Book Design
Examples & Costs
Contact & Quotes

What we do. Step-by-step process: how to get your book from manuscript to printed book. Estimate your costs by finding a book similar to yours.
For questions
or a free quote.


Book Design

What's involved?

Book design is the process of converting your manuscript into a completed book.

  • Initial consultation (free) and continuing close communication.

  • Cover and interior design drafts produced and proofs provided.

  • Upon your approval of the design, cover and interior layout will be completed.

  • When final drafts are ready (upon your approval) printer-ready PDF files will be produced and sent to you or your printer.

  • Your printer prints and ships the books. And that's it!

Well, there are a few steps in-between.
Below is a more detailed process that may be expected in
producing a book. Find more information on specific topics in
the column on the right.

                        1. First, let's talk about it.
                        2. Generally Speaking
                        3. Preparing your manuscript
                        4. Editing
                        5. Production
                        6. Cover
                        7. Inside
                        8. Photos
                        9. Printing & Distribution                    
                       10. E-books
                       11. Wrap-up


     Publishing Options

     Printing options

1. First, let's talk about it.

  • Feel free to pick my brain. I've produced many, many books for self-published authors and I'm quite happy to pass on what I've learned. Go to the contact page and call or e-mail me.

  • I'd like to know what your publishing objectives are; they will influence the design.

  • How do you imagine your book will look. As the publisher, you are the boss. I will, however, offer suggestions if I think they will help you achieve your publishing goals.

  • Do you also want to produce an ebook for Kindle and other ebook readers?

  • Once we determine the scope of the project, I will provide you with a quote. You can then pay your 30% deposit by Interac, by credit card through Paypal, by cheque or money order.

  • Detailed billing statements with a cost breakdown will be sent to you regularly to keep you informed. Our billing rate is $75/hr.

2. Generally Speaking

  • The more you know about self-publishing the more comfortable you will feel about the whole process. It can, and should be an enjoyable experience. Learn as much as you can. Search the internet for self-publishing, how to publish & how to sell a book. Don't let all the information overwhelm you. I'll help sort out what you need to know and answer questions you may have.

  • If you are considering one of the many "publish-on-demand" services found on the internet, be sure you understand all their conditions. Many lead you to believe that they will help make your book a financial success. Be cautious. Read what other authors have said about them.

  • One of the best ways to learn about book design is simply by examining books that look good to you. Spend some time in bookstores and look at successful books.

  • You will retain all rights to the cover and inside designs.

3. Preparing your manuscript

  • Most authors create their manuscript using word processing software such as MSWord, but pretty well any format will be acceptable.

  • Book designers use page layout software such as InDesign, Quark and Ventura. Whatever layout work you do with your word processor will most likely need to be undone before work begins with the page layout software, so keep it simple.

  • Text, photos and illustrations should be supplied as individual files. They will then be imported, combined and arranged appropriately in InDesign.

  • Indexing can be dealt with in several ways. I can help you determine the best way for your particular application. The same applies to footnotes, endnotes, contents, lists, etc.

  • Text and image files, even very large ones, can easily be sent on the internet. I can help you with that.

4. Editing

  • Editing changes can be made quite easily to a formatted draft of the book, but it does take time. The manuscript should be as close to perfect as you can make it before design and layout begins.

  • Editing deals with content, punctuation, grammar, etc.; not with fonts, spacing and other such layout functions.

  • Most authors hire an editor to edit their manuscript. I can help you find a suitable editor.

5. Production

  • Book files are produced using page layout/desktop publishing software. We use the latest versions of Adobe InDesign. The individual book material files are gathered and placed into InDesign where they are layed out on properly sized pages to look like the final product. Two InDesign files are produced -- one for the cover, another for the interior.

  • The InDesign file is then converted to a high resolution PDF for use by a commercial printer to print the book. E-book files are produced in a similar way.

  • The material for your book can be supplied in several different formats as individual files:
    Text: created by the author usually in MS Word, or with some other word processing or text editing applications.
    Photos: supplied as high resolution files (300 dpi or higher) in tif or jpg file format. The photo files may have been created directly by digital cameras, or by scanning original photos. Digital photo files may be further manipulated with Photoshop to produce the appropriate image files. We can do the Photoshop work for you.
    Hand-drawn illustrations: scanned at 300 to 600 dpi and supplied as tif or jpg files. They will be handled similarly to photos. We can do the scanning for you.
    Electronic illustrations:  line art illustrations drawn electronically using programs such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. Line art produced by these programs as vector images (including charts and graphs) will maintain very high resolution. The illustrations can also be supplied in jpg, tiff and png format.
    Tables: created in MS Word or spreadsheet programs such as Excel. Tables generally require some re-working in order to properly fit the pages of your book.

6. Cover

  • A cover design can be developed based on the conversations we have and a brief read through the manuscript, or

  • Your suggestions can be used to create the type of cover you envision.

  • You may have images you would like to incorporate into the cover design, or

  • I can provide images from a large stock of photos and graphic images, or

  • An illustrator or photographer can be commissioned, if desired.

  • You will also provide the back cover text material (book description, testimonials, author bio, etc). I will create and place the barcode.

  • Cover design drafts will be sent to you for viewing as PDF files.

  • Your recommendations and changes will be incorporated into the design and new drafts sent. This process will continue until you are totally satisfied.

  • Final layout will be completed when the cover spine thickness is determined (dependent on number of book pages and paper thickness).

  • When you approve the final draft, the completed cover file will be sent to you or the printer as a high resolution printer-ready PDF file.

7. Inside

  • When your manuscript is received, it will undergo a general cleanup (removing double and redundant spacing, check quotation marks and other punctuation formats, remove imbedded styles, etc).

  • If you have a book design that you particularly like, I can duplicate it, or

  • A design suitable to your book will be created and a few sample pages will be sent to you for viewing. This will be repeated until you are completely satisfied with the design.

  • When you have approved the design, the whole book will be formatted and sent to you as a PDF file.

  • You will proof read the book and list any changes you would like made, or

  • I can provide a proof reader. Proofreading can be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking that many self-publishers choose to either do themselves or get a reliable/experienced friend to help.

  • The proofing changes you request will be made and another draft sent. This process will continue until you are completely satisfied.

  • When you approve the final draft, the completed inside book file will be sent to you or the printer as a high resolution printer-ready PDF file.

8. Photos

  • Photos to be included in your book may be provided by you either as image files or photographs to be scanned.

  • If you choose to scan the photos yourself, talk to me about it before you start. Let's make sure they are scanned at the proper resolution and in the appropriate format.

  • Photos and captions can be placed throughout the book wherever you want. The photo number and caption can be placed directly into your manuscript at the location you would want it to appear (eg. PIC027 George, looking up at the cherry tree.)

  • Photos can appear exactly as you provide them, or we can adjust them as required (cropping, highlight/shadow adjustment, contrast/lightness, saturation, spot removal, image repair, etc.).

9. Printing & Distribution

  • We can help you determine the printer/distributor solution best suited to your needs. (Create Space, Lightning Source, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingrams, Baker & Taylor, or whoever).  We can assist with account setup.

  • After a printer is decided upon, I can be in touch with them to make sure all files are prepared according to their requirements. I can help locate the most suitable printer for your book.

  • High resolution printer-ready PDF files will be sent either to you or directly to your book printer.

  • How many books to print? This may be your biggest publishing expense; let's talk before you place your print order.

  • Digital printing technology provides for an excellent low cost method of producing a small number of books. If you are not an experienced publisher, I recommend a small run initially before taking the plunge into large production runs. Most printers will provide a bound proof copy for your review.

  • Final payment is made when all work has been approved and printer files are ready to send.

10. E-books

  • Conversion of your print book to an e-book format (mobi for Kindle, epub for other readers) usually is not a difficult process. Some time-saving steps can be incorporated into the initial book formatting if we know beforehand that you want e-books.

  • Draft copies of your e-book will be sent to you for review on your e-reader (or e-book previewers on your computer (available free)).

  • Epub files are tested and must pass epub validation, mobi files are tested on Kindle Previewer and Kindle on PC.

11. Wrap-up

  • You can receive all the files associated with the project either on a cd (or DVD) or they can be emailed to you, or both.

  • I will keep all the files in an archive so that you may, at some future date, update or make modifications to the book.

And that's it! You're a published author!

ISBN, CIP, Copyright, Barcode

When Does a Publication Need a New ISBN?

Does Your Ebook Need Its Own ISBN?

Book Pricing

Authors -- Caution!

Parts of a Book and Page Numbering

How to Prepare your Word Manuscript

Your FINAL Manuscript

MS Word Styles


Hyphens, en-dashes and em-dashes

Frontmatter - the pages at the front of your book

Ellipsis (. . .)

Editing and proofreading

Changing/Updating book drafts

PDF Files

Widows and orphans

Cover design

Back cover -- what to put on it

Color Selection Chart

Images for your book


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