I’m often hired by publishers to work on (fix) the InDesign or Quark files of books that have been typeset by authors. Book design and typesetting may not be rocket science, but there are a lot of things you have to do right and many pitfalls to avoid to produce a great or even good book.
Many hours and/or days of hard work can be eliminated with a well designed and executed book design template. InDesign and Quark are loaded with potential time-saving and design-enhancing features. I’ve been working on my book design and typesetting process for a long time, and I still do my best to learn something new that I can use (almost) every day.
I’ve seen just about everything that could go wrong in a book at some point over the past 30 years. The big issues to watch out for are correct font and color usage and the proper resolution (dpi) of images, but even the best of us can get the trim size wrong sometimes.
Book design and typesetting have become more important than ever to publishers as they attempt to sell printed books and compete in this era of constantly evolving and improving e-books. Some of my book publisher clients have turned to overseas typesetters to produce their books, but they all still come back to me to design templates for the book interiors.
I charge the same rate per page for typesetting as most of the Chinese and Indian book composition firms. Technology has enabled me to become increasingly faster and more productive, and the competition from overseas keeps me focused on saving my clients time and money. I’m designing and typesetting more books than ever, but I’ll never take the flow of work for granted.
Most of the now-defunct big U.S. typesetting firms were overcharging for their services when the overseas competition put them out of business in the 1990s. The U.S. firms had been charging publishers three or four times more per page/job than was reasonable and the quality of their work was inconsistent and never as good as it should have been.
I can’t claim that any of the books I worked on became bestsellers due to my design and typesetting skills alone, but I do know that the publishers would never keep coming back to me if I wasn’t either saving them money or helping them to sell more books.
I’m always on the lookout for new books to design or typeset. Feel free to contact me any time to discuss your project.