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.
This high level of communications continues with the layout of your book’s interior. You should have a say in the font your book designer is suggesting. You should have a say in how the chapters are laid out, what the table of contents looks like, how the formatting features are presented, what the size of the book will be, and how both the front and back covers read. This does not happen without great communications. This does not happen without a willingness on the part of your book designer to listen with an open mind. This does not happen if your book designer is too busy or too pre-occupied to give you the time of day.
Remember also that this great communication is a two-way street. Pick a book designer that you respect enough to listen to his or her ideas. Pick a book designer whose skill level makes you excited enough to open your heart, but also one who respects all the effort that went into the creation of your book.