I've moved my novel from MS Word to InDesign. The typography is greatly improved.
I'm using a Mac Font called Baskerville. In MS Word 11 point Baskerville seemed about right. When I print out test pages from InDesign, 11 point Baskerville seems smaller - in fact, too small compared to other hardback and paperback books on my bookshelves.
Is there a rule of thumb in terms of selecting a correct font size? My book layout is 5.25" x 8".
Thanks very much in advance to all for any info.
I don’t know if there’s a rule of thumb for the correct size. There are so many factors involved and some of them are very subjective. I think what you did is a good practice: checking books similar to yours and see the size they use. Regarding the discrepancy in size between word and Indesign, I haven’t seen that. I usually export a few pages to PDF and then print it to have a good idea of how it will look.
I believe my design texts suggest that a count of 60 - 75 characters per line is considered optimal for readability (which means there is no single correct answer, but that it depends on the size of your text block on the page). Leading is also a consideration, and you may need more or less depending on the openess or x-height, and the ascender/descender lengths of the font you choose. Also keep in mind that two fonts of the same nominal size may have very different visual sizes and occupy far different proportions of the type slug.
"Of my" in small caps is a mistake. I didn't even see it! Good heavens. I need to search the whole document for small caps now to see if that's the only unintended occurrence.
I see that, as you note, it is difficult to tell onscreen if the font size looks okay. Here's a link to a pdf of 3 pages in case that may be more suitable.
I think it would be a bit more comfortable to read with a longer line length (I'd still shoot for 60-75 characters, on average, and you're closer to 50), so perhaps 11.25 pts or 11 is worth a second look.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the things I am learning from this thread. I have rebuilt the document with narrower margins (0.58 inside, 0.5 outside) so as to have more characters per line. Also, to add a few more lines per page, I have reduced leading from 16 pts to 15 pts. Here is a link to a pdf of 3 pages.
For comparison, here is a link to a pdf of 3 pages at a font size of 11pts, with the previous margins, and the 15 pt leading.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Definitely getting into subjective territory here. While I like the wider margins, I do find the longer lines and smaller leading to be easier to read, though I would redice the line count by 2 to pull the text away from the folio (and to get some "finagling" room if you need it). How does it look at 10 or 10.5 points on 14 with the wider margins?
I'm thinking that Baskerville may not be the optimal font because it is difficult to get to at least 60 characters per line in my 5.25" x 8". Especially as I've found that for Createspace the inner margin must be at least .75".
5.25 x 8 is a fairly small page size, presumably this is going to be a paper-back? You may be overthinking this in terms of font size. Is there a reason you don't want to go smaller? I think it's pretty much expected that a book that size is going to have small type.