Should’ve Given More Thought to Paperback Book Sizes

I just found that I’ve sold seven copies of a $19.99 book through the expanded distribution at Createspace and five copies of two $17.99 books this month. I don’t sell a lot of paperbacks in general, and I’m sure my pricing doesn’t help that, but I like expanded distribution, and because of that, I won’t under price my books.

If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen to size my books at 5.5 x 8.5 instead of 5 x 8 so I could cut the price a bit and keep my profit, but I didn’t, and I don’t intend to redo my entire catalog’s paperback formatting any time soon so I’m stuck for the time being.

When I start a new series, though, I will definitely be going for the slightly larger books. It cuts down on pages and makes the books cost less to produce. (I refuse to cut my font size, leading, or margins, which would also cut the number of pages, but that’s a sacrifice I won’t make.)

I chose the smaller size because my first books were quite short. But then I got stuck in that size, because I don’t want different books in the same series to be different sizes. It just doesn’t seem as professional to me to change that mid-series. Of course, maybe it’s silly to worry about that, but I do. I want my books to be pretty! ;)

So here’s my advice for anyone trying to decide on paperback book sizes.

Page count matters. Createspace creates trade sized paperbacks. Don’t try to pretend they’re mass market and go for the smallest size you can, because you’ll still have to charge trade prices and the book will look less valuable as a small book. And if you have a long book, that small book is going to be much too fat to be any more comfortable to hold than a larger book.

But… if your book is short, a small book will help pad the pages. ;) But again… if you do the font right and use an attractive leading and attractive but generous margins, you can accomplish the same thing and have a very professional looking book.

No one likes itty bitty fonts in a print book. Just don’t do it, no matter how tempted you are or how much you swear you like itty bitty fonts best. It’ll make your book shorter, but if you need a shorter book, chose a bigger book.

But the publishers use little bitty fonts, you say. So what? Aren’t there enough people complaining about how publishers have made fonts too small to cut their costs? Why would you want to emulate that?

I’m actually in the middle of formatting my last book for Createspace and yes, I’m stuck formatting it for an 5 x 8 sized book. But hey! I have a very practical reason to keep my books from turning into doorstoppers. :D