Creating Readable and Beautiful Book Interiors

by Cathy Davis on December 5, 2012

I love working with authors . . . Most are extremely passionate about their topic and embrace being able to share that message with the world. It is our mission at Davis Creative to create covers, interiors, illustrations, icons and more to help them look good, get noticed and get read.

When authors complete their manuscripts, we ask them to complete a short Q&A that enables us to better understand their target audience and primary intent of their book. Our goal is to help authors streamline their book-production process, and the first step is for us to get to know the author and their book better. Whether we are providing both the cover AND interior design, or working with another designer and providing the cover OR interior design, we need to get to know the INTENT of the book.

Questions to Answer in Advance of Beginning Your Book Design Process:
1. WHAT is your book title?
2. WHAT is your sub-title (this is where we offer a promise of relief for the reader).
3. WHAT is your book about? Do you have a short contextual summary?
4. WHAT formats are you considering for your book? Paper vs. E-book?
5. WHO is your audience?
6. WHY will someone want to buy your book?
7. EMOTION: What emotional impression do you want your book to evoke? What is the feeling you want the recipient to have when they purchase your book? (EX: trust, femininity, heritage, party-time, etc.)
8. NICHE: What “need” or “void” are you filling with your book?
9. POSITION: Other books may be offering the same/similar message that you do. OUR job is to find a way to position YOUR book as the one to buy . . . Why would your consumer choose your book over another?
10. MORE: People make purchases during a down economy when they think they are getting “more” for their dollar . . . What is your “MORE”?
11. STYLE: Can you direct us to books (via Amazon links) that you like?
12. COLOR: Color evokes emotion. Are there any colors that resonate with you/your book/your story? We can help you identify your colors and the psychology behind those colors, if needed.
13. METAPHOR: Are there any graphic images that relate to your book that you have considered using as a metaphor?
14. WHAT is the name of your Self-Publishing Company? Can you supply a logo for this company, or do you need us to develop a logo for this company?
15. WHAT ELSE? What else would you like for us to know?

With Susan’s book just like our other author clients, it’s a lot like putting a puzzle together. Upon receipt of the answers to these questions, along with a sample chapter, we provide our authors with a minimum of 3 interior options from which they can choose the “pieces” they like. We ask the author to select the “parts” of the sample chapters that they LIKE . . . We then merge those LIKES into the next round of a chapter layout, moving closer to what I call the AMF (All-Most Final) version of their chapter layout. We then work through a series of “LIKES”, moving toward a final design.

We take into consideration the fonts and art used on the front and back cover, helping to blend the cover design with the interior design, making for a cohesive overall book design. “Pieces” to the publishing puzzle include fonts, graphics, photos, location of heads and subheads, leading (space between text lines), line length, gutter spacing, thumb “holds”, and more. If an author is considering an e-book format, we take that into consideration during the layout process. I’ll address the e-book option in my next blog post . . .

If everything goes according to plan, interior-page turn-around can be anywhere from 4 – 6 weeks, depending upon the number of last-minute edits from the author.

Our overall goal is to provide a platform for all the authors we work with to further promote themselves, their message and their business, using design to help sell their books.

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