OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
I hope that most independent authors now recognize the importance of professional cover design when it comes to self-publishing books.
The problem with DIY is that it can look unprofessional and while paying a pro is fantastic, if you have a lot of books, it can cost you a lot of money over time. So what's an indie author to do?
In this video interview, Joel Friedlander from TheBookDesigner.com gives us some tips on how to make your book interior professional and avoid the indications of self-publishing, plus he outlines his new Book Design Templates which offer a cost effective way to get a professional product. You can watch the video below on on YouTube here, plus there's an mp3 version you can download below the video.
Download the interview as an mp3 => BookDesignInterior.mp3
- Why print is still a great option for self-publishers. For straight text novels, ebooks sell well and don't require much formatting, but there are a LOT of books that will do better as print. Plus, people still love to buy print so you are missing out on a market if you avoid it. Non-fiction authors who are also speakers need print to sell at the back of the room. Here's why I have returned to print recently.
- We talk about the demise of the big-box bookstores like Borders and possibly Barnes & Noble, and (hopefully) the resurrection of Independent Bookstores and how this will impact authors. Print will survive and hopefully thrive.
Tell-tale signs of amateur book production
People are used to the specific conventions of a book, so you need to pay attention to minutiae in order to format your book interior.
- Running heads on chapter opening pages. Getting the styles right in MS Word is difficult and removing these is
- Lack of hyphenation in order to make the book fit onto the page better. Big spaces on the lines look horrible and are obviously amateur
- Missing pieces e.g. no copyright page or missing front matter like a title page before jumping straight into the content
- Page numbering. The odd numbers need to be on the right hand side (I got this wrong in my first book)
Things to remember
- The number of pages must be divisible by 2 for print on demand, for offset it should be divisible by 16 for the best quality book at the best price
- Margins should be wide enough to look good and font size should be easy to read
- The gutter, the middle space, needs to be wide enough so people can open the book and read easily
- Fonts should be matched and used together in a visibly pleasing manner. Joel's pet hate fonts: Comic Sans and Papyrus. Using old style fonts for the text and sans serif for heads and chapter titles. Matching them can be fun (if you aren't type-challenged like I am!)
- Joel now has these amazing book design templates, which are a number of pre-formatted MS Word designs you can download and use for your books. This will help you create a professional looking finished product at a fraction of the price of professional design.
- The product includes the template, the fonts, a guide to how to use it and the pricing is based on whether you just want to use the template for one book, or a series, or even if you want to create interiors for other people. There's also an ebook extra package so it is easy to convert and look nice.
- There are multiple designs and each design is available in the most common sizes that indie authors use: 6 x 9, 5.5 x 8.5 and 5.25. x 8
- You can also get the Book Construction Blueprint for free at BookDesignTemplates – definitely pick that up even if you want to DIY.
Personally, I think this is a fantastic offering and Joel is a trusted professional in the book design area so he knows what he is talking about. There will be new designs added over time so it's definitely worth checking this out when you're ready to self-publish. Go check it out at BookDesignTemplates.com
Want more from Joel?
- A Self-Publisher's Companion: We discuss issues around self-publishing and what people get wrong
- Book cover design, the process explained with Joel Friedlander. Video we made when Joel did the design for my first novel, Pentecost
- Joel's book: A Self-Publisher's Companion on Amazon
- Joel's amazing site: TheBookDesigner.com
- Joel on twitter @jfbookman
Do you have any questions about print book design? Please do leave them in the comments.