Designing Genre Fiction and New Book Design Templates

by | Mar 27, 2017

Do you write genre fiction? Here’s a quick definition to help:

Genre fiction, also known as popular fiction, is plot-driven fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre, in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre. Genre fiction is generally distinguished from literary fiction.—Wikipedia

Although there’s a lot of discussion on the subject, popular genres include:

  • Romance
  • Crime
  • Inspirational
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Horror

Genre fiction titles are widely reported to be the most popular types of ebooks. Certainly in our monthly Ebook Cover Design Awards, genre fiction far outstrips any other kind of covers submitted.

This is crucial in judging book covers, because readers of various genres often recognize these books because the covers clearly indicate in which genre the book belongs. For readers who buy by genre—and there are many—this can be a crucial element of a book’s discoverability and, therefore, of its success.

But what does this have to do with interior book design?

Interior design is the introverted cousin of cover design, where grabbing attention can be paramount.

On our book interiors, we aim to provide a congenial environment for the reader, then get out of the way of the author/reader communication.

Design, in this context, although critical to how the book appears and how easy it is to read, tries to fade into the background because if the reader is admiring our design, they have probably lost track of where they were in the text, and that’s not the outcome we’re looking for.

But outside of that imperative—to deliver the book in the most readable way possible—isn’t the rest of the work of communicating with the reader up to the author alone?

Design is Communication

This topic comes up when an author asks if different characters in her novel should be indicated in dialogue with different fonts for different speakers. But if you go to your own bookshelf and start looking at the books that have influenced you the most over the years, I’m betting you will not find even one book that takes that approach.

Instead, we rely on the skill of the author to create, through her words, all the information we need to follow the flow of the story.

In the books I produce for clients, I rarely even use bold in the text, and only then when the author has a good reason to do so. Bold type faces for chapter openings or subheads are perfectly fine.

But when it comes to the text, we really do depend on the words and their purposeful arrangement to communicate the ideas in the book.

Another question that comes up often is whether book interiors should be designed differently for different genres, like those I mentioned at the beginning.

Does it make a difference to your enjoyment of a book if you notice that the fonts and design reflect the type of content? Do most people notice? Or is this largely unconscious communication, cues that we recognize, but below our limit of perception?

New Genre Book Design Templates

Since we launched Book Design Templates, one of the most frequent requests from authors has been for “genre-specific” designs.

To be honest, I’ve resisted creating these designs because of my belief in the primacy of the author’s words.

But people kept asking.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in doing business and education online: When people are talking, I should be listening.

Recently we decided to add 6 new templates to our offering, specifically for genre fiction authors.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use these templates for any kind of book you like, but I had certain genres in mind for each design.

We’ll unveil the whole lineup on Thursday. As with all our second-generation templates, each of these designs will be available for Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Adobe InDesign. They come with:

  • the fonts you need to get the exact effect you see on our site,
  • complete instructions on how to install and use the templates,
  • a choice of popular trim sizes for a variety of books, and
  • our no-questions-asked 30-day guarantee of satisfaction.

When we launch them we’ll also discount prices substantially, so make sure you’re on my mailing list (<– sign up here) and you’ll get notified when the sale begins and how to get the discount.

Here are the names of the new templates, and the genre they were designed for:

  • Fling—Romance of all kinds
  • Noir—Crime, thrillers, suspense
  • Inspire—Inspirational, religious
  • Quantum—Sci-fi of all kinds
  • Bard—Fantasy of all kinds
  • Historian—Historical fiction

If you’re one of the authors who has been waiting for this kind of choice in pre-designed, professionally-produced book interiors, check them out on Thursday at Book Design Templates.

Just to whet your appetite, here’s a quick peek at Historian.

book design

Check the site Thursday to see all the new templates in detail, I’d love to hear what you think of them.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

2 Comments

  1. Richard Caladine

    This looks interesting. Will I have to pay a licensing fee to the owners of the fonts?
    kind regards
    Richard

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Richard,

      No, you won’t have to pay any licensing for the fonts. All our templates use fonts that are licensed for free distribution, and the fonts come with the template package. By the way, they are on sale now.

      Reply

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