At the typesetting stage, the text is formatted and laid out in the way it will look in the book itself. Each book’s design should reflect its personality. From design samples to first proofs can take about a month.
Typesetting is very important and often underestimated. It is an age-old art which varies hugely between books and publishers. Just walk into a bookshop and open a few books at random to see the wide range.
For fiction and narrative non-fiction, typesetting tends towards classic and unobtrusive styles: the goal is to keep the reader’s attention on the text. A fussy or distracting page and text design can make it difficult to really delve into the book’s world and let the characters take over your imagination. Old-school typographers have clear ideas on what constitutes a readable typeface… if you’re interested.
Our in-house production team will find the right text designer/typesetter for each of our books. The in-house editors will then share design samples – usually just the first couple of chapters – from the text designer with the author, so they have a say in the look and feel of their text on the page. Questions to consider are: What typeface suits the book best? Should we include running heads? Where should the folios (page numbers) sit? How ornate should the chapter openers be? Will there be images integrated throughout the text? Footnotes or endnotes?
Once the favourite design is chosen, the typesetter will lay out the full first proofs, paying special attention to line breaks, indentations, block quotes, orphans and widows, hyphenation, etc.
The Unbound editorial team then checks a PDF file of these first proofs before sending it on to the author and a professional proofreader for the next stage of the editorial process.
Typesetting takes about a month.
(And here is some info on the publishing process as a whole.)