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How to Find the Perfect Font for Your Novel

The font is the workhorse of your book and sends out a message to readers about the kind of content to expect. But before you set out to find the perfect font for your book, you need to understand the basic terminology.

1. Font Terminology

- A font, also referred to as the typeface, forms part of a font family, has a specific weight, and is available in different sizes. 

- A font belongs to a specific font family. For example, the font Times New Roman belongs to the Times Family. 

- Serif Typefaces has a tiny extension on each letter.

- Sans Serif Typeface is a plain font without any extension. 

- The point sizing scale determines the size of the letters.

- The weight of a font means the thickness of the letters and elements like italic and bold. 

- The height of the lower case x for a specific font is called the x-height.

2. Factors to consider when choosing a font

- Remember to keep it simple. The font performs a powerful function but should be the least noticeable aspect of your book; otherwise, it distracts the reader from the content. 

- You need to choose a font that will be comfortable for people to read. The determining factor for readability is eligibility, meaning how easily you can distinguish letters from each other. 

- Serif fonts are better for readability since they help bring the text together by pulling the reader's eye from letter to letter. It maximizes eye movement and increases reading speed.

- Your typeface sent a specific message to your readers, evoking emotions, like making them feel welcome, cheerful, mysterious, etc. It will help convey your writing tone and complement the author's message. 

- It would be best to stay with a single serif typeface and use bold and italic variants, with a complementary sans serif font for headings and chapter titles. Use bold for headings and italics for emphasis, foreign words, etc.

- You will need to purchase your chosen font since free downloads are illegal. Ensure you buy the entire font family so that you can access the bold and italic versions as well. In design software, every variation is physically a different font. 

- Typefaces should have generous spacing to speed up reading and a tall x-height to increase legibility. 

- Set up a style sheet and experiment by changing elements, but only one at a time. Get other people's opinions, but once you have done your research, sometimes you may need to follow your gut!

3. Good fonts to consider for your book's content

The favorite font book designers choose is Caslon, which has many versions. It is solid and dependable and is warm, inviting, and easy to read.  

Other great choices are Garamond, Jenson, Minion, and Palatino. You can choose a complementary sans serif font for headings and chapter titles. 

Now that you have learned about font terminology and the factors involved in choosing a legible font, start your style sheet and play around with possible font combinations. Have fun with it, and soon you will find the perfect font combination for your book!


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Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt