5 Questions to Ask Your E-Book Designer

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In addition to writing, for many years, I have also enjoyed design work. In the past year, I have started adding a sprinkling of e-book and print book design clients. Although the Internet is full of great information about how to design your self-published e-book, you may want to consider having your e-book professionally designed. While many questions can crop up, below is a partial list—five questions—I've found useful for my clients to consider when hiring for interior book design:

After the work is completed, may I have the design files?
Fortunately, I haven’t run across the a client wanting to have the design files to redesign a book I’ve provided. However, I’m working with a client who is having trouble retrieving design files for his first book, which needs to be uploaded again with significant changes. For whatever reason, the designer of the first book is not responding to the requests for the file. So, even if you don’t have the programs necessary to work with the files, you may want to have access to them for future use.

Do I need to do any formatting of my Word document to help bring down the cost?
Before I take any job, I provide a proposal after looking at the files. One project involved the removal of a hard return at the end of each line. I certainly charged more for that project than to someone who gives me a clean document without such formatting issues. If you are not sure how to clean up the file, when you are contracting with an editor, ask the editor if this is part of the cost of editing. Most editors I’ve met wouldn’t let a manuscript leave their possession unless it’s cleaned up and nicely formatted.

How many revisions are included in the price?
I provide my clients with two basic revisions. Anything extra, I generally charge an hourly rate, with a minimum charge. Take the revisions seriously. If you decide you would like to move a page from one place to another or you don’t like the line break on page 537 and you’ve already used your two revisions, you may need to live with that decision. Or plan to pay more money. I had one client who demanded additional revisions after we had output the final version. It was costly for her and time consuming for me.

Will you help me upload and market my e-book?
If you are not tech savvy and need help uploading the e-book, do not assume the designer will do this for you. Unless I arrange during the contract stage, I generally will not handle the uploading. Others may. Other contractors may provide marketing packaged in their offerings. If I’m going to help someone market an e-book, I provide an additional proposal that covers those costs. It’s also a good break point in the process for determining if I want to continue working with the author…and vice versa.

What happens if there are technical problems with the file I’m uploading? Will you fix those issues for free? Or are those considered under the number of revisions?
You’ve used up your two rounds of revisions, but when you go to upload there’s an issue with the file. Has the designer abandoned you? In my experience, if there is a technical issue, I’m going to help troubleshoot the problem and it is not considered part of the two rounds of revisions. But, make sure you ask your designer to help spell it out.

Have you hired someone to complete your book or e-book? What questions did you ask your designer? What are some of the self-publishing experiences you had when designing your book?

Elizabeth King Humphrey lives in North Carolina. Besides e-book designing, Elizabeth has been working to relaunch her blog...and to not pull out her hair in the process.


Margo Dill said...

This is a very helpful post! Thank you. :)

Marcia Peterson said...

It's good to read about such practical info, since ebooks are becoming a big way for writers to get their work out there. Thanks Elizabeth!

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