Organizing a book cover and formatting are two important parts of your publication that can overwhelm many authors, the fact is that you’ve written a great novel, spent weeks, months and maybe even years in creating a manuscript and now the next stage in publishing stands before you, making it look good.
So, what’s the best way of formatting and book cover design? Well, there are plenty of services out there offering both and you can also do the job yourself. However, unless you are proficient in applications like Photoshop, InDesign, Quark, Scrivener and many other great tools, I would look to use a professional to do the job for you.
Both book cover design and formatting are tasks that can be organized separately, there are plenty of companies who offer both services independent of the other and will get great results too. You will also find that more authors seem to be happier in formatting their book themselves, and in some cases using specialist software (both on and off line), you’ll also see that if you use a publisher like KDP, your Word document can transfer quite well to their publishing platform (however, even with Word you can do more than you may realize in formatting the manuscript prior to upload).
However, you still need to keep in mind the presentation and design of your book’s interior, uploading a manuscript directly from Word to KDP is of course doable, but if the justification and line spacing is off, the titles are on the wrong pages or the chapter headings are laid out badly then you do your book an injustice. You can save a few bucks doing it yourself, but is it really worth it?
Book cover design is a little different, this is more so for printed book covers and especially for those who print their book through Ingram Spark. The sizing and layout for a printed book has to be very precise in order for the edges of the spine to line up with the folds, have the copy placed within the margins and centered, to have bleed areas, fonts embedded, correct color profiles and the correct dpi.
There are several applications that can be used to create book covers, but the overwhelming industry leader is of course by Adobe, we always use Photoshop and InDesign for all of our book covers and would recommend it over and above all others (again, it’s what most professional companies within publishing use). So, you could download these applications yourself (they usually have a seven day free trial), but without any knowledge of the software you will need to study in order to use them.
The choice that many will have is over time and effort, how long will it take you to become proficient in these applications and how much effort will you need to invest?
If you are setting up as a publisher who does everything in-house, then maybe learning all aspects of the software needed could be a wise investment of your time (be aware though, even most small publishers outsource these tasks to professional services, we complete work for many indie publishers ourselves). If you are publishing just for yourself, then it is far more cost effective (both in time and resources) to use a professional service instead.
It’s clear that all great authors take their work very seriously, they also know using others to assist in their publication is normally the best course of action too, knowing where your strengths are and where you should use others is an important part of any endeavor.
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