design a non-fiction book

Our 12 Step Program to design

a non-fiction book


We combine all files in sequence and then review the material. May also add or move front/back matter in line with good convention.


Clean the text ready for careful layout and typesetting by removing unwanted spaces, breaks, tabs and sections.


Set margins, columns, pagination and running headers to create a stylish arrangement that works for the trim and binding.


Design a scheme for front matter, parts, chapters and heading levels to ensure the structure and navigation is as clear as possible.


Select fonts, add flourishes and design chapter opening pages to set the tone for the author, book genre and target audience.


Follow best-practice on font size, leading, justification, hyphenation, tracking and kerning to ensure text is perfectly polished and enjoyable to read.


Present all table data in a clear, consistent fashion with styling and shading chosen to complement the overall page design.


Style and place images as a matching set for print. This may require Photoshop work on resolution, color, saturation as well as touch-ups, cropping, extensions.


Apply clear, consistent styling to all footnotes, endnotes.


Include fully dynamic list of contents, figures and tables to make locating material as easy as possible for your reader.


Format your index into columns and levels for easy reference. Please note that actually creating the list of index terms is not a service we provide.


Set pages to best suit the content, creating squared-off pages at identical heights, avoiding widows/orphans and preventing awkward breaks.


Generate a final book file to all the requirements of your chosen printer (spreads, ink saturation, transparency flattening, font embedding, bleed, crop marks).

What’s included in our service:

The exact price of your job depends on the length and complexity of your book. We will always need to review your files before we can issue your quotation. A minimum price of $1000 USD applies. We ask for 50% payment for our designers to start work and the balance once you are entirely happy.

Turnaround 10 – 15 business days

The time we need to complete your job will be stated in your quotation. You will initially receive a sample file for review and feedback, followed by a final file for print. Please allow yourself extra time to review your files and request changes. If you have a tight deadline please ask for our express service. Express jobs are subject to a 30%, 50% or 100% fee depending on the speed required as our staff will often need to work on them outside normal business hours.

We review your book structure

We will prepare the front matter and sequence both the front and back matter correctly.. We will also review your Copyright Page to make sure the notice, reservation of rights, ISBN, disclaimer, permissions and credits are properly included.

Things to consider for your images

If your book contains images you need to confirm you are allowed to include these. You will also need to check they are of sufficient quality for printing. For an additional fee we can create diagrams, original artwork or source stock images for you. We can also rework charts and graphs as a stylish matching set if you can provide these as source Excel or Illustrator files. If you ask us to create original artwork or diagrams for you then you own all the rights to these and can use the source file however you wish. Any stock images we include can be printed in your book up to half a million times but the license does not allow us to send you the source jpg file.

We can typeset your equations

We have significant experience typesetting technical texts containing variables, inline and display equations. The way equations are prepared in a manuscript has a big impact on the work required to professionally set them in the text. For more on this topic see our article Equations in Books.

We can style your index

Your non-fiction book may benefit from an alphabetical index at the back for reference. This can only be created once the book is complete and final page numbers are set. Creating a proper book index can take a skilled indexer weeks and is quite expensive. Where the book is fairly simple you may consider the cheaper alternative of adding XE fields to your manuscript or producing a concordance file. There is usually an additional charge for working with your index. For more on this topic see our article Including a Book Index.

You receive a print-ready PDF

When preparing your file for print we will set things like spreads, ink saturation, transparency flattening, font embedding, bleed and crop marks. We have years of experience producing book files for Createspace, Lightning Source and Ingram Spark. For all other printers please send us these specifications so we can prepare your file correctly. If you are using a third party printer we will always send files to you directly, we cannot send them to the printer on your behalf.

Source files are available on request

You need only a final-form PDF for printing. If you also wish to receive InDesign source files we are happy to provide these. There is a $48 USD admin fee for preparing this package and it will not contain any fonts or stock images which are licensed only for the PDF. You will also need to have the right software to open your file and knowledge of how to use it. If you require just the text from your book for future editing or translation please ask us about creating an editable Word file.

Clear changes policy

Receiving your feedback, changes and updates is part of the process. We update your sample until you are entirely happy. Once the whole job is completed, you may request a single set of free styling changes to material not included in your sample. All other changes are charged from $48 USD and include providing new instructions or updating an agreed sample. Edits are charged at a fixed $0.96 USD each if marked as pdf comments. Please see the following link for detail on How to add comments to your pdf. We will always look to make changes as quickly as possible. In the event you need to cancel a job please see our Terms: for detai

Next steps

Got questions? Of course you do, there’s so much to think about when producing a book! Luckily, after twenty years in the business we’re absolute experts. So whether you want to discuss typesetting, covers, images, printing, ebooks, pricing or timescales — Reach out to us and let’s talk. Just don’t forget to send us your files, they don’t have to be finished but reviewing some of the material tells us more about your book than you can possibly imagine!

Got files ready to go? Have a look at the list below to see what else we need from you. Now visit our contact page to send everything through to us. Our designers will then review it all and issue a quotation with a full breakdown of price, turnaround and all design details.

Here’s what we need from you.


Send us your text in editable format (MS Word) and any other material like charts or photos in source format wherever possible (Excel, Word, Photoshop, Illustrator).


Provide any styling input you want to give our designers. This might be an extract from a book you like or a description of the look and feel you want for your material.


Either show us your existing cover or see our cover design service page. A cover really sets the tone for a book so it must be created first.

Trim Size

We need to know the size of the paper pages in your book so we can lay them out correctly. Most printers offer a range of standard trim sizes to choose from.


Tell us how your pages will be held together – paperback or hardback, sewn or glued. We will then ensure the design includes adequate binding margin.


Let us know if you decide to print B&W or color. Designing your book in color can make it look fabulous but keep in mind it may be a lot more expensive to print.


State your paper choice. The thickness (#, gsm) stock color (white, crème) and coating (gloss, matte) may impact how ink is absorbed.


Include this 13-digit number and we will add it to your copyright page in order to uniquely identify your book for distribution.


We need to know your choice of printer in order to produce your final book PDF correctly for their machines (crop marks, spreads, bleed, ink saturation).


Tell us anything else we need to know before we get started. For example maybe you want to aim at a fixed page count or avoid any blank pages in the design.

You're in good company!