Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Is Professional Book Design Necessary for A Self-Publishing Author?


Self-Publishing is developing so swiftly that it can be hard to keep up with what it means.

Book Designing

Image Courtesy of Ove Topfer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/topfer

Some folks claim it means writing, editing, designing, and printing a book essentially by yourself.

Some would say the printing can be outsourced but all the other tasks are up to one individual.

Some are now urging writers to consider hiring or trading services for a team of professionals to create the physical and digital book.

The most practical approach would seem to be doing, for yourself, what you can do or learn to do and then finding others for the rest, whether you pay them or trade with them—admitting that crowdfunding is possible and crowdsourcing of editing is beginning to be used…

But, what is “Designing” a book and does an e-book need the same design considerations as a print book?

Today, I’ll share information from two folks who’ve appeared, many times, in this blog—Joel Friedlander and Jane Friedman.

The first resource-link is How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design?

This is an interview of Joel by Jane and I’ll only give you the questions Jane asked and let you take the link to read Joel’s answers.

By the way, in case you aren’t a regular reader of this blog, Joel is a true Expert in Book Design with over 30 years experience.

Jane is “…the co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest” with “15 years of  experience inside the book, magazine, and literary publishing industries.”…

Here are Jane’s questions:

I’m a firm believer in the power of design. I think it affects purchasing not just in obvious ways, but also on a subconscious level. So it often frustrates me when independent authors do their own design work to keep costs low. But I also understand the need to limit financial risk. Let’s say we have to make a compromise. What do you think an author might be able to accomplish reasonably well on her own (that has least potential to adversely affect sales), and what’s the No. 1 thing an author should hire a designer for (because of its potential to increase sales)?

What are the most common mistakes you see authors make when they design their own book interiors?

How can an author find a good interior designer who’s right for their book? How do you properly evaluate one?

When hiring a designer, how much should an author expect to spend for a typical trade print paperback novel (cover and interior)?

Should an author ever use design contest sites (e.g., 99designs.com)?

Do you think there should be a different cover design for print vs. electronic editions? What special considerations come into play for e-book covers?

If an author wanted to educate themselves on what constitutes good book design, aside from reading your blog, what resources would you recommend?

Even if you don’t take the link to read Joel’s answers, those questions should get you thinking about the issues involved in book design…

And, here’s the second resource-link—22 Top Book Designer Tasks for Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Print.

That article is from Joel, the guy with over 30 years experience in Book Design :-)
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