Podcast: Book Design With Joel Friedlander

Joel Friedlander has an extensive background in printing, graphic design, typography and book publishing as well as being an author and blogger. His business, Marin Bookworks, is based in Marin County, California and helps authors and publishers get to market on time with a great looking, properly constructed book. Joel’s fantastic blog, TheBookDesigner.com is packed with resources for writers and publishers.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • What exactly a book designer does – and how this can give you a checklist of things you need to do for your book
  • What are your goals for your book? This will shape the design and many other questions about your book
  • You need to be in print, AND in business, so you need to consider the business aspects of your book
  • 3 things that self-published authors do that make their books stand out as unprofessional – and how to avoid these mistakes
  • Remember: Odd numbered pages go on the right, Blank pages are truly blank (no page numbers, no heads) and be consistent. Bonus tip: Keep a style guide to use as you go through(you can use Microsoft Word Styles)
  • Joel is doing Book design reviews at Self Publishing Review now – click here for an example
  • In terms of software, if you want to DIY, options include MS Word, MS Publisher, all the way up to pro packages like In Design
  • Font advice – try Garamond, Bembo, Caslon, Janson. Avoid Times New Roman for books. Click here for Joel’s article on fonts.
  • Designing books for the ebook formats vs. for print books. Currently ebooks are not well formatted, but that will change as the technology changes. Currently PDF is the best option for fully formatted ebooks e.g. photography, tables etc.
  • Tips for cover design. It is a marketing decision, not based on emotional creative expression. Keep the cover simple so it is obvious when people see it on a digital screen i.e. make the text readable at 1 inch high. Also, don’t use a white background as it fades into the background on Amazon.com
  • Tips for a successful blog. How Joel’s blog got so big, so fast. Success is a combination of a) free writing experience and ability to write and create b) passion for the subject of book design and self publishing and c) expert advice from Yaro Starak’s Blog Profits Blueprint.
  • How blogging is so rewarding for its own sake, let alone for marketing and platform building! Focus on a topic you love and can think of many articles to write on. Joel now blogs every day, and we discuss tips for what to write.
  • On blog design: People come to your blog to read so don’t obscure this reading area. Start on the left, have a white background and make sure there is lots of white space.

(Note from Joanna: I also learnt from Yaro Starak and highly recommend his Become a Blogger program – affiliate)

You can connect with Joel at his blog, TheBookDesigner.com (there are loads of free resources for authors there as well). He is also on Twitter @JFBookman

Here is the transcription of this podcast with Joel => Transcription

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  1. says

    Joanna, it was great fun to “meet” you via Skype, and to have the chance to talk books and book design for your interview. Thanks so much for including me in your awesome blog, I really appreciate it.


  1. […] can also check out this podcast from Joanna Penn, interviewing Joel Friedlander on a lot of the processes of book design. If you really want to delve more deeply into the […]

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