Is having a professional book design worth it?
In the days of a million options for the do-it-yourself book publishing, many people are asking themselves if having a professional book design is worthwhile, or if they can just use a template and do it themselves. There are a lot of DIY options to choose from these days, such as Smashwords, BookBaby or even Amazon.com. Many of these options give you nice looking templates to choose from, so why hire someone and pay for a professional book when you can pay a fraction of that and do it yourself?
Let me count the ways!
The number one thing that I want to impress upon anyone reading this is that when you hire a professional to make your book, you get a lot more than just a pretty looking read. Because we do this for a living, we think about a lot more than just how the book looks. We think about how it flows, reader experience, and mobile-friendliness in addition to making it look good. In short, we think about all the things you probably don’t think about. And the problem is, you won’t even realize you are missing things.
Reasons why hiring a professional is a good idea
Mobile-Friendliness: When we make a book, we think about more than how it looks on the printed page, because in truth your readers are looking at your book from a multitude of devices. Things that work on the page, such as multiple columns, large images, and big text, don’t really work well on a phone. That’s why it’s important when we set up the book to take into account various screen sizes and make your book work on all of them. What does this entail? Making sure your fonts adjust for screen size. If I use a 40px font on the printed book, that’ll look good on my big 27″ monitor, but is going to fill the entire iPhone screen once it is made into an ebook. If I don’t make an adjustment for that, then all someone who downloads your book on their phone is going to see is your main headline. The DIYer is probably not going to think about this when they set up their own book, or know how to vary it for different devices. For 2017, nearly 53% of global website traffic came from people on mobile-devices and trust me, that number isn’t going down. It’s no longer optional to be mobile-friendly. People will leave negative feedback on your book if it doesn’t function on their phone.
Search Engine Visibility: I know this sounds like we are talking about a website, but your book’s keywords are every bit as important! Everyone who comes to us wants us to make them #1 in Google, and we want that for everyone too. But the DIYer probably won’t realize how much is involved in SEO. Many people think that by virtue of having a book and publishing it on Amazon, that people will find them. But that’s not all there is. It needs to be a good book with quality content. It needs to be available in multiple formats and properly formatted so a search engine can find all your content. It needs to be mobile-friendly, because the Amazon gods made that a super important factor in the ranking process. You need to create a clickable TOC and submit it with the epub and mobi formats. Did I just lose you? This is why having a professional is important. Not only do we know what a clickable TOC is and how to create it and how to submit it with the epub and mobi versions of your book, but we know why it should be done and we do it for every book we create. It’s something the DIYer will not even think about, and something we do as a standard practice.
User Experience: The experience your reader has while reading your book is SO important, and yet so overlooked by so many because they are focused on how the layout looks. UX is more important than design. Can your reader find the content in your book? Can they find your contact info or your social connections? Is there a clear call-to-action so they know what to do next? For many, they think these things are obvious. “Won’t someone know to search the internet for my phone number?” You should think that, but that’s only if you think. If you’d like to learn more about how important User Experience is, check out the book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. The title says it all – don’t make your reader have to work to find you.
Measurable Goals: For the DIYer, the goal when they set up a book is just to “have a book so people can read it.” But when you have a professional book design done, we think about return on investment and how to measure those goals. If your goal is “having a book” – then you aren’t really planning for the future of your book sales.
Those are just a few reasons why hiring a professional is worthwhile. I’m going to add one more here as well. We keep track of the changing trends. You may read a few articles, understand the basics, use a template that looks good. And it may work for you. But are you keeping track of the trends and changes in design, user experience and SEO? Amazon changes their algorithm regularly, and we keep an eye on things like that. Does the average business owner? Probably not. Just as I’m not keeping track of changes in the law or medical practices, or changes in road design or city planning. Those aren’t my areas of professional expertise.
Me? I’m good at books.
“But Faithe, can’t I just read up and learn all this stuff?”
Sure you can. Just like I can read up and learn all new tax changes and be my own accountant. But who has time to be an expert on everything? Jack of all trades, master of none. Be an expert at your business, and let us be an expert at ours. Together, it’ll be a great match.