Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Interior Book Design Costs More Than You Think It Should (Part Two)

By now, if you’ve been a follower of my blog, you know that one of my fervent goals as a professional book doctor is to keep self-publishing authors from making costly mistakes—both money-wise and credibility-wise.

Let’s face it: Once your book has been produced and published in a substandard way, recouping your reputation and overcoming the often poor reviews is no easy road for a writer, not to mention the cost of the stack you enthusiastically purchased to have on hand for eager fans and speaking gigs. Having your book subsequently redone the right way is the only smart choice—yet has the damage already been done?

Photo courtesy www.obsessivebookworm.wordpress.com

I don’t have to tell you that first impressions govern every aspect of our lives. How we feel about people, food, websites, book covers … you name it … determines whether we stick around for more or revisit them later. Our human nature wants to be pleased at the outset, perhaps so that we innately don’t waste too much time on the myriad choices placed before us on a daily basis. And when the first impression isn’t good, we’re often tainted for a second look … or taste … or read.

This is precisely why it’s vital not to take short cuts when editing, designing, and packaging your labor of love. The chances that a reader will come back to see the “improved version” are slim to none (unless they love you!), so do yourself a favor:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why Interior Book Design Costs More Than You Think It Should (Part One)

Photo courtesy Keystrokes and Word Counts
If you’re like many writers, you may have entertained the notion that if you self-publish your book, you can save a ton of money by laying out the interior yourself. After all, isn’t that something you can do in Word? How hard could it be to pick a font, set a margin, insert page numbers, and basically make it look like a book? Never mind that you’ve only ever typed regular ol’ documents in Word, perhaps with some photos or graphics inserted here and there. Cinch, right?

Well, it might be, except that some crucial elements are missing:
1.  Word is not conducive to laying out a bookstore-quality book interior.
    2.  It's likely that you have no training or skill in book design. Though you may certainly possess some of the qualities below, book design is a specialized talent that requires all of the following:
      • keen understanding of the art
      • mastery of the various industry standards & technicalities
      • proficiency in an appropriate book design program
      • superb creativity
      • sharp technical prowess
      • fine interpretative skills
      • a gift for typography
      • focused expertise to deliver excellence
    3.  You are completely unaware (and how could you know if this isn't your field?) how much magic is performed to make a book interior look simple to create, making it flawless, befittingly engaging, and consistent in every way that counts.

    At the risk of sounding harsh, I’m not sure how the ability to type a manuscript in Word has somehow given writers the belief that this rudimentary skill translates into being able to lay out and design a book’s interior. But I know it has, because I’ve seen more and more self-published books authors have done themselves that are, quite honestly, an embarrassment to themselves and to the literary marketplace.