11 Resources for A Killer Ebook Layout
Basic ebooks don’t require a lot of layout. Many publishers will accept your book straight from Microsoft Word and divide and format them based on your section and chapter breaks. That’s considerably different from a standard print layout experience with page numbers, margins, and calculated font size.
Unfortunately, merely uploading your book to your chosen platform won’t guarantee a spotless layout, and when you want to produce a work of quality, the intentionality of your design says a lot. This becomes even more true when you’re laying out a book that needs an extra focus on graphic design and illustrations, such as a children’s book.
If you want to give your book an interior that goes beyond words on the page, here’s how you can go about it.
Step 1: Decide what you want.
How familiar are you with ebook layout? Have you ever thought of or considered it as a reader before?
The most effective ebook layout is invisible: readers don’t notice it as they read. Occasionally a daring publisher will add a colorful flair beyond the decorations present on chapter titles, but these need to be kept subtle and inconspicuous for the best effect.
Pinterest is a great place to search for layout inspiration. Pages like this will show you some good ideas of what’s possible and how you can bring your digital pages to life.
Some sites also offer templates for designing eye-catching books on your own. While many of these sites gear more towards non-fiction, some (like Joel Friedlander’s Book Design Templates) will give you an easy way to make your novel pop in the eyes of the reader.
Reading up on design tips and learning the basic elements of book formatting will help you make wise decisions about choosing your book's appearance. Freelance design hub 99designs offers a load of insightful tricks on this page that will help you better understand the basics of interior layout excellence.
Step 2: Pick a package or find an interior template to ensure a professional layout design.
Choosing a professional template is possibly the easiest way to get your book a beautiful layout. You need no creative expertise to find something simple, but elegant, and fitting your book to your layout can be as simple as copy and paste.
What if you want a custom job? Services exist for that too. Book Baby has packages for everything, including your cover and promotion, and has skilled book designers who can piece together a custom design for your book. Other services like EbookDesignWorks offer a full editing package as well as custom book design, editing, and more depending on your needs and preferences.
Step 3: DIY Tools!
Do you want to design your own layout from scratch? You’re in luck!
There are a host of tools and layout software available to help you lay out your book’s interior by yourself.
Canva: Canva is an excellent free resource that aids with any kind of graphic design. While book interiors are not as prominent on Canva as other formats, the low cost and easy use make it a viable option to publishers on a budget.
Vellum (Mac): Vellum is exclusively available to Mac users at present, but allows authors to design a customized and intuitive layout for winning book interior design. If layout is important to you but you don’t want to buy a professional service repeatedly for different books, Vellum will allow you to design your own look and keep up in a competitive market for only a one-time cost.
Draft2Digital: Draft2Digital is primarily an ebook distributor, but the ease and automation of laying out your own ebook is something you don’t want to miss. If you want a solution that is fast and appealing, you can lay your book out in minutes by uploading it.
NamoAuthor: NamoAuthor is a Korean publishing platform that gives you the tools to lay out your book and publish it to your chosen formats in one package. NamoAuthor focuses on making the layout process as simple and approachable as possible, even for more complicated book design ideas.
PressBooks: PressBooks is a professional layout service that is free to try out. It allows authors to create custom designs for both print and digital books and gives you the files you can upload to your favorite distribution platforms.
Calibre: Calibre is an open-source book managing software that allows you to control, edit, and format any number of ebooks. Its emphasis on managing metadata and technical backstage work in book production makes it a powerful companion software when laying out your own books.
What are your favorite tools to help lay out your book’s interior? Please give a shout out in the comment section below or join my Facebook Group for self-publishing fiction writers for further discussion.