20 rookie interior book design mistakes to avoid

Image result for don't use fiverrWhen professional book people flip through your book they notice rookie mistakes like you notice typos on a billboard. Too many self-publishers use interior book design services from low-cost sites like Fiverr, trusting that they know what they’re doing. They often don’t, and your book is likely to be riddled with rookie mistakes that can easily be avoided. Hire a pro or use this checklist to make your book look like it came from one of the Big 5 publishing houses.

  1. Vanity logos (CreateSpace, Lulu, Author House, etc.) are a no-no, especially CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon (generally disliked by bookstore owners).
  2. Publisher (imprint) name and logo that sounds like it might be a real imprint.ISBN-barcode
  3. Publisher logo on spine, title page, and copyright page.
  4. ISBN that belongs to you and not a service or vanity press. (More about ISBNs, here.)
  5. Price embedded in the bar code. (Get one free with IngramSpark’s cover template generator, here.)
  6. Cover design and finish (gloss or matte) that fits in with the genre. (More about covers, here.)
  7.  Margins and gutter size that leave plenty of white space at the edges of the page. Don’t force the reader to break the spine to read the text nearest the binding. (More about interior design, here.)
  8. Headers and footers that are mirrored, with even page numbers on the left edge and odd page numbers on the right edge. Centering page numbers is also acceptable.
  9. Author name usually goes on the top left (even pages) of the header and the book title at right (odd pages). Or book title on left and chapter title on right. See examples in your genre.
  10. Modern fonts (Garamond is trending, Times New Roman is passe) and plenty of leading (the space between lines) to make your book a subconsciously enjoyable read.
  11. serif vs sans serif textNo more than two or three fonts (sans serif for chapter/part headings and serif for body) avoids busyness.
  12. Single, not double spaces, between sentences.
  13. Indented paragraphs for fiction and immersive nonfiction. Separate paragraphs by a single space (not indented) for some nonfiction. Never both!
  14. The first paragraph of each chapter or subsection header should never be indented. (But Drop Caps are nice if you want to get fancy.)
  15. Interior book paper color is creme for fiction and immersive nonfiction (such as memoir), and white for business, technical, and other how-to and reference nonfiction. (Also art books, but these have special layout requirements not covered, here.)
  16. Typos or copyediting errors. (Read about editing, here.)
  17. Title page type treatmentJudicious use of punctuation. (Avoid excessive hyphens, ellipsis, exclamation points. See copyediting errors, above.)
  18. Headers and footers should not be present on blank pages, front matter, and on the first pages of chapters.
  19. Half title and title pages use the same type treatment as on the book cover.
  20. ISBNs (for all formats), LCCN, and the P-CIP block from the Library of Congress are listed on the copyright page. (Find details in David Wogahn’s Register Your Book: The Essential Guide to ISBNs, Barcodes, Copyright, and LCCNs.)
Copyright Page Content
Look inside any book published by the Big 5 to see what’s needed on your copyright page.

It helps to compare your book with one from a Big 5 publisher in your genre. Just take a look inside a book on Amazon and mimic what they do.

Book Design Templates for interior
Avoid interior book design gaffes by using a professional template, like this one that costs $59. See it, here.

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