In a Sea of Sameness, Quality Book Design More Important than Ever


1106 Design

May 14, 2010

Competition is good. It keeps us on our toes. The prospect of winning a job from a field of qualified competitors keeps us from becoming lazy, sharpens our wits, and urges us to improve our skills every day, right? Yes, but suddenly there’s a new challenge to that philosophy.

In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have predicted that at this point in my career, I’d have to spend so much of my time fighting off mega companies who have completely abandoned the standards of quality book editing and design. Companies who tell…no, encourage…authors to upload unedited, self-designed files and sell their books directly to the public.

Now, I’m all in favor of freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility. When we spend money, on anything, we want to feel SAFE. When a publisher hires a team of experts to craft a quality book, they do so not just because it’s the right thing to do for themselves, but because it’s the right thing to do for the buyer. That’s why, in the sea of sameness ushered in by the template approach to design, it’s more important today than ever before for serious publishers to invest in quality.

Many of us have adopted a new attitude about money and spending since the “meltdown.” Let’s face it, the ground underneath us just doesn’t feel as solid as it once did. And that’s exactly why the concept of quality, in book design and in every other area of commerce, should be revisited, not abandoned.

Why? Because we’re all being careful with our money now. Time was, I’d hear about a product and impulsively purchase it. Not now. Today, I want to be convinced that I’m getting value for my dollar, that I’m spending my money wisely, and I believe a lot of other people feel the same way.

No matter how much self-esteem an individual author may have, the plain fact is that without the help of editors, proofreaders, and designers, the resulting book will not be as good as it can…and should…be. No matter what the mega companies say. That’s not just an unsupported opinion. It’s backed up by our experience working on more than 1,000 books.

Book buyers look at a cover for only a few seconds before deciding to buy, or not. In that quick flash of time, a publisher must send a strong subliminal message…”this book is good, this book has information you can count on, this book is what you need, this book is going to help you, this book is worth the money.”

While it may be tempting to bypass quality book cover and interior design, editing, and proofreading in this financial environment, publishers do so at great risk. A book cover that looks ordinary and text that is poorly crafted will not send the right message to your prospective buyer. It will say, instead, “I’m just another book, nothing special, better hold off on spending for now.”

Would any publisher who hopes to succeed willingly communicate that message?

What do you want to know? What topics should we explore together? How can we help you along your publishing journey? Everyone here at 1106 Design wants to help. Post your comment here or email us using the Contact Us page.

Michele DeFilippo, owner, 1106 Design

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