Dear Self-Publisher, How Your Book Looks Inside Matters Too: Don’t Forget Typesetting

By now, we know how important it is to have a dope book cover for our Self-Published book.

But it’s not always the book cover that gives a book away that it’s Self-Published. Sometimes, how the book looks inside makes it look homemade.

Typesetting: the spacing between words and letters, the font type & size, the page’s trim size, margin, and overall layout.

Grab a book that has been traditionally published (or professionally Self-Published!) and look over the pages. Take note of how it appears on the inside. Look at how tidy the words are! How are the left and right edges aligned, the typefaces are the same, and the paragraph spacing is perfect? This is the result of expert typesetting.

Many Self-Publishers skip this stage. We don’t realize it because we submit the Word or PDF file we used to compose the book to our preferred print-on-demand.

But what’s wrong with that?

There is nothing wrong with that, except our manuscripts do not print exactly as we type them in Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener. The document requires proper typesetting and formatting for print and digital devices like Kindles and Tablets.

The cover of your book may suffer from a poorly formatted book. Take a look at book two in The Stella Trilogy, first edition.

I actually like the initial cover image. The problem is with the rest of the book.

Do you notice how the spine is twisted? Because the book was too short to have a spine, this occurred. Giving it one, nonetheless caused it to wrap around and face the front.

I didn’t realize the book needed more pages for a full spine because I’m not a graphic artist or skilled book cover designer.

While this cover image doesn’t pop as well as the first (IMO), the book is professionally bound. The alternate ending made the book long enough for a spine in the revised edition. The book features a more professional cover, professional formatting, and professional editing.

Recommendation. Before having your entire cover designed, wait until your book has been edited and properly typeset. Your graphic artist will require the precise number of pages and trim size to create a cover, back, and spine that perfectly matches the book.

Moral. Before hitting publish, make sure to hire a skilled typesetter to correct the placement of your text on the page.

If you want to try it yourself, here are some sources:

  • Reedsy Book Editor
  • Adobe In-Design
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Vellum
    *Fiverr. Note: Professional typesetters can be found on websites like Fiverr. Make sure they are typesetting rather than just typography, though. Typefaces and other decorative elements make up typography. That’s not typesetting. Additionally, if they are only using Vellum, you can do it on your own by simply purchasing it.

Check out more Indie Author Basics Here

Pricing Your Self-Published Book As a New Author

Note: These are suggestions based on my experience with my own books and books of authors I’ve worked with. These suggestions are not law or set in stone. In the end, each person must do what is right for them, but I hope these tips can help you decide. 


Pricing your book as a new Self-Published author can tremendously impact your writing career and the momentum of your launch. Price the book too high, and you lose the interest of those who want to take a chance on a new author. Price the book too low, and people start to worry the book isn’t good quality.

So, what to do?

How Well Known Are You

Before I get into it, we must consider there is more than one kind of new author.

Some people may have never written a book before, but they have influence in other areas.

By influence, I mean that these writers have thriving businesses or are already known in their community for their expertise. They might not have published a book, but their success in other areas gives them leverage.

Because they have an impact, they can price their books higher even if they’ve never published a book. For instance, you wouldn’t expect Viola Davis’s first book to be cheap. She’s already a celebrity.

However, in this case, we are speaking of everyday dreamers who always desired to see their words in print. For us, we have to be a bit more strategic.

Now Let’s Get to It

Self-Published Ebooks: Usually less than $5.99. I recommend pricing the ebook low for new authors to encourage more sales and reviews. I would say anywhere between $0.99 – $2.99. 

You can change your ebook price whenever you want, so you have room to experiment with this once the book is live. You might start with 99cents and then increase it later. This is up to you.

You can also set your first book in a series or your debut book price low once you’ve published other books to entice new readers. I am Soul, my award-winning poetry collection, was published in 2017. I have the ebook set to 99cents so new readers can get a taste of my writing style. Usually, this is the first book people read of mine, and they almost always want to read my other books next. This is intentional. 

Self-Published Paperbacks: This is where I see the most problems. You are a new author no one has heard of before (and who no one ever thought was into writing in the first place), and your 50-page self-help book (half of which is blank pages so we can “fill in”) is $50 PLUS shipping.

Make this make sense.

For a new Self-Published author, I recommend pricing your paperback between $9.99, and $19.99, depending on the length. The book’s length is important because longer books cost more to print, so you will have to charge a bit more. Again, this price assumes you aren’t already a celebrity or someone of influence with a massive following, in which case the price will go up.

Either way, just make sure it makes sense.

The most important step you can take is to study other books in your genre to get an idea of how to price your book (considering all we’ve discussed.)

Go to Amazon and look up the category of where your book will be sold. What are the prices of top-selling books?

Do this for Kindle eBook and paperback.

And remember, Google is your friend. Here, we focus on the basics, but I am sure there are many other articles from other sources that can provide deeper insight into this topic.

All I ask is that you do not go into this blindly. The cost of your book is a big deal. Don’t throw darts at the wall and come up with random numbers.


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Check out the IAB archive here.