Archive for May, 2010

“Everyone has a book in them” … you’ve heard it said a thousand times. It’s probably true, but getting that book out in readable form is a challenge. The publishing industry is in a volatile state and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have a book published in the traditional way. Meanwhile, more and more writers are considering the path of self-publishing. This, however, is not a path for the faint-hearted. If you don’t want your book to be dismissed as ‘amateur’, you won’t try to skimp on the essential parts of the publishing process. Some of these can be rather expensive, but unfortunately, if your self-published book is less than professional, it may have a very short life.

One of the components that makes your book feel professional is the cover design and text layout . Can you do it yourself? The answer to that is … maybe.

Have you been frequently told (preferably by people outside ‘friends and family’) that you have a ‘flair for design’. That’s a good start, but not necessarily a guarantee of success – a flair for interior design, for instance, may not translate into an understanding of form and space on a page.

Do you have any knowledge of typography?

Do you have appropriate page layout software such as InDesign or Quark Xpress (quite expensive, by the way)? (No, Microsoft Word is not good enough!).

Do you understand the issues involved in preparing a file for commercial printing?

Do you know what good page design actually is?

If your answer to all, or most, of these is ‘no’, then you would be well-advised to engage a professional designer to help you. Make sure you choose one who has experience of book design.

But if you can answer ‘yes’ to a number of these points, and are willing to learn what you don’t know, ┬áthen go ahead. It might be a good idea to try your hand at an ebook before tackling the more complex task of preparing a book for print.

Email me at melisanda1(at)me.com for my free ebook, “ebook design for non-designers”. (The design principles are relevant for print books too.)


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