Have you ever wondered what actually goes into a book? To be honest with you, I had NO clue, until I started to actually do it. When I pick up a book, not once have I thought about what goes into the making of that book, until I decided to write my own. It sure was a trial and error type of learning curve, but one that I now know, and am happy to share with you.
So this post is all about the nitty-gritty details about the cover, formatting, and the actually designing of the book. There are a lot of little details, but if you are looking to publish your own, hopefully these small little details will help the big picture come together, known as YOUR BOOK.
First of all…THE COVER.
I spent countless hours on the cover. What I should’ve realized was that cover designing was not my gift. It took many hours of me trying to design my own, to realize designing wasn’t for me. If you know right off the bat that you won’t be happy with what you created, don’t even try. Not worth your time!
As much as we don’t want to judge a book by it’s cover, we all do. I found that what I could create, was nothing like the pros. So I emailed a few companies where book cover designs were their specialty, but quickly learned I couldn’t really afford them. I had set a budget of $500, which at the time seemed like a lot, but when I received quotes from companies between the $2,000-$3,000 range, I realized I am Dutch and don’t like to spend a lot! Then I wondered if the idea of a nice cover was even feasible?
After many more hours of research, I finally found a website called Reedsy. As their website defines, “Reedsy allows authors to find and work with the best publishing professionals: from developmental editors to book cover designers, publicists and translators.” Basically, you choose a handful of designers, submit a brief, compare the quotes that each offers, and then choose the best fit (if any of them fit within your parameters). It was SO easy.
I had contacted 3 designers, and the one I was really hoping for, accepted my “offer.” Hands down, I would choose this book cover designer again! His name is Erik Peterson. He used to work for Tyndale and Moody, shared the same values as myself, which helped in his understanding of our story, and understood the ideas I wanted to portray on the cover. AND, he worked within my price range. AND, he was extremely prompt, was very easy to work with, and did a phenomenal job. His cover designs were so hard to choose from! Plus, he also does all the legwork of the spine design and margins. Basically it comes print ready! If you’ve seen the cover of “A Heartbeat of Grace,” you will see what a tremendous job Erik did!
Anyways, enough about the cover, now on to the parts of a book. Simply stated, this is what I have included in “A Heartbeat Of Grace”:
- Half-title Page
- Title Page
- Book Content
- About Author – Did not include, since it’s on the back of the book
Now…the hardest part: FORMATTING.
This is the most difficult part in self-publishing, in my opinion, only because there are so many options. What worked for me, may not work for you, depending on the size and type of book you are writing. Once again, I spent countless hours researching and looking at other books, trying to figure out the spacing, design, font, margins, you name it. You don’t realize how much goes into the designing of the interior of the book, until you try it yourself. Needless to say, it was a TON of work, and there are people who you can pay to do this part, but I felt I could do it myself, and in the end, was able to.
Here’s how I formatted “A Heartbeat of Grace”:
- Program Used: Word
- Book size: 9×6
- Font: Book Antiqua
- Font size: 11
- Margins: Top – 0.7; Inside – 0.8; Gutter – 0; Bottom – 0.6; Outside – 0.5; Mirror margins
- Chapter Heading: 8 spaces down; 3 spaces below heading
- Page Numbers: Center, starting at foreword
- I added a paragraph separator, that I ended up designing myself via the photo editing website, PicMonkey (see below):
One of the most difficult parts of the formatting process was getting the page numbers to start at the foreword, instead of at the beginning of the book. I would try to explain how I did it, but there are websites out there that explain it well, so if you write a book and get to that point, just research it and you’ll find the solution!
Some other little steps you will need to do is embed your fonts (which you can do in the options tab on Word and also convert your Word doc into a PDF format. Simple things to do, which if you get to that point, please send me an email and I can guide you through it!
There are many little details that go into self-publishing. You will probably get overwhelmed and frustrated at times, but again, like I’ve said before, keep plugging away at it! It will so be worth it in the end!
And…if you are serious about writing a book, again, please ask me ANY questions! That is why I am doing this little series! I want you to have the tools you need to do this very thing!
I hope this little series has encouraged you (hopefully not discouraged you) to write a book yourself! I’m a firm believer that if God has called you to it, He will equip you to see it through to completion!
Happy writing, my friends!