What Font Should You Use For Your Book?

One of the most common questions asked by would-be self-publishers who are intent on designing and typesetting their book themselves is, “What font should I use?”

I’m always relieved when somebody asks the question. At least, it means they’re not just blindly going to use the ubiquitous default fonts found in most word processing programs.

However, there is almost no way to answer the question. It’s like asking, “What’s the best car model for commuting to work everyday?”

You’ll get a different answer from almost everyone you ask. And they might all be correct.

I am willing to offer one hard-and-fast rule, however: don’t use Times New Roman or Times Roman. That will brand your book as the work of an amateur at first glance. And there are other, very practical, reasons for not using it. Times Roman and Times New Roman were designed for the narrow columns of newspapers, originally for the London Times back in the 1930s. Today, almost no newspapers still use it. How, or why, it became a word processing standard, I have no idea. The font tends to set very tight, making the text block on the page dense and dark.

Here are two caveats before proceeding to few recommendations:

  1. The typeface you choose may depend on how your book will be printed. If you look closely at most serif fonts (like Times), you will notice that there are thick and thin portions of each letter. If your book will be printed digitally, you should steer away from fonts with segments that are very thin. They tend to become too faint and affect readability.
  2. Don’t get carried away with the thousands of font choices available. Most are specialty fonts suitable for titles, headlines, advertising, emotional impact, etc. And never use more than a very few fonts in a single book — we usually choose one serif font for the main text body, a sans serif for chapter titles and headings within the chapters. Depending on the book, we may select a third font for captions on photos, graphics, tables, etc. (or maybe just a different size, weight, or style of one of the other two). We may select a specialty font for use on the front cover for the title and subtitle.

For 90% of books, any of the following fonts are excellent choices:

  • Palatino Linotype
  • Book Antiqua (tends to set tight, so you may have to loosen it up a bit)
  • Georgia
  • Goudy Old Style
  • Adobe Garamond Pro (tends to have a short x-height, so it might seem too small in typical sizes)
  • Bookman (the name sort of gives it away, doesn’t it?)
  • Century Schoolbook (tends to be a bit wide, creating extra pages)

You need to look at several paragraphs of each font to see what, if any, adjustments you may find necessary in things like character spacing and kerning. You want to avoid little confusions, like:

  • “vv” (double v) that looks like the letter “w”
  • “cl” (c l) that looks like the letter “d”

Such things can make the reading experience annoying.

If you ask other designers, you will likely get other suggestions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least some of the above included in their recommendations.

You may run across some books with more unusual font choices, but there are often good reasons for it. Maybe the book is a humor book for which the designer chose a lighthearted font, for example. Such decisions should be made with care and thoughtful consideration for the effects on readability.

Never decide on your font or font size based only on viewing how it looks on your monitor. Most trade paperback books are printed in 10 or 11 point size, but some fonts require larger – or even smaller – sizes. If 12 points looks too big and 11 too small, you can try 11.5 – no need to stick with integer sizes. You might be surprised how much difference a half-point (or even a quarter-point) can make on the overall “feel” of the page.

You also have to decide on appropriate leading (pronounced like the metal), which is the distance from the baseline of one line of text to the baseline for the next line, measured in points. The result is usually expressed as a ratio of the font size in points to the selected leading in points. So, you might say you have set the body text in Georgia 11/14 or Bookman 10/12.5 (11-point size with 14 points leading and 10-point size with 12.5 points leading, respectively).

Word processing programs tend to work in decimal inches, forcing you to convert leading from points into inches. A standard point is equal to 0.0138 inches. Professional typesetting/layout programs (like Adobe InDesign) allow you to use points and picas to define all type measurements and settings. although you can also specify those settings in various other units (including inches).

Typically, book designers will develop more than one design for each book’s interior, using different fonts, sizes, and leadings. They should typeset a few pages of the actual manuscript and print them out with the same page settings they plan to use in the final book (e.g., 6″ x 9″ pages). This allows the client to compare them side-by-side and evaluate them for readability and overall look.

And don’t forget your target audience. Very young readers and very old readers do better with larger type. Books that are very textually dense with long paragraphs frequently need more leading and a wider font.

Ultimately, you have to choose based on what your gut reaction is to the typeset samples. It never hurts to ask other people to read it and tell you if one option is easier to read than another.

If you want to gain an appreciation for typography and how to make appropriate design decisions, I recommend the following excellent books:

The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Book Design and Production by Pete Masterson

For those who insist on using Microsoft Word to typeset books, you really should buy and study Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard. He is the reigning guru of how to do it.

It is far better to buy professional layout software and then learn all you can about typography and how to apply those principles to book design…or to hire a professional to do for you. The latter course will leave you more time to develop a dynamic marketing plan for your latest book and start writing your next one!

Credit Card Processing

The credit card is a commonly used financial instrument and its use forms an important part of personal finance. A credit card though simple to use has a networked system and structure that enables payment through a plastic card with minimal chances of misuse and fraud. The credit card industry mainly enterprises of:

  • Card Provider: Cards providers are very few in numbers. Some of the known credit card providers are: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express etc. The logos of these card providers are what we very often see on entry to a store.
  • Card Issuers: financial institutions such as banks issue a MasterCard or VISA or any other card to card holders. This card will have logos of both the financial institution and the card provider.
  • Card Acquirer: The card acquirer processes the cards accepted by any store and this service is known as credit card processing or merchant account services.
  • Merchant Account: The merchant or stores have an account with a credit card processing service to enable credit card payments in their store.

Every credit card transaction initiates a flow of information and exchange of money between the credit card processing organization, card issuer and the merchant account authorized and connected by the credit card provider.

Credit card processing services do not limit their services to acceptance of credit cards alone but also enable the processing of various payment mediums such as: debit cards, electronic checks, gift cards and other forms of payment.

The credit card processing organization fulfills the key task of authorizing the credit card when presented to the merchant instantly. The credit card processing organization then debits the card issuers account and credits their account with the amount of purchase made by the card holder.This entails that the card issuer pays the card processing services for the transaction. The card services organization then makes the payment to the merchant after deducting a transaction processing fee.

This is the procedure followed for every credit card transaction and it is made easy for you due to the efficiency of various parties that are involved in making credit card transaction an easy process.

Financial Education Services Review

Financial Education Services also known as FES is headquarter in Farmington Hills, MI and has approximately 200 plus employees worldwide. The majority of the services offered by FES are proprietary products developed by FES. There are as well some partnerships most notably, LifeLock the number 1 provider of identity theft protection.

The founders of this company, Mike Toloff and Parimal Naik come from a very successful background relating to the financial services industry and over the last 9 plus years have taken what was once an operation ran from a small back room in a shopping mall to a state of the art facility with representation across the country

Financial Education Services Products

Today’s market place demands products that will not only help consumers reenter the market place but as well help to educate them on important factors related to financial literacy that were never taught during formal educational years.

It is this combination of products, service and education that has helped FES to become a powerhouse in the market place today and what separates them from there competition. When you educate your customer base you have a potential for not only referral business but as well retention of existing clients.

Financial Education Services products consist of Credit Restoration, Positive Credit Building, Pre-Paid MasterCard, Wills and Trusts and the inclusive FES Protection Plan Membership that includes previous mentioned services along with DebtZero (Debt Pay-off System) and My Financial Lockbox.

Financial Education Services Business Model

The business model or distribution of these financial services is delivered through a network of independent distributors or what FES refers to as “Agents”. Agents are compensated for the sale of these products and also have the ability to build teams of agents and receive overrides and bonuses based on their team production.

The business model is a form of MLM or as more commonly referred to as Network Marketing. The unique thing about the FES model as that agent’s can opt to simply sell the products and not participate in the team building aspect of the business although to maximizes the compensation plan you will want to participate in both sales of products as well as team building.

Is Financial Education Services Right for You

Well let’s examine the facts; it is estimated that over 50 million Americans have less than a 599 credit score (Sub-Prime Credit), 90% of the population does not have a will and trust combination, the average consumer household debt is approximately 20K with no plan in place to pay it off and identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. With that being said, it’s almost a certainty that most people know someone that can use the services that Financial Education Services provides.

The most likely candidates for the FES business opportunity are professionals in the financial services industry such as mortgage brokers and Real Estate professionals. There has also been a recent surge in interest from the insurance industry.

This opportunity just like any other home based business is great for anybody looking to enter the network marketing industry. There are no license requirements for the agents since FES is licensed and bonded in all 50 states including Puerto Rico.

The bottom line is if you’re the type of persons that needs the services offered by FES, will to sharing products that can benefit others or enjoy working from home than the Financial Education Services opportunity could be right for you.

How To Read A Credit Card Merchant Statement – 5 Ways To Categorize Fees

Reading your merchant statement and finding the rates and fees you’re being charged can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?”. One reason is because there are nearly as many different statement formats as there are merchant acquiring companies. Also, because of how competitive the industry has become, many monthly statements don’t completely disclose the rates being charged. And sometimes they are completely hidden.

I know of banks that don’t even send a statement out. If a merchant wants details of what they paid they have to logon to an online account to find it.

It’s War Out There!

One reason for this is the competitiveness. You have to remember that credit and debit cards make up part of a 2 trillion dollar industry. Money is like a magnet – it attracts Most merchants are being contacted continually by competing processors trying to get them to switch processors, by promising “lower rates”, etc.

So, to prevent a sales agent from another processing company from taking a merchant away – some processors make it as hard as possible for a competitor’s sales rep to walk in to a business, analyze a merchant statement, and do an ‘apples for apples’ comparison.

That being said, there are still some basic keys to look for when reading your statement. Here’s what I look for in analyzing a merchant statement, in order:

  • One: The pricing structure – how has the account been set up? Which pricing model does it employ? Is it using tiers (e.g. 3-tier; 4-tier, etc.) or – is it using “Interchange Plus”? (NOTE: most merchants are on a tier pricing model, which, in my opinion guarantees they’re being overcharged. Also, there are other pricing structures but tier pricing is by far the most common)
  • Two: The monthly fees (sometimes called “Other”) – next, I look to see what the monthly fees are. This can include: a statement fee; monthly service fee; account maintenance fee (normally, you’d only see one of these although I’ve seen two – or, you may see the equivalent fee but using a different term); PCI fee; batch fee; and gateway or access fees. Any miscellaneous, but not monthly fees can also show up here – e.g., an annual fee or semi-quarterly.
  • Three: Processing Fees – this is where the discount rates will be listed. If you are on tier pricing the best statements will print an itemized list showing the “qualified”, “mid-qualified”, and “non-qualified” (the 3 tiers) rate. If you are on Interchange Plus, you’ll see a list showing all the different cards you took, followed by the actual interchange rate for the card, the “dpi” (discount per item), plus the processors mark-up expressed as basis points and a transaction fee (or per item, depending on the term used to list it).
  • Four: Authorization Fees – here’s where you’ll find fees that go to VISA and MC. They’ll show up listed as access, authorization, and /or WATTS fees. You could also find here AVS fees (address verification); assessment fees; brand usage fee; risk fee; settlement fees, IAS fee (Issuer Access & Settlement).
  • Five: Third Party Fees – 3rd parties means networks other than VISA & MC that are included in your statement. This would include American Express, Discover, and the debit networks if you are using pin debit

Part of the problem in reading a merchant statement is different processors use different category names and different terms to identify charges. That’s why I began by saying it can be like playing “Where’s Waldo?” While there are common terms used for certain fees there is also a wide variation used, depending on the acquirer (the company you signed a merchant agreement with).

Again, part of this is due to an attempt to hide what’s being charged and make it difficult for a competitor to analyze a statement. While that’s ‘somewhat’ understandable – in my opinion it’s a disservice to the merchant. Integrity demands transparency. Maybe if processors were more merchant oriented they’d have a lower turnover and would not have to worry about competition so much. At least that’s my opinion.