Select best typeface for your book

Before self-publishing your book, you’ll need to format the manuscript. Formatting involves getting the manuscript to look on your computer screen exactly as it will look if printed on paper. That means adjusting the page width and height so that it matches the size and margins of the book that will be printed, adding page numbers, and placing the text in a typeface. During this entry, we’ll focus on that last element: typefaces.

A typeface is the design of letters. For example, this blog entry is in Trebuchet. There are thousands of typefaces to choose from.

For example, you could use Courier.

Or you could use Georgia.

Or maybe you could use Times.

Each of these typefaces can be modified. When they are, you are using a font. For example:

This line is Trebuchet regular.

This line is Trebuchet bold.

This line is Trebuchet italics.

Generally typefaces can be divided into two categories. One is serif typefaces. These typefaces have slight projections coming off the ends of the strokes of letters (Look at the Courier example below, which has a base line at the bottom of the small r). Some common serif typefaces include:




Sans-serif typefaces lack these projections (Look at the Arial example below and note how there is no base line on the small r, in contrast to the Courier example above). Some common sans-serif typefaces are:




Which typeface you select is vital. It needs to be easy on the eyes for readers, and it needs to match the book’s tone. Because of this, you should avoid typefaces that are too gimmicky for your text, though you might use them on the cover – for example, a children’s crayon font might work well on the cover of a book about parenting children but probably not for its text.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.