December 3, 2012
What goes into book design until you have done it. You don’t even appreciate it as an author, because if someone else is publishing the book, someone else is doing all sorts of things you never thought to consider. You look at the cover with no clue all the thought and technique that goes into cover design, you are just thinking, do you like how it looks? You don’t think about things like choosing a page size, and a print size, and a font, and choosing ways to open the chapters with interesting markings or text or headers. Or what kind of paper to use. And how thick that will make the book so how wide the spine has to be. Which will determine the spine design. Or spacing the text on the page. You don’t think about any of this stuff you just sort of take it for granted.
You build your own book.
Holy Mother of God that was work.
And now I have been sending copies out to people who pre-ordered the iBook (Kindle people stay frosty, it is coming) and people keep saying, That is so cool congratulations on the book. And part of me is gratified and says thanks. And part of me wants to yell, Who cares, did you see what it looks like!? Isn’t it pretty!?
Because to me, since I hunted for and found fonts and did page lay out and chapter header lay out and cover design and then needed help with that layout just to be sure so worked more on that and also decided how big to make the first letter in every first sentence in a chapter opening so it would stand out and what colors to use and then chose to justify these things just this way and —
All the stuff I would normally take for granted, I just did here and can no longer take for granted because now I know. And now I sit here paging through the book on the iPad marveling at what it looks like and over the fact all those choices finally came together and actually worked in the book and it is pretty, dammit. At least to me.
But no one else will see and get that unless he or she has designed and self published his or her own book.
But maybe that is the magic of publishing. Maybe it is like writing. If you do it right, people don’t need to understand the technique and magic behind the scenes, they just have to see it really works. And really, people only notice the magic technique when there is something wrong and the trick doesn’t work.
*You too can pre-order the book and get it before it hits iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.