What to expect when working with a book designer

Do you want to publish your book this year? Are you looking to work with a book designer? These questions may leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially if this is your first book. Where do you start? What questions do you need to ask? Who can help?

I have worked as a book designer and producer for over 25 years. The depth of experience I gained while employed with traditional publishing companies allowed me to start Chapter One Book Production and thus to help book coaches and independent authors bring their manuscripts to life.

I work with writers from many industries excited to take advantage of the self-publishing, print-on-demand model. A book can help with your business visibility and it can be published faster than might be possible with a traditional publishing deal.

A selection of opening pages from books
Working with a book designer

Fiction designs are usually fairly straightforward. Non-fiction books often include complexities such as footnotes or endnotes, tables, pull quotes and images with captions. So, the first question to ask is ‘is this book designer the right fit for me and my book?’

Discovery call

Most book designers offer an initial call to discover more about your book. You can book a free virtual call with me here.

The call is your opportunity to get to know the designer, ask questions about the process, talk about your book, and begin to build a relationship.


To ensure you are on the same page (pun intended!) as your book designer, they will submit a proposal which explains exactly what they are going to do for you.

The proposal will include details of your project, for example, ‘to undertake design and production for print and digital editions of: Your Book Title’. They will include the approximate word count, estimated number of pages and the book size you have decided upon.

Take your time going through the book designer’s proposal and ask any follow-up questions you may have.

Here’s an example from a recent book proposal:

  • Paperback cover layout using illustration supplied by you
  • Sample pages for approval of layout
  • Page composition from edited text file including placement of images
  • Supply of first proof for proofreading/checking*
  • Taking in the proofreader’s corrections
  • Supply of a revised proof for final checks
  • Taking in any final minor corrections**
  • Supply of print-ready PDFs for cover and interior suitable for selected printer(s)
  • ebook conversion and supply of epub and kpf files
  • Estimated extent of 172 pages based on approx 52,000 words at 6 x 9 inch format

The proposal also shows what isn’t included, for example:

*Proofreading is not included **Two rounds of corrections are included, which is normally sufficient.

Extra corrections may incur additional fees, which will be detailed in the proposal. If you require proofreading – and, without exception, you will – ask for recommendations from the book designer. They work closely with other experts in the book publishing industry.

Book design

You will have a timescale so you can plan your book launch and marketing. As a rough guide, I suggest allowing three to four months for design and production. It may take longer depending on the complexity of the manuscript and availability of proofreaders.

Catherine Williams is the consummate professional when it comes to doing a complicated interior design for a book. … Catherine is a pleasure to work with, and I highly recommend her.”

Deborah Ann Davis, Author of ‘How to Keep Your Daughter from Slamming the Door’
Delivery of your book files

As per the proposal, you will receive proof copies of your interior files for approval. This is often the first time an author sees their manuscript actually looking like a book. An exciting point on the self-publishing journey!

Check the proof carefully and make notes of anything you want to discuss. This is not the stage to be making substantial editorial changes. Using the services of a proofreader will be an essential extra step to ensure that everything is as perfect as possible.

After corrections, and there will always be corrections, your interior proof is good to go. You will receive a print-ready interior file, cover file and an epub for uploading to your chosen self-publishing platform.

You will be able to preview the epub using Kindle Previewer (or any other ebook viewer).

Publish your book

Uploading your files to your selected printer and distributor and hitting publish is now top of your to-do list. Your book designer will support and celebrate with you every step of the way.

Congratulations, you are now a published author!
Working with Chapter One Book Production

If you are looking for a dedicated book designer who works closely with you and guides you every step of the way, please do get in touch for a no-obligation chat. My packages include:

  • advice on choosing the right book size
  • interior book layout
  • advice on printing and distribution options
  • flawless, print-ready PDFs to upload to your self-publishing platform
  • an ebook file

My package options are based on a non-fiction book of up to 50,000 words, set at a standard book size up to Royal format (234 x 156 mm trimmed page size) or 6 x 9 inches. Custom quotes are available for books outside these parameters.

I was thoroughly delighted when I came across Catherine Williams. Having worked in the publishing industry producing books for over 15 years, I was thrilled when I found someone with Catherine’s experience, expertise and ability to help me produce books for my clients.

Working with Catherine has been a complete pleasure. She’s unflappable, efficient, fast, flexible and has a fantastic can-do attitude. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of book publishing that is difficult to find with most designers and layout artists. Finding Catherine and creating high-quality, professionally produced books with her has been a dream come true. There aren’t many Catherines out there! If you want your book to look like the real deal, you’d be mad not to hire her. I can’t recommend her highly enough and I also can’t wait to work with her on my next book project

Deborah Taylor, Book Launch Your Business

For more information about hiring me to design your book, schedule a virtual cuppa to discuss your project.

Alternatively, you will find a list of services and costs on the website.

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