Self-Publishing Basics: How to Pick the Size of your Book
[Approximate Reading Time: 5 mins]
So, you are done writing, and your manuscript is ready for the publishing team. Now, the question foremost in your mind is bound to be about the size of your book, also known as trim size. This question assumes more significance when it comes to self-publishing. Apart from aesthetics, the size of a book matters considerably when it comes to issues such as the cost of printing and shipping. While there are no strict rules about the size of a book, keeping a few guidelines in mind can come in handy.
A trim size refers to the height and width of pages of a book. This will be the actual size of the book after it is printed, and there are some industry standards based on the genre. Let’s look at some common trim sizes used by established publishers.
In the fiction category, comprising of novels and trade paperbacks, there are three common book sizes to choose from. These are, the US Trade – 6” x 9”, Digest – 5.5” x 8.5”, and A5 – 5.83” x 8.27”. The US Trade size is also used for non-fiction publications along with the Crown Quarto – 7.44” x 9.68”. Similarly, the Executive – 7” x 10” is suitable for graphic novels as well as textbooks or manuals. The A4 size – 8.27” x 11.69” and US Letter – 8.5” x 11” are some other choices available for textbooks, workbooks, and manuals. When it comes to photobooks, popular sizes are Square – 8.5” x 8.5” and Small Landscape – 9” x 7”.
Making The Right Choice
First, determine which of these broad categories your book falls into. A large number of self-published books tend to be trade paperbacks due to the versatility in sizes available. These can range from 5.5’’ x 8.5’’ to 6’’ x 9’’, and the page proportions do not vary much. These are good sizes for novels, short story collections, essay compilations, and memoirs. Longer novels can be made less bulky with the 6” x 9” size.
However, if you have a manual or an instructional book on hand, then you might want to consider the next option on the list. Opting for the 8’’ x 10’’ to 8.5’’ x 11’’ size can ensure sufficient space on each page for drawings and graphics as well as a two-column layout for the text.
A trim size of 5.5’’ x 8.5” or 6” x 9” usually works for most books. This is because they are comfortable to hold when reading, not too bulky, and can accommodate fonts that are easy on the eye.
You will then need to determine the genre and niche of your book and then do quick research on what the preferred book size for this segment is. Readers of specific genres tend to prefer books that feel and look similar to what they are used to. Differing drastically in this can make them hesitant to pick up the book. A quick run to the closest bookstore or a search of online retailers should give you an idea of what is popular.
Does Font Matter?
While you are doing your due diligence, get a look at the font used in these books. This is because fonts will determine the spacing on the page. Together with the trim size you choose, this will decide the number of pages in your book. The number of pages will, in turn, determine the print cost of your book. A smaller font will fit more words on each page, and this means the total number of pages will come down. Having fewer pages to be printed might help you save on printing costs.
That being said, it is essential to know that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. While it is advisable and a safe bet to stick to the industry standard size for your genre, there’s no harm in being a little adventurous and trying something new either!
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