What is a running head? I get asked this question often. At first, I thought that no one was reading books these days. Then I realized that not many knew that the copy at the top of a book’s page denoting the chapter, author, or title of the book, is a running head.

This key element tends to just get overlooked. As a reader myself I honestly never gave them much thought, let alone read them. It wasn’t until I became a publisher that I started to take notice.

To be honest, the running head is the most ignored copy in a book. (Second only to the legal page!) Yet it is a powerful tool that sets the stage for a reader’s eyes and brain.

The inclusion of running heads also creates a level of professionalism that sets your book apart from most DIY publishing projects.

Aside from looking professional, running heads format your book’s pages. They subtly let you know how much space the text will take up on each page by showing you where copy stops and starts. Running heads provide a visual map of how the book will flow from start to finish.

In short, running heads provide the reader with the navigation that allows for maximum focus and enjoyment of the adventure that lays ahead.

Think about it like this for a moment. Have you ever read a digital book that ran off the page? It’s stressful and it leaves you feeling a little lost as you don’t know where to start or stop reading. This lack of visual organization strains the eyes and feels like jumbled thoughts were just thrown on a page.

And don’t even think about turning the page because all the thoughts will be running into each other! It looks and feels like driving without lane dividers in a highly populated city.

Although a subtle nuance, running heads provide the reader with an enjoyable experience while taking your project from amateur to indie publishing mastery.

Conscious Shift Publishing consults, edits, formats, designs, publishes, and markets books. Whether writers wish to self- or indie-publish we inspire them through every step to promote their unique perspectives. CSP clients retain 100% of their royalties as well as 100% ownership of every digital file and image. Find out more at ConsciousShiftPublishing.com or contact publisher, Tracey Kern, at tracey@cscpubs.com to schedule a complimentary consultation. Write on!