Book FlowPosted on: 10 Jun 2017, by : Sean Broadchest
If you are self-publishing a novel, like I am with Search for the Emerald Tablet, you can save yourself a lot of pages by correctly flowing your book.
When I created the first version of the novel in Serif PagePlus, the publishing software I use, I chose a standard block layout as you would use for a report, or other document. There was no paragraph indent and the paragraphs were all separated by 6 points of blank space. This was visually pleasing, and appealed to my sense of balance. When the book was finished, and I checked widow/orphan control, I noticed the pages were not lining up nicely. Still, I went ahead and submitted it to blurb.ca as an X-3 type PDF file. I ordered a few copies to see what it looked like. In general, I was happy with the printed books. This is how I produced Final versions 2 and 3 as well. In total, there were 378 story pages using Georgia 12-point font.
Not long afterwards, I was checking out some firms and blogs that offered services that included laying out the inside of the book. This got me thinking! I picked up a bunch of books I had laying around the place, and looked at their content layout. Hmm…they were all using the same style…indented paragraphs and no extra white space. Orphan/widow control was also pretty much out the window. The next time I was in Superstore and Walmart, I checked the books they had on display. Same deal. The vast majority had page numbers at the top, with the title centred at the top of the right page and the author’s name centred at the top of the left page.
When I completed final, final version 4, I changed the flow of the book to match the commercial books I had look at. What a difference! Although I did chop off a few story pages to tighten the story, the new layout resulted in a reduction to 336 story pages! Not only did I save myself 42 pages, my book now looks exactly like all the other commercial books–professional! With an ISBN block, complete with pricing, on the back cover, the book is shelf-ready.