WNA Blog

Thu 31 May 2018

Design and Format Tips

Writing, Editing & Publishing
Over the last couple of posts, we have looked how to finesse your manuscript and to collect images of books you like.  The next step is to research and find a great book designer to collaborate with. However, first let us consider the two components of book design – formatting and graphic design.


For those not familiar with these terms here is a short version of what these terms mean.

There are nuances in every industry about how to create a solution and with book publishing the distinction between formatting and graphic design is an example of this.

What does this mean for choosing a book designer?

In relation to graphic design, think about things like the colours (palette) being used, the placement of images, creation and use of ‘art’ in a book. How does the book flow from start to end?

However, formatting for books is a different point of view.

Think about things like the margin around the text; the standard size and requirements for the platform that you are to publish on; the page that a chapter should start on; how many pages should there be for print production.

What are you wanting to achieve with your book?

In order to get the best result, you ideally want to find a person or team who can deliver both, otherwise you will have issues with publishing and printing your book.

In other words, just because someone is great at ‘designing’ does not mean they know how to format a book. Conversely, just because someone knows the standards to format a book, does not mean that they are good at designing one.

Both skill sets require different talents and it invariably pays to ensure you get specialist assistance. As noted above, there are people and teams who do both (and of course the great ones are in high demand and can price accordingly).

Not all books need formatting and design.

Having said all this, not all books need a graphic designer some (in particular eBooks) need only someone who can format for the eBook platform you want to use. This may assist you with considering how much money you need to set aside for your book production.

If you are looking at a simple PDF perhaps you could rely on a platform like Canva to provide you with template to use for your first book iteration. Test and measure. Try a couple of different methods and see where it takes you.

With some of the basics covered, next month’s post will review potential formats to publish your book.

Until then, happy writing and happy researching.


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