Design: Hire a Pro vs. DIY vs. Templates

Great book design is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have as a self-published author.

“If you can’t be there in person (with an eBook, for example), the energy you get from great design really matters.”     –Seth Godin

Great design can take your content from being something that is passively consumed and turn it into an emotionally engaging experience for your readers.

When you form an emotional connection with your audience, it cements your message and your brand in their minds. This is probably the goal of every marketing executive in the world. It’s certainly how some of the most successful brands, such as Starbucks or Apple, have created such loyal followings.

But you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to achieve the same success as Coca-Cola. You can do it with great design.

How? Great design makes your message more effective.

Have you ever looked at a typical office memo? Usually there is line after line of text. At first glance, you probably just want to yawn (we do too). When a good designer works with text, that same content can take on tone, character, and even a sense of rhythm for the reader.

Through the use of color, spacing, typography, and other design principals, the page becomes both easier to read and more interesting to look at as well, adding clarity and polish to your composition.

So what are your options?

There are many ways you can fulfill your design needs: templates, crowdsource, do it yourself, hire a professional, or just scribble with your kids. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs. Below is a list of things to think about when mulling it all over:

1. DIY: Designer or not, you are absolutely capable of producing a beautiful design all on your own. There are countless books, blogs, YouTube videos, and the like to guide you through the basics and answer all your design questions.

The obvious drawback is the amount of time and research this will require. If you’re interested in design, go for it! Learning a new skill is always something to be encouraged. But make no mistake, this will be a lot of work and time that could be spent doing other important tasks, like marketing.

You should also consider that your design will be competing in the marketplace with other eBooks that were professionally designed. Make sure your’s can stand up to the competition.

2. Hire a Professional: Let’s face it, you can’t be good at everything. Sometimes you need to bring in a professional to get the job done right or on time. Hiring a professional designer gives you the best chance of getting both. It also gives you the greatest customization when it comes to your design.

The pro’s don’t usually come cheap, though, so you’ll have to budget carefully for this option. You should also consider that not all designers are created equal. Some are more skilled than others (despite the same hourly rate) and each designer will have a certain “style” that may or may not be right for you.

Make sure to ask for samples and check references. There’s nothing worse than wasting a lot of time and money working with a designer that isn’t the right fit.

3. Templates: If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer or you’re worried about getting what you paid for, templates are a fantastic option for people who don’t want to risk doing it themselves. Templates give you the winning combination of great design at an affordable price.

You’re paying for the design framework and heavy lifting while accepting that you might have to make a few minor changes to get the look that’s right for you. For most, this is a win win.

When considering templates, look for versatility and flexibility within the design. You don’t want to be limited to using the template only “as-is” because it negates all possibilities for customization.

Conclusion: We know, even in this day and age of technology, there is still a slight stigma attached to self-publishing. Avoid it with great content and great design. When you take your work seriously, so will everyone else. Hater’s are gonna hate, but it’s a lot harder for them when you’re killing it with your self-published eBook.

Cheers to publishing on your own terms.

Happy Writing,

iBooks Author Templates Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *