Making a Professional Book

All authors have their own idea of success. Whether your goal is to get your book read by thousands or just a select few, getting noticed and making sales begins with the creation of a book that looks professional and is packaged according to market demands.

To create a professional book that will attract and appeal to potential readers, you need:

  • Someone to edit your manuscript. You don’t want readers and reviewers to discard your book because of poor grammar, hard-to-understand sentences, or larger problems with flow and organization. Even experienced writers who have produced dozens of titles rely on editors to turn their copy into smooth, well-written, readable prose. Unless your book will have very limited distribution (for example, to your immediate family only), we encourage you to consider our editing services. (See Quick Guide to Editing for details.)
  • A strong title. In the case of fiction, make sure that your title is snappy and easy to remember. For nonfiction, be sure that the subject of your book is clearly expressed in your title.
  • Someone to design and lay out your book. Well-designed books that invite reading have crisp, clean text in an easy-to-read type style and size, sufficient white space to break up the text (margins and spacing between lines and between paragraphs), and, often, illustrations that complement the text.
  • Someone to design the cover. The cover design can literally make or break your book’s success in the marketplace. You want your book cover — and especially the title — to catch the eyes of potential readers so they pick up the book, leaf through it, and then decide to buy it.
  • Clear back-cover copy. Clear back-cover copy that provides an engaging summary of the book and an interesting bio of its author goes a long way to generate increased sales.

To make your book easy for booksellers — or anyone else — to sell, you need:

  • A barcode and an ISBN number. This is standard in most stores, big and small.
  • A BISAC subject code. This helps bookstores correctly place books on their shelves.
  • The “right” format. Are similar books paperbacks or hard covers? Keep in mind that paperbacks are typically less expensive than hard covers — to produce and, in turn, sell.
  • The “right” book size. The most common book sizes are 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches and 6 inches x 9 inches. There may be a good reason for your book to be a different size, but realize that odd-sized books are more difficult to get placed on bookstore shelves.
  • The “right” binding and packaging. Bookstores like books that fit on their shelves easily and don’t have any extras. If there isn’t a good reason for spiral binding or complex packaging, such as boxed sets, avoid both.
  • An easy-to-remember title that clearly identifies your subject. Especially for nonfiction works, your title must help buyers interested in your subject to find your book.

If I want to be taken seriously as an author, do I need:

  • A hardcover book with a dust jacket? Absolutely not. Hardcover books are more expensive to produce and more expensive to sell. There are some circumstances where you may want a hardcover book with a dust jacket (such as for a limited, collected edition), but consumers most often will choose the book with the lower price.
  • To copyright my book with the U.S. Copyright Office? Present copyright rules make it unnecessary to register a copyright. For more information, check out this link: http://www.copyright.gov/. If you nonetheless wish to register your copyright, you may handle this on your own. All Bluebird books list the author as the copyright holder.