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Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Designing Your Self-Published Book

Designing your self-published book is far from easy. But it’s important, because your book’s visual appeal counts just as much as its content.

Instead of diving headfirst into your publishing journey, let’s learn how to avoid the common mistakes that plague the designs of self-published books.

Cover Design

Contrary to popular belief, readers do judge a book by its cover, and it is arguably the most important part of book design. Keep in mind you only have a few seconds to make a first impression. Make it count.

Most authors, on their first time around, tend to overcrowd the cover with information. There is really no need for that. Present the title, genre and your name, together with evocative art that will call to the readers from the shelves.

Just take a look at one of our favorite covers, Andy Weir’s The Martian.

It’s an astronaut swept by a sandstorm: an effective way to deliver the feeling of being in trouble on Mars without using any words.

Poor Font Choices

No fancy font is worth trading readability for. Garamond, Bembo, Georgia, Helvetica, and Roboto are popular fonts for readers.

But remember, font sizes are just as important. Generally, self-published authors are recommended to choose between 10-point and 13-point, but it largely depends on the preferred font. For example, 13-point in Arial is not the same size as 13-point in Century Schoolbook.

Save fancy, scripted fonts for special areas such as chapter titles, headings, and other display pages. You should also be mindful about your cover design and genre. For lighthearted books, the preferred choices are often Avenir or Century Schoolbook. More serious topics are better delivered with font types such as Adobe Garamond or Minion Pro.

Headers and Footers

Readers accustomed to professionally published books will be put off by amateurish-looking headers and footers.

Don’t misplace or misnumber even and odd pages. Odd pages go on the right, and even pages go on the left.

Omit headers and footers from title pages and pages intentionally left blank. Don’t make them stand out from the layout. Design them in the appropriate size so that they blend seamlessly with the rest of the page.

Need more insights? We heartily recommend the straightforward four-step design process in the Non-Designer’s Design Book. It helps countless non-designers add a professional touch to their work.

Shafeeka Hafeez

Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.

June 4, 2021

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