As of today In Honor’s Shadow has officially hit Release Candidate 2. I doubt this is the version that will be released (there are still a couple of improvements I have in mind). Still, at this point I’ve started to focus more on the actual layout. The result has been actually a little eerie for me because I’m starting to get something that looks like a professional book, only it is my story.
Getting everything to look nice has really forced me to dig into the formatting options available to me. The tricky part is that a LOT of the formatting with ebooks is handled automatically by the reader, so what might look nice on one platform can look simply bad on another. That said, most of it is just pushing text around subtly, checking to see how it looks, and then tweaking things again. There are a few flourishes that really make things pop though.
That little image above there is called a filigree, and it is one type of separator that can be placed to help fill a section break in text (such as when there is a jump to another scene in a story). There are other types that are sometimes used as well. You may be familiar with an asterism (* * *). Horizontal rules (a simple horizontal line) and fleurons (stylized flowers and leaves) are also popular. It is also possible to get away with pretty much any symbol repeated a bunch of times, and I strongly considered going that route, however I decided that a proper flourished section break was easy enough to include that there was no reason to skimp on the effort.
The filigree was actually one of the harder aspects to get right. Too small and it doesn’t look good. Too large, and in some formats it will get cut off. Fortunately, this is the type of thing that just requires simple trial and error. Work intensive, but once I found the right size it was just a matter of applying it to every instance of the image.
To the left is the second image I needed. Initially I only wanted it for my site icon, but in the end it seemed like a waste to use it for just one thing. After getting the image, I quickly decided it could be put to better use than simply having it serve as the site icon.
One thing I have looked into is starting an imprint for marketing purposes. This slightly violates what I’ve learned as the 80/20 rule, but it seems like something that will become more valuable as time goes on. It give me flexibility to change printers later, help build a brand, and in general will make things look more professional.