While hiring a book designer makes the book design process much easier, it also presents its own set of challenges.

Here are some pros and cons, as well as the basics of a book interior.

Professional designers make a better-looking product

The upside to hiring a book designer is at the end of the process you’ll have a professional-looking book interior.

For a price…

Perhaps the biggest drawback to hiring a book designer is cost. Book design cost can run anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

A basic familiarity with the interior of a book helps ensure your money’s well-spent

The basic elements of a page include the following:

  • Header and footer
  • Page number (or folio)
  • The text body

The first page in a chapter will include a chapter title and/or number, and the first paragraph of a chapter is often styled a little differently.

Books broken into sections will have section pages with titles and/or section numbers. Many books have scene breaks within chapters, noted by a couple of blank spaces with or without some type of design between the paragraphs. The first paragraph of a new scene is often styled differently.

What else do I need to know about book design?

Before working with a book designer, you will also need to determine what size the book will be.

Print-on-Demand (POD) sizes are for “trade” paperbacks, and standard sizes are 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5 and 6 x 9.

NOTE: There are other sizes available, and you should check the specifications of the company with whom the book is to be printed.

Most novels and memoirs, poetry, and other nonfiction will fall into the sizes above.

If you are in doubt about sizes, take a ruler and measure some books on your shelf. Trade paperbacks will mostly fall into that category.

Mass market paperbacks—the smaller books often known as pocket books—are not an option for POD.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind if you decide to hire a book designer:

Find an experienced book designer

There’s a lot more to book design than meets the eye, and even experienced designers will have a learning curve if they’ve never designed a book interior.

Text changes can be expensive

if you have edits after you’ve had a chance to proof the book, your designer will have to correct the text, so you may incur additional charges.

If someone is offering this for a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is and will lead to headaches later on.

Our next post will go over some additional guidelines for book interiors. Whether you use a free template, try to do it yourself with software like Microsoft Word, or hire a professional book designer, following these guidelines will help ensure you are satisfied with the final product: a professional-looking, self-published book.