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7,570 Views 4 Replies Last post: Aug 2, 2010 5:38 AM by walton RSS
Level 1 101 posts since
Jun 21, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 1, 2010 1:40 PM

Fonts, line spacing question.

Have a question. I'm writing a fiction book about 340 pages and I need to know what is a good font size and  if the line spacing should be 1.5 or 1.15. Does it really matter?

Level 3 290 posts since
Jul 9, 2010
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1. Aug 1, 2010 2:18 PM in response to: narnianqueen
Re: Fonts, line spacing question.

I grabbed a copy of The Magician's Nephew off the shelf (since I know you're partial to that series), just to see what the type looked like in it.  It looked approximately 12 point, so I printed a page of text at that size with 1.15 spacing, and it turns out that is really close to what it is.  So that might be a place to start.


However, longer books generally have smaller type and closer spacing.  So you might want to go a little smaller than that.  (Going smaller -- within reason -- will also result in fewer pages, which will make printing less expensive and mean you can sell the book for less or make more profit.)


I have two suggestions, though.


  1. Look at a lot of books.  Find some you like and use that as a model.  This applies to all elements of book design -- not just type size and spacing.
  2. Download Walton's free book:  I've only just glanced through it, but it looks like it covers these topics (and more) and may turn out to be very helpful to you.


Oh, one more thing.  I notice you ask, 1.15 or 1.5 spacing?  I assume that's because those are two of the standard options available in Word 2007.  You're not limited to those.  You can click on "Line Space Options" from the same menu you see 1.15 and 1.5, and then set the spacing wherever you want it.

Level 5 7,665 posts since
Feb 1, 2008
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3. Aug 1, 2010 7:03 PM in response to: narnianqueen
Re: Fonts, line spacing question.

Just my suggestion . . .


I used Garamond 11 for my text, 12 for the chapter heading, and 16 for the cover. I'm using an older version of Word and, by making the line spacing "Exactly", I get 1.2. I hope that helps.

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
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4. Aug 2, 2010 5:38 AM in response to: narnianqueen
Re: Fonts, line spacing question.

Starfish just recommended Build Your Book (thank you).  Regarding type and leading (and margins), many people think there is a perfect combination, Garamond 11/13 x 4.125, for example.  There is no perfect combination.  But there is something that look right for your book. Something that represents your style, subject matter, etc. When you find that, display type, text, spreads . . . that is "perfect." 


What matters is readability: larger type, good leading, nice margins. But there are thousands of mass market paperback published each year, with small type and no leading and minimal margins.  They sell. They aren't readable (in terms of type size and leading) They get read--go to yard sales. So?


Do the best you an.  Print out spreads.  Look at them.  Don't settle for the first one.


(Also, experiment/design on a dummy file.  Keep you book clean untouched.  Ultimately, work with a copy of your book.





Mechanics & Punctuation free, 20 page guide to everything punctuation

Build Your Book free 98 page guide to designing your book 

Contact for graphics, design, and typesetting help


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