Daily Archives: July 15, 2019

The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

The elements of a physical book interior include the front matter, body, and back matter. Each element might differ slightly depending on the type of book being published. For example, a non-fiction book will contain an index in its back matter whereas a fictional novel will not. Following is a list of the components you might find within each interior element.

The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

The front matter of a book might contain some or all of the following components:

  • Primary title page: This is usually the very first page of the book in which the title appears on an otherwise blank right-hand page.
  • Secondary title page: The secondary title page repeats the book title along with the author and publisher’s name on the next right-hand page.
  • Copyright page: The copyright page will contain the book’s ISBN(s), publication date, copyright owner’s name, and a copyright notice such as, “No portion of this book may be duplicated or used in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) for any profit- driven enterprise without prior permission in writing from the publisher.” If the author also wishes to credit any of the book’s contributors (e.g., photographers and designers), that can also be done on this page.
  • Quote page: Sometimes a quote will be placed in the front matter if it sums up the essence of the story quite well.
  • Dedication page: Oftentimes, authors will dedicate their books to their loved ones. That dedication is placed in the beginning of the book.
  • Acknowledgments page: An acknowledgments page allows an author to provide more detail when crediting the book’s various contributors rather than just listing their names on the copyright page. Here, a heartfelt thank you can be expressed in a much more meaningful way.
  • Foreword: Usually, a foreword is written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to provide a history leading up to the story being told or explain what inspired the publication of the book.
  • Preface: Where a foreword is an introduction to the book written by someone other than the author, a preface is an introduction written by the author for the same purpose. An author might also use a preface to explain what methods of research were used during the creation of the work.
  • Contents: A table of contents lists the various sections (i.e., chapters, articles, poems, et cetera) within the book and that page numbers on which they begin.

The body of a book usually contains at least the following two components:

  • Title Pages: A title page is used at the beginning of each section within the body of a book. The purpose of the title page is simply to differentiate between the sections to help organize the flow of the work.
  • Sections: Sections of a book’s body can be divided up as chapters, poems, articles, et cetera. It all depends on the type of book being published.

The back matter of a book might contain some or all of the following components:

  • Appendix: An appendix contains supplementary details that help to clarify further any legal, technical, or scientific information within the book.
  • Bibliography (a.k.a. Citations): A bibliography is a list of the books, articles, webpages, et cetera, that were sourced and referred to throughout the book.
  • Glossary: A glossary of terms contains a list of specialized words that can be found throughout the book along with their definitions.
  • Index: An alphabetized index is used to help readers pinpoint the exact pages where they can find an important name, place, or subject throughout the book. (It provides a much more precise, defined search result than the table of contents at the front does.)
  • Promotional Content: A great way to sell your back list titles is to promote them in the back matter of each new release. It is best if you can provide a graphic of each book’s front cover along with the corresponding ISBNs. This way, readers can search for these back list titles online or at bookstores if they wish to purchase them.
  • Author Biography: An updated author biography helps personalize your book for readers by giving them a bit more information about the storyteller. It is also a great way to promote past titles, thereby increasing the chance of more sales.

The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

When writing your book, keep in mind all of the above elements. Bookmark places for them within your manuscript so you remember to add them in before submitting to a publisher. These extra details will add a certain air of professionalism to your published book.

Related reading: The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

There are different types of physical book covers ranging from case-wrapped hardcovers (cloth or laminate) or dust-jacketed cloth hardcovers to perfect bound paperbacks. Although they each have their own unique requirements in content and design, some basic elements are common to them all. Using two of my backlist paperback books as examples, you can see all the elements of a physical book cover. Each one is made up of at least the following three components: the back cover, the spine, and the front cover.

The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

Back Cover

As shown in the above visual aid, the back cover portion of a physical book cover begins on the left-hand side. The dimension of the back cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

  • An author photo (optional)
  • Back cover copy (marketing copy that summarizes the contents of the book in a compelling way)
  • Room for the book’s barcode and ISBN on the lower right-hand corner
  • Room for the publisher’s logo on the lower left-hand corner
  • A short author biography (optional)

Spine

The spine portion of a physical book cover sits in between your back and front cover. Its height will match your chosen trim size (in the case of these examples 8.5 inches). Meanwhile, the width is determined by other factors. Two factors are the final page count of your designed interior and the paper stock being used. The spine also contains the following features:

  • The book title at the top
  • Author name (pseudonym) in the centre
  • Room for the publisher’s logo

Front Cover

The front cover portion of a physical book cover sits on the right-hand side. The dimension of the front cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

  • The book title (and subtitle, if applicable)
  • Author name (pseudonym)

Additional graphics will require additional graphic design time

The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

Your cover artwork can wrap around the spine of your book and span the entire height and width of the complete cover (as shown in the first visual for the book titled 11:11); it can appear on the front cover only (as shown in the second visual for the book titled A Letter to My Son); or it can be more complex (as shown in the third visual for the book titled A Letter to My Daughter).

All of these examples are correct. If going with the first example, make sure the artwork itself contains a minimum 1/4-inch bleed all around the edges. This will ensure the outside edges of the picture aren’t trimmed unnecessarily at the printer. If going with the third example, keep in mind that additional graphics require additional work for the designer. This will equate to additional upfront design costs.

Related reading: The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers? Because it takes a true specialist to understand and follow each printer’s unique file creation guide.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

What is a file creation guide?

For independent (“indie”) authors who wish to produce ebooks alone, things are pretty simple. You can write your book using Microsoft Word and create a simple but attractive book cover using Canva or Amazon.

It’s when you want to create a paperback or hardcover book that things get tricky, particularly if you want that book sold in traditional bookstores. In this case, you’ll need to use a company like IngramSpark® or Lightning Source® (both Ingram Content Group subsidiaries) as your printer/distributor. They each have specific requirements regarding how your cover and interior book files should be designed. These detailed instructions are listed in multi-page file creation guides. And, unless you’re familiar with how to use Adobe Creative Suite or similar programs, you probably won’t be able to understand or follow those instructions. But a professional graphic designer will.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Perhaps the most important reason independent authors need graphic designers is for their knowledge of colours. Believe it or not, colours are much more complicated than you may realize. How something looks on your computer screen may look completely different in printed format. There are many different reasons why.

For starters, RGB (red, green, blue) colours are what you see on your computer screen. They are created using light. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colours, on the other hand, are created by mixing inks/toners together in varying percentages.

When you are creating an ebook only, it’s okay to use RGB colours in your design. But if you plan to print a paperback or hardcover version of your book, you should design it using CMYK colours. Otherwise, your printer may not be able to match the colours you’ve chosen since printers have a smaller colour gamut available than computer screens do.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the specialized knowledge graphic designers have to offer. You can (and should) provide a draft layout of your book’s cover and interior so your designer knows upfront what you’re looking for. But let him or her do the rest. It will be well worth it, I promise.

PPG’s Graphic Design Process

Once your manuscript is edited, it will be given to a professional graphic designer. He or she will work hard to complete a professional design of both your book cover and interior within the agreed-upon project timeline/deadline.

The design component of your PPG publishing package includes:

  • two sample cover designs and two sample interior designs for you to choose one each from (before any full proofs are completed and sent out)
  • one colour cover with either a b/w or colour interior (plus up to 10 interior graphics automatically included in each graphic design package)
  • a half hour phone consultation with the graphic designer (if needed)
  • two proofing rounds (two .PDF proofs of each component) with up to five structural changes to the cover and up to 50 typographical changes to the interior allowed per round
  • one hard proof (physical book) for final proofreading

If you need more than the standard two .PDF proofing rounds and one hard proof, you can purchase these items separately. Keep in mind that doing so will extend your book publishing timeline and also increase your costs.

While you wait to see your first design samples, I recommend you click on these two links to read more about book cover and interior design: The Elements of a Physical Book Cover and The Elements of a Physical Book Interior.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.