February 13, 2018
It’s important to have your book thoroughly edited before taking the next step to print and publish. As much as we want to believe our writing is perfect, it’s imperative to have a professional at least proofread your book for spelling errors, punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. It’s hard for the reader to view you as a credible source of information, or even a good storyteller, if mistakes are overlooked and end up printed for everyone to see. You want to be proud of the product you have worked so hard on!
A common mistake we have seen is using the spelling of “Forward” instead of “Foreword.” Spelling this heading incorrectly is telling of bad editing, which makes your book look less professional and makes you look less credible as a writer. This section is located at the beginning of your book, so spelling Foreword wrong is not a good way to set the tone of the reader’s experience.
If your book contains a table of contents section, make sure all of your page numbers align properly with each corresponding section or chapter. If there are errors in your table of contents, it inconveniences the reader and makes your book look less professional. If you ever make changes to your book, make sure you double check to make sure the changes do not result in changes to your table of contents. This step can often be overlooked by writers.
Just like editing, messy formatting is another common mistake that can make reading your book more of a labor. If you are formatting your book yourself, do some research beforehand to see if there’s a basic formula to follow based on the genre or content. For example, if your book contains a lot of dialogue, the formatting is going to be different compared to a normal body of text. A string of dialogue can be isolated on separate lines, rather than contained within a body of text.
A common formatting error we see is not justifying text. Text should be justified on both sides so that the edge of the text lines up smoothly, rather than left-aligned, which creates a ragged right. This is also important to follow on your back cover if you have text displayed.
Page numbering is another decision you have to make when formatting your book. Whether you choose to have page numbers displayed at the bottom or top corners, it is important they do not go into the gutter, cutting them off when printed.
If you are debating if you should incorporate reviews on your back cover (or inside your book), reviews are a great way to showcase your credibility, which could ultimately lead to an increase in sales. In general, your cover is the best way to grab potential readers’ attention, so it should be well-designed and eye-catching. You can read more about this in our blog post, “People DO Judge a Book by Its Cover.”
One thing we alert our clients of the most is low-resolution images. This means that the graphics are under 300 dpi (dots per inch). We recommend images be over 300 dpi to print clearly. Make sure you are checking the resolution of the images you are using. If they look blurry or pixelated to you, then they will print this way. Having low-resolution graphics in your book will contribute to making your books look less professional. Imagine looking at a row of books, all with clear, well-designed covers, then seeing a cover with blurry images. Would you be enticed to pick it up and learn more? Probably not. We will always let our clients know if we think graphics are going to print blurry ahead of time and give you a chance to fix them, but this is definitely something you should keep in mind when designing your book!
January 18, 2018
We’ve all heard the idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, when it comes to selling books, these are not words to live by.
After the hardest part is behind you (writing your book), you then have to start thinking about designing your cover. Whether you design it yourself or hire a professional, it’s important that a concept be readily established to guide the process.
Depending on book genre, your cover may have a pre-established aesthetic to follow. It’s helpful to look at books you own or go to the bookstore to examine different covers from your genre. This can give you an idea of what you like or dislike about cover design.
It’s exciting to see the different design routes taken to convey the contents of a book. Think about some of your favorite classics and their different covers. What stands out to you? Take Animal Farm by George Orwell, for example. While there have been many versions printed, most of the covers depict its allegorical figure, the pig, “Old Major.”
In many cases, book covers do not follow a design pattern to reflect its contents in a literal way. Choosing instead to focus on typography and color scheme, this approach can still be an effective and evocative way to sell books by simply creating a feeling.
Regardless of genre, covers are meant to entice the reader to want to know more. Whether you go for bold graphics with more design elements or minimalistic lines and text, your cover should be eye-catching.
If you’re designing your cover on your own, image quality is extremely important. A lot of graphics found online may be low-resolution. If you want the graphics to print clearly and look professional, the DPI (dots per inch) of your images should be at least 300 dpi!
No matter what design approach you take, you may want to think about highlighting different elements to make your book stand out even more. There are many ways to do this - here’s where we can help:
Now more than ever it’s important to put time and thought into the execution of your cover. In a competitive market, it’s necessary to stand out and create an identity through not only your words, but the quality of your product. An enticing cover can be the best marketing tool you have to sell your books.
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