Does Comic Sans Font Make Writing Easier?

(We’re soliciting reader feedback for a special upcoming article, so please read through to the end if you’d like to participate.)

The other day on Twitter, a friend of mine posted that she had switched the font on her WIP to Comic Sans font, and found herself frustrated by it. Curious, I asked her why she did that, and she pointed me in the direction of an article on the website Lifehacker by A.A. Newton. According to the article, titled Get Over Yourself and Start Writing in Comic Sans, the unique nature of the font, where every letter is different from the other twenty-five, keeps writers from losing focus, becoming super-nitpicky of their work, and in the case of people with dyslexia, easily tell the letters and words apart.

After reading the article, I thought I’d try it myself to see if it would help my own writing, and as I was starting a new story, I switched the font from my normal Times New Roman (yeah, I know, but I like that font) to Comic Sans and went to work. Last night I finished said story and surveyed my work.

What did I think?

Well, I did feel like I was filling out pages out much faster than I normally do. This was probably because, while I changed the font, I didn’t change the font size, and 12-point Comic Sans is slightly bigger than 12-point Times New Roman. so it did actually fill the page faster.

However, I’m not sure it made that significant an impact on my writing. I still got out words at my normal pace, and I still found myself pausing to think about how best to say what I wanted to say. The only difference was that there was a bigger font.

Which, by the way, I switched back to Times New Roman after the story was finished. What can I say? I like that font, it looks professional, and working in Times New Roman, especially during the editing phase, is just easier overall for me.

Overall, I don’t think I’d switch to writing in Comic Sans. It’s just not helpful to me in the way I need it to be.

Of course, I’m just one writer. At the time I’m writing this article, this site has 3,752 subscribed followers. A single person reporting their results is a case study. An entire group of people? Now that’s a real experiment.

So for the next three months, I’m asking our lovely readers here at Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors to try writing in Comic Sans. Try writing a short story (or if you’re in the middle of a novel, a section or chapter) in Comic Sans, and let me know the following by May 1st:

  • Name
  • Fiction/Poetry/Non-fiction
  • Genre/Subject
  • Short story or novel chapter/section
  • Page/word count
  • How did it go for you?

For that last part, if you could tell me in 150-250 words, I’d appreciate it.

Please send your submissions to my author email address: ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com, with the subject line Self-Pub Authors – Comic Sans. Depending on how many submissions we get, yours could end up being showcased here on the site. And if we get A LOT of submissions–like, more than we can fit in a single blog post–I’ll work something out.

And if you already write in Comic Sans, we’d also like to hear from you. Please tell us all about it and how it helps you write.

Remember folks, this is entirely voluntary, but we would really like to hear from you. When we did something like this a while back, we got some great responses, so I hope to see if we can get that same magic again.

Happy writing, everyone. And….GO!

Formatting Your Ebook for Kindle, Barnes and Noble (or Epub), and Smashwords

Thanks to tips from Melanie Nilles, Stephannie Beman, and Rose Gordon, I was able to put together this post.

I start out with making my book a paperback version for CreateSpace, so my original formatting looks like this:

I have tabs, monotype corsiva font size 24 for the chapter title, use a picture I buy from a stockpohoto site, and use garamond font size 12 for the text.  I have headers (alternating between the title of the book on the odd pages and my name on the even pages) and use page numbers at the bottom.  I also like to show the formatting symbols.  These don’t show up in the paperback or ebook, but I like to know if I’m missing a paragraph because if I do, when I make the ebook, then there won’t be a separation from one paragraph to another.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but I rely on the formatting symbols while working on the book.  😀

Okay, so now that you know what I start out with, I’ll go into how I format my paperback version into an ebook.

For Kindle

The first thing I do is make the Kindle version because I can incorporate the images I have at the beginning of each chapter into it.  Here are the steps I use:

1.  Save the document as a Kindle ebook in Word 2003.  (I don’t know if Amazon or Smashwords will allow for Word 2007 or 2010, but I do know they will take the Word 2003 version.)  I usually save the version as “Title of Book Kindle Version”.  (Ex. Shotgun Groom Kindle Version)

2.  Delete headers and footers.  I do this by clicking inside the space where the header and footer is and deleting what’s in there.

3.  I select the entire book by going to the toolbar and select.  Under Select, you can pick “select all”.  I change the font to Times New Roman and pick 12 for the font size.

3. I get rid of all of my tabs by going to find and replace.  I type ^t in the find box and leave the replace box empty.

This is what you should get:

4.  I show the ruler on my toolbar.  Go to View (on the toolbar) and “show ruler”.

5.  I select all of the book using the Select option on the toolbar.  I use the top half of the hourglass icon at the left side of the toolbar to set the indent for the first line in every paragraph.  Move the top half about 0.25 spots to the right.  You might want to do 0.30.

6.  Now I make the Table of Contents.

A.  Put the cursor at the beginning of the chapter.  Do NOT highlight the chapter.

     B.  Go up to Word’s Insert menu and click the “Bookmark”.  Enter a name for the bookmark and click the button to add it.  Do this for every chapter.

D.  After you set up bookmarks for all the chapters, go to the beginning of your document and create a Table of Contents page.  I do this after the copyright page.

E.  Highlight the first chapter name (all of the text this time).  Go up to the Insert -> Hyperlink.   On the left side of the little window, click the “In this Document” option and look for your bookmarks. Click the bookmark link and click “ok”. The text will show as a hyperlink.

F.  Now repeat for every chapter down the list.  Afterwards, your table of contents should look like this.

7.  I go back through the document to make sure every chapter starts on a new page.  I use page breaks between chapters.  I also go and back and make sure all my drop downs (*** is what I use) is centered and only has one space between it and the text.

8.  I save my changes and upload the book to Amazon KDP.  I check through the Kindle previewer and make any changes necessary.

For Barnes and Noble

1.  I save the document as Word 2003 and label it “Title of Book Barnes and Noble version” (Ex. Shotgun Groom Barnes and Noble version).

2.  I remove all graphics because I’m not sure if they work as Epub.  I know they work in mobi.  I like to put a graphic image under each chapter title in my paperback versions.  It’s not necessary to have graphic images in your book.  This is a personal preference.  (My knowledge does not extend to inserting charts, graphs, etc into a book, so I’m not commenting on graphics beyond this point.)

3.  I bought a program called Word Atlantis.  I close the Barnes and Noble version of my book.  I open Word Atlantis and then open the Barnes and Noble version of my book.  From there, I go to File -> Save Special -> Save As Ebook.  This will save your document as an Epub file, and it’ll save all of your formatting so it’s clean in PubIt.

4.  Upload the book to PubIt and go through it to make sure it’s formatted right.

Smashwords

You can use the Barnes and Noble version (prior to making it an Epub file through Word Atlantis.

What you’ll need to do is change the copyright page so it reads like this:

Title of book – Smashwords Edition

Published by Author Name at Smashwords

Copyright © Year of Publication by Author Name

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please do. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Nuclear Method:

If all else fails with Smashwords and you can’t the document approved for premium distribution, I’d take the entire book and put it in Notepad to eliminate all formatting.  Then copy it and put it back into Word 2003.  I’d make sure there is a space between all paragraphs, center the title page, center all chapter headings, make the table of contents, make page breaks at the end of each chapter or insert a symbol at the end of each chapter.  I’d also use a page break or symbol after the title page, copyright page, dedication page, or any other page that comes before the beginning of the story.  You’ll have to go back and underline or italicize anything you had in the book prior to putting it in Notepad.

When in doubt, make the book as simple as possible.  Some people think it has to be fancy to sell, but the truth is, if the book is clean and easy to read and readers enjoy the story, all the bells and whistles in formatting aren’t necessary.

******

If anyone has any formatting tips they’d like to share, please do.  The more input we have on this issue, the better.