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Self-Publishing a Book. What’s the Workflow with a Graphic Designer?

Many new authors face challenges when it’s time to publish their first book. Should they first focus on the book’s content or its cover design? Should they self-publish or seek an established publisher? What are the costs associated with book design? Do they need an editor?

With our years of experience, we can guide you through the process of book design if you are self-publishing. We’ll discuss what materials we expect for design, the information we need from the author for a quote, and some details authors often overlook when starting their book.

I Want a Quote for Book Cover and Page Layout Design

There can be variations in the preliminary quote based on the materials provided. The information we need to provide the most accurate design quote includes:

  • število besed v sami vsebini knjige (število strani tu ne pride v upoštev, ker je le to odvisno od velikosti strani, ki jo imate nastavljeno v Wordu, razmika med vrsticami, velikosti pisave, vrste pisave…). Za izdelavo ponudbe je dovolj okvirno število besed.
  • ali bo v knjigi le besedilo ali bodo vstavljene tudi slike ali tabele? V primeru slik in tabel je zaželjeno, da se posreduje primere ali dokončano vsebino knjige, da oblikovalec lahko oceni zahtevnost oblikovanja.
  • boste vsebino tiskali barvno ali črno-belo?
  • velikost knjige (A5, A4, kvadrat, …)
  • bo vezava broširana ali trda? Tu se priporoča najprej dogovor s tiskarno, da določite vse parametre tiska, da ne pride pri oblikovanju do kakšnega nesporazuma. Kasneje namreč, ko je knjiga že oblikovana, kakršnokoli spreminjanje velikosti knjige, razmikov med vrsticami, pisave ali velikosti odmika od robov listov predstavlja dodatni strošek, ker je potrebno ponovno oblikovanje vsebine knjige v celoti.
  • potrebujete oblikovanje naslovnice knjige ali samo vsebine ali oboje?
  • imate že kakšne določene želje glede samega izgleda? Lahko pošljete tudi primere naslovnic, ki so vam všeč – tako lahko najboljše predvidimo zahtevnost oblikovanja.
  • bo naslovnica klasična ali z zavihki na prvi in zadnji strani? Ponavadi so tam zapisane informacije o avtorju, sami vsebini knjige… to informacijo prosim pridobite pri tiskarni, ko potrdite končno ponudbo za tisk.
  • potrebujete tudi portretno fotografiranje? Za naslovnico ali le za fotografijo avtorja? To omenite ob oddaji povpraševanja in posredujemo vam ponudbo tudi za fotografiranje. Več o portretnem fotografiranju si lahko preberete tukaj.
  • potrebujete tudi predstavitveno spletno stran, ki bo predstavila vas in vašo knjigo v najboljši luči? Več o izdelavi spletnih strani si lahko preberete tukaj.

book cover design

Have you envisioned unique illustrations for your book?

Many authors don’t realize that graphic designers aren’t always illustrators. Illustration is a separate field focused on drawing, while graphic design primarily involves assembling various elements into an aesthetic whole. So, if you want a unique illustration, you’ll need to find an illustrator first. They will provide the final product in digital format (a scan with a white background – JPG, or a vector image – PDF or AI).

Often, illustrators specialize only in drawing, meaning they might not be able to prepare the book cover or content for printing. It’s best to communicate simultaneously with both the illustrator and graphic designer. The designer communicates the format in which they need the illustration, and the illustrator conveys their vision to the designer. The designer then informs the illustrator about the anticipated placement of the sketch on the book cover.

Graphic and Visual Elements

Part of graphic design involves sourcing licensed photos and illustrations for the book’s cover and content. All graphic elements must be licensed, which the designer ensures and includes in the book design cost.

Once you share your vision for the book cover, the designer will find suitable elements from platforms like Shutterstock, Istock, etc., and incorporate them into the initial drafts.

If you have specific elements in mind that aren’t available on these platforms, we’ll let you know. In such cases, it’s advisable to find an illustrator.

Drafts and Previews Preparation

Book cover design includes creating multiple drafts (usually 3-5) based on your preferences. The more specific you are about your vision and the more examples you provide, the closer we can get to your desired image with the initial drafts.

If more drafts than anticipated are needed, the design cost might increase. Therefore, we aim to capture your vision as closely as possible from the start.

For the book’s content, we usually create 1-2 different PDF variants, from which you can choose a style. We can also combine elements from both variants. Drafts are always created for the initial pages, e.g., the first chapter, to finalize the design before designing the entire book content. As mentioned, any subsequent changes to font size or line spacing after the entire content has been designed means redesigning the entire content, incurring additional costs.

What’s the Price of Book Design?

The quote is determined individually when all necessary information is provided.

On average, the cost for book cover design, including print preparation, is 280 EUR, and for content design (page layout) is 380 EUR. This varies based on the amount of text, content type (text, images, tables…), your preferences, and the search for specific graphics or images. Hence, we recommend providing as many details as possible about the book’s content, appearance, and your preferences when requesting a quote.

The design cost also includes a 3D mockup (preview of the book), which you can use for promotion on social media, in the media, and elsewhere before the book is printed.

How to Provide Book Content to the Designer?

For the initial content draft, the text doesn’t need to be edited. However, once the content design is approved for the entire page layout, it’s crucial that your text is final and edited. This means it should be reviewed by an editor and once again by you (as there are always some minor errors even after editing). Major content revisions after the page layout has been completed can disrupt the layout. Thus, we recommend that the text you provide to the designer is as final as possible and reviewed multiple times. This avoids unnecessary additional design time and the associated costs.

For the book cover design, it’s essential from the start that the book title is final and doesn’t change later. If you have any subtitles or notes for the cover, it’s recommended that these don’t change after the drafts have been created. It’s essential to determine the title before creating the drafts, as the length and amount of text play a significant role in the cover design layout. Once the front cover is approved, it’s also essential to provide the text for the back cover (or even for the cover flaps) in its final form. This means it should be edited, and there shouldn’t be significant changes in the text length.

Book Content Text Design

The text for the book content should always be in sentence form, starting with a capital letter followed by lowercase letters. Often, authors send chapter titles in ALL CAPS, which can pose challenges for the designer. Titles might contain abbreviations, places, names, where capitalization matters. In most cases, your chapter titles won’t be written in all capital letters.

The table of contents should be created at the beginning of the content, even if there are no page numbers and even if you want the table of contents to be at the end of the book after the entire content is designed. It’s beneficial for some books to have a clear hierarchy of content titles. In cases where there are subheadings under the main headings and this isn’t clearly shown in the content, the table of contents resolves this, preventing unnecessary subsequent content revisions.

Picture Book Design

Visual Material for Designing a Picture Book

If you have images or graphics to insert into the book content, we recommend inserting the images directly into Word file, placing them where you want them in the content. However, since Word compresses all graphic material, resulting in a resolution too low for printing, this only serves to show the designer where each content piece belongs. Please send all images and graphics in the highest resolution possible. The recommended resolution for printing is 300 dpi in JPG format, or if you have a vector format, send it in PDF, SVG, or AI format. You can send images via Wetransfer, Dropbox, or another platform for delivering large files. Sending files via email often isn’t possible due to attachment size limits set at 20 – 30 MB.

Please rename all image files for easier review and organization, in sequential order, e.g., 01.jpg, 02.jpg, and so on.

What About CIP and ISBN Codes? Where can I get them? How is the barcode generated on the back cover? What’s a colophon?

The CIP code is generated by NUK; you can find more information on their website. (NOTE: this content is written for Slovenian book publishers) Every book must have a table of contents, colophon, and CIP code. To obtain a CIP code, you’ll need a designed cover and the first few pages of content, including the colophon and table of contents. This is sent to NUK, who then sends you the CIP, which you forward to the designer for inclusion in the book content. This is usually placed at the beginning or end of the book, under the colophon.

Typically, the colophon should contain the title (subtitle), details of all authors (writer, translator, illustrator, photographer, editor, foreword writer, and other contributors to the publication), edition, place and publisher, year of publication, number of printed copies, and the retail price of the publication. For more information, you can visit NUK’s website.

NUK provides the ISBN code, and the designer or printer can generate a barcode based on this code, which goes on the back cover of the book and serves to identify the book, author, etc.

I Want a Quote for Book Design

Great! We look forward to your inquiry! You can fill out the contact form or send us an email at

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