So, you’ve written a book—but how do you make it look like a book? At the moment, it probably looks like a standard Microsoft Word or Google Docs document. To transform this document into a book, it goes through a design process. This happens once the editing is complete but before proofreading. If you’re not sure what book design entails, here’s the lowdown…
Book design is split into two parts: cover design and layout design.
With cover design, you could create a DIY cover using Canva or other design software. However, a professional cover designer knows what readers want—and that applies to fonts, font size, colour palettes, images, patterns, layout, and more. They know the latest cover trends, but they also know what type of cover stands the test of time.
With layout design (also known as “typesetting”), there is software that helps you create the inside of the book without a designer, such as Scrivener or Reedsy Editor. However, an experienced layout designer knows what works—the correct number of words per page, screen size, page size, various formats, fonts, font size, line spacing, unit spacing, margins, heading styles, and so on.
Some designers do both; some specialise in one or the other.
These days, a book may end up in multiple formats, but the main two ways these are categorised are: print (paperback, hardcover, spiral-bound) and e-book (Amazon, Kobo, phone, computer).
Within this, you may end up with a few different versions of the book based on where you’d like it to be available. For example, you will probably want a print PDF version that is uploaded to the printer or is available for print-on-demand. You will probably also want several e-book versions, for example, e-pub for most small-screen formats such as Kobo and mobile phones, Mobi or AWZ for Kindle, and a general PDF for computers.
The price of book design can really vary as it depends on the designer’s level of experience. When it comes to book design, you may pay a few pounds for the right to use an image for a DIY cover—or thousands for a bespoke cover from an expert designer. In that sense, it comes down to how much you want to spend. With layout design, the price is often per page and is relatively inexpensive compared to the learning curve of formatting the book yourself.
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At The Book Shelf, we specialise in nonfiction books that make the world better. We empower our authors to write life-changing books for their readers. We’ve worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe—from first-timers to New York Times bestsellers to non-native speakers and everyone in between. If you want to change your readers’ lives, we want to help you achieve that.
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"I got exactly what I was looking for with Ameesha. She gave my nonfiction book 100% and more. She is knowledgeable, genuine, dedicated and passionate. I was really wary of giving someone I didn't know my 'baby', but she instantly understood my book and I felt so lucky to have her on-side.
Ameesha caught my eye when I read her bio: 'We should all strive to make the world a better place for others'. She means it! My book is finally ready for agents and publishers and I couldn't have done it without her.
After Ameesha did a fantastic job on helping me complete my book, I asked if she could take a look at my book proposal and query letter. Ameesha made it stronger and personalised my query letter for each individual literary agent and the independent publishers I had chosen to send to. For my book proposal, she went to lengths researching things I wouldn’t even have thought to include. Once again thank you for your outstanding work. I would love to work with amazing Ameesha again in the future."
"Without Ameesha and the team at The Book Shelf, my book would still be sitting unread on my laptop. Then she coordinated the input of her designers to deliver elements that I could not: creating the cover I had envisaged and creating a perfect graphic solution to a unique formatting request!"
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