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Design your book - cover, interior, and formatting, oh my!

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

The fun part starts when you have finished your story and have to get into the nitty gritty regarding publishing. This can be a frustrating and daunting process but we are here to help.

In our last blog in this category, we made it through the process of actually writing your story as well as reviewing and refining your manuscript. Now things get fun. We need to tell our story in pictures. I am not the greatest artist in the world and illustrating a children's book is a bit out of my wheelhouse. In order to communicate my vision to an illustrator, I put together some images collected from the internet and created a commentary on what I wanted to convey on each page. This design brief served as the jumping-off point for interacting with my illustrator.

During your initial research for your book, if you are anything like me, you identified some titles that spoke to you. I was interested in creating an eBook only for my first project but soon realized that was short-sighted. There is still something about reading a children's picture book aloud to a group of kids and the printed book is still the gold standard. I identified several common sense things to keep in mind. A picture book should be large enough to share the view of both the illustrations and text. I chose a standard 11-inch by 17-inch tabloid size to allow me to use commonly available text editors and my own printer to create mock designs. Another tip for your printed version is to try and keep your page counts in multiples of 8 or 12. It's amazing how many top-selling picture books are 32, 36, or 40 pages long.

With my design brief in hand it was time to complete my design. There are really three projects to consider to complete your eBook and print designs. Cover design, interior design, and formatting your book for inclusion on eBook platforms. I could rank them in importance but if you miss on any of these your end product will be lacking. If you are in it for sales, your book cover design is key. It is your calling card and the best way to convey the tone and message of your book to a potential customer. If ever you need professional help this is it. Luckily there exists an entire army of professionals to help you create your design. The answer is Fiverr, a market place for amazing artists and designers. Follow these simple steps:

  • Click this link - Fiverr.

  • Search "children's book cover design."

  • Click on results for details of services provided, pricing, ratings, and identify your candidates.

  • Contact your chosen designer and share the details of your project.

Using Fiverr pro ensures that your designers have exceptional talent and are hand-vetted for stellar quality, and service. With your cover in hand, you can also use the service to find an illustrator and complete your interior design. My design brief turned out to be very important. Not only did it convey the total scope of the project by the number of illustrations needed, but I had also done valuable research on the font style for my chosen genre. Typography for children provides some considerations for the text in your project. I used a free font from Google called Andika. One other consideration is how your text interacts with your illustrations. Ensure you have areas of high contrast so that your text is not lost in your illustrations.

I set up calls twice a week to review and provide clarification during the assembly of my finished product. As with the initial story once you have a final layout make it available for scrutiny. Having some parents in your target audience review your book before publishing will provide valuable insight and allow you to make final adjustments before your release.

Next week we'll cover the nuts and bolts of getting published, Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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