A successful design matches the book’s subject matter and tone, appeals to the intended readers, and fits within the publisher’s budget and production constraints. View my book design portfolio.
Traditionally, design and typesetting are separate steps: the designer creates the design and the typesetter implements it. (Typesetting, also called page composition or page layout, is setting the book’s text into a form suitable for final production, whether for print or e-book.)
The designer selects the typeface, its size, and the leading; decides how to indicate section breaks and the various levels of headings and how to treat illustrations; designs the most appropriate format for tables and figures; and more.
The typesetter, or compositor, takes the designer’s specifications, applies them to the manuscript, and reviews each page for poor hyphenation, large gaps between words, and other issues that affect the page’s beauty and readability. See the typesetting specifications I follow.
During typesetting, any illustrations, photographs, or other artwork will also need to be prepared and placed at the appropriate spot in the book.
I combine design, typesetting, and image preparation into one process. My primary tools are Adobe InDesign to lay out books and Adobe Photoshop to edit images.
The manuscript must be prepared before it is imported into the layout software. Headings, block quotations, and all other text have to be marked with the correct style. (The formatting is irrelevant; the style name is what matters. All styles will be fine-tuned after the manuscript is placed, or imported, into the page layout software.) Extra spaces and carriage returns, unneeded tabs, and manual page breaks all have to be removed.
Although this cleanup is best handled when the manuscript is being copyedited, when I’m doing the layout I prepare the manuscript as needed.