I’m a freelance designer and production artist for books and e-books. I do my best to make beautiful books that people want to buy.
(Continued from Basics of Self Publishing Your Book, Part 1)
3. Once you have the sample design files (pdfs) in hand, you’re the boss. Your designer already likes the layouts or they wouldn’t have sent them. In some ways it’s a matter of personal taste, but as the author, you’re best equipped to match the design to your audience and subject matter.
It’s typical to go back and forth a few rounds before the design is finalized. It’s very important that all of the design elements are as you want them because it’s difficult and time consuming to make changes to the book once it’s been typeset. Also, late-breaking changes can lead to a less than perfect book if they are difficult to implement.
4. Proofreading and revisions. Once you have the first proofs in hand, the hard work begins again for the author. I always recommend that authors hire a professional proofreader at this stage. It’s difficult for most authors to proofread their own work, and a professional always adds value to the book.
Aside from reading the book’s text, proofreading involves checking all design and page elements. This includes page numbers, running heads or feet, consistency among subtitles, photocaptions, if applicable, tables, charts, and the Table of Contents.
The best way to send revisions back to your typesetter is to print out the pdf and mark up the pages. You can also use the Acrobat pdf markup tools. It’s not advisable to send a list a changes without a visual reference. Those changes are difficult to follow and can lead to errors that are difficult to spot.
The pages below are from an edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that I designed and typeset for myself. I haven’t printed the book as the design elements are purposefully too close to the margins for proper trimming/cutting of the pages. The book is for sale as a pdf at my etsy.com store. I also made it into an epub file that can be read on electronic devices. And producing e-books is a great topic for Basics of Self Publishing Your Book, Part 3!