Self-publish and become a Book Designer, as well. Don’t let that scare you! It’s really not as hard as you think. What size book do you want to create? Some standard sizes are 6-inches by 9-inches or 7-inches by 10-inches.
Being your own Book Designer can actually be quite fun! Who better to design your book than you! After all, you’re the one that birthed this creation into being. Why give it up for adoption to someone who hasn’t been intimately involved like you have been. Editing, on the other hand, is best done by someone who is not close to the writing project. Definitely hire this part to be done. While your friend may edit your book for free, you often get what you pay for. I suggest hiring a professional editor. It is almost impossible to find your own mistakes. Most people will read over their errors, seeing them the way they should be rather than the way they actually are.
Are you planning to have pictures in your book? How many? Where do you want them to go? Are the photos needing to face associated text? Here’s a tip. All left-hand pages are even numbered and all right-hand pages are odd numbered. So if you want a photo to face associated text, you’d make sure the photo was on an even page and your text on the consecutive odd page. To do this, you may find you have a blank page. Try to keep blank pages on the even numbered pages. You might also think of some creative uses for any blank pages, such as adding a famous quote or adding an additional photo or drawing.
Some people ask if special software is required. Actually, whatever word processing software that you are using can be adapted to do everything you need to do. The page sizes and your default page size on your software package is usually 8-1/2 inch by 11 inch. You can, however, set your page size to the size book that you are creating. It is often called a “trim” size, because the pages used to be printed on huge sheets of paper, cut into pages and then after assembly, the book was “trimmed” to the appropriate size.
CreateSpace.com, an on-demand printer, even has templates for you to download for Word. But by changing the page size by going into Layout Mode and choosing a “custom” size, you can change the book “trim” size to fit one of the choices at your on-demand print shop. You can also choose your margins, which ultimately affect the size of the printed part of the page. In general, page margins are set to .5 inch or 1 inch. Smaller trim sizes should have smaller margins to squeeze in the most text on the pages. However, you do need to consider space for binding.
Lulu.com is another on-demand printer, which works similarly. It offers a few different opportunities, such as hardback books. They, too, offer templates to use for the choice of sizes and binding. Lulu.com also offers some flexibility in paper quality, which is important for some indie- or self-publishers.
Novices sometimes want to change the font size to squeeze in a lot of text. It’s not exactly wrong to do that, but one has to think about who your target market is. Text size is generally larger for young children and people in their senior years. Text needs to be easily read, so I usually never go below 10 points. To be truthful, I probably only use 10 point type on the copyright page, because no one really needs to read this on a regular bases. There are always exceptions to everything. But when you are formatting your book, you need to make it readable. Yes, less pages make your book cheaper to print. However, if the print is too small to read, you won’t sell many books, because no one can read it.
I hope this helps all you self-publishers out there!