Editor’s note: We thought it would be good to feature publishing professionals who manage spoons! You can also check out our Writing Resources menu for more tips and consultants!
This week, Éric Desmarais answers some of our questions about being a book layout designer!
SpAN: Can you describe the services you offer?
Éric D: I help authors make the inside of their books beautiful. Typesetting, or Internal Layout, is about making sure the right fonts, margins, and information are placed in the right places to make a book look beautiful and professional.
I also offer cover design and create logos and black and white images that can be used as separators or dividers in the book.
Part of the services I offer is to make sure that any ebooks meet industry and accessibility standards to ensure everyone can read the book.
SpAN: Why might it be important for authors to hire an exterior and interior book layout designer?
Éric D: There’s a lot of conventions and little details that make a book look unprofessional or make it hard to read. A professional also has the software and expertise to find and fix any issues related to format or font. There are a lot of things that change from a digital file to a physical book and even if the margins, colours, or fonts look fine on screen, they don’t always translate to print. Bookstores also require certain things to sell the book, like a barcode and an ISBN.
I wrote a post about why someone needs an internal layout specialist a few years ago in my article, Why Your Book Needs a Layout Artist.
SpAN: What are the common “mistakes” you find with books whose layouts aren’t properly designed?
Éric D: The most common mistake I see is with the margins, the space around the text of a book. Often it’s much too big or too small. With too big, an author ends up with a large page count and that costs them more for each book, with too small, a reader has to crack the book in half to read the inside text.
I’ve also seen authors use fonts that are harder to read or designed for newspapers and don’t have proper kerning, or space between letters.
I wrote a top 5 post about it a few years ago in my article, Top 5 Book Layout Mistakes.
SpAN: What books have you worked on that we might find in bookstores (online or in-person)?
I’ve done a wide range of books. You can find the books I wrote online and in bookstores. I did their internal layout. (A Study in Aether, The Sign of Faust, A Case of Synchronicity, Parasomnia, Everdome, Coffeeshop Between the ‘Verses, and Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.)
I’m particularly proud of the divider and layout for Jaimeson Wolf’s Little Yellow Magnet.
Also I’ve done: Internal layout for Data Analysis for Internal Controls by David Coderre; Skyroad Walker and Skylark by S.M. Carriere; Camp Follower, First We Eat, and Lost Year by Michele Sabad; A Time and Place by Joe Mahoney; Avians by Tim Armstrong; cover and internal layout for Moonshadow’s Guardian by Dianna Gunn; and a whole lot more.
SpAN: Where can people find more info about your rates and business?
Éric Desmarais has had an eclectic career, which ranges from casino dealer to canal boat captain to radio station DJ. Since 2009, he’s worked as a desktop publisher for the federal government. During his off time, he works as a freelance typesetter for various Canadian-based authors and publishers, roasts gourmet flavoured coffee, runs several pen-and-paper role-playing games, writes, and helps run JenEric-Designs.ca (Home of the multi-award-nominated fan site, TravellingTARDIS.com).