When interviewing a prospective book designer, ask these key questions:
What is his or her experience in book production?
- This isn’t the time for your to work with a designer newbie—you want someone who has years of experience. Your designer to-be should have knowledge of book graphic design and software including PhotoShop, InDesign, QuarkXpress and Illustrator. Hands on experience in the publishing industry is a must have. Otherwise, pass.
- Getexamples of their work—if they are in the business, their websites should be peppered with a variety of examples. If you meet in person, ask to see a variety of finished books they have created.
- Do they specialize is a specific genre? Most likely, you don’t want someone who is superb in horror to be working on your business book. There are twists and turns to fiction that just don’t fit for nonfiction.
- Get references from other authors whose books the designer has done. Always ask, “Would you work with this designer again?”
- Up front, ask about costs—some have flat fees; some flexibility; some have a max number to re-dos allowed; some do bother interior and cover design and discount when there is a combo. Know in the beginning.
- Contracts and agreements vary. Include deadlines, extra charges, changes, how payment(s) are made, if it’s work-for-hire, who owns the rights, who owns the files, will the designer work with the selected printer in uploading files. Not all designers work with contracts—expect to pay a deposit of 50%
Get a Word document of your final book PDF
After you have your book layed out by a designer, request that a file in addition to the final PDF of the book be created. The final book is always different from the edited manuscript you turned in for layout. Always—the post layout “cold eye” read before printing has additional changes. You want a “clean” new Word document in your master book file to make an editions, deletions to for future print runs or revision.
Get your Cover Design Completed First
The earlier, the better in your book project. Why? It creates the “face” for what you are doing and a “push” to keep moving forward. You add it to your website; to your signature on all emails that are sent out; share ongoing and updates via your social media channels; and you can ever create an Amazon.com/Advantage account and put it up for pre-sales.
NEVER assume images online (Google, Flickr, etc.) are free.
Beware of copyright infringement. (Photos on Flickr, Fotolia, etc., have a range of rights—so make sure you’re allowed to use an image before you download.
Use royalty-free images for your book
Popular Subscription Sites for royalty-free and Rights Managed images include:
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 34 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #34 was published this summer: The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors & Writers. Get your copy.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2015, the dates are August 27-29th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow .
Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.
Author U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.
If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen.