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February 9, 2023
As an author, should you consider book design templates? The way a book is formatted is wholly dependent on the type of content found inside the pages. Novels are laid out a little differently than non-fiction books and calendars and catalogs have their own easily identifiable style conventions. And while we can all likely recognize when a book looks basically the way we expect it to, knowing exactly how to format a book so that it will match reader expectations is completely different.
Self-publishing authors, however, have to formulate their own formatting for the books they bring to print and knowing how to design a book correctly is the first step in creating a book that readers will love. So how do authors publishing their own books know how to format them? Many of them use book design templates to ensure that their hard work won’t be overlooked by an odd layout or an unexpected format that turns readers off.
Book design templates are ready-made formats for authors to use that will help them set up all of the basic pages in their book without having to figure out all of the details on their own. Book design templates for novels, for example, would include a format for setting up all of the front matter, what the publishing community calls all of the pages that typically come at the start of a fiction book like the title page, copyright page, Table of Contents as well as the Acknowledgement page.
Each of these pages is typically laid out in a standard format, so including the correct margins, spacing, and designating areas for each page’s unique content is especially helpful for authors who may be self-publishing for the first time. But book design templates are available for just about every type of book an author might create, and they come in both downloadable formats and interactive software.
Regardless of how the book design templates are accessed, it is typically a complete guided structure that authors can use for their books. Writers can fill in some or all of the book design templates to create a book manuscript ready for printing.
New and experienced self-published authors turn to book design templates regularly, but there are a few specific ways that using book design templates can help writers during the book preparation and printing stage.
A new author has a lot to think about during the book writing and formatting stage. Those who utilize book design templates can put their attention toward their book’s content instead of worrying about margins, headers, page number locations, and which page should include the dedication versus the copyright information.
While most self-publishing authors want to have a say in every detail of their book, deciding exactly how to craft the right format for their book is an extra step that not only takes away critical time but also leaves plenty of room for error. So instead, many authors choose to keep their attention on the book’s content rather than the format of their project.
One desirable characteristic of book design templates is that authors have the freedom and flexibility to make small changes along the way. A tweak to a chapter title name, swapping the page number location, or even adding a dedication page is a cinch with a template. By contrast, authors who use a book designer to help them format their project may be subject to extra costs even when small changes are made to a book that is professionally designed.
When a writer develops a book series, each book will necessarily need to look very similar to each installment. By using book design templates, authors can easily make sure that each book looks visually connected without having to pay a designer for the same layout and formatting details each time a new book is ready to be printed.
Book design templates can be free or relatively low cost or may even cost a little more for a whole software program that an author can own and use repeatedly. But those self-publishing authors who don’t use book design templates often employ a professional book designer to make sure that their book’s formatting is perfect.
And rightfully so, a professional designer is going to cost authors a lot more than a book design templates. Hiring a professional book designer may be out of the budget for authors already printing their own books. And many authors may want to put extra funds toward something as critical as a professional editor to review the book’s contents instead, which is not something that a predesigned template can help with.
Not every author will want to use book design templates to format their book. Even with the convenience and ease of using book design templates, they may not be the best choice for some writers.
The beauty of using a design template is that each element required for the format is included in the template, taking the guesswork out of designing a book. But since the template is a preset format, authors don’t have the ability to customize the template in many ways.
Elements like font choices, how the book is paginated, or even simple non-traditional formatting choices are already determined by the template, so authors who want or need more flexibility in the design of their book may not want to use this layout tool.
Most templates will have predetermined locations where graphic elements can be inserted into a book’s layout. For many authors, these options are more than enough to work with their concept of how they want their book to appear in print.
But for writers who want to incorporate more graphic elements into their book’s appearance or who want to be creative in how graphic elements are included in their book, book design templates may be less appealing because they do not allow for much flexibility with graphics integration.
In order to use a template, authors must either commit to using a specific word processing program or purchase and use the template software. For some authors, this constraint can be a challenge because writers may have a word processing or writing software preference that they are unwilling to compromise on for fear of the change affecting the author’s writing in some way.
And other writers may not want to financially commit to the purchase of software to assist with their book’s layout. Free or low-cost book design templates are an option for authors today, however, making this hurdle less of a challenge for cost-conscious self-publishing authors.
When a first-time or new author sets out to write their first masterpiece, most writers lean into technology and guidance that will help them cross the finish line successfully, and book design templates are a big part of that success for many authors.
Using one can help a less-experienced author in many ways, but even writers with a handful of published books understand the benefits of using templates to structure their book’s contents. Writers typically enjoy four main benefits when using book design templates.
If you are considering creating a book, remember that using a well-designed template is simply a tool that will help you bring your ideas to the page in a way that readers will love and appreciate.
Whether you choose a basic template, splurge on layout software, or something in between, utilizing a template is the perfect way to help you develop your book’s structure without having to spend a lot of time figuring out the small details that make a book look good.
But a well-designed book is just the first step in becoming a published author. Writers and printers work hand in hand to bring manuscripts to life. Working with a trusted printer like Publishing Xpress means your beautifully formatted book will look fantastic when it rolls off the printer. A book that is printed with quality materials will help your readers fall in love with your writing, helping you to begin building your fanbase for years to come.
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