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Writing Books/fonts, index and table of contents


Which font should I choose to write a book acceptable to the publisher? How to build table of contents and index so that the number of pages can change with the change of font, margin and page size?  

Hello Trilok:

I wasn't sure if I should attempt to answer this as it is outside my expertise, but I found a few links that might be of use to you. After typing into Google:

"Manuscript preparation Chicago Manual of Style"

I was taken to the Chicago site, where I found this question and answer:

  "Q. What is the recommended font style to use for manuscripts, books, etc., to make it easier for the reader?

  "A. For most of the twentieth century, typewriters ensured that manuscripts were typically prepared in a fixed-width typeface resembling, for example, Courier New. (A typeface is a collection of all the characters—letters, numbers, etc.—and styles—roman, italic, boldface, etc.—of a given design of type like Courier New or Caslon; such typefaces are, however, often spoken of as fonts.) Lots of people became used to reading such typewritten manuscripts. As word processors and computer-generated printouts began to take over, it became possible to use proportional typefaces like Times New Roman. Today, many word processors can produce type that approaches the quality of published materials, and fonts like Times New Roman have become dominant. But because some people still prefer a typewriter-style font, it's best to ask your publisher. Whatever you choose, avoid overly stylized fonts, and, if possible, stick to one typeface."

That is excellent advice - the Chicago Manual of Style is more or less the bible of the manuscript preperation field. You might also look at a few books you own, or check some out at the library - often on the last page the font used will be given. They are many and varied - pick one you like, but keep it simple.

When you build your table of contents and index, leave the pages blank, or write the present pages in in pencil so you can change them later if you want. That's for a hard copy. Of course in most word processing programs, you can set up page numbering so it changes automatically if you change the font to a smaller size, for example. I wouldn't go below a 12 point - the idea isn't to make it easier for the reader, but for the publisher!

I haven't really answered your question, only shown you how to find the answer for yourself. I came up with 37,100 hits on Google, so there's a lot of information out there.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. If it hasn't helped that much, please forego the rating.

And good luck with your book!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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