The power of great design

18.08.2016 |

Episode #4 of the course How to self-publish a book by Emmanuel Nataf


So now that your manuscript’s polished and ready to go, what can you do to make your book even more awesome? Well, let’s make sure it also looks fantastic!


Designing your book’s cover

Remember the time you were browsing through your neighborhood bookstore and one book jumped off the shelf and caught your eye? That’s what a good cover will do for you.

Three common traits shared by all great book covers:

1. It attracts the eye instantly, even as a thumbnail.
2. It allows you to clearly read the title and author name.
3. It uses the front, spine and back to communicate a clear message about the book.

So what tools can you use to create your cover design?

Stop. The answer is: none.

Professional cover designers will take your concept and execute it better than you could ever manage. You can expect to go back and forth over 2—3 rounds of research, experimentation, and elimination before you arrive on a design you’re happy with. The costs of a cover will depend on your designer’s experience and whether it requires custom elements like a photo shoot or an illustration. To give you an idea, two-thirds of quotes from Reedsy designers are priced between $200 and $800. You can learn more about working with a book cover designer right here.

Okay. Now that you have a stunning cover, what’s next? Let’s make the inside of your book just as beautiful.


Typesetting your book

“I have seen too many books with great covers but horribly designed content. It’s like great packaging, but when you open it, the food inside looks brown and boring. It may still be nourishing, but my appetite is gone.” — Erik Spiekermann

Spiekermann is a world-famous typographer; a design wizard who’s worked with international brands like Audi, Bosch, and Nokia.

Unless you want to learn the ins and outs of Adobe InDesign, consider working with a professional layout designer. They will sort out elements like fonts, spacing, the styling of chapter headings, and margins to create a book that’s easy (and fun) to read. If your book has lots of custom content like charts, illustrations, photos, etc. then you should definitely seek out a professional.

On the other hand, if your book is simple and mostly straight text, there are online tools which can help format your book. The Reedsy Book Editor, for example, gives you the freedom to professionally typeset your book all by yourself, and for free. You can copy-and-paste your existing manuscript or start typing a new book straight into the Editor. Once you’re done, you can export in multiple formats, including a print-ready file (more on that later).

Before you can distribute your book, you’ll need to learn about the different file formats used on self-publishing platforms. If you haven’t guessed it already, that’s a hint for what’s in store tomorrow!


Recommended book:

“Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launch” by Tim Grahl


Share with friends