How to Find the Right Book Designer
Of course, book design is a great passion here at TLC Book Design. With Erin and Monica, we bring a combination of 65+ years of book design experience to each of our clients. Whoa! As TLC, we’ve been working with authors for 25 years to bring their book dreams to fruition. It’s in our blood. It’s what we do. Because of this, we want to give you a few tips to help in your search for the right designer.
A book’s cover and interior design have great influence on whether reviewers and buyers investigate a title further, working both short-term and long-term to get and retain readers’ attention. Because design is so important, you must work with an experienced designer specializing in books. While we’ll expand on how and why design works in another post, know that design goes beyond aesthetics and is a means of conveying information and getting the attention of buyers.
While most graphic designers could help you with at least some aspects of creating a book, one who specializes in books can guide you through the whole process and provide the experience and knowledge that can help you avoid hassles and save both time and money. Note that some designers create only covers or interiors, while others are talented at both.
How do you find the right designer to add to your team?
- Ask other publishers and authors whose designs you admire.
- Look at many samples of a designer’s work. Does your book fit in their portfolio? Most designers have a range of styles, but nobody can do it all.
- Talk to the designer and listen to your gut feeling. If you don’t click, don’t hire them!
- Talk with their other clients. Ask: Was your deadline ever in jeopardy because of the designer? Why? How was the problem remedied? How many front cover designs were you given? If you provided any initial ideas, were they built upon or discarded completely? A good designer will do at least one layout using your idea and others with her own.
- Ask how many years of experience she has and how many books she has designed.
- Does he know the elements of a typical book cover? How about the interior?
- Ask how designing a hardcover is different from a paperback and if there’s a difference in cost.
- Can the designer handle getting the files to pre-press properly? Ask to speak with printers that have worked with the designer.
- Designers are not usually illustrators. Illustrators draw or paint custom pictures. Designers pull together the elements of a page (illustrations or photographs, text, colors, etc.) to create an overall design that is visually pleasing and saleable.
- Sign a written contract covering exactly what will be produced, the timeline, and the cost. Be sure it states who will own the final design and files. Expect your designer to keep unlimited rights to use images of your book for their promotional purposes.
- It’s tempting to spend a few hundred dollars for a cover or interior, but don’t! It’s terrible to learn that nobody will distribute, promote, or buy your book because it hasn’t been properly produced. You end up spending more time and money to do it right the second time. It’s worth every penny when you choose to work with a reputable firm. For examples of designs done right the second time, check out the Before & After Gallery.
In all, you’ll get better sales results and the respect you deserve with high-quality cover and interior designs and great end-product becomes a sure thing when you hire a carefully-selected, experienced book designer who has your best interest at heart.
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