Pre-Book Design

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Get organised for your book designer

If you want self-publishing success – a book that sells, and you being taken seriously as a mind, body, and spirit author – it’s worth paying for professional book design. A book’s design creates a first impression on its potential readers and needs to be high-quality.

Book design includes the book’s cover and interior layout. A print book will require a front and back cover design. An ebook, a book cover design. A book designer collaborates, formats and designs the elements of a book to meet industry standards.

To get organised for your book designer you will first need to sort out your publishing name, your book’s ISBNs and barcode purchase, retail price, cataloguing data, copyright page, book sections, front and back cover design concept, back cover content, and more.

*Please note – A book designer is not an editor, publisher, printer, or distributor.


Publishing name

When it comes to book design, there is a methodical order to doing things. Firstly, you’ll require a Publishing Name, also known as the Publisher’s Imprint.

This is the name that will appear on the spine of your print book and wherever the publisher of your book is mentioned.

If you haven’t got a Publishing Name yet, see your country’s ISBN agency. A book designer will require your Publishing Name.


ISBN & barcode

You will require an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for each of your book formats; for example, one for your print book and then another for your ebook. Australia: you will need an ISBN before you can apply for your book’s CIP entry.

The ISBN is a 13-digit number and the international standard for identifying titles – it makes your book easier to find by anyone looking for it, including readers. An ISBN identifies the format, edition and publisher of a book.

A barcode is created from an ISBN and is required by retailers and wholesalers for their inventory – its placement is on a book’s lower back cover.

You only need a barcode for your print book (if you have a hardback and a paperback, you will need two barcodes).

Some book cover designers will generate a barcode with their print book cover design package (all you will need to do is provide them with the book’s ISBN).

Australia: you will need to purchase your ISBNs through Thorpe-Bowker.

One ISBN is half the cost of ten ISBNs. It is therefore far more economical to purchase ten ISBNs which is what self-publishers generally do (you can purchase even more if you like). Buying a block of ten ISBNs is usually enough for 2-3 book titles. There is also a publisher setup fee. 

International: Visit the relevant organisation in your country that provides ISBNs and barcodes or visit the International ISBN Agency.


Retail price

You will need to submit Cataloguing-in-Publication (CIP) data for your book. However, before you can apply for your book’s CIP entry, you will need to work out your recommended retail price (RRP) – different formats will be priced differently.

The best way to determine which prices to sell your book at is to look at titles of a similar genre, written by popular authors currently in the marketplace.

For a mind, body, spirit book, you may like to do an online search for books sold by retailers such as Amazon, Hay House and Llewellyn Worldwide.


Prepublication data

Australia: Apply for the National Library of Australia Prepublication Data Service (formerly Cataloguing-in-Publication Service).

Since libraries now share catalogue records online, they no longer need to be printed in publications*. 

Publishers are now able to select their own subjects from a short list.

A cataloguing statement has replaced CiP entries for publishers to print in their books:

Prepublication logo

The National Library continues to share this prepublication catalogue record (containing your book details) with the library community via Libraries Australia and Trove, creating greater exposure and increasing the potential for book sales.

US: self-published and print-on-demand works are not eligible for the CiP program. However, works not included in the CiP program can be catalogued by libraries that acquire them. These works may be eligible for the Preassigned Control Number Program.


Book formatting specifications

When your book cover and interior files (epub, mobi and PDF) go to the printer/distributor, you will have to provide information like trim size, paper colour and printing format.

You will also be required to provide a book designer with these details for their design and formatting purposes.

Your book designer will provide you with book formatting options and assist you in selecting the best ones for your book.


Book revision

Copyright page

The general components of a copyright page are notice, edition info, publication info, printing history, cataloguing statement*, legal notices, ISBN(s), and credits for design production, editing and illustration.

Book sections

Revise your book’s sections and page order. This is an example of how a memoir may be ordered: Half title page, Testimonials, Title page, Copyright page, Dedication, Inspirational quote, Table of content, Foreword, Introduction, Prologue, Chapters, Acknowledgements, and About the author. However, it will vary among different genres.


Revise your book’s title and sub-title for keywords, and back cover description which are important to your book’s success in the marketplace.

Does your mind, body, spirit book description arouse emotion?

Does your memoir, self-help or how-to description focus on the features and benefits the reader will receive by reading your book?

The book’s front cover attracts but it’s the back cover (or book description) that sells.

*Please note – editing is not included in a book formatting service. Professional editing of your manuscript (especially copy-editing) is definitely something you should invest in before the interior formatting of your book.


Book cover concept summary

The appearance of your mind, body, and spirit book is vitally important to its success. In other words, don’t do the graphics yourself (unless you are a book designer!).

Your book has a few short seconds to make a great impression, whether it’s online or on a shelf. In that fleeting time, your book cover needs to grab a reader’s attention, so they go on to read the epic description of your book – which then converts them into a buyer.

Your book designer will assist you in developing a book cover concept that reflects the subject and sentiment of your book but it’s good to have a basic understanding of colour, symbolism and visual interpretation, and keywords before you engage a book designer.

Consider the main elements of your book and make a summary of these, and find examples of other covers and images you like. Your mind, body, and spirit book cover design should be simple and clear.


Legal deposits 

Australian self-publishers of all genres, including mind, body and spirit, are legally obligated to deposit a copy of their book with the National Library of Australia and their state library within one month of publication. Organise book deposits.

The Library prefers electronic legal deposits wherever possible. It’s easy, it’s free and it saves time. Find out more about National edeposit (NED) at

The benefits of legal deposit are your publication will reach a large national and global audience through discovery services such as Trove (Australia). Your book’s catalogue records will have high visibility in search engine results. They will also be distributed to WorldCat, an international bibliographic database.




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