Designing/Typesetting Novel - Please critique

kevinislaughter's picture

Self-described hack designer working on novel. Please critique. Please do not tread lightly. Point out mistakes. I’m offering this up to learn.

All text set in Myriad Pro (I know many of you will probably loath that to start with).

Without further comment, here are pages from the front matter and the chapter head and a few following pages from the story.

CRAZY-STREAK-work0001.jpg38.51 KB
CRAZY-STREAK-work0002.jpg42.83 KB
CRAZY-STREAK-work0003.jpg42.05 KB
bieler's picture


Preliminary response.

I like the bug. Not sure what you want critiqued? Type? Layout? Really hard to read the text from the pic so I'm not sure what this is about. A bit important if you are looking for design suggestions.

Sort of a detective novel?

Layout is basically ok. The title page is quite weak. Stick with the Myriad that you have running through the rest of it rather than that stick-like type, somewhat off. Oh, and dump the chick and put your photo there instead, wow.


kevinislaughter's picture

The "stick" type is from the cover. I'll post a sample of that here so you can see why I used that.
Here's how the book is being promoted on our website at the moment:
"John Gilmore's CRAZY STREAK is the most controversial novel to appear on the American literary scene since Nabokov's LOLITA. Here is a twisted
excursion into seething sexuality, desperate alienation, incest and
conscienceless violence, plunging the reader way, way over the edge."

Crap.. I can't attatch images to comments? And no HTML for images?!?

Well, check out for a cover.

Dan Weaver's picture

Kevin loose the justified type. Make it all rag right. Its just easier to read and since you have a lot of conversation it lends itself to rag right type anyway. Also it would read better if you could increase the leading by a point. All the text seems to be running into each other. The purpose of the typesetting should be that it isn't noticed, only the content of the work.

rs_donsata's picture

The size decreasing type on the chapter beginning has a very open spacing between words in the big sizes, use hypentation or ragged paragraphs.

It's a clean setting, but maybe the face is a bit dull.

Overall it's fine.


timd's picture

I'd like to congratulate you for hanging the double quotes at the start of a line, but you will need to carefully check that it is all done – on 0002 line 7 I spotted one that wasn't, for example. Have you seen your bugs printed using the same process as the rest of the book I suspect they will fill in, they also aren't sitting comfortably in their space. The chapter numbers are too heavy. The decreasing point size will need a careful approach that ultimately might not be worth the effort. I have to agree with Héctor that the font might be too dull.
Sorry to be mostly negative.

mb's picture

I’d like to congratulate you for hanging the double quotes at the start of a line [...]

slightly pushing the topic sideways, but what's the 'protocol' for hanging quotes? a couple of my tutors were emphatic that all quote marks at the beginning of lines should be hanging, whereas the technicians in the print room were rather dubious and said it looked bloody awful. not to menion the fact that inDesign seems to have no automatic function for turning them on and off?
I had a look through some of my books and none of them seemed to have hanging quotes...

timd's picture

I suppose the best answer to that is to say try it, select a passage that combines speech with non-speech and see what you think. If you are doing your setting using style sheets then instead of creating one that has the indent you have chosen create two one with the standard indent and one with slightly less to compensate for the width of a double quote, if you decide that the hanging doesn't work it is easy enough to edit the style sheet.
The reason I congratulated the poster is that I find the ragged indent caused by double quotes is distracting when I read. You might decide that you prefer it without. Technicians, if they are like the ones I had at college, often have their views because that is the way they have been doing things since their apprentice days that doesn't necessarily mean they are wrong but it could be that the technology didn't exist (or was more difficult to implement) when the views were formed.

kevinislaughter's picture

Hi, just letting people know that this book has been send to the printer already. I'd made a few changes based on early comments, but most of the comments came too late.
I'll post revisions if anyone is interested.

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