Wrapping a beautiful cover around a blah interior is a mistake. When inside pages look cheap and homemade, book buyers notice because the typesetting (usually done in Word) is poor and the layout lacks imagination and readability.
Yes, you can purchase the same software used by professionals, but these programs don’t come boxed with the designer’s training and experience! Instead, hire a professional who will fix critical design issues such as the following:
- Lines of text with too much or too little space between letters
- “Rivers” of white in the text—word spaces that fall in a distracting pattern
- Pages ending in a hyphenated word, forcing the reader to hold a thought while turning the page
- “Ladders” (too many hyphens in a row) and hyphenated compound words, both of which distract the reader
Still not convinced? Look at the following “before” and “after” images of pages designed by the author and given a makeover by a book designer.
Before (click each image for a larger version)
The chapter opener doesn’t look much different from any other page.
White space above and around the chapter number, title, quote, and icon make it clear that this is the start of a new chapter.
The section opener looks more important than the chapter opener! A reader could be forgiven for getting confused.
The white space and the icon make it clear that this is the start of a new section but not a new chapter.
This title page, designed by the author using InDesign, is proof that software is just a tool and that experience and training are equally important.
Note the new book title and subtitle. Imagery from the front cover really makes the title page pop.
The shapes and icons lack imagination and polish. The chapter title, constrained in the box, contradicts the promise below of “ever-expanding well-being.”
The imagery, chapter title overlap, and properly-used white space invite the reader into the new chapter.