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DESIGN MICHAEL

ROHANI


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w h a t ’s n e x t i n c r e a t i v e p u b l i s h i n g Advanced Book Design by Michael Rohani © 2009 Print on demand edition: ISBN-13: 978-0-9816771-1-8 ISBN-10: 0-9816771-1-8 Library of Congress Control Number: 2009903538 Published by NextFolio ® Seattle • London E-book edition also available from Nextfolio.com. E-book edition: ISBN-13: 978-0-9816771-2-5 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or duplicated in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher. Send inquiries to info@NextFolio.com Credits: See end of book.

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Advanced

BOOK

DESIGN MICHAEL

Seattle

ROHANI

Lond on


contents

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Preface  vii What is advanced book design?  1 Book design to add value  7 Book design to extend product life cycle and repurpose content  25 The visionary design brief  41 Credits  51

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preface

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This book grew in part from material I presented at the Publishers Marketing Association’s Publishing University in 2008 (an organization that is now the Independent Book Publishers Association). My main motivation for writing this book was to create a resource for small publishers and self-publishing authors who want to better understand how book design can help them succeed in publishing. More than packaging for intellectual property, book design can be a tool for adding product value and creating brand equity. It can make the difference between success and failure. There are many reasons to self-publish today and more ways of doing it, including PDF electronic books W W W. M I C H A E L R O H A N I . C O M

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(ebooks), ebooks for dedicated e-readers, print on demand (POD), and traditional process printing. If you’re a business owner with products or services, a professional seeking to enhance your credentials, someone with a special skill or how-to knowledge you want to share, or a writer with a good story to tell, you may be thinking about self-publishing. Publishing is easy, but publishing successfully requires a few basics that are often overlooked. Authors who have a business location or high-traffic Web site, or who offer frequent workshops or seminars through which they can sell their books, can often make back their investment with fewer than two thousand book sales. After that, publishing can be kind of like printing money. But if you’re depending on others to distribute and market the book for you, you’re in for a tougher time. This is especially true for authors who rely on subsidy publishers.

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Any POD printer or other subsidy publisher who gives you an ISBN will be listed as your publisher. When book professionals—distributors, bookshops, or reviewers—look up your book, they’ll see the subsidy publisher’s name and know that you’re published by a company that doesn’t vet its books, which is something they’ll avoid. As far as they’re concerned, you’re in the wrong religion and there’s no saving you. This is one of the main reasons you’ll be hard- * ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number,” but understand it as your unique pressed to find in bookshops a publisher’s identification number, because that’s single self-published book from what it is. This number not only uniquely identifies any of the popular POD subsidy books and booklike products but also allows booksellers and other distributors to find and market publishers—even though these your book efficiently. You can acquire an ISBN from companies churn out millions of an ISBN Agency. Bowker (R. R. Bowker LLC) is the books for authors every year. The exclusive ISBN Agency for the United States. More way around this barrier is to create information about ISBNs is available online at your own publishing company—at www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp. In the least a name—and purchase your United Kingdom, visit www.nielsenbook.co.uk. own ISBNs* directly. It’s better to

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have no reputation than a bad reputation. And then, with good writing, editing, and design, you can get the positive reviews you need to start building brand equity for your own publishing name. Brand equity is your publishing karma, and you need lots of it. It starts with the image of your book, the sales copy on the cover, and your other marketing efforts. Next, success relies on the quality of the material inside and the user experience for readers—the key to the favorable reviews that will help you begin to compete with other publishers. Publishers hire professional editors, designers, and publicists because this approach works and self-publishing authors can follow the same path. When you think about having a design created for your book and related marketing materials, forget about what simply looks okay or

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preface

what looks like something you’ve seen before or even what looks professional. Rather, when you think design, think brand equity. Think about how the book will be perceived and how it will stand apart from and above the established competition. Think about how design can add value that will give you a competitive edge. Think advanced book design, which is what I’ll explain in the following pages. — Michael Rohani

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Beyond the covers and pages of many cool-looking books there is more going on than interesting typesetting and cover image selection—at least for those book designs that fit into a concept I describe as advanced book design. If you’re familiar with publishing you may already have initiated yourself into the inner mysteries of this sublime concept, but if you’re a self-publishing author contemplating commissioning a new book design for the first time, the points covered here may be a useful introduction. Ultimately, it’s about discovering how far design can take your book.

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A book’s design can involve a number of considerations, such as content and its purpose, the size the book cover image will be when displayed in adverts, the intended audience or brand tribe, the brand image of the author and/or publisher, and the design of competing titles. Advanced book design is achieved by bringing together two essentials: 1

 our brand mission. By this, I mean Y the mission and vision that you have of yourself as an author and/or publisher. This would be the brand mission that already exists or that you want to create in the mind of your prospective book buyers.

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 esign that adds value. By this, I mean D design features that give the book increased functionality and specific

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what is advanced book design?

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benefits, adding value that the book would not otherwise have. It also means design features that create a desirable user experience and an overall image that increases user identification so that, in effect, the customer believes “this book is so me!� Together, the essentials of advanced book design inform each stage of the design process, from cover design to marketing materials to collateral product creation.

Design that adds value {Increased functionality, improved user experience, etc.}

Your book’s marketing plan and developmental editing W W W. M I C H A E L R O H A N I . C O M


Advanced Book Design

Design brief W W W. M I C H A E L R O H A N I . C O M

Your brand {Publisher mission, vision, visual identity, etc.}

Book design

Marketing design


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How does design add value? Or put another way, how can design make a book more valuable to readers? To answer this question we only need to think of how any product or service might appeal to consumers and how design can enhance that appeal. Viewed this way, the goals of the designer are to make the features of the book easier to use, to clarify the book’s benefits, to convey an appropriate feeling for the book’s contents, and to reinforce the desired identity of the book’s intended audience.

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Marketing appeals can, in fact, be thought of as a hierarchy of design objectives (see diagram opposite). These design objectives include functional considerations like clear navigation graphics and visual information categorization. A range of design approaches can, in fact, be implemented to make a book more user friendly. The design objectives can also include fashion considerations that make the book appeal to the target market and a memorable iconic look that differentiates it from other competing books. Preparation for this level of design should start in the developmental editing stage, especially for complicated books like textbooks and how-to books. The book’s content can be organized into consistent information categories and these categories can be distributed as evenly as possible throughout the book. The designer can then create a distinct and coordinated look for

Traditional Marketing Appeals as a Value Hierarchy for Advanced Book Design Each marketing appeal can be viewed as another goal of advanced book design—each leading ultimately to increased brand differentiation and equity.

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Identification: Who you are {bonding, status, etc.}

s a e r Inc

n e d I es

Imp

n o i t a tific

U s e r ov

pe x E r se

Adds

Inc

r

{inspired, happy, etc.}

ience

Benefits: What it gives you {entertainment, instruction, etc.}

s t i f e Ben

s e s rea

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Experience: What you feel

n o i t c fun

e r u t a e f ality/

s

Features: What it has {art, elements, # of pages, etc.}


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each of these information categories and all the other elements of the book. The idea is to enable the reader both to see easily how much value the book contains and to navigate the different categories of information simply and visually. Without having to read the entire text or master its contents, the user will be able to perceive how he or she can benefit from the book. Most books will have basic and helpful elements such as chapter titles, subheads, running heads, and drop folios. Depending on the content of the book, information categories can, however, be more complex. Some books can include unique information categories such as chapter objectives, online resources, key terms, practical applications, tips, testimonials, case studies, pull quotes, further reading suggestions, self-check quizzes, journal activities, career strategies, and concept overviews. Diagrams, tables, maps,

Is quilting hard, tedious, and boring, or is it easy, interesting, and fun? With effective developmental editing, complex books like Paper Piecing Potpourri, a quality quilting book by C&T Publishing, can be designed so that they are appealing and user-friendly resources. Good developmental editing helps the design process add perceptible value to books. Beyond functionality, the design approach itself can also make books interesting and accessible even when they contain a large amount of technical information.

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book design to add value

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and illustrations can also add functional value to a book. When a designer adds value by communicating these primary content benefits to potential buyers, the result is sometimes called a benefits-driven design. Typically, benefits-driven refers to covers that display a list of the book’s literal benefits, but the design itself can actually make the benefits more recognizable inside the book too. Advanced book design goes even further than adding actual and perceived functional value to individual book products. Functionality is a starting point on this journey. Because so many other books with similar benefits or features may already exist, the design needs to convey how the book offers the reader the desired emotional experience that fits the genre, such as self-help, romance, mystery, horror, or adventure. And in

Boating Skills and Seamanship and the companion Sailing Skills and Seamanship are two useful and popular books by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (published by International Marine of McGrawHill). The design objectives included a clean functional look that would have a broad and long-lasting appeal. When I designed the books, I employed a simple palette consisting mainly of red, white, and blue, and visual navigation in the form of chapter opener photos repeated in the table of contents and color-coordinated information categories for the chapter objectives, end-of-chapter quizzes, warnings, and tips. The colors reinforce the brand image for the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the easily recognizable elements reduce the complexity of using the information. To reflect the nautical content, the running head page graphics are designed to suggest keels.

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The complete version of this book is available in print from Amazon or in ebook from Scribd.

Want to know more about publishing? Get Michael’s Self-Publish the Easy Way, also available through Amazon and Scribd.


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credits

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Book designs: All designs shown are by Michael Rohani (www.DesignForBooks.com). Art credits: Pages iii, v, 7, 25, generic book photos © iStockphoto.com/Artpilot. Page viii, I Just Want to Know How to Use It cover illustration © Michael Rohani. Page viii, left center, pet photo © iStockphoto.com/salihguler; sleeping dog © iStockphoto.com/ tshortell. Page IX, lower right, “Antigravity sexual fantasy” © iStockphoto.com/aldra. Page X, top image, woman in shock with hat © iStockphoto.com/intransfer; middle image, graphics for medieval style manuscript by Michael Rohani; bottom, girl wrapped in faux fur blanket, © iStockphoto.com/quavondo. Pages 2–3, concept books and designs for Nextfolio by Michael Rohani (covers top row, 1, 3, 4, and bottom, 5, 6, 7, 8, illustrations, photos, and graphics © Michael Rohani). Page 8, toy rocket image © iStockphoto.com/ powershifter; photo of boy reading © Michael Rohani. Pages 8–9, star background image © iStockphoto.com/powershifter. Page 10–11, quilt photos by Mellisa Karlin Mahony, quilt illustrations by Kirstie L. McCormick. Page 12, Sailing Skills and Seamanship, chapter opener photo © Ranger Boats and sailing photo by Mike Brodey. Pages 14–15, girl on bike © iStockphoto.com/quavondo, photographer with camera © iStockphoto.com/ wibs24, Ben Wyvis viewed from Scottish Highlands © iStockphoto.com/northlightimages, poodle with sunglasses © iStockphoto.com/RuthAnnJohnston, eye with pink feathers © iStockphoto.com/Vlingva. Photopreneur logo design by Michael Rohani. Page 17, faux woodblock illustrations and interior page graphics by Michael Rohani. Page 19, top, multicolored pills © iStockphoto.com/Brainsil, prescription drugs on green background © iStockphoto.com/ftwitty, medical personnel © iStockphoto.com/yzak. Pages 20–21, top, girl abdomen © iStockphoto.com/pascalgenest; left, model holding an Uzi © iStockphoto.com/Rogeramjet; right, sexy blond pointing a gun © iStockphoto.com/ upheaval; retro-Communist graphics and diagram illustrations by Michael Rohani. Page 22, woman using laptop © iStockphoto.com/fotosipsak, blond with red satin gloves singing © iStockphoto.com/VikaValter. Geekpreneur logo design by Michael Rohani. Page 22, illustration of woman by Donna Grethen, bicycle and flower illustration by Michael Rohani, Woman chopping vegetables gettyimages © photodisc/flashfilm. Page 36, architectural photography by Michael Rohani. Page 37, top left, italian-inspired still life © iStockphoto.com/donald_gruener; other cover images combine chocolates isolated on white © iStockphoto.com/PaulMaguire, various vegetables © iStockphoto.com/ fajean, wholemeal breads © iStockphoto.com/Silberkorn, cheeses © iStockphoto.com/ Juanmonino, tuscan marble background © iStockphoto.com/P_Wei, Tuscan vineyard near Greve © iStockphoto.com/eliandric, and antique map of Tuscany © iStockphoto. com/nicoolay. Pages 48–49, cover image, girl reading a book © iStockphoto.com/abu; illustration of self-publishing man © Michael Rohani. Copyediting: Many thanks to Melissa Stein.

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Advanced Book Design is for small publishers and self-publishing authors who want to better understand how book design can help them succeed in publishing. Drawing on years of experience in publishing and book design, Michael Rohani explains how design can add value to publications, create and increase publisher’s brand equity, extend book product life cycle, and help repurpose book content Michael Rohani got an early start in advertising design in Dallas, Texas, and book design in Oxford, England, before cofounding RD Studio (Rohani Design, Inc.) in 1994, and later DesignForBooks.com and CreativeSelfPublishing. com. His clients have included industry leaders such as AOL, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft, and many of the world’s top ad agencies and publishers, such as Barron’s, Columbia University Press, DDB Needham Worldwide, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, and Guthy-Renker. His design and illustration work has appeared in children’s books and in magazines such as HomePC, HOW, and Popular Science. Michael Rohani is also the author of Self-Publish the Easy Way (Nextfolio, 2009).

A d v a n c e d E - b o o k

B o o k

D e s i g n

e d i t i o n

ISBN-13: 978-0-9816771-2-5 ISBN-10: 0-9816771-2-6

w w w . n e x t f o l i o . c o m

Advanced Book Design  

Advanced Book Design is for small publishers and self-publishers who want to better understand how book design can help them succeed in publ...

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