Don’t Do Any Book Or Cover Design Until After You Sign With A Publisher

I hired a designer to create my cover and to format the interior of my book. She just finished. What are your specs?

Authors should never order cover or interior book design until AFTER they have signed on with a publisher because each publisher and printer has their own specs. Real traditional publishers (the line has been blurred in recent years) have their own designers that do the work and they do not charge authors for this service. (Any firm that charges authors for these services is not a traditional publisher.) Most self-publishing services offer interior design at no additional charge, and cover design as an option. You should always avoid publishers that force authors to use their cover or interior design because they will likely claim all rights to your production files.

There are plenty of cover and interior designers (or a combination of the two) online touting their wares and many of them are professionals. However, your designer should not begin work on your cover or interior formatting until they have the correct specs from your chosen publisher. Otherwise, you’re going to have to pay the designer to make changes to your cover and/or interior later. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous designers (yes, there are some out there!) know this and count on authors paying those “change fees” later as part of their income. Any designer who wants to start work on your book before you even know who’s going to publish or print your book should be avoided.

At, I assist authors with interior formatting at no additional charge and I always feel bad for authors who have already paid hundreds of dollars (or more!) to a designer…who has subsequently formatted their book using the wrong page size, margins, fonts, etc., meaning they basically threw their money away.

I also feel bad for authors who spend hours designing their own book who later learn they must start over or spend hours correctly mistakes they’ve made with the formatting / design. It’s far easier to design a plain document than to fix a pre-formatted one. Again, never begin interior formatting or cover design until/unless you’ve chosen a publisher and you’ve acquired their specs.