How to Design a Book: The Basics You Need to Know
When you are a newbie writer waiting to publish your dream book, you need to print a book that stands out among the rest. Even if your content is compelling, it needs to be presented in a way that is appealing for the readers. The perfect way to make your book stand out is through book design.
Book design is an interesting and significant process to get your manuscript ready for printing. There are various aspects that go into book designing, including the page layout, fonts, spine, book cover, and more. The two vital parts of book designing is interior designing and cover design.
Designing the Interior
A print book has to be presented in a way that is appealing and readable for the readers. Often you would have noticed that certain books don’t hold your interest longer than a page or two. The main reason for this would be unattractive book layout design.
Book layout is crucial because it makes your book look professional and not amateurish. There are important elements that go into designing the interior of the book, which includes, typesetting, typography, structure of the book, and trim size.
It is the process of laying out the text content on the pages of a book. It is a specialized part of book design, where professional typesetters, picks up the size of margins, chooses the perfect font and size, selects style of the chapters, and more.
Typesetting is one of the significant reasons as to why readers continue reading the book they are reading. It gives the book a proper layout which makes the process of reading easy and smooth. The typesetter makes sure a proper font is chosen for the book, paragraphs are justified, and also makes sure there are no unwanted spaces or gaps left in between the paragraphs. Read our article on typesetting to know more.
Structure of the Book
While designing the book, it is crucial to have the manuscript arranged in the same order you want the book to be printed. Before you start designing the book, make sure you have the whole manuscript ready.
You might have written the book, but make sure the whole structure is ready. Ensure that your manuscript has the beginning and the end parts of the book. There are three essential parts of a book:
- The Front Matter: it includes the title page, author name, publisher details, copyright page, dedication, prologue, etc.
- Body of the book: the main written content of the book. The body of the book, be it fiction or non-fiction, might be having different chapters. The length of each chapter and book might vary according to the genre.
- The Back Matter: it includes the information that might be helpful for the readers like glossary, appendix, references, epilogue, etc.
The trim size is the dimensions of a book. The term comes from the process of printing a book. You have to choose the size of a book before opting to print the book. There are different book sizes, and the choice of the size depends on the type of book you are publishing. Read more about our article on book sizes.
The trim size is important for both design and aesthetics of the book. The look and feel of the book is dependent on the trim size you choose. There are three fundamental formats for print books, namely, hardcover, paperback, and mass market paperbacks. The format of the book decides the choice of trim size.
Designing the Cover
It is a fact that people do judge a book by its cover. The readers want the cover to give a sense of what is there inside the book, and also an idea about the genre of the book. So, book cover becomes an important part of book design. Book cover is the first impression that a reader gets of the book, and the first impression needs to be the best.
Front Cover Design
Your front cover design is the book cover. It will consist of the book’s title and the author’s name. This is the first thing any reader will notice, so make it look intriguing for them.
Hands down, the title of your book is the first thing that will attract readers. Think of it as a reader, and not the author. Choose a title that best describes your book in a few words. Furthermore, you also need to choose a font that fits with the theme of the book. The title of your book should be legible.
A subtitle is usually added only when you want to elaborate on your book’s topic. Although it plays a sidekick’s role to your main title, it should never defeat it. It usually consists of either one or two lines. Make it crisp enough for the reader to understand what your book is about.
If you’re going to use a photo on the front cover, try to use a picture that is attractive and yet gives readers an idea about the genre and tone of your book. The photo should be of high- resolution so that it doesn’t pixelate when enlarged.
High-quality vector images
High-quality vector images can be used if you’re not going along with a standard photo. Make sure that the picture represents what your book is about. For example, if you are writing a book about cars, then you can use various illustrations and images of cars. More creative, the better!
Author name placement
Other than the title and the subtitle, the font and placement of the author name is also essential on the book cover. It should be in sync with the rest of the book and placed in such a way that it is noticeable but doesn’t take the attention away from the title.
The title page is the first page of your book after the cover. There are two title pages in every book. The full title page comes first and is the replica of your cover page, except for the artwork. The second title is called the half-title page and consists of minimal information such as title, author’s name, or the publisher name.
It is also known as the prelims or front matter, the order for this is half-title, full-title, copyright with the ISBN and publisher details, dedication, table of contents, and your preface and prologue if you want one.
Front cover design is crucial since it helps sell more books. You can always hire a professional to do the cover design, and they will be able to give you better suggestions and ideas.
If you are keen on doing it yourself, then here a few basic steps you need to take for designing a cover:
- Choose an idea or concept for your cover
- Decide the “look and feel” of your cover
- Choose a design software
- Find the images
- Find the cover dimensions
- Choose an apt typography for your cover.
Back Cover Design
Every title has over a thousand competitors vying for the reader’s attention, which is why you need a back cover that is impressive. Apart from a synopsis that is good enough to sell the book to the reader, you also need to have the blurb (description of book), author bio, barcode, ISBN, and the cost of the book.
Once you are familiar with the elements of book design, the process of printing and publishing becomes easier. It is beneficial to have an understanding so that it becomes helpful when you do the designing on your own, and even you hire professionals.