Author Topic: What trim size for new series?  (Read 390 times)

Kay Camden

  • Blurb unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • kaycamden.com
What trim size for new series?
« on: January 15, 2019, 02:09:33 AM »
Hi, all. I need some quick advice on trim size.

I'm about to publish book one in a new series. It's about 120,000 words. Books in my previous series were also that word count, and my trim size was 5x8. They are chunky books, and I like how they turned out and have had comments from readers at cons who say they love chunky books. The problem is the cost to print is high, and I make very little money because I don't want to set the price at $20 each, which seems high for a paperback from an unknown like me. :)

So, do I choose a bigger trim size for this new series? Will readers care that the books in this new series don't match my other series when sitting on a bookshelf?

Is it okay for them to be taller but not wider, or wider but not taller?

Should I just go with 5x8 again so they're all the same size?

What trim size is most common right now? (Amazon says 6x9, which seems large to me.)

(I think this is my first post in the "new" forum, too, so yay! :)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 03:05:20 AM by Kay Camden »
Writes twisty plots with smart heroines, haunted heroes, ancient feuds, forbidden love, magic, and revenge.
http://www.kaycamden.com
 

Llano

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 05:26:56 AM »
Both Amazon and Ingram say 6x9 is the most common trim size. What they don't say is that's just for self-publishers. It's quite rare among the major publishers.

The most common size among major publishers is 5.25 x 8. Next most common is 5.5 x 8.25 (which Amazon doesn't even offer!).

If you don't want to use 6x9 you might try 5.5 x 8.5.

I wouldn't change trim size within a series, but I doubt it will affect sales. Some of your readers might be a bit miffed when the books don't line up on their bookshelf.

All of the above refers to paperbacks. Hardcovers are different.

Reducing the point size and leading slightly is likely to produce a greater reduction in page count than a larger page size.
 

Jake

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 05:54:29 AM »
Mass market paperbacks are the smaller, cheap paperbacks that most of us are probably familiar with. Trade paperbacks are larger, sometimes just as large as the hardback versions of the same book. They're better quality and more expensive. A lot of self-published authors use 6x9 because it's closer to trade paperback dimensions and quality.

I think some readers might prefer the smaller format since it fits better on their bookshelf with the rest of their cheap mass market paperbacks. They don't realize that those books are lower quality. Personally, I don't care, I haven't had a bookshelf in years. Do you sell a lot in paperback(enough for it to matter)? Maybe poll your readers in a newsletter or something to see whether they'd be annoyed if you changed the trim size of your paperbacks.
 

Michelle Louring

  • Novella unlocked
  • **
  • Posts: 180
  • Thanked: 51 times
  • Gender: Female
  • The owl is pure evil. Don't let him fool you.
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 09:04:16 PM »
It would personally drive me crazy if books WITHIN a series weren't the same height, but as long as all the books in the new series have the same height, I don't think you'll get too much pushback from my fellow pedantic readers  grint
Crazy owl lady. I also occasionally write Fantasy books, but the owl is really all anyone cares about.

https://michellelouring.com/
 

Bill Hiatt

  • Long Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 837
  • Thanked: 338 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 01:52:57 AM »
My experience with trad published books (and I own about 8,000) is that a lot of paperbacks fall in the 6 x 9 range. A normal bookcase can certainly accommodate that size. As others have said, I wouldn't change sizes within a series, but I think between series is fine.

There is a lot to be said for offering a book at a somewhat lower price point and still making a decent royalty on it. I use 6 x 9, and no one has ever complained about it.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Kay Camden

  • Blurb unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • kaycamden.com
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2019, 09:22:28 AM »
Bill, it looks like you might write epic fantasy. It seems the biggest trade paperbacks I've come across are usually that genre. I'm not sure my books are epic enough to pull that off.  :roll:

Reducing the point size and leading slightly is likely to produce a greater reduction in page count than a larger page size.
Thanks, this is good to know.

And thanks to everyone else too!
Writes twisty plots with smart heroines, haunted heroes, ancient feuds, forbidden love, magic, and revenge.
http://www.kaycamden.com
 

Llano

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 11:23:19 AM »
I took a look at your series. I have a hard time believing all five books in the series were 120,000 words as the page count ranged from 428 to 620.

Four of the five books were set in Palatino, which even its designer, Hermann Zapf, said was never intended to be a book face. It's far too large. At 12 point, Palatino has a lowercase alphabet length of 160 points. Adobe Garamond is 135 points. Just switching from Palatino to Adobe Garamond would reduce the page count by about 18%. But one of the books was set in Adobe Garamond and was the longest at 620 pages, so it must have been much longer than any of the others.

Your lines per page range from 27 to 31, and 31 is at the low end of lines per page for an 8" book. By eliminating footers and putting the page number in the header you can get two more lines per page.

Your characters per line range from 48 to 56 (the book in Adobe Garamond is the 56). It should be about 65. Reducing the point size to get 65 characters (including spaces) on a line instead of 50 would reduce your page count by about 30%.

The average words per page for books from major publishers is 330. Yours is about 240 (Book 1). A 120,000-word novel should come in at about 375 pages, depending on how much dialog you write and how much front and back matter you have.

You can drastically reduce your page count, and printing cost, with minimal effort.

If you like 5 x 8 but want to reduce printing costs, for your next series I would recommend going to 5.25 x 8, picking a typeface other than Palatino, reducing point size, and reducing the outside margin. The paper used by both Amazon and Ingram is thicker than most papers used by major publishers for paperbacks (but not hardcovers), so don't reduce the inside margin below .75".

Adobe Garamond is not my favorite Garamond, but if you already have it you can dramatically reduce your page count over Palatino by doing nothing more than switching fonts.
 
The following users thanked this post: Bill Hiatt, Dormouse, bookworm, Kay Camden

Cathleen

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2019, 11:49:59 AM »
One nice thing about 5 by 8 is that it's also a hardback size at Ingram. I would pick a trim size that comes in a standard hardback, in case you ever want to do them, so you don't have to reformat your book. :)
 
The following users thanked this post: bookworm

Vijaya

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 01:05:20 PM »
What Llano and Owl lady said. You definitely want to keep the same trim size for the series and I prefer the smaller 5x8 or 5.25x8 because of how they fit in my hand. 6x9 is nicer for nonfiction that has figures. When I was playing with fonts and sizing and spacing, I discovered very quickly that my favorite font, Georgia, which is rounder than Times New Roman, put the book at over 300 pages. So it was back to TNR 11 pt. 

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 

Kay Camden

  • Blurb unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • kaycamden.com
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 02:11:26 PM »
But one of the books was set in Adobe Garamond and was the longest at 620 pages, so it must have been much longer than any of the others.
Yes, book 3 is longer. I think it's around 140,000. It's a prequel and different POV character, so I asked my formatter to do a different font so it would stand out from the other books. And also wouldn't be 1,000 pages long. Book 4 is a bit shorter than 120,000.

I think you all have sold me on trying 5.25 x 8. I have a different formatter with this series and will definitely mention to her that I'd like to keep the page count down. :)

I'm very much in awe of people who can recognize fonts! I think the only one I can recognize is Comic Sans. lol
Writes twisty plots with smart heroines, haunted heroes, ancient feuds, forbidden love, magic, and revenge.
http://www.kaycamden.com
 

Bill Hiatt

  • Long Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 837
  • Thanked: 338 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2019, 01:11:26 AM »
I took a look at your series. I have a hard time believing all five books in the series were 120,000 words as the page count ranged from 428 to 620.

Four of the five books were set in Palatino, which even its designer, Hermann Zapf, said was never intended to be a book face. It's far too large. At 12 point, Palatino has a lowercase alphabet length of 160 points. Adobe Garamond is 135 points. Just switching from Palatino to Adobe Garamond would reduce the page count by about 18%. But one of the books was set in Adobe Garamond and was the longest at 620 pages, so it must have been much longer than any of the others.

Your lines per page range from 27 to 31, and 31 is at the low end of lines per page for an 8" book. By eliminating footers and putting the page number in the header you can get two more lines per page.

Your characters per line range from 48 to 56 (the book in Adobe Garamond is the 56). It should be about 65. Reducing the point size to get 65 characters (including spaces) on a line instead of 50 would reduce your page count by about 30%.

The average words per page for books from major publishers is 330. Yours is about 240 (Book 1). A 120,000-word novel should come in at about 375 pages, depending on how much dialog you write and how much front and back matter you have.

You can drastically reduce your page count, and printing cost, with minimal effort.

If you like 5 x 8 but want to reduce printing costs, for your next series I would recommend going to 5.25 x 8, picking a typeface other than Palatino, reducing point size, and reducing the outside margin. The paper used by both Amazon and Ingram is thicker than most papers used by major publishers for paperbacks (but not hardcovers), so don't reduce the inside margin below .75".

Adobe Garamond is not my favorite Garamond, but if you already have it you can dramatically reduce your page count over Palatino by doing nothing more than switching fonts.
Your knowledge of typography and other publishing conventions is impressive. Thanks for sharing those insights.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Bill Hiatt

  • Long Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 837
  • Thanked: 338 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2019, 01:14:02 AM »
Bill, it looks like you might write epic fantasy. It seems the biggest trade paperbacks I've come across are usually that genre. I'm not sure my books are epic enough to pull that off.  :roll:

Reducing the point size and leading slightly is likely to produce a greater reduction in page count than a larger page size.
Thanks, this is good to know.

And thanks to everyone else too!
They're actually urban fantasy, but with a wide variety of mythological elements.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

OfficialEthanJ

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 02:45:46 AM »

I think you all have sold me on trying 5.25 x 8. I have a different formatter with this series and will definitely mention to her that I'd like to keep the page count down. :)

I use 5.25 x 8 exclusively. It "feels" right to me. FWIW.
 

Rosie Scott

Re: What trim size for new series?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 01:48:03 PM »
You can drastically reduce your page count, and printing cost, with minimal effort.

If you like 5 x 8 but want to reduce printing costs, for your next series I would recommend going to 5.25 x 8, picking a typeface other than Palatino, reducing point size, and reducing the outside margin. The paper used by both Amazon and Ingram is thicker than most papers used by major publishers for paperbacks (but not hardcovers), so don't reduce the inside margin below .75".

Adobe Garamond is not my favorite Garamond, but if you already have it you can dramatically reduce your page count over Palatino by doing nothing more than switching fonts.

I'd also like to add that shrinking line spacing does wonders as well. All my books are 5x8. My last few were doorstoppers, and the last book of the series was 240,000 words and almost 1,000 pages. It was at the point where they wouldn't print it since it was outside the maximum. By shrinking line spacing from 100% to 92%, I cut it down to 850 or so pages without risking the aesthetic appeal of the text. Then I changed the font size from 10 to 9.5, and that cut it down to 740 pages. Not only can it be printed, but the price is the same as the last two books of the series, which were both 731 pages despite being much shorter word-wise.

I also wouldn't worry too much about the price. My paperbacks sell well, and it never ceases to amaze me since they're huge and (imo) expensive. That doesn't seem to stop others from continuing to support the series if they've bought the cheaper earlier installments.

Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi. Writer of bloody warfare & witty banter. Provoker of questions.
Rosie Scott | Website | Release Mailing List
 
The following users thanked this post: Cathleen