When you commission me to design your print book, here’s your options:

You need to pick a Trim Size. This will depend, in part, on what Print On Demand service you want to use. If you are going with CreateSpace, you will not be able to choose option 1. If you are going with Lulu, option 2 is not available.

  1. 4.88 x 6.77
  2. 5.25 x 8
  3. 5 x 8.5
  4. 6 x 9

You then get to choose your font pairing. Lots of choices, and I’ve already matched the Text font with the Heading font. If you know roughly how you want the title displayed on the cover, that’s all the better – because the font choices can be selected to maximize compatibility with your cover display. So, of all the 18 options listed below, choose ONE.

A. Oldstyle

  1. Caslon | Myriad
  2. Garamond | Cronos Pro
  3. Jenson | Eras

B. Transitional

  1. Baskerville | Franklin Gothic
  2. Miller | Gotham
  3. Warnock | Univers

C. Modern

  1. Bodoni | Futura
  2. Didot | Gotham
  3. Walbaum | Avenir

Then there’s the options in your block proportions. Three options with me, each based on geometrically harmonious proportions. Again, choose one:

  1. 2:3
  2. Phi (The Golden Ratio)
  3. 3:5

Next, choose how you want your chapters presented. The traditional presentation is with 13 lines on the opening page. Or you could go “high and tight”, with double that (26 lines) on the first page. Or you could go with an in-between look, with 20 lines.

  1. 13 Lines
  2. 20 Lines
  3. 26 Lines

You next make a choice on running heads: do you even want one? (For fiction, these are really unnecessary, but are becoming more common.) Or do you want to go with one of three basic options?

  1. None
  2. Author | Title
  3. Author | Chapter Title
  4. Author: Title | Chapter Title: Heading (not suitable for long titles)

All of the above choices need to be made before layout begins, as they impact margin size and where the Book Block is placed on the page. But while you’re making choices, here’s one more: what fleurons do you want to use for text decoration? You can use a small fleuron set to indicate scene changes (instead of the traditional three asterisks, which is boring), and you can use fleurons from that same group to liven up your chapter starts and running heads. Note that you’ll want your fleurons to “match” the style of the text and the tone of your story, and they’ll need to all come from the same set so there’s a stylistic consistency. The readily available sets I have are:

  1. Caslon
  2. Chaparral
  3. Decoration Pi
  4. Garamond
  5. Minion
  6. Warnock
  7. Zapfino

If you’re of a numerical bent, you’ll notice that there’s 4∙9∙3∙3∙4∙7 combinations, or a grand total of 9,072 presented final possibilities. (And that assumes that you don’t come up with your own suggestions for fleurons, running heads, or chapter starts.)

Don’t panic!

This is easily paired down – for instance, if you have a fiction book, a running head isn’t necessary at all, so you can immediately discard 75% of the options. Picking a font pairing can make choosing fleurons to match ridiculously easy – and choosing a trim size can make your Book Block proportions fairly simple. (A 6 x 9 trim size is a 2:3 proportion in itself – so anything else would look short and squat on the page. Use 2:3 for your Book Block here. See? Easy!)