Book Design

Professional book design, for authors who want to self-publish, is more important than you may think. We’ve all heard the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but that is exactly what happens when you see a book from an author you don’t know. You make 101 tiny judgements about the book, the author and its suitability all before you’ve decided to even click on the thumbnail or pick it up off the shelf.

Book design breaks down into two types: text only or illustrated.

Text-only typesetting for books such as novels, memoirs or poetry revolves around the typography: font selection, type size, line length and spacing, chapter flourishes and appropriate use of white space. These features are all of the utmost importance for text-only books. It’s all about typesetting your story in such a way that the design slips into the background and your book becomes effortless to read.

Illustrated typesetting for books such as textbooks and non-fiction focuses more on the relaying of information rather than pure typography. But, typography is still naturally vital to ensuring that your book is easy to read. However, the presentation of information is equally important. Images, graphics, charts and tables need to be presented in a way that is easy to understand and digest. The overall design of a book must not only flow naturally but be easy to navigate for future reference.

SWATT Books is an experienced self-publishing and training consultancy that helps independent authors, business owners, thought leaders and coaches to self-publish their books.


We will ask you to send the following:

  • Your finished manuscript.
  • Any associated images, charts, graphs, tables or similar.
  • A completed book design questionnaire.

This information will allow us to brainstorm a design direction.

Concept Development

Using a couple of pages from your manuscript, we will design three different concepts. We will explore various options: font choice, sizing, margins, page layout, chapter division, treatment of any images, charts, and other graphics for you to choose.

Master Template

From your chosen design concept, we will generate a master template. This will govern all aspects of typography and page layout throughout the book to ensure consistency. This will also allow us to typeset your book as efficiently as possible. It also helps in providing continuity if you plan on publishing future books in the same series.

Image Preparation (illustrated only)

Working from the original content you have sent, we will adapt all your images, charts, graphs, tables, or similar into a format that fits aesthetically with the agreed concept. If additional images or graphics are required that you have not been able to provide, then we will discuss your needs and we will source a selection of suitable images for your approval.


Once the master template is complete, and all images have been prepared, we will proceed to typeset your complete manuscript based on the guidelines set out by the master template.

Referencing (illustrated only)

Though technically part of the initial typesetting process, adding all the additional references such as tables of contents, footnotes, cross-references, and indexes are best left until last. This avoids unnecessary amendments later in the process.

Fine Tuning

After the completed manuscript has been typeset, we will go back over the book and review it in detail. We will adjust page breaks, removing widows and orphans, compensating for text rivers, and generally ensuring that the copy is perfectly polished and easy to read.


A PDF proof of your completed book will be exported and sent to you to review. During this stage, we ask that you reproof the text as well as the overall layout and design. This is because is it very common for type errors to be missed while working on the original manuscript. You have been living and breathing this book for so long that the brain starts to see what it expects to see, not what is actually there. Seeing your book in a new format allows you to read the text with ‘fresh eyes’. You will be required to note any changes you wish to make directly in the PDF and send it back for amendment. Two rounds of this process are included in the typesetting cost.

Sign Off & Export

After you are happy, you will be requested to provide us with written sign-off approval of the artwork. At this stage, we will run a ‘pre-flight’ check to ensure that there are no technical inconsistencies that will impact on the print process. Once the artwork passes pre-flight, a print-ready PDF will be exported and sent either to you or directly to your printer or publisher for production.

Cover Design

We will also design the artwork for your cover jacket—either by a condensed version of the above process or adapting artwork that you provide to us to fit.

Ready to make your book jump off the shelf?

Call with us now to discuss your book in more detail. We will then send you a bespoke quote based on your exact requirements.