For the 5.06 inch by 7.81 inch trade paperback books, the median margins were:
Gutter: 0.65 inches
Outside: 0.55 inches.
Bottom: 0.9 inches.
Top: 0.6 inches.
There was a lot of variability it is fair to say there is no 'one size fits all'. One key variable for the top and bottom was placement of header or page numbers, as these required extra room. Also, the thicker the book the larger the potentially required gutter.
What are your default margin sizes?
As always, if you like this be sure to 'like' it and share it with your network. Let us know if you have any other areas of formatting you would like us to delve into. Next week we'll be back to looking at formatting with individual genres.