Getting your own ISBNs

ISBNs for print books and eBooksBy Fiona Raven, book designer

One of the things you’ll need to do as a publisher is obtain a block of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for your books. Some printers, print-on-demand publishers, and eBook vendors will offer to provide you with an ISBN for your book, but it’s better to get your own. Part of the ISBN includes a “publisher number” which is assigned to a specific publisher. Therefore, if you allow another company to provide the ISBN, then that company will be listed as the publisher of your book. ISBNs are easy to obtain online, and using your own numbers means that you’ll retain control over your books. Continue reading

Book arts: handmade books

Hands: a handmade art bookBy Fiona Raven, book designer

The Vancouver Art Book Fair is at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend (Oct 5-6/13, 12-5pm). Lots of artists’ books will be on sale (including a few of mine), as well as ezines, graphic novels, printed ephemera and “other experimental forms of publication.” (Doesn’t that sound interesting?) The upcoming Fair prompted me to share with you some of the books I’ve created as a book artist rather than as a book designer. Continue reading

Estimate your page count

Estimate your book's page countBy Fiona Raven, book designer

You’ve finished your manuscript (or nearly finished it!) and you’re ready to get some quotes for book design and printing. But first you’ll want to know approximately how many pages your finished book will have. Here’s a simple way to calculate your book’s approximate page count using the word count of your manuscript. Continue reading

Pages need design too

Pages need design tooBy Fiona Raven, book designer

Unlike book cover design (which calls attention to itself), page design is silent—forming a bridge between the author’s words and the reader. Many people are surprised to learn that pages are actually designed because, unlike a book cover design, the page design isn’t that noticeable. In fact, it shouldn’t be noticeable! Your reader should be drawn straight into your words without giving your page design any thought. Continue reading

Start a style sheet

Start a style sheetBy Fiona Raven, book designer

Editors create style sheets to keep spelling and punctuation consistent throughout your book. A style sheet usually consists of a chart with a space for each letter of the alphabet, and a space for notes at the bottom. Continue reading

Writing your back cover copy

Writing your back cover copyBy Fiona Raven, book designer

Front covers attract … back covers sell! You already know that, in fact, everyone does judge a book by its cover. You also know that you have only two or three seconds to attract a potential reader with your front cover. But once that reader picks up your book and flips to your back cover, this is your chance to sell your book. That reader is already interested, and just needs convincing. Continue reading

Typesetting 101

Typesetting 101By Fiona Raven, book designer

You and your book designer have created an outstanding design for your book pages, and now your book is ready for typesetting. The irony of excellent typesetting is that no one will notice it! Your reader will find it smooth traveling from cover to cover. Continue reading

Setting your book’s retail price

Setting your book's retail priceBy Fiona Raven, book designer. Written with help from Renee and Jack Brodie, publishers.

Determining your book’s retail price can be nerve-wracking. If it’s too expensive, your book may be priced out of the market. If it’s not expensive enough, you won’t even recover your costs. How do other publishers decide? Consider three things: cost per book to print, pre- and post-printing expenses, and the price of similar books in the marketplace. Continue reading