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.

Interior Layout: What is that? Why is it important?  Second question first: interior layout is absolutely vital in making your book as readable as possible. Period. It includes what a book designer refers to as typesetting. Meaning everything from the size of the margins to the size and choice of font.  A great book designer will know your book so well that he or she will be making every decision based upon the needs of your audience and nothing else.

A great book designer always puts considerable thought and planning not only to the body of your book, but also the what goes up front, like:

  • your publishing information,
  • the copyright page,
  • the dedication and acknowledgments,
  • the table of contents, or foreword

as well as what might go at the back, like:

  • your epilogue,
  • glossary,
  • appendix,
  • or afterword.

Ah, yes, and then there is the very important decision about book size.  In the trade, a book designer refers to this as trim size. Will it be 5″ x 8″ or 6″ x 9?  Will it be 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 7″ x 10″? So important. Your finished product depends upon it.

Some of these decisions may depend on budget, but the bottom line once again is your audience. What works best for them?  If your book designer doesn’t have your reader at heart, look for someone else.  If your book designer doesn’t have your book’s success at the top of his or her list and knows what it takes to maximize its success, look for someone else.

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