Layout and other publishing details

Started by Morrius, April 16, 2008, 05:03:17 PM

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I've finally managed to hammer together a manuscript that I am pleased with.  I've got about 21k words typed, which comes to 60 pages of a 6" by 9" book.  My font is Times New Roman 10, which Papyrus for chapter headings.

My problem now is that I need a layout revision to get rid of widow/orphaned lines between pages, and make sure that there are no section breaks near the end of the page.  Hopefully, this will bring me up to my target of 64 pages.  This will leave me with some unsightly blank spaces that I would like to fill in with artwork.  However, I don't have a huge budget for art, so I'm looking for places where I can find artwork for an RPG book that is public domain or otherwise permissable to print in a for-profit book.  (I'm writing a generic game engine.)  I looked at some of the art compilations on, but didn't find them to my liking.  Are there any other places to find artwork?  Including one large color picture that I can use as a cover image?

I also need to write the masthead and format a table of contents.  Any advice on doing this?
I do not have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem.

Eero Tuovinen

Oh, my. Some questions and suggestions:

  • First, what venues and target audiences are you targeting with the eventual publication? This is important, because it tells us what your game should look like when it's done. Different things are acceptable for different purposes.
  • What size, format and media are you publishing in?
  • What programs are you using for producing the book? It sounds like you're doing the layout in a text editor. Which one? What about art programs, do you have any?
  • My first suggestion is to get outside help (which you're doing right now, yes; I mean, get somebody specific to look over your project), which is easier than you might imagine. Ideally you'd get somebody to edit your text, somebody to lay it out and somebody to plan it's graphics (those jobs might well be combined in two or even just one person). The end-result will most likely be of higher quality and less work overall for everybody concerned. Often enough you can get this kind of help by mutualism (you draw me an image, I edit your manuscript) or by having a good game with pre-publication interest (as folks might wish to help a good game get published for free).

If you'll answer the questions up there, we can make some practical suggestions as to how to format your page headers and ToCs and the other stuff. Alternatively, you might wish to learn more about the whole range of knowledges involved in layout and graphic design; it's interesting and useful stuff, and allows you to do more steps yourself and know what to ask for from others. You might also just put up the text as it currently stands somewhere so we can take a look at it. That'd make it easier to ensure that you have the basics down before we go into the details of your book's layout.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Hey, Morrius,

There are some excellent public-domain images available here:

For example, if you click on the image displayed on this page -- -- you'll be taken to a high-resolution verson (300dpi, 10 inches by 6 inches).

Before including these images in your publication, you'll want to familiarize yourself with any requirements or stipulations pertaining to individual images (such as a request for credit where due).

Good luck!

-- Rafael
Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
The Books of Pandemonium