Finding the Right Book Designer for Your Indie Publication

The Eyes of the Moose was written by David Ranking Johnson and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

If you have invested the many hundreds of hours that go into writing a book, be it a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book, then you owe it to yourself to find exactly the right book designer to provide both excellent design work and smart publishing assistance.

With that in mind, let’s break down seven important factors that you will want to consider in finding the best possible book design firm.

Consideration # 1.  Make certain that your book designer explains every step in the process in a way that makes sense to you.  These steps include proofreading and book cover design as well as the proper interior layout of both your print book and e-book and the exact files you will need to implement your marketing programs.

Consideration # 2. If anyone, including your book designer, tries to tell you that you’re trading away the rights to your book when you publish, get away from those people as fast as you can. You own the rights to your book. The copyright is in your name. You own your book cover.  Always, always, always.

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Great Book Design Begins with Great Communication

Twin Flames was written by Charles Quinn and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

I know what you’re thinking when I say, “Great book design begins with great communication.” You’re thinking, “This is obvious.”  It should be, but it often is not.

An author works extremely hard to produce that special book.  Whether it’s a novel, biography, business book, or some type of self-help book or book of inspiration. As authors, we put our hearts and souls into our books.  Very often what happens next is that the person in charge of designing the book cover or orchestrating the interior layout of your book then jumps in and takes over.  What happens?  The author suddenly feels left out or without any say in the next steps of the book design process.  This is not how it is supposed to work.

The whole idea behind independent book publishing, or Indie publishing as it is often called, is that the author has much more control than he or she would if the book was a product of mainstream publishing. The great communication that I am speaking about begins the moment you and your book designer start to work on your book cover.  There should be from the outset an exuberant exchange of ideas about what the cover should look like. This begins with the book designer having a very clear picture of the story, in the case of a novel or biography, or the message, in the case of a business book or self-help book.  If your book designer is too lazy to read what you’ve written or uninterested in what you’ve written, find someone else.

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Don’t Wait: Get Your Story Written and Published

The Rigel Affair was written by L M Hedrick and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

  • Having a great story inside you is only the first step.
  • Bringing the story to life is hard work, but it is as worthwhile a goal as there is.
  • Seeing that story in print is special.
  • Handing your printed book to a friend is beyond special.

We all have a story in us, which means we all have the power to see that story come to life and to be published in a most professional way.  A powerful narrative has a way of capturing the attention and imagination of audiences in a way no other device can.

Storytelling stories is also an effective way to impart ideas and information. Storytelling allows us to share individual experiences while exploring old and new ideas. In fact, storytelling is ideal for turning dull, uninteresting ideas into compelling, captivating narratives. But don’t stop there.  Tell your story and see that story into print.  We always say: the power is in the story. But there is more to it. The power is in seeing your story told and seeing it published and available to anyone who wants to read it.

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Book Design in a Nutshell

This tale of two travelers was written by both Joseph De La Cruz and Simon Vandekerckhove and was published by Graham Publishing Group.

Book design often suffers from the mistaken notion that it is all about the perfect book cover. As all-important as the cover is, book design is much for than that. Look at the way you would a completed book, be it a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book. Every book is tied together by indispensable elements, from the plot and the characters to the message and the emotion.  Book design is similar: it ties together:

    • the cover front and back,
    • the interior layout of the chapters,
    • the choice of font,
    • the ink,
    • even the spine of the book.

All have to be addressed with an eye on one thing: a presentation that entices the reader, one, to open it, two, to buy it and read it. That’s why you wrote your book; so that people will read it.

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Reading, Writing, and the Book Jacket Design Process

This fearless memoir was written by Patricia Gunn and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Mood is everything when it comes to designing a fabulous book jacket.

A great book cover designer understands that his or her job is to translate what it feels like to read your book.  Get the mood, understand the feeling, and pour that into a book cover without over designing or over complicating things.

The best book cover designers are voracious readers. They love the written word, because they know the essence of their book jacket design emanates without fail from those words.

Yes, it’s the plot of a great novel or the depth of a powerful memoir.  Yes, it is the message of a good business book or the tools demonstrated in a useful self-help book. But it is more than that.  Book cover design is about feeling. It’s about understanding the reader as well as the words written on the page.

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Book Design Trends and Indie Publishing

A Gift Like Zoe's

This book, about a rebellious teen following near-death experience was written by C. C. Holmes and published by Graham Publishing Group.

How much attention should you be paying to the current trends of the day when you set out to write the book of your dreams, be it a novel, a memoir, a business book, or a book of health and inspiration?  Should you write from your heart or write to satisfy trends?

  • First, you can never go wrong writing from you heart.
  • Second, there is nothing wrong with taking note of the trends of the day.

But if the latest book writing guru says that political and social satire are destined to be the latest and greatest trend, but satire doesn’t appeal to you, then the answer is easy: write what does appeal to you. If some blogger suggests that poetry is making a serious comeback, and poetry is your one, true love, then it’s good to know that maybe it’s making a comeback. If you’re interested in writing horror fiction, but zombies are out of vogue, then don’t give up on horror; think as far out in front of the curve as possible while being true to you as a writer.

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Marketing Your Book Using Your Email List

Make no mistake, your email list is an asset. A remarkable asset.  Using it to its full advantage is essential. Let’s talk about how.

Create and design a Landing Page on your website that works.

Okay, so what is a Landing Page, you ask.  The definition of a landing page is this: the section of a website accessed by clicking a hyperlink on another web page, typically your website’s home page. The landing page has a form on it that allows you to capture a visitor’s information in exchange for a desired offer.  You have to give something to get something, so think about this. What can you offer your visitor that is worth them sharing their contact information. Is it a sample of your book? Is it a t-shirt? Is it a signed photo?

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The Art of Writing vs. The Science of Writing

image of La Mia Famiglia book cover

La Mia Famiglia was written by Anthony Scarpo and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Writing is a beautiful thing, one that incorporates elements of both art and science.

The science of writing is that most important focus we all need to have on the rules of writing and composition. Where do you use a semi-colon, for example. When should you forsake a compound sentence for two shorter sentences. Where to place commas.  How to write in the active voice when it might be easier to settle for the passive voice.  When to omit needless words.  When to inject opinions and when not to. When to respect your reader’s imagination as opposed to explaining or describing more than necessary.  You get the idea. A writer who insists upon using twenty-five-cent words when a ten-cent-word is there for the taking may still need to study the science of writing a bit more thoroughly.  In fact, every writer should always be open to the ever-evolving science of writing no matter how successful one might be. We can always improve.

The good news is this: everyone can “learn” the science of writing.

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Book Design and the World of SEO

image of the cover of "The Aftershock"

The Aftershock, an inspirational memoir, was written by Kelli Poles and published by Graham Publishing Group.

SEO. Search Engine Optimization.  Spooky words. Especially if you’re a writer who has just completed his or her novel, biography, business book, or book of inspiration. All you want to do is get your book to your book designer, get a great cover designed, and then get that baby up on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or whatever online platform you prefer.

All well and good until it comes to marketing your book. And, by the way, your book does deserve to be marketed. You may not understand it, but marketing and SEO go hand in hand.  You’re a writer and you love being creative.  Now that your book is done, get creative with marketing and the best use of Search Engine Optimization using blogs, web content, and industry articles.

SEO is Not Brain Surgery

Most of what you need to know about SEO is straightforward.  Even simple.  You don’t need to know code or how to build a website. All you need to know is how to communicate like you normally do with your readers.  Know your audience.  SEO operates upon simple keywords that people just like you and me type in when we’re searching for anything.  For example, you’re looking to learn more about book design.  Do you type in:

  • Tell me about the technology surrounding typesetting
  • How does book design work?

Which is most likely?  The second one, of course.

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Be a Storyteller

Laughter in the Red Woods, a humorous novel by May Kramer, was published by Graham Publishing Group.

Not everyone is a storyteller.

Not everyone wants to be a storyteller. Make no mistake, however; we all love a good story.  We love to be swept up in what is the heart and soul of any good story: conflict and resolution, drama and comedy, peril and heroism, love and laughter. These elements exist in everything that we do because they are second nature to the human condition.  And what is storytelling if not the portrayal of the human condition. We are emotional creatures, and most good storytelling plays upon the emotions of our audience, whether they are holding a book in their hands or seating in a seat in a theater.

The best storytellers have a gift for tapping into our emotions and letting us inside the jeopardy that is inherent in most situations and every relationship.  In other words, it’s about being real. If you want to be a storyteller, being real is the first and most important prerequisite.

Books are my favorite vehicle for storytelling, though not every book represents good storytelling.  The movies attempt to convey a story in two hours.  Some are successful, some are not. The theater is much the same.  Art?  Well, there are lot of artists who proclaim themselves storytellers, but not every painting, sculpture, or piece of pottery rises to that level. For my money, it doesn’t matter. If you make the attempt to write a book or a poem, create a script or produce a movie, act in or direct a play, pick up a paint brush or mold a piece of pottery, you’ve taken a risk in the creative world and ventured into the realm of storytelling. That in its own right is a success.

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