Fonts are important in two different areas: inside the book and on the cover. In either case, it is very important to either use a free font (there are massive numbers of them) or pay to buy the font so you can use it. Do not, under any circumstances, download a trial version and use it for your book or cover.
As with most things, someone spent time to research, analyze, and explain the issue of choosing the best font.
Do not use more than two fonts in a project. You can use one font for chapter titles and headings (usually a sans-serif font) and a different (probably serif) for the body. (The difference is discussed below.) But do not introduce a third. The title page, body of the book (everything except the title page), and cover can be considered as three separate projects for the purposes of artwork, but the title page should use the same fonts as either the cover (preferable) or the body.
Note: The same advice can be adapted for blog posts as well as books.
Inside the Cover
Frankly, for e-books, inside the cover is a non-issue. The reader chooses among a very few default fonts and there is little you can do about it. It is possible to fix a font, but there is rarely a reason to do that for an e-book.
That doesn’t mean you have to just stick to Times New Roman or Arial because for print books, it does matter. In addition, you see the font in your manuscript. Personally, I’m just plain sick of Times New Roman, so I don’t use it. If that’s the default that shows up in my e-books instead of , I’m OK with that – but I would rather look at Calibri while I’m working.
The first choice is serif or sans-serif. As mentioned above, having a sans-serif for the headings and a serif font for the body of the text is the most common choice. There are virtually unlimited choices, but bonfx has done a great deal of research to find 19 great font combinations. Using these combinations is safe and will give solid, pleasing results.
The title page is the one page where you may want to embed the font inside your book to ensure it looks different – fancier. Covers have graphics, and the title font is often an integral part of the graphics for that page.
Bluntly, let the experts make the choice. Guide them, give them feedback – but let them choose the font.
There are hundreds, thousands, of fonts. Depending on your genre, some are a better choice than others. You don’t need to look at all of them, but it’s never a bad idea to give them an idea of what you like. If you love the idea of a font dripping blood for your ghost story, tell the cover artist. If you want romantic swirls on your romance novel, speak up. But let them make the final choice.
If they say those fonts are too hard to read, listen to them and look at what they are suggesting. Really look at it and give it a fair shake. It just may be better than you expect. There were almost certainly be two different fonts on your cover. The main title is fairly likely to have a fancy font. The subtitle and author’s name are extremely likely to have a much simpler, easier-to-read font since they will be in a smaller size.
It’s OK to use more than one designer for your book cover. For the book cover to the right, one Fiverr artist was sent a picture of a lake and asked to turn it into artwork sized for a book cover, including an extra inch all around in case the project changed a bit in size. He was focused on creating graphics and has a cool, unusual Asian-inspired style, but little experience creating book covers.
After the .psd was returned, he did a second gig to create the people. In my opinion, that was less successful and they need replaced. Finally, the whole file was sent to a different artist with more experience creating book covers. She choose all the fonts and placed the text.
By combining the talents of several artists, this book cover came out looking far more professional and custom than most Fiverr projects, yet still cost less than many professionals who have both skill sets.
There are many places to find free, downloadable fonts online. Font Squirrel is just one, but it’s focus on designers makes it a good choice for writers.
You need to trust your own gut regarding many things in your work, but you need to let professional designers guide you through the artwork process. Eventually, you will learn enough to be more of a partner and guide on that process, but most of us need to really follow their lead a lot more at first.