I read an excellent article this morning on the importance of designed books. Actually, the article does not mention books, but the concepts apply. Here’s a quote from the interviewee, Dave Snyder
Design in the most classic sense is a potent business strategy. That’s not to say it’s only about business efficiency. Everything needs a high level of craft, but even that can’t put lipstick on a pig and make people believe the pig is not a pig. Ultimately, design can differentiate one business from another.
The importance of designed books
That hits our core: to market our books effectively, we need to let the reader know where it’s placed in genre and style. But more importantly, how is my book different, unique, and better for your specific needs as a reader. Sometimes, that just happens, but very rarely.
For most authors, this concept is foreign enough to fall off our radar entirely. Part of that is the tools we use. Word is not really capable of book design. Some people, such as Joel Friedlander’s book templates, attempt to beat Word into submission. But, you need to be aware that this is just putting lipstick on a pig.
The importance of designed book covers
This is why authors of fiction put such emphasis on book covers, for example. Many authors put their only design effort here. But, even here, cutting costs often emerges as the the primary design method. This may well have worked during the beginnings and heyday of the Kindle boom.
However, in case you missed it, that boom has leveled off and may even be falling apart. Increasingly, our fights face much tougher foes. The big boys have joined the battle for market share with we indies.
That makes book design much more important
The new reality demands better designs for our books. Tradepub controls that portion of the industry at present because of the inadequate tools used by indie authors.
You need to seriously analyze your design strategy
It will matter more and more in the coming months and years. Here’s a final quote from Dave:
The one thing a designer does most is deal with other people’s interests. When you have to compromise and deal with business realities, that’s being a designer. When you are solving a problem, that’s being a designer.
…put some of the money aside for iterations…it is a fundamental flaw in the way [publishing] works and I feel that 50% of a budget should go towards tracking and improving.