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Book Design Publishing best practices Publishing Success Stories

How to Create a Competitive Cookbook

Caroline Hale’s book, Live Simply Plant-Based is such a book—hundreds of recipes, especially appealing to anyone looking for an all-vegan, all gluten-free experience. Aside from being a book designer and publishing consultant, I’m an incurable foodie always on the lookout for new recipes and cuisine. For me, one of the points of traveling is to discover and enjoy new foods. Even in my own home city, I can’t resist searching the Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, and Mexican grocery stores for something new to try.  So I was very happy to be able to help Caroline Hale put together the Live Simply Plant-Based book project. While this is a vegan recipe book, it is much more than recipes. Even if you’re not interested in a vegan diet it is easy to see that this book is beautiful.

Normally, to get a competitive price point for a coffee-table book of this quality would require sending it offshore. But there are downsides to offshore printing, such as long shipping times that some clients can’t accept, so I was happy to discover a U.S. printer able to handle the project at a comparable unit cost. The samples looked good, but it was still a bit riskier than my usual offshore options. U.S. printers don’t do wet proofs or dummy books to test the jacket fit. This is not a problem for simpler books, but for this design, 100% accuracy was important. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. The final fit and production are solid and I look forward to sending them more work.

If you like recipe books, check out Caroline Hale’s Live Simply Plant Based.

Even if you’re thinking, “I like meat, this isn’t for me” — there are whole sections of smoothy recipes, snacks, and energy breakfasts where you are unlikely to be missing meat.

And when you want to invite a vegan over for dinner, you’ll be equipped to please everyone.

Caroline Hale—who holds a degree in natural health and a doctorate in naturopathy—provides in her book a detailed and practical guide to the benefits of the vegan diet and how to easily make the transition. This is a very comprehensive guidebook with background nutritional information that even includes convenient tables for what to stock in your pantry and refrigerator as well as how to cook grains, beans, and lentils. Want to take it to the next level, she’ll help you do that with instruction for how to make your own cheeses and nut milks. And when you are out and about, she has vegan tips for eating out and when traveling.

cookbook back cover design

If you’re already sold on the idea that a vegan diet is a healthier way to live and a good way to treat animals and the planet, you’ll want to go straight to the over 200 recipes. And wow, things have changed. Today’s vegan diet is not what our hippy parents were eating. There’s a lot here that anyone can enjoy without ever knowing it is vegan or gluten-free.

This has been a great year for book design projects, and this project is definitely on my top picks for 2018.

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Categories
Book Cover Design Book Design Book illustration How to Create Engaging Content Independent Publishing Line-art Book illustration

Book Design for The Joy of Creative Discovery

It is really exciting to work with authors and independent publishers who care about quality and the reader experience. Pasha Hogan’s new book, The Joy of Creative Discovery definitely falls into that category. This book is an engaging collection of interesting activities, writing prompts, art projects, nature excursions, stress-reduction techniques, and much more—all carefully put together by the author to help those who are journeying through difficulties or anyone who wants a happier life.

I first met the author a few years back when I designed her book, Third Time Lucky, an inspirational account of her journey of transformation following a third cancer diagnosis. It includes her insights for living “beyond life challenges.” Her new book builds on the groundwork of her life and experiences helping others get through similar difficulties.

From a book design point of view, this book shows that, even with only a black and white interior, a book can be fun, imaginative, and engaging.

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Book Cover Design Book Design Book Page Design Independent Publishing self-publishing

Book Design Tips

Book design project: Navigating Change

One of my recent book design projects is Navigating Change (Flame Lantern Press). This was a fun project and it was a great pleasure to work with the author, Christine Warren. This book, as I will show, illustrates some important things to consider when designing a book.

Book cover design.
Book cover design and closeup of original illustrated cover art.

Christine is a presenter of transformational workshops, a consultant, life coach, and speaker. Her book brings together teachings, stories, and tools to help people move through life’s changes or transitions. In her words, the goal is to help people move through “life transitions with magnificence.”

Cover design for Navigating Change.
Front cover design for Navigating Change.

Her book shares the principles and practices found in her workshops. Her presentation is divided into four phases represented by the four points of the compass in this diagram.

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Publishing

A Book for Fitness and Inspiration

Scenic Fit San Francisco is one of the most interesting and fun recent book design and production projects to come through the office of Design For Books. If you are contemplating creating a “how-to” or self-help book on any topic, this book is an excellent example of how it is done. Scenic Fit San Francisco is the vision of Tracy Hicks, a super-fit trail runner, mountain biker, and above all, an expert personal instructor with over a decade of experience instructing outdoor workouts for groups.

Scenic Fit book cover
Scenic Fit book cover. This is a full-color offset-printed paperback book.
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Book Marketing Content Marketing Independent Publishing Publishing & Entrepreneurs Publishing for businesses self-publishing

A Self-Publishing Success Story: Pacific Northwest Wildlife

Pacific Northwest Wildlife is another interesting self-publishing success story. I met the author and photographer, Aaron Baggenstos, at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. I was there because my son, Lorenzo is also a wildlife photographer.

Book Jacket design for wildlife photography book
Book jacket design for Pacific Northwest Wildlife
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Print strategies Print-on-demand Publishing Publishing & Entrepreneurs Publishing best practices Publishing for businesses Publishing Success Stories self-publishing

Self-Publishing Success Stories: 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You

One of the great things about my job is that I get to work with decision-makers and experts in a variety of fields, people who make a positive difference in the lives of others or who are on their way to becoming influential. Jackie Brewton is one of those accomplished people—she is the go-to person for people and institutions who need a motivational speaker and teen relationship expert.

If you’re a teen or a parent of teens like me, her book, 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You: A Teen Girl’s Guide on Love, Sex, and Relationships has obvious value.

Book display
Copies of 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You at the book launch.

When I got the call from Jackie, she had already worked with a designer on the cover, but the production values were lacking. This seems to be happening to a lot of authors. In the last two years, I have seen an increase in calls from people who have hired designers who, it turns out, could not complete the project in a satisfactory way or who have simply gone missing before the job was finished.