Getting the Right Look for your Book
So, you’ve toiled and slaved over your book. You’ve re-written every paragraph. Dotted every single i. Crossed all the t’s. Spellchecked every sentence until the spellchecker is exhausted. And your book is as good as it’s ever going to get. Job done. Right?
Well, actually, no. Have you ever given a thought as to how your self published book is going to look?
Oh, yes, I know, you have an idea for how it will look, but have you ‘road tested’ a few designs yet? Checked the layout of the book with friends and relations, shown them a ‘mock up’? No? Oops. I think you ought to give it some thought.
One of the first things I do months before a manuscript is ready is actually make a ‘mock up’ of the book. I put that down to the fact that I’m very much a person who likes to ‘see a book and handle it and get a feel for it’. It’s easy enough to do. Here’s what you do….
Typeset a chapter of your manuscript. Do several version using different fonts, different leading, vary the column width, and print these out. It won’t use that much paper. You’ve now got yourself perhaps three really cool looking versions of a typed up chapter.
You should already have an estimate of how many pages your book will be…let’s say for example 300 pages of A5. Right, great. Get some old scrap paper and stack 300 sheets together with your sample chapter at the front and you’re almost there.
I’m assuming you’ve already thought about a cover design. No? You should have. Covers sell books, well good covers do, bad covers will kill your books before they even get off the press. I’ve seen it so many times.
So, print out a couple of cover designs on card or paper and fold them around your blank pages and the sample chapter. Okay, I know it’s not a real book, the finished one will look far jazzier, but it will give you a feel for what all the work is leading to.
Now all this may seem obvious, “Yeah, yeah, Steve, we know all that, tell us something new”…but my guess is 90% of authors don’t do it. Don’t fall into that category. Be smart. Work smart.
So to sum up….right from Day 1 start thinking about what your physical book will look like. Make mock ups, how much do they cost? Peanuts. Right? Right. Get them made. Do it yourself. Make three or four. Live with them, show them to friends, ask what they think? Is the design pleasing? Would it grab their attention if they saw it in the book store? Don’t leave all this stuff until the last minute.
Watch out, here comes the ad……I’m thinking of putting together a book of all this ‘useful self publishing advice stuff” plus more handy hints and tips….would you be interested? Or is there already enough of this out there? I know there is a lot already doing the rounds. But is any of it good or is it all recycled waffle? I dunno. Let me know if you have a minute so spare…….