Get Free Fonts

Font design can make or break a book cover. Too many authors use the fonts that came with their computers. To many, this screams, "Amateur."

Why? Because so many people are computer savvy. Just about anyone can look at a book cover and know if the font is standard computer-issue or a font more likely used by a graphic artist.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using what's on your computer, but maybe you should broaden your design horizons and download other fonts--especially if you've had comments about your book covers.

I recommend dafont, a website where I shop for fonts. The website is well-organized and easy to use.

The Process

1. Register. It's free. Or not. If you just want to download fonts, you don't have to register.

If you do register, you can: (a) Submit and update your own fonts (b) Create selections (to compare fonts side by side, or favorite lists) (c) Add comments on the fonts (d) Post on the forum.

Of those benefits, (b) and (c) are the only ones I make use of.

2. Look the main page over. You'll see the categories of fonts in that red box. When you select a category and a font in that category, this appears:
  • Preview Blank Box
  • Number of fonts
  • Size
  • Sort By
Set up those boxes. In the preview box, key in the title of your book if that's why you're shopping for a font or your author name or whatever. That will stay there as you look through all the fonts until you clear it, close the window, or key in something else.

3. On the right side of the page, you will see:
  • Download statistics
  • Comments
  • Usage Licenses, i.e. "Free for Personal Use" or "100% free"
  • Download Button
  • Donate to Author Button
4. When you find a font you want to download, check to see if it's totally free or otherwise. Some will say what the restrictions are. It's your responsibility to check the listing on dafont and/or check the ReadMe file for licensing requirements.

5. Download the font, check ReadMe, follow up with the font designer for payment or whatever the font designer wants. Some just want you to tell them what you used it in so they can see it. Others may want a credit line inside your book or something else entirely.

How to Find the ReadMe File
  • Find a font you like.
  • Download the font.
  • Double click on the zip folder. A list of all files contained therein will open.
  • Check the text file which may be a .txt, .doc, .pdf, or other. Most say ReadMe but some don't.
  • When you find the ReadMe file, read it and follow the instructions.
Some are very entertaining. The file will say what the font author expects in compensation. Most want a minimal donation though some may specify a dollar amount ranging from small to large.

Do It Now

Before you use the file, make payment if that is required. If the payment is more than you wish to pay, delete the font file. Do not install it thinking that you'll make payment later. You'll probably forget and may end up using a font for which you do not have a license. That can get you sued or at the very least bad-mouthed all over the Internet.

Takeaway Truth

Always donate if you use a "free" font even though it may not be required. This helps these artists make a living just as readers buying your book helps you.

Authors, subscribe to WritingHacks, my free email newsletter, and receive a special gift.

Readers, subscribe to WordPlay, my free email list, and receive a special gift.

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