Book Design

How To Format Your Fiction Manuscript

Self-publishing presents many benefits to writers. One of which is controlling costs of publishing your novel. But to do this, the responsibility of getting your book to look exactly like you envision it is on your shoulders. This includes formatting your text pages. In the video below, author Jill Williamson, offers up her tips on how to format your fiction manuscript to give it that professional touch.


How To Create Your Text Pages Using InDesign

One of the many reasons why authors decide to self-publish their books instead of taking the traditional route is because it can be much more cost effective. Furthermore, being able to personally control as many parts of the self-publishing process is a great way to save money. This includes designing your book from the cover to the guts.

There are many different design programs which books can be created from but for today's post the people at Design Like A Pro show you how to make professionally styled text pages for your project using Adobe InDesign.


Paper Stocks - Which One is the Right One for My Book?

Here at Book1One, we carry many different paper stocks which can be used for the "guts" of your book. The importance of choosing the right paper for your category of book cannot be overlooked and for first time authors or self-publishers, this can be a difficult decision, especially when paper stocks directly affect the feel of the book and how text and/or pictures appear on the printed page.

So first, what differentiates one paper stock from another?

  • Weight - This is determined by the weight of 500 sheets, or one reem, of text paper. Simply put, the heavier the sheets, the thicker the paper stock.
  • Finishes - Book1One offers both coated and uncoated paper. Uncoated is very similar to the paper you use to print any document from your home printer. It is not as smooth as coated paper but it can provide a very sophisticated look. Coated paper can either come in a glossy or matte finish. Glossy paper is quite shiny are really makes images look their best. Matte paper is everything glossy is without the shine. It has a slightly different feel but makes text extremely easy to read.

Which paper stock is the best option for my project?

  • 50# - The standard paper weight. Used most often in novels with no images, hard and soft cover.
  • 60# - Slightly heavier than 50#. Supports images better than the 50# option.
  • 80# (Glossy or Matte) - Great for catalogs and brochures where photos need top priotiry but pages can be turned with ease.
  • 100# (Glossy or Matte) - The way to go if your book has lots of photos or color images. This paper will really make your images pop off the page and hold up over time. Colors will stay vibrant for years. If you are printing a yearbook or a photo book this is the recomended paper stock option.


Examining ISBN Codes

As a self-publisher you've been told that your book should have and ISBN code. But what exactly is an ISBN code?

According to Bowker this code is "a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally," and is used to "to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors."

Now your book has arrived and you glance at the back cover to examine the ISBN code. Then you catch yourself wondering what exactly do all these numbers mean? The graphic below can help explain what each set of numbers corresponds with so you can better understand exactly how your ISBN code works.


For more information on ISBN codes, visit the official website here.

Tips When Using an Author's Photo

A book cover can often include the author's photo. On a dust-jacketed hard cover, we typically use the entire back for sales copy and put the photo and bio on the back flap. Paperbacks typically have the sales copy, an author photo and brief bio all on the back cover.

If you want to reserve the entire back cover for sales copy, you can include the author photo within the book. You'll want a black and white glossy print unless you're doing a full color cover. It's important to realize that your author picture is for a different purpose than any photo you have ever had taken.  Its main objective is to sell you as the expert.

So what are some of the mistakes authors make when it comes to producing a photo?

Usually a snapshot is submitted instead of a thoughfully and professionally composed photo, which means all the the things wrong you'd expect - things like a cluttered background, out of focus image, and an unflattering and uninteresting picture.

This does not mean the photo should be a plastic, perfectly groomed but lifeless grinning studio shot. What it needs to do is to give the viewer a good sense of the persona of the author and, most of all, be close up enough that you can actually see the face. It should also be a well-composed and effective photograph of good reproduction quality - which means you should get a professional or really good photo bug to take it.

 [This post was created, with permission, from excerpts take from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]

Tips on Do-It-Yourself Page Design - Part 1

If you are proficient on your computer and have decided to do your own interior page design work, there are some choices you'll need to make and necessary equipment to invest in if you don't already have it.

Right at the beginning you need to be thinking about how your book will be printed. Different book printers have different requirements. 

Most book manufacturers will accept either PC or Mac files. They do, however, have specific requirements on the types of software or final files they will accept. The most common page layout programs are Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.  You've probably been using Microsoft Word for your writing and editing. These word processing files can be imported directly into the page layout software. Whatever you choose, be sure to talk to your book printer ahead of time about compatibility.

The vast majority of book printers - if not all of them - do not accept files in Microsoft Word. Word files are very unpredictable when transferred from computer to computer. Word does not have the capability to report the fonts that were used to build the document or reveal when a font is missing or has been replaced. Such problems can cause the text on the pages to reflow and graphics to behave unpredictably. Virtually all book printers accept PDF files.

If you plan to scan your own photos or graphics, you'll need a good quality scanner. For your interior graphics, you'll need to scan at a minimum of 300 dpi. You'll also need the software (example: Photoshop) to operate your scanner. 

In Part 2 of this post, we will discuss options you have regarding type, including style and size, the use of white space, using boldface and italics, and other issues involving do-it-yourself page design.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts take from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]

7 Ways to Determine If Your Book Cover Is Compelling and Interesting

By Karrie Ross

Is your book cover compelling and interesting? In other words, is your book cover design really working for you? Is it doing what you want it to do? If you are not sure, the following questions will help you answer these extremely important issues.

1. When you look at your book cover, does it encourage you to open your book?

2. Does your book cover project the emotion you need your customers to feel, so that they will also open you book and start reading?

3. Is your book cover colorful in such a way that pleases the viewers senses, and would it also create a desire to open your book?

4. Is your book title interesting? Does it offer attainable intrigue?

5. Do you like your cover imagery? Does it evoke what you want it to? Is it literal or suggestive enough to make readers wnat to know more or why the image was chosen?

6. Is the typeface used a face that enhances your overall story? Is it one that is not only readable, but well balanced?

7. Has your cover designer paid attention to proper margins and positioning of the cover elements?

These are seven key elements that you should consider when evaluating your book cover design. They all contribute to making it the compelling piece you are look for.

[This post was created with permission from Karrie Ross. Among other book writing services she offers, Karrie is nationally recognized for her book cover design expertise she provides authors. She can be contacted at]