We can all agree that writing a book is a blood-draining process. It’s even more challenging to format it attractively because, unlike writing, formatting isn’t a natural skill. As a fledgling writer who’s still learning the different formatting elements, you must wonder what font size would make your book more aesthetic, readable, and professional.
The font size used in books ranges between 10pt to 12pt for the body text, 12pt to 14pt for subtitles, and 14pt to 16pt for headings. While these sizes may be changed depending on certain factors, they’re usually easy to read and excellent for both fiction and non-fiction books.
It’s no secret that self-publishing is taking the book industry by storm. As a writer with no clue about book printing and publishing, you might have a question or two about font sizes. Read on to understand how you can format your book in a way that attracts readers and keeps their heads buried in your words.
Font Size for Body, Chapter Headings, and Section Titles
Although the font size used in a book’s normal text usually varies, most authors use a 12-point size as the standard. 16-point sizes are considered perfect for chapter titles, while section titles do well with 14-point sizes. These font sizes make the heading and section titles more noticeable and different from the body.
It’s also a good idea to choose a font for chapter titles that differs from the body. In this case, I can recommend Helvetica. With the body’s font size being 12-pt, you can consider writing your chapter titles in 16-point font, bold, and ALL CAPS.
Why Font Size Matters
While weaving imaginations into words takes the praise of a book, typesetting is the uncelebrated hero. In fact, you’ll barely notice the formatting of a book with a high-quality arrangement on its pages.
So, why is font size significant?
When you use the right font sizes, your book becomes:
- Pleasant to look at.
- Easy to read.
- Suitable to the context and genre of your story.
Using the right font size also helps demonstrate to the reader that you are considerate, careful, and professional. And if you aren’t self-publishing, it helps you match the publisher’s preferences. This directly affects the editing charges, total page count, and, obviously, the cost of publishing.
Factors That Influence the Choice of Font Sizes
Fonts are generally divided into two; Serif and San Serif.
Serif fonts have an extra stroke or curve at the end and might be difficult to read, especially if the texts are small-sized. ‘Sans’ literally means ‘without’, so Sans Serif fonts do not have the little curves and are considered ideal for books.
As mentioned earlier, 10-12 point San Serif fonts are the ideal sizes for a book’s body. However, you aren’t limited to them, especially if you are self-publishing. You can settle on any other size.
But first, you must look into these factors before making any decision:
The Target Audience
Your target audience affects the font size you will use in your book. Who will read the book? Are they adults who barely have time to read or young teenagers who are obsessed with romance novels? Are they kids?
You must choose a font size that your target audience will find easy to read. For instance, kids prefer reading books with much larger font sizes since they are more striking and digestible to them.
Your writing genre is another critical factor to consider when choosing font sizes. While this may go hand-in-hand with the target audience, choosing an ideal font size for your writing genre affects readers’ perception significantly enough to warrant special attention.
For instance, it’s an unwritten rule that scholarly books should be printed with small-size fonts. Perhaps it’s because this kind of text requires the reader’s complete concentration.
Whatever the reason, authors typically use smaller-size fonts to express seriousness, intelligence, and authenticity, and it works like a charm. That’s why a smaller font size is standard in modern literary fiction and classic books.
On the contrary, non-fiction books tend to use larger fonts. Readers of this genre find large-size fonts easily readable and more appealing.
Trim size is the measure of the Length and Width of your book. You should determine the size of the book you want to publish before starting to write.
Beforehand knowledge will help you select the type of font to use and the potential page count of the book. Of course, smaller trim sizes will demand smaller sizes and more pages, and vice versa.
Publishers are typically economical with a book’s number of pages, so consider asking yourself these questions before approaching a publishing firm:
- How long is your story?
- How do they charge for their services?
If your story or message is too long, the words will be more and will eat up more pages. To reduce the costs of publishing, you may consider using smaller-size fonts, consequently reducing the number of pages.
When formatting your book, you must recognize that your potential readers will have different eyesight abilities 一 not everyone is hawk-eyed. Consider choosing a font size that your readers can follow from line to line.
The best way to solve the font size problem is to ensure that you (as the author) don’t strain when you read through a few lines of the book.
The Bottom Line
You must give enough thought to every element of your book writing process, including formatting. There are many ways to format your book. But as I’ve explained in this post, most of it comes down to the font size.
As much as it may sound overwhelming, selecting a font size is an essential practice that you can learn easily. I’d say trust your gut more, especially if you’re an experienced writer. If a 12-point font size doesn’t look appealing despite being the “norm” in your writing domain, experiment with other sizes and see what suits you. Good luck!