5 Tips for Creating a Professional Book

Over the next several months, our book marketing experts will discuss how to get your favourite bookstores to sell your book. While it’s the dream of many authors to see their books on every bookstore shelf, usually that’s not possible. Many bookstores have limited space and they simply cannot stock every book they’d like to.

For a store’s book buyer to consider your book, presentation is everything. Many authors believe that “if the story is good enough, the bookstore will want to carry it.” However, while the story is considered, having a book that is professionally put together is what many book buyers are looking for. For this reason, some bookstores do not stock self-published books as their presentation can be, at times, of poor quality.

So, what can you do to ensure that your book is up to standard? Here are 5 tips for creating a professional and presentable book.

1) Hire a Professional Designer to Create Your Book Cover 

It goes back to the adage to not “judge a book by its cover” but, as a book buyer, that’s your job. If your book cover is not up to modern and creative standards, your book will likely be rejected for bookstore placements. Your book cover is an indication of your book’s quality, including your abilities as a writer. It’s always worth it to pay a little extra to have a professionally designed book cover.

2) Ensure Your Book Has Been Professionally Edited

Some writers, particularly those that self-publish, choose to do their own editing. While this is an effective cost saving measure, it can result in missing required corrections. Also, many professional editors act as a second opinion, and can “vet” the quality of your story. By using a professional editor, you’re only improving the quality of your book, and quality books are more likely to get into bookstores.

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3) Review Your Book’s Formatting and Layout

No matter what software you are using to format and lay out your book (Scrivener, InDesign, etc.), always review your finished product prior to finalizing your files. This includes going page by page to ensure that no words are cut off, page numbers are present, and any stylistic elements (i.e. drop caps) are intact. No bookstore wants to carry a book that has formatting and layout issues.

4) Ensure Your Book Has an ISBN Number

Many bookstores will not stock your book unless it has an ISBN number. If you are self-publishing through Amazon’s program, your book will be assigned an Amazon ID. This is not the same as an ISBN, which you need to apply for with the regulations and costs varying depending on your country of residence. Having an ISBN also serves as an indication that your book is professional.

5) Add an Endorsement to the Front or Back Cover

It’s no doubt that endorsements and reviews help to sell books. They can also act as “proof” that your book and story are quality and that others, namely the bookstore’s shoppers, would find the book interesting, too. If an advance reader or reviewer with clout has enjoyed your book, ask for a blurb to be included on the cover to help spread the word.

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