Several factors must be considered when self-publishing a book, such as the book's dimensions, interior typesetting design, along with the creation of an impressive book cover. Most self-published authors do not have a design team to guide them through each of these daunting processes, so allow us to highlight the most critical steps for you.
First and foremost, the print-on-demand service must be taken into consideration as different print and distribution platforms have different specifications that must be met. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark offer dozens of book size options for print books. Before you choose the standard 6-inch x 9-inch size, consider a few of these variables:
Know your niche:
Research and create a "size list" of at least 20 books launched over the past two years in your specific niche. Use that information to choose a size that slightly differentiates your book in height or width to allow your book to stand out from the rest on a retail shelf, and retailers will know you put some thought into your book size and appreciate it.
Know your target audience:
Once you have a clear understanding of who your ideal reader is and their preferred reading habits, you will know what size book they prefer. Do they like a smaller book that is easier to carry and travel with, or do they prefer a larger book that allows them to write footnotes and thoughts on the pages?
Who is printing and distributing the book:
There are sizes that both KDP and IngramSpark offer, but not all dimensions are provided on both platforms. Hence, if you want your book printed and distributed by both platforms, you will need to pick a book size that they both support. Otherwise, you will need to create separate files and covers for both.
The interior formatting of your book also plays a major role in your book’s production, leading to a multitude of decisions that you need to make.
Visit a bookstore:
Spend some time going through books in a library or bookstore since this is a part of the research that can’t be done online. Pay attention to the type and size of fonts, space between lines, margins, paper weight, and color. Do the competitors use illustrations and tables? Is the interior black and white or in color? Are the page numbers at the top or at the bottom?
List the structural items you want to have on your book:
Some great examples of items to have in your book are a foreword, table of content, dedication, index, glossary, acknowledgments, and ultimately a call to action as your author contact info at the end of the book. Once the book size and the interior formatting are defined, the cover design process starts.
While we all have heard the age old saying to not judge a book by its cover, but in truth your book’s cover is the most integral factor in the reader’s few second decision to read your book or to leave it on the shelf.
Being the first point of contact between you, the writer, and the reader, it should represent the most important part of your communication strategy. The cover needs to reflect the book's main message by itself. From the cover design, all other print and online marketing assets will be developed based on it. Keep in mind that the more exclusive the book is, such as having personalized hand-writing for the title font or illustrations, the more expensive it gets. For these items, there are two steps to consider:
Know your niche (again!):
Do thorough research listing your main competitors' covers. Analyze the most used colors, title fonts, and spine patterns. Are they mostly using dark or light colors? Do they use their author names at the top or the bottom of the cover? Do they have an author headshot on the back of the book?
Analyze what part the book plays in your life:
Is your book going to be related to a business brand? If so, consider the brand colors and identity when developing the cover design. Do you plan to write other books in a series? If so, do you want all of the spines and covers to be similar? With these questions answered, write your cover design brief and interior preferences with as many details as possible.
While we certainly believe the book market's many references can provide great guidance for where you should take your book, never forget that your book is unique and should reflect everything that you want it to be. Enjoy the process!
Reach out to PRESStinely to learn more about publishing, marketing and selling your book successfully.
Kristen & Maira