Lessons in Self-Publishing: Format It Correctly or Else…

While no one will dispute the importance of writing a great book and making sure you connect with readers, the design of a book can be just as important, if not more so to a certain degree. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” aside potential readers WILL judge your book by its cover and its formatting.

In fact, if your font, lay out, and spacing look sloppy or are unreadable, they won’t take you or your book seriously. There are simple things you can do to correctly format a self-published book, ensuring that readers will be drawn in and take it seriously once you’ve successfully marketed it to them:

Keep Your Lay Out Simple

Don’t make your book’s lay out too flashy if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, use the templates that are available at sites such as www.lulu.com. Your primary job is to write a great book, and therefore a book template will save you a lot of time and pay off in the long run.

Research Your Design Options

Beyond the options offered by book templates, many of your most important design decisions (cover design, font choice, font size, and line spacing) can be figured out by researching your options and reading what others have found to be true in online forums. Some test-printings on your home printer will also give you a good idea of how your fonts will show up for readers.

Compare your design choices to the books you enjoy most, what experts recommend, and what others have found in their own publishing experiences. Readability is a major concern for self-publishing authors and deserves a lot of consideration.

Invest Where It Counts

There are some things that you cannot do well on your own no matter how hard you try. One of these things, for most of us at least, is designing a great book cover. Of course most self-publishing services provide a cover creator as part of their packages, but if money isn’t too much of an issue, I think it’s well worth paying a professional or even novice designer to at least create a cover.

Even designing a simple cover requires choosing the appropriate font to match your material and then choosing the size, spacing, color, and location that works best. This can be quite difficult to do.

A catchy, professional cover will not necessarily sell more books, but it will be an important part of the whole package. You don’t want an unappealing cover to give customers a reason to ignore your book!