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book design posts

book design posts

What Your Designer will Need to Know

Posted by Michelle White on May 29, 2017 at 12:15 AM

When you call a designer for a consultation, it is important to have all of the relevant information on hand. One of the obvious questions the designer will ask you is how long is the book and what type of book is it? Is it a non-fiction book with tables and charts, or a novel with text only? Will there be illustrations or photos? If it is a textbook, what is the organizational structure? When is your launch date? The more information you can give, the more accurate your estimate will be.


You probably know right away how many pages your manuscript is, but there are other things you must consider. Most books have what we call frontmatter and backmatter. The frontmatter includes title page, table of contents, preface, introduction, etc. The backmatter has notes, appendices, and index. Textbooks and study guides often contain additional frontmatter including information on how to use the book and a glossary in the backmatter. Many textbooks have specially designed pages for unit or chapter openers as well. These can be specified to always begin on a right-hand page or may begin on either right or left. If they begin on the right-hand page, there may be an additional blank page at the end of the previous chapter.


In addition to page count, non-fiction books usually have several elements as a part of their organizational structure. Are there multiple levels of headings and subheads? Perhaps there are indented sections for quotes, sidebars or pull-out boxes. These require planning and consistent design to make the book easier to follow. The number and types of tables and charts must also be evaluated. You may have created them in your word processor or spreadsheet program, but they will need to be incorporated into the page layout program. It is also important to know whether these elements must be appear right where they were mentioned in the text, or just in the general vicinity, giving the designer more flexibility.


Photos and illustrations will also need to be considered. The number as well as the types and sources are important. You may supply them to the designer, or you may have the designer research the appropriate photos or contract an illustrator. If you supply the images, if your book is to be in print, you must be sure that they are high-resolution, or at least 300 dpi. They must be copyright free, or you'll need to provide credit information. Will the images be arranged within the text or placed in a separate section? It is also important for the designer to know if the images are decorative or informative. Decorative images can be used more flexibly in size and position whereas an informative image must be large and clear enough to be useful.


These are just a few of the considerations to be made in obtaining an estimate. Others are your deadline, your budget and whether it will be digital, print or both. The important thing is to provide as much information as available to try avoiding unexpected costs. The more information you have when you contact your designer, the better able she will be to calculate the amount of time and cost involved. When you are on a budget you want the most accurate estimate possible.

Categories: Self-publishing, Book Design, Book Layout

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