Contrary to what many people may think (or wish!), there is no magic software that allows you to press a few buttons and turn your manuscript into a formatted book. In fact, quite the opposite is true. This quote by Richard Hendel, author of the definitive resource On Book Design, sums it up perfectly:
"As omnipresent as books are, few readers are aware of the 'invisible' craft of book designing. The task a book designer faces is different from that faced by other designers. The challenge isn’t to create something different or pretty or clever but to discover how to best serve the author’s words."
Professional, industry-standard interior book design that enforces your credibility and engages your reader employs a myriad of rules, which I as a layout artist am mindful of not only from cover to cover and chapter by chapter, but page by page, paragraph by paragraph, line by line, and sometimes even word by word to achieve your immaculate result. This is especially true of nonfiction, where sections with subtitles, graphics, bullet points, photos, tables, and other design elements are the norm.
Book design is truly an underestimated art, a skill that demands specific knowledge and experience. It requires many thoughtful hours to produce a top-quality book, and only a true professional can take your manuscript and turn it into a book that rivals a traditional house publication—or better! Books appear simple to create because a skilled individual has attentively made every necessary adjustment and decision to make it impeccable.
"Design works not because people understand or even appreciate it but because it works subliminally. Just like background music in a store. Nobody would admit to being influenced by it, but it generates a mood, whether we listen consciously or not." —Erik Spiekermann, world-class designer and typographer
In a similar fashion, your book's typography and layout set a background tone for your reader's experience. If those elements aren't in harmony with your book, the reading experience will be ruined. Hence, though you may have heard otherwise, Word is not the best choice for laying out a book—there's a lot more to it than picking out a standard font and setting margins and tabs. You need an appropriate program for book design, and the money you spend and the time you invest in learning it can be far more taxing than hiring a talented designer.
As an author, your time is much better spent on writing and marketing — let an experienced professional who truly understands what your book needs make your layout shine.
If you'd like to discuss your project, please fill out my Tell Me About Your Book Project questionnaire. If I believe I'm a good match for you, I'd love to discuss your book and how together we can make it outstanding!
Knowing that credibility with your readers is paramount, I am personally dedicated to meticulous attention to all aspects of the book you worked so hard to write. Acting as a layout artist with experience in creating everything from fiction to memoir to complex nonfiction, you can be assured your book will reflect your content beautifully (and I never use templates, so your book will always be unique to you) for a seamless and engaging read.
The following outlines the key details I focus on as a layout artist when preparing your book for the world to read:
Adherence to industry-standard guidelines for all aspects of formatting
A thoughtful, coordinated hierarchy of typography for your chapter titles, subtitles, main text, and possible subsidiary text (such as set-off stories or call-out boxes)
Creation of unique design elements and custom chapter headers that carry your theme
Eliminating "widows" and "runts" and maintaining a level baseline
Consistency in spacing throughout
Management of hyphenation and appropriate tracking within lines
Customized page headers and page numbers placed appropriately and accurately
Accurate coordination of page numbers within your Table of Contents and/or Index
Creation of charts, graphs, and/or tables
Appropriate trim size and margins
Attentive consideration of your wishes and suggestions
Courteous and responsive communication
Enthusiasm for your project!
Interior layout services:
◦ $50 per hour, fiction/memoir/simple
◦ $70 per hour, complex nonfiction