Learning how to navigate relationships with authors is an essential part of being in the industry. There is bound to be some disagreement with the way the book is being edited, designed, marketed, and publicized. As the publicity manager for Ooligan Press, I have been in delicate situations where everyone’s feelings must be taken into account. And the most important thing I’ve learned from going through these slightly awkward situations is that communication is king.
One of the perhaps forgotten challenges to writing and publishing books is explaining to others what it’s about. In the publishing world, this struggle is combated with what we know as “comp titles,” which Penguin Random House defines as “an elevator pitch for your book.”
I can see the appeal of using Word to design your book since it is a program that is familiar to most of us, especially if you’re a writer. It’s a lot cheaper than InDesign, which is a more professional tool that is also very technical and has a steeper learning curve. However, there are many reasons why Microsoft Word isn’t the best tool for this kind of work. So, before you commit to doing all that work in this program, here are a few things you should take into consideration.
There is an ongoing conversation about conscious editing and how important it is to making great inclusive stories. I would be the first to tell you how crucial it is for books to be edited consciously, as it increases the accuracy and the quality of a book and helps it appeal to a wider audience—something that is very important in publishing. But that is not the only area in book production that has so much to gain from conscious practices, diversity, and different perspectives—design can also benefit from these things.
Translation is complicated, expensive, and risky to publishers. Some have even said that Americans aren’t interested in reading translated works—for one thing, there are plenty being locally published, and for another, books from other countries may feel too alienating.
I refuse to believe we can’t move past the paperback designs of the past with their jumble of chunky fonts, strange color palettes, and, dare I say, unappealing illustrations of aliens.