Just Your Type Desktop Publishing Expert Book Design and Book Typesetting

July 28, 2009

Just Your Type Desktop Publishing wins another 2009 Award Book Award

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 3:29 am

I am pleased and proud to announce another of my book designs won an award:

Winning the 2009 IPPY Book Awards Bronze medal is:

A Cruel Wind: Pandemic Flu in America, 1918-1920

By Dorothy A. Pettit, Ph.D. and Janice Bailie, Ph.D.




I worked on this book for almost a year. It is an in-depth look at the pandemic flu of 1918 and will be of interest to many, particularly in light of the recent swine flu outbreaks.

Sue, www.JustYourType.biz

Featured Book: The Last Six Minutes by Sandra Martins-Toner

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 3:12 am

This latest book I designed and typeset, The Last Six Minutes, is a true account of the brutal murder of Matthew Martins, 16 years old, and his family’s loss and quest for justice:





















You can view the book’s trailer at:
and read more about this book and purchase it at:

Matthew’s killers have been tried, convicted and sentenced, but Sandra Martins-Toner and her family can’t escape their grief, and the overwhelming sense of loss. They have channeled their anguish into affirmative action for victims. “The Last Six Minutes” is the true account of the random and violent murder of 16 year old Matthew Martins, and his family’s journey through the Canadian Criminal Justice System. Now the family is faced with the Killers appeal, and the torment of perhaps being subjected to yet another lengthy trial.
My heart goes out to Matthew Martin’s family and I am in awe of Sandra Martins-Toner’s fight for justice in a time of such loss.
Sue, www.JustYourType.biz, book designer and typesetter

May 15, 2009


Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 2:57 pm

I am pleased and PROUD to announce that one of my book designs, “The ABC’s of Happiness: Not For Children” won the 2009 PUBSWEST Book Design Silver Medal Award in the Gift Book Category. I had showcased this book awhile back as one of my faves and am happy to see it has been recognized for its excellence! I look forward to continuing to create Award-winning books for years to come! Sue, www.JustYourType.biz

March 21, 2009

March 21, 2009 – Communication is the key for Great Book Design and Typesetting

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 2:16 pm

Anyone who knows me, or has talked with me a bit knows that I am very big on excellent communication – both in business and personal venues.

Getting a book ready for print involves a series of steps, each one affecting the other, and when the “big picture” goes out of focus, communication is the key.

Many times when a book reaches my stage — the interior book design and typesetting — it’s now in a “RUSH” stage. Having worked in the Printing industry for over 30 years, I am no stranger to deadlines, so I understand “RUSH” but I would like to communicate my thoughts on the process involved in what I do and the time it takes. So grab a cub of coffee and a comfortable chair….


A typical call from a client starts with something along the lines of “I have a signing in one month” or “I have a trade show in 3 weeks” etc, and, “I have to have my book in hand by then.”

While something like that can be done, and is done – it usually results in a book with a poor design or laden with errors.

Three weeks may seem like a lot of time, but the printer alone usually needs one to two weeks, if not more to print, trim and bind the books.

My process takes 3 to 4 weeks and here’s why:

I discuss the job with the client — page trim size, number of pages, will there be pictures or diagrams, do you already have them and are they hi resolution, when will your manuscript be completely edited and proofread ready to hand over to me, are you readily available for questions that may crop up during the process, is your cover designed and can you send me a copy of the file, etc., etc……

At this point, a client realizes just how many steps and how much thought goes into putting a book together and this is “OUR” starting point.

Once a price and scheduled is settled on, here is my process:

1. — Review your manuscript to make sure it was input properly to be imported into inDesign or Quark for typesetting and if not, work with you to get it in proper form

2. — Review your cover design to see if there are any elements I can pull from it to use on the interior design, such as a graphic or piece of a graphic on Chapter or Part pages.

3. — Once I have cover and manuscript in hand, and know the trim size of the book, any preferences you may have, I begin work on designing a page layout for you that is both functional AND easy-on-the-eye. The trick is to make it look effortless and this takes times. I work with your longest and shortest chapter name — to make sure whatever design I choose will work with any length chapter title; I determine how much leading I want between lines of type for best readability for the fonts and sizes I choose; I play around with where and how the page numbers should go, the running headers, the pictures, captions and diagrams; I design the front matter and write tags for every element of the book. I determine how each level of heading, sub-heading, bullets and indents will appear on the pages. You get the idea…

4. — Once I come up with a design, I present that to you in the form of Sample Pages — usually the Front Matter and part if not all, of the first chapter. This is for your review to decide if you like this and want your entire book to look this way before I typeset your entire manuscript. This is your chance to see your book come alive –out of the Word Document and into a professionally designed layout. It’s a very important part of the process. This is when we tweak the job and maybe change a font, a size, nudge something over a bit, etc. This step determines how your entire book will be layed out so it’s crucial at this point to put time into reviewing it — and having any changes to the layout you want made now — before the typesetter has done all the work on all of the pages.

5. — After we decide on a page design, I then take your final clean manuscript and import it into my design in inDesign (or Quark) and I use the tags and master pages I create to format your entire book. Yes, i actually have to format every page of the book — it doesn’t matter that the Word document was formatted — the Word document becomes ancient history once I import it into inDesign. That’s where I work my magic and create what I hope will be, an award-winning book. It usually takes me 7 to 10 days to typeset a book – sometimes longer if there are a lot of pictures or formatting. This is the stage where I place and size your pictures, photos, diagrams, format and place the captions, side bars, pull out quotes and all the other elements of your book.

6. — After I have typeset your book I present you with a PDF file for your review. At this stage the book is about 90% complete and ready for your proofreading to see if you have any last minute clean up edits or fixes, or your eagle catches anything I missed or any glitches in the formatting.

7. — After a thorough review by your editor/proofreader/you, etc. you then give me a list of changes or corrections you feel need to be done before the book can go to print. This is where proper communication from the start comes in.


I cannot stress that enough. I am not talking about changing a word or a comma, etc. I am talking about MAJOR changes that affect the page flow.

If that happens, the entire book virtually needs to be layed out – and pictures and captions and sidebars and pull quotes and everything has to move from its current location.

Please note, I am not complaining, I am EXPLAINING. I absolutely, hands down, 100% love my work, love books and am grateful to be in business for myself. I just need to make sure I am clear in my communication to you, my valued client, in how a book is put together. Continuing on….

8. — After I receive your post-proof revisions, I go to work to get them done and keep you informed of any problems and query you with anything I might not understand in your direction. I then present you with 2nd pdf proof for your approval.

9. — Steps 7 and 8 are repeated as necessary until you are sure your book is good to go, I finalize the Table of Contents, you sign off on the book and we are almost finished.

10. — I run a file preflight print check of your files, and create a HIGH RES PDF for your pinter according to their specs. At that time you can upload the file or email it or send it via CD to your printer.

This is the basic process involved in putting together a professioinally designe and typeset book after it has been written, edited, and proofread.

As you can see, my step in the process is multi-faceted and truly determines what the fruits of all your labor will look like when it reaches the public eye.

If you have any questions, please visit my site at
www.JustYourType.biz or email me at sue@justourtype.biz.

March 6, 2009

Entry for March 6, 2009 Here’s a poem I wrote and want to share today.

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 2:19 pm

You never saw me

as I watched you,

looking for me …

… in all the wrong places.

We got in each other’s way,

and stepped on each other’s toes (egos?),

never touching.

The loneliness consumed me

when I made the leap and

put my heart out on my sleeve

and you kindly (blindly?)

offered me your jacket.

When we meet

to say goodbye,

let us not forget to say

“I’m sorry.”

© copyright 2009 Sue Balcer

January 21, 2009

Featured Book For January 21, 2009 – The ABC’s of Happiness (Not for Children)

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 3:34 pm

The ABC’s of Happiness (Not for Children) is the lastest featured book of those I have worked on over the past 12 months.

This book was unique and fun to work on. The drawings in the book are some of the most beautiful I have seen in any book I have worked on or seen in other books, for that matter. They are colorful, vibrant and just fun to look at.

Working with Mark Yablonovich on this book was a true labor of love – Mark and his team were maticulous and spent many hours making sure each illustration and its text and captions were just right.

While this is a “fun” book — as the title states – it is not for children. It is a good-humored, adult-themed book that uses cartoons and rhymes to encourage readers to express themselves and deal with life’s situations. The book goes through the letters of the alphabet from A through Z with pictures, captions and rhyming text on the left-hand pages and a “worksheet” on the right-hand pages that prompt the reader to “Stretch Your Mind”, “Move that Pen” and “Change Your Life.”

This book would make an awesome gift for any one on your list who has a great sense of humor and doesn’t mind something “off the beaten path.”

A bit about the authors/illustratrator:

MARK YABLONOVICH graduated from Harvard Law School and built one of California’s top employment class action law firms. He then pursued his passion for bringing meditation to the workplace and now leads meditation and stress reduction seminars for organizations across the United States.

JULIET KASKA is one of the nation’s premiere fitness experts. She has been featured on The Dr. Phil Show, Good Morning America, Extra Hollywood, Vogue, Shape, SELF, W, Los Angeles Magazine, Weddings, US Weekly and People.

SCOT RITCHIE is an award-winning illustrator who has been drawing and writing for over 20 years. He has worked with everybody from The Wall St. Journal to the National Film Board of Canada.

You can view a few sample pages of the interior design/content at the top of this post and read more about the book and its creators when you visit the site at:

ABCs of Happiness

December 2, 2008

Entry for December 2, 2008 – NEW FEATURE of JustYourType.biz Blog!

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 12:53 pm

Today begins a NEW FEATURE of JustYourType.biz book design and book typesetting!

I would like to begin to feature some of the wonderful, new and exciting books I have worked on throughout the year — both from the design aspect and to give you an idea of the types of books I work on and perhaps pique your interest in one or two ;-)

I want to start today with a book that I am very proud to have designed and also had a lot of fun with the book design and typesetting, which is always nice!

The title of the book is “Jeremiah Bloom and the Amulet of Osiron” by Stephen Wren.

Here’s a little bit about the book:

Fifteen year old Jeremiah Bloom is forced, through poverty, to Gordington Square, a shipping town with a horrifying two-hundred year history of mysterious murders and ships lost at sea. After his father’s boat is lost, Jeremiah takes a job as the flamboyant Captain Van Russel’s cabin boy aboard the Nante, a ship bound for battle and evil. With the help of the Secret Society of Osiron, Jeremiah may fulfill a murdered navy man’s last ghostly wish–to save Gordington and banish the undead pirates to Abaddon, the Realm of the Dead–if he manages to stay alive…

And a bit about the Author:

Stephen Wren is a Registered Respiratory Therapist by education, a member of the SCBWI, and has always had a love for writing. In addition to creating middle-grade and YA fantasy novels, he also serves as the director of TN Paranormal and the radio producer for a paranormal talk radio program. He lives with his family in Tennessee.

This book would make a great Christmas gift for any one on your list who loves adventure and the paranormal…

You can view a few sample pages of the interior design/content at the top of this post and watch the book’s trailer at:

Jeremiah Bloom Book Trailer

September 29, 2008

Entry for September 29, 2008 Why Can’t You Make a Book From My Word Document?

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 7:31 pm

This is one of the most common questions I am asked, still to this day.

A client has created their manuscript in Word.

They have bolded and italicized and put in headings and sometimes page numbers and running heads.

They have even pasted pictures into their Word document and tell me, “All it needs is a little clean up and it’s ready to go to print. Right?”


Books are professionally typeset in InDesign or Quark Xpress.

The Word document becomes extinct once it is imported into one of these page layout programs.

I will use inDesign to mean “professional page layout program” for simplicity’s sake.

Why can’t I just fix up the Word Doc and make a book?

I work in inDesign.

inDesign gives me the ability to set up master pages, paragraph and character style sheets, control things like kerning, tracking, widows and orphans, hi res graphic placement and manipulation and so much more.

A picture pasted into Word is just a “screen representation.” it is no longer a graphic. And – it’s often a screen shot or low resolution (72 dpi RGB) image when it needs to be a HIGH RES, grayscale or CMYK tif or eps image separate from the document itself.

The pictures are then “linked” when they are placed into the inDesign layout and the fonts and pictures are “collected” and the document is run through a pre-flight program to check for missing fonts, it checks resolution and type of graphics and all that good stuff that printers need in order to use the final “printer-ready PDF file” to print from.

Preparing a Word document is a very important step for the typesetter and something I will cover in an upcoming Blog Entry very soon.


JustYourType.biz book design and book typesetting

August 22, 2008

How Do I Choose A Good Book Designer and Typesetter- www.JustYourType.biz

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 7:45 pm

I imagine this question is often on the minds of authors and publishers alike.
With our generation of online-everything I am sure it can be a quite daunting experience to jump into a sea of unknowns and trust them not only with your masterpiece, your life’s work or dream, but to do a fantastic job in making your book the best it can be and –to trust them with your payment.

A Good Book Designer and Typesetter will:

1– Ask you a lot of questions like:
a. what is the trim size of your book?
b. how will the book be bound?
c. do you have a cover designed yet, and if so, may I see it?
d. what is your proposed to-print deadline?
e. when will you have your final clean manuscript ready for the typesetter?
f. is your book in black in only or also color?
g. does your book have many pictures, photos, charts or tables?
h. how many pages is your manuscript?

and so on…

2 — Give you a quote based on the above questions and let you know what it will cost if original scope of work changes.

3 — Have an OUTSTANDING portfolio and list of client testimonials and references — check them out!

4 — Have a website with at least a valid phone number and a decent layout and logo

5 –Work closely with you every single step of the way to help you get from manuscript to printed material

6 –Work with your cover designer as needed to ensure correct spine size

7 — Present you with Sample Page designs before the entire book is typeset so there are no surprises when you see full proof.

7 — Keep you posted on the progress of the book and alert you IMMEDIATELY with any delays or questions about the book’s layout

8 — Meet your deadlines or beat them

9 — Listen to your feedback upfront so you have a produce you can proudly showcase

10 — Be someone you would gladly recommend to colleagues and friends!

Finding a good book designer and typesetter isn’t an easy process – I say this from experience even though I am a book designer and typesetter with more than 25 years experience and over 100 happy clients in the past 4 years.

As my business has been growing, I have been contemplating finding a good typesetter myself to help me with any overflow work or straight up typesetting so I can focus on the design, the customer service, follow up and running of my business.

To date, I haven’t had much luck. Most book designers either charge too much for my budget or don’t have the experience and eye for detail that I require to do a top notch job for my clients.

I put 110% into every book I work on — I take deadlines very seriously and I understand budgets.

Contact me if you want a person who not only knows how to get the job done, but has a great time doing it!

Happy Booking :)



Memorable books – The Human Side of Book Design “When Every Day Matters”

Filed under: Admin — Just Your Type Desktop Publishing @ 7:33 pm

This one is a tough topic since ALL my books are my favorite books but every now and then, one sticks out so much, I feel it needs to be shared.

I work on books of all kinds, from children’s books to memoirs to business and self-help books and even text books and I put my all into each and every book I work on.

However, I don’t get to read much of anything I typeset because I am looking at fonts, leading, hyphenation, page headers, widows and orphans, picture placement, etc.

Once in awhile, there are certain elements in the book, such as pull quotes or side bars that cause my eye to pause and I catch a few lines here and there.

There is a book I worked on recently written by MJ Brant, “When Every Day Matters” that is such a beautiful book it brought tears to my eyes as Iwould happen upon some of the memories and Letters to Katie that MJ has scattered throughout the book.

“When Every Day Matters” is a book written by MJ, a loving mom, whose daughter Katie died at the young age of 28 after suffering from a brain tumor for 10 years.

Here is one such excerpt that I as a mom, can relate to. My own daughter at age 10 was diagnosed with severe Scoliosis and when through brain-corrective surgery and two major spinal reconstructive surgeries and I was just out of my mind with worry while at the same time knew I had to be the “stability” in her soon-to-be chaotic, in-and-out-of-hospitals life.

—-MJ writes:

“I prayed, “If you let Katie live I promise I will do anything
you want me to do. I will never complain about anything anymore.
I will be a good wife, a wonderful person to everyone
that I meet.” No novena went unsaid. That is pretty typical in
a situation such as ours. Dick stuck to the facts and called the
most highly recommended pediatric neurosurgeon on the list,
Dr. Fred Epstein, who asked us to send him all information,
scans, and MRI’s. Two days later Dr. Epstein called Dick back.
“Mr. Brant,” he said, “I have analyzed the before and after surgical
MRI’s and scans. I can do better. Please bring Katie up and
let’s talk about it.”

There are many more passages and writings that I think any parent or loved one will not only relate to, but be so very moved by Mary Jane’s heart-pouring account of her daughter’s illness.

Here is a link to MJ’s book if you would like to know more.



« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress