So…You’ve done the final edit. Now what?
Among the many steps you still have to take is: page design.
Page design? Big deal you might say. What I need is a great cover for my book.
Your potential reader has perhaps 5 seconds to look at your cover. Maybe 10 seconds or more to read the back of your book, before deciding if they want to open it and scan the first few pages.
Consider the fact that your reader will spend the rest of the time ‘inside the book.’
Is it easy to read? Even though it may be all text, and no graphics, is it pleasing to the eye? Does the layout appear inviting? Are there ‘rivers’ running through paragraphs or improperly justified text?
Your readers do not want to struggle to read what you have to share with them. The proper page layout can give your book that crucial professional feel and look to a prospective buyer. They may look at the front and back covers, but if considering a purchase will almost always quickly skim a portion of the inside of the book as well. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage.
Page design consists of many things: the font, the leading, kerning, character spacing, the styles applied to the text, the chapter headings.
There may be more decisions that need to be made in the interior than to the cover, depending on your project.
If you’re working with a publisher who allows you to furnish your copy, camera ready, or planning to publish under your own imprint, then consider finding a page designer who can work directly with you, helping you to find the right format, the ‘right feel’ for your words.
Most publishers, especially on-line publishers, may give you cookie cutter samples, if any, of page design, to match their cookie cutter covers.
This is your story, novel, memoir– your book. It should look and feel as if you were an integral part of it, not just another customer.
Whatever the genre, you may consider turning it over to a company that will process it as another business project: cover, page design, etc. Or you may decide to consult an editor to refine it, a graphic artist to design the cover, and a page designer for the interior.
And speaking of covers, consider your options there also.
Trying to discuss design issues with someone over the phone or by email can be frustrating. Such terms as bleed, CMYK, Pantone matches, blending and shading of elements, balance, font size and text effects may have you scratching your head. Will you own the rights to the artwork when it is completed? You spent all this time writing your book, now this?
It is ultimately your decision. Find the professional to help make your book everything it is meant to be. An expression of your self, a message, a story, that wants to be read.
Nancy Frederich is a writer and editor who does page, cover design and production for Sirena Press, an imprint of Murmaid Publishing in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has done layout, graphic work and written for several organizations and local newspapers, including her own weekly publication. She can be contacted at 727.403.1551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.