What Does a Freelance Book Designer do? - article

The book has been written, edited, and proofread. An illustrator has completed the artwork. Nearly everything is ready. But now you need to hire a book designer. What exactly does the designer do?

First of all, the book designer does not write the book. She designs the interior of the book - how the text of the book should look, the size and style of the font and such. Secondly, she doesn’t illustrate the book, per se. She doesn’t sit down and draw images. Instead, she has a group of illustrators and/or photographers take and make the visuals needed. Then, after the artwork is complete, she uploads it onto the computer and manipulates it to her liking. The book designer works on the cover art, as well as the spine and interior book flaps. You might have written the words, but she’s the person who puts it all together.

There are two other aspects of a book that she controls. She chooses the paper. She determines what paper works best for your novel. You didn’t think about that while writing your book, did you? Most writers don’t. Your main focus is telling the story, as it should be. The designer also works with a book’s theme. She’s not making sure the story’s theme is carried through the words of the book. She’s making sure the theme comes through the physical appearance of the book. She wants the book’s appearance to fit your story, so that they work in harmony. If your book is a pulp fiction piece, wouldn’t it be cool to have the same look and feel as the original pulp fiction books, with an interior made of construction paper and cover that are thin and slick? Or, if your book is set during the 1800’s, wouldn’t it be nice to read the text on paper used in that era?

The feel of the book, as well as its aesthetics, are all part of the reading experience. It’s a writer’s job to make the reader feel as if they are back in the era used for the setting. So, the appearance and feel of a book all become part of the experience. It’s the book designer’s job to contribute to that reading experience.

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