Design & Layout: Books

sample layout of a chapter title page
sample layout of a chapter title page

Decisions need to be made about how your book will look on both the inside and the outside.

The most important factor when designing a book is your target audience. Be very clear on who you hope will purchase your book; your book must appeal to your target audience if you want them to pick it up off the shelf.

The features of a youth-oriented novel are very different than a children’s early reader or a book targeted at older eyes. The best way to help us design your book is to find a book that caters to the same target audience you are appealing to, and also meets your high standards for design. Showing us a chapter title page and an interior page or two will greatly reduce our time spent designing your layout, and your cost!

Spend an hour at the library or your favourite book store, and watch for the following design elements:

sample page layout

sample page layout

  • size of the book (books are typically smaller than a standard 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper.) Common sizes are 5.5″x8.5″, 6″x9″, 7″x9″, 7″x10″. The genre of your book will also help determine its size. How big are other books of similar topic?
  • line spacing: is there a lot of ‘white space’ on the pages, or is the text fairly close together?
  • do you like extra spacing between sections, or perhaps between paragraphs? Note the fine differences between the books you are looking at and which method you prefer
  • chapter title pages: do you like a lot of white space on the first page of a chapter; does each chapter start on a right-facing page only, or perhaps there aren’t any chapter title pages at all?
  • headers and footers. Headers are at the top of the page, footers are at the bottom. They are a line of information that may include page numbers, author name or chapter titles, book title, etc. How would you like your headers/footers set up?
  • front pages: are there any blank pages at the front of the book, is there a prologue, map, title page, images, table of contents, etc.
  • are there any colour pages inside the book
  • are there any photos inside the book, or diagrams
  • will there be an index or glossary?

Webb Publishing is happy to lay out your book at our hourly rates. Doing some research ahead of time reduces your cost and helps us create a layout you will love.

Designing your book cover is discussed in a separate section.