If you’re self-publishing a book, one element you may be inclined to gloss over is the book’s layout. This is likely because many assume that the words themselves are the only important aspect of any book and that the rest is just fluff. Although it’s true that no bad book has ever been saved by good design, unfortunately the opposite isn’t true, a good book can be sabotaged by bad design. That’s why I think it behooves self-publishing authors to really consider their book layout — especially for printed editions — and create a finished product that looks as professional as possible.
Recently, I had the pleasure of appearing on The Segilola Salami Show to not only discuss my various projects but to also talk more about laying out your self-published book. As you may know, I’ve become a fan of Adobe’s InDesign, so I spoke a bit about the program and what I liked about it. After hearing me out, Segilola and her second guest Fatima Koise offered their layout experience and talked about what options they’d utilized in the past. The three of us also explored some potential alternatives others might want to utilize for their projects.
During the interview I found it was a bit difficult to explain exactly how to use InDesign. Thus I thought I’d create a video walkthrough looking at a real book spread I created in the program to give you a better overview of what it can do. In this clip, I go step-by-step (and in real time) to show you how to set up your InDesign page, add images, place your text, and customize your layout:
While book layout might not be at the top of your to-do list when self-publishing, the truth is that it can make a big difference to your finished product. Not only will a professional-looking book potentially give you more ins with libraries and bookstores, but paying attention to your fonts, spacing, margins, and other details will also create a better experience for your readers. So whether you end up using InDesign, hiring a pro, or trying some free alternatives, I strongly recommend taking the time to craft a custom layout for your self-published book and create a product that elevates your text.