15 Questions Your Book Designer Should Ask (& Why Each One Matters)

If you’ve been around this blog for very long, you’ve undoubtedly seen us discuss all of the ins and outs of self-publishing many times. Perhaps you’ve even been hard at work completing your own manuscript, long awaiting the day when you’ll be ready for the next step.

And what is that next step for an author? Typically, it’s hiring a developmental editor, if needed, then a copyeditor. After that, the natural progression is to hire a professional book designer.

Is a designer really necessary?

The cover of your book will be the first impression your readers have. The exterior design should stand out and leave potential readers curious about the contents. A good designer will understand how to make your book noticed by the right readers.

What is inside should be visually appealing and easy to process. Essentially, you want the design of the interior to be unnoticeable, so that the reader is free to enjoy the words without impolite distractions from intrusive fonts or unreadable margins. Experienced designers will know the best fonts to represent your book’s tone and genre without competing for the reader’s attention.

How do I choose a professional book designer?

Many designers have submission forms to gather all of the important information that will help determine the amount of work required, and if they are a good fit.

If you have reached out to us at 1106 Design, you might have been surprised when filling out our contact form. We do want to get to know you and your book, but that’s not why we ask for so much information.

It’s a designer’s job to ask a lot of good questions. We will use your answers to gain the necessary insight that ensures you receive the most accurate quote and, eventually, a satisfying finished product.

What We Need to Know

What kind of book have you written? Potential readers will subconsciously recognize the genre by the typeset, formatting, and organization; so it is very important for the whole design to complement your content.

How many words are in the manuscript? In order to get an accurate quote, you should be far enough along in your writing process that the word count will not change very much.

What’s the trim size of the book? IngramSpark has a list of options to help you decide.

What publishing services do you need? 1106 Design provides comprehensive packages and a la carte services.

Is the book text-only or more technical in nature?

Does the book contain footnotes, foreign languages, or mathematical equations?

Does the book contain tables, charts, graphs, or sidebars? These types of additions take longer to design and typeset. 

Does your book contain photos or other images? If so, how many? Have you scanned them or would you like us to scan them?

When is your anticipated launch date? 

Do you want us to proofread the text after typesetting? 

Has the text been edited by a professional book editor?

Who will print your book? The two print-on-demand companies are IngramSpark and Amazon KDP. There are benefits to weigh between each. 1106 Design provides support to authors in uploading files to both of these platforms.

What formats will you provide? Along with traditional printing, will you provide options for an eBook or audiobook to your readers? 

What is your budget? If you are still researching, let your designer know so they can help you establish your goals and budget.

What values do you want in a publishing services company? Determining if you and the designer are a good fit right upfront will save everyone time and frustration.

What do these questions tell you?

Now that you know why we need all of this information, what can you learn from the questions a designer asks?

The most important takeaway is discovering how knowledgeable a designer is. A book designer who asks little about the specifics of your project may not be very experienced. This should be a red flag for the author.

There is also the potential that they do not intend to be forthcoming about the total expense of the self-publishing services. Many designers out there prefer to quote the lowest possible package and upsell all of the extra features after they’ve already hooked the contract.

As the client, you can avoid getting into a messy arrangement by expressing all expectations and generously answering all questions upfront. It will help even further if you ask questions of your own.

Remember that you and your designer will be collaborating together to create the most attractive sales packaging for your book. Every question we ask is meant to drive you closer to meeting your goals.

How can we help you along your publishing journey? Please Contact Us today to let us know.


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