Recently, my friend Helen has been writing about fonts. Because she knows what she is talking about, I'd like to share some of what she has to say with my readers.
As the Historical Novel Society UK editor for Indie published books I have had several of my reviewers on the team comment about incorrect fonts used by Indie authors. And I recall a Tweet by an agent who rejected a submission because it was in Comic Sans font.
I thought that a bit harsh of the agent – does it matter if a submitted MS (be it an e-copy or hard copy on paper) is presented in Comic Sans?
Well apparently, yes it does, because regardless of the content, the ability of the writer, the agent didn’t even look at it, for the simple reason (I have since discovered) that many people find it difficult to read Comic Sans. Although as I pointed out at the time, dyslexics and people with reading/sight difficulties prefer this font as it is easier for them to read (see below).
But yes, the type of font used when producing your book is very important – it can be the difference between accept or reject as far as your book is concerned.
The font sets the readability of your book. It attracts attention – or shuns it if you are using the wrong font. It defines the feel of the page.
You dress in your best clothes if you are attending a job interview – you want to impress, create the right image, show yourself as a smart professional. The same applies to the text of your novel! You want your reader to think (albeit subconsciously) “This is quality.”
To be honest, they probably won’t because avid book readers are usually not aware of the correct fonts used in traditional published books. They will, however, very much notice an incorrect font!
The correct font is important as the right typeface can encourage people to read what you have written. The wrong font can leave your hard work unread.
The font should be appropriate for the job it is doing, and is there
to serve the text.
The words should be easy to read.
The Accepted Rules
(and yes I know rules are there to be broken – but some rules are there because of common sense and because they are tried and tested – and are the best option. We drive on the one side of the road because it is the Rule. If we didn’t there would be chaos.)
Fine, don’t stick with the rules, but expect your self published novel to be rejected by reviewers because to most readers it will look out of place, unproffesional and without that “quality” feel.