I Need Your Help For My Book – Black or White?

I’m nervous.

You would be able to tell I’m nervous if somehow you could see my laptop’s history. You’d see I have been – for weeks now – continuously flitting to one or more versions of my Sonali book tweaking here, adding a comma there or (as has happened in last twenty-four hours) completely re-landscaping the style.

 

The front cover of Sonali

The front cover of Sonali

This is partly because I want this first book to be as good as it can be. Not perfect, you note; I’m no perfectionist and if I was I wouldn’t have chosen a book of photographic memories of Bangladesh as the first book to produce. I’m no photographer and I’ve guessed my way through designing and arranging the pictures. Photographers among you will, I’m sure, cringe. But, for an amateur, I can make it the best I can with my limited resources and expertise. More accurately, I’ve employed the skills of others who have read, critiqued and re-designed it since I started the project to make up for my inadequacies.

Mostly though, I’m procrastinating because I’m terrified of finally making this thing go public. I could really do with the book equivalent of a mortgage adviser telling me precisely which option I should go for. I’m happy doing the creative bit but there’s such a wealth of choice out there for publishing books that I’m too spoilt for choice.

Moreover, this is a photo book and that’s tricky. I’ve tried compressing it and still can’t make it under 5MB which some publishers need. Although this is coming out as an E-book initially (and possibly an app version if I can persuade the software to work) if I want a print version it could be quite expensive for you guys to buy (around £8-15 /$10-20 I think is the set price) whereas I want to make it available for a much cheaper and affordable price so as many people as possible will buy it and so donate to Ria’s cause.

Decisions, decisions…

If any of you have good advice (experienced please, I have enough ‘nice ideas’) to offer about who to publish with then do let me know. Otherwise, I’ll go with one of the two or three I’ve narrowed it down to.

However, sharing my fears and anxieties isn’t the reason for writing today. Oh no.

I need your help with the very final, final, very last, losing the will to live definitely no-more-going-to-be-done-with-it-now decision I have to make. It’s simply this: Black or White?

Sonali being essentially a photo-memoir book has a lot of pictures with small amounts of text on most. I’ve tried to vary where the text goes but for several pictures it will go to the side, above or below. I have two options – either black text on white background or white text on black background.

Take a look and see what you think. Don’t worry too much about the quality of the text – it looks better in the pdf/e-book format than it does on wordpress (at least on my screen anyway). Just concentrate on the overall feel of the pages.

Here’s an example:

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Which do you guys prefer? Here’s another example:

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So let me know. Which looks better for an E-book and for a printed book? Could be the same answer for both. Could be either would work. What do you think?

Leave your comments here on the blog and once I’ve sifted through them I’ll make a decision and then…publish!

There’s still time, by the way, to click here and go to Ria’s GoFundMe site (or click on the link at the top right of this page) and donate a few pennies, dollars, pounds (or thousands thereof😉 ) and see your name in lights. Well… Have your name in the acknowledgements of Sonali in both e-book and print version anyway. If that kind of publicity really isn’t your thing don’t worry – you can donate without giving your name publicly on the GoFundMe site (I’ll know who you are but no one else – even Ria – will know) and I will contact you before publishing to ask if you are happy for your name to feature in the acknowledgements. The amount you give will not be published in Sonali.

Thanks for your advice and support, guys. (bloggers – please share, tweet and reblog!) 🙂

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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47 Responses to I Need Your Help For My Book – Black or White?

  1. Pingback: Sonali News and other round-ups | kenthinksaloud

  2. Sandie says:

    Black background I think is less distracting to the photos and gives them a depth. white though makes it all look brighter and more feel good – but maybe less deep . Mind you what do I know!!! Looking forward to buying the book though. big hug

    Like

  3. Tim Naylor says:

    White text black background. My preference is to avoid a very strong line between the edge of the photo and the block with the text. As both examples are fairly dark photos – then the black background means there is not too strong a line between the photo and the block. If a photo were more white (than black) then I guess I would prefer a white background with black text……so it all depends on the individual photo! Can you mix n match or is that too complicated!

    Like

    • LOL thanks for that Tim…I think😉
      There will be a certain amount of mixing and matching anyway as most pictures have the text laid on top of them and only a few have borders of the type you see here. So there will be variety.

      Like

  4. Sandee says:

    I prefer the black background with white text. I find the white background distracting. Good luck Ken! Great project!

    Like

  5. renxkyoko says:

    I like the one with the white backround.

    Like

  6. bhuwanchand says:

    I like the white text on black background. It contrast well with most of the pictures and does not distract.

    Like

  7. Helen Day says:

    White on black

    Like

  8. my opinion – black on white. good job, good luck
    doug

    Like

  9. jacqui says:

    I prefer the black text on white background. ..only because I find it easier to read….think my eyesights going! But I think the white text on black background looks more professional.

    Like

  10. Phil Holburt says:

    ken, black with white text. Fits in better with the overall look. Regarding file size, have you tried creating the file as a .pdf ? excellent for compressing data. Download a freeware utility, called ‘cutepdf’ and you can ‘print’ any doc file into a .pdf.

    cheers mate

    Ph

    Like

    • Cheers Phil – another vote for black background. Yes, of course I’ve converted to pdf lol! It’s still big however even after compressing like mad. The problem is I don’t want to compress too much and lose the quality of the pictures…

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  11. Lizz Lee says:

    AAAGGGHHH = about to throw the fly into the ointment. There are inherent difficulties for some people in reading white text on a black background. Google it.

    Re ebook or print. Am assuming the pics are 72dpi for ebook and 300dpi for print? I won’t blather on about that, I’ll assume that’s the case unless you say otherwise.

    x

    Like

  12. Black background is more visually appealing, in my opinion.

    Oooooh, how exciting! Your new baby’s due and you’re all nervous😉

    Good luck and the best of success. Keep us posted!

    Like

  13. Ken, I’ve always been a ‘black lover’ however in this case, because you are using B/W photos, the white background provides a very pleasant contrast which makes both -photo and text- work better individually as well as together. I would use black background with white text only in your intro page and epilogue and generally wherever you don’t have a photo. I would even use black for a blank page. I seem to be a minority though… 😉
    I can’t wait to see it finished!🙂

    Like

    • Ah but Marina you know I love and respect your artistic eye so your voice carries considerable weight!

      I have wondered myself and all my beta readers have read it with white backgrounds with no one suggesting it would be better swapped. However, it came into my head after noticing lots of photo books prefer black backgrounds and realised it does look nice.

      There IS going to be a lot of variety in the book with most text actually lying ON the photo rather than in a border so not every photo will look like these. Still not sure…I’ll let more voices comment before deciding…

      Like

  14. I think I prefer black.

    Like

  15. Vikki Ford-Powell says:

    Black! And thanks to all who have already given we really need to get the money raised to give this promising young business women the start she needs to impact women’s rights in her country.

    Like

  16. For me what does it is the white text on the black background. It just enhances the entire experience of the image, and draws you into the story. I like the text style/font. I wish you all the best with this project – let me know if I can help you in any other way.

    Like

  17. Kirsty Devaney says:

    I think black background looks more professional and slick. The white just looks like you could have been done it on word🙂 Looks great!

    Like

  18. White text on Black background🙂
    Looks lovely..

    Like

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