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Who knew a poorly designed book could cause the audience to put the book down? Well, we do! When an author indie-publishes, they will need to pay closer attention to how information or a story is presented to readers. Published books are professionally designed.

How Important is Book Design?

Published books are professionally designed. There are design standards and publishing conventions to follow. A given trim size will have fairly standard margins, body text size, and line height (or “leading”) to result in a book that looks most like other traditionally published books. A professionally designed book will be easier to read. Without comfortable font sizes and appropriate leading, readers’ eyes will tire quickly. Not being able to count on the audience’s positive word of mouth, authors need to market to more readers to sell the same number of copies.

Finding a Book Designer

Like professional editing, book design requires knowledge, skill, and experience. There are many freelance design options available through the Internet. Pricing, quality, and time frames vary depending on the complexity of the design work. A novel doesn’t take as long to lay out as poetry. Poetry doesn’t require as much time as a book with lots of figures and/or illustrations. Design can be a time- and labor-intensive process too. Well-designed book interiors will draw attention to themselves. Reading them will be effortless. Choppy design causes distractions for the reader.

The Right Tools for the Job

Find a book design service to reflect the kind of book being published. The more complex the book, the longer it takes to design and the more expensive it will cost. Because book design is detail oriented, the right design tools are key. Redbrush’s designers use Adobe InDesign to design book interiors, and Photoshop and Illustrator to work with illustrations, images, and figures. Fiction and nonfiction books can be designed quickly using appropriate style guides. More complex works like business and technical books, children’s picture books, and cookbooks will require more time to fine tune all of a book’s components.

Where to Begin

Book design options start at $350. Authors have the opportunity to share their ideas and mockups to their book designer before work begins. Authors should be confident in the title and cover themes before beginning the interior editing process. The book’s interior should be designed when all editorial feedback, editing, and proofing have been completed. There will also be an final opportunity to proof the designed interior to catch any mistakes.

HELPFUL HINT! When it comes to judging book covers, double-takes are very desirable. Imagine a cover where the combination of the title and cover imagery cause a customer to stop and look again. Giving your book that “Huh?” factor can make them stop and read the back of your book. The back of the book description and a blurb or two all but seal the sale. Your mini-bio and photo should be the icing on their decision. Ask yourself what drew you to the books on your own shelves. Understanding what drew you two them will help as you consider how to draw your readers to your title.