On this page we celebrate some of the books that our readers/users have created: Albert’s Garden, Nail Your Kitchen, and Classic Speedsters. We love how different they all are!
If you used Book Design Made Simple and want to add your book here, send us your story (300 words or less) along with cover and interior images.
Click on a cover image below to find out more about each book.
Butterflies of Sri Lanka by George and Nancy van der Poorten
Our first self-publishing project was The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka. This was entirely our own project from researching the content (literature searches and field work) and taking images to design, layout, writing, editing and preparation for printing. We did a huge amount of research on how to write well, the printing process, paper characteristics, photography, etc. Every decision was ours and since this project was self-financed we could do what we wanted. We agonized over the fonts and font sizes, page size, column width (1 or 2?), leading, etc. Should the page number be put in the header or footer? and what else might we include there? We spoke to many people over the 12 years it took us to research and put it all together, and consulted endless books and websites, including Book Design Made Simple, that answered a lot of questions for us. We do our own marketing and sell the book through our website as well as booksellers in the UK and the US.
Our second self-published project was a paperback, Field Guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka. We assumed it would be a straightforward task to take the information from our first book and rearrange it, but soon realized that it demanded a new approach and a new design. So another two years passed as we worked on this project. Both books have received rave reviews.
We hired professionals for two areas: one was for the cover artwork for the first book (though it was based on our own design), and second, of course, the actual printing that was done by Friesens in Manitoba, Canada, who did an excellent job of guiding us through that process and making sure that our files were set up so as to give the best result.
We wanted the books to ‘look good’ and ‘read good’ and were pleased with how they turned out; though it was a huge amount of work, it was worth it.
Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka
Hardcover / 8.5 × 11 in. / 424 pages
Field Guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka
Paperback / 4.75 × 7.5 in. / 256 pages
Albert’s Garden by JJ Grafton
I am Jacqui Jay Grafton, and Albert’s Garden, a cosy mystery, is my third self-published book. In it, Binky Earle, accompanied by her faithful Phoebe-cat, sets out to solve a murder and exonerate the ladies of her village knitting circle.
In my working life, I owned a small printing company where my main duties were proofreading and the layout of art catalogues. Upon retirement, I acquired an Honours degree in photography and spent ten years creating digital images and competing in international salons, acquiring quite a few medals and commendations along the way. I am now entering my eightieth year and began writing in 2019, when failing eyesight curtailed my photographic endeavours. So far, I have tackled urban noir, an Irish family saga and a cosy mystery and can’t wait to see where my imagination will take me next.
As a long-time user of Adobe Photoshop, my initial thought on deciding to use InDesign for Albert’s Garden was, “How hard can it be?” Well, actually, there is quite a lot of difference between the two programmes. My approach of just diving in at the deep end and figuring it out as I went along didn’t work too well and I nearly gave up and hired a formatter.
A friend told me about Book Design Made Simple and I bought it, disciplining myself to read from the beginning and not use my usual scatter-gun approach.
I design my book covers, using my own photography, and proofread the books with the help of my partner. I run just one Facebook advertisement and garner a small but steady monthly profit. It’s enough. The joy of writing is its own reward for me, although I might feel differently if I had started writing at an earlier age.
My Amazon author page is here, along with a link to Albert’s Garden.
Trade Paperback / 253 pages / 6 × 9 in
Nail Your Kitchen by Hal Braswell
Nail Your Kitchen is a 325-page fixed layout (Kindle Replica Book) ebook for homeowners wishing to renovate their kitchen.
From the outset, design and presentation were credibility priorities for a book about design. After all, who is going to trust a poorly-designed book for advice about an expensive kitchen design? Photos with people, personal anecdotes, and sidebars for in-depth information were key elements.
With more than 120 full color photos and reader-friendly fonts (12-point Utopia body type and DIN headlines), this ebook received a five-star rating from Readers Favorites.
I am a retired journalist who specialized in housing-related issues for more than 20 years. My newspaper career began in Mississippi, where I earned a B.S. in journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi. I attended graduate school at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and worked there six years as an assistant sports information director.
I continued my career at newspapers in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. I completely redesigned five newspapers, received more than 30 state press association awards, and was a key contributor at three newspapers that earned general excellence awards.
I grew up in the housing construction industry. I believe in moderation and look at design through a family-centric lens. I extended my design expertise from newspapers to houses through reading, studying and doing. As an avocational DIYer, I’ve tackled projects from a kitchen gut job to floor installation.
Growing up, I lived next door to great-grandparents, grandparents and an aunt and uncle, so my extended family was part of my everyday life.
My love of journalism, DIY, and family coalesced with publication of my initial ebook, Nail Your Home, which received a five-star rating. Applying decades of experience, I researched, wrote and formatted the fixed layout digital book.
Nail Your Kitchen is a specialized refinement of the initial book, which is being developed into a comprehensive in-depth home improvement series planned for publication as Kindle Replica Books.
Kindle ebook format / 325 pages
Published by NYH Publications
Available here on Amazon
Classic Speedsters by Ronald Sieber
Accompanying my father to a photo shoot in 1957 turned into a lifelong quest to unearth information about a type of car called a speedster. They were hot little numbers that would go lickety-split fast. People who drove them looked like they were having fun and adventure. I was ten years old and I wanted one. Bad!
What were they? Who made them? Who drove them? When? A whole host of questions lurked in the back of my brain for about 50 years before welling up like a volcano.
I began researching and writing on this topic around 2010. I belong to a number of car clubs, and in each club a discussion would eventually arise about speedsters. No one knew much about them. I decided that this was something that I could write about.
I started at the Detroit Public Library in 2010, and the rest of my quest developed from there. I read and I wrote, and organically a book developed.
After scores of failed attempts to interest an agent and then, a publisher, I decided in 2017 to go it alone. I read up on self-publishing, took courses from known experts, and started a blog on the topic of speedsters in 2018 to spread the word while building a community of readers.
This book required offset printing and a hardback cover with a dust jacket. I had no experience with book design, but I found a very talented book designer. He also became my book shepherd and guided it through the process of publication. I handled the research, the image gathering, and the writing. I hired the editors and the indexer. We became a close-knit team.
Classic Speedsters was launched in December of 2021, which proved to be great timing for holiday sales. It also helped that Hagerty Media wrote a very complimentary article on the book in the Daily Driver.
I decided to not sell on Amazon at this time. Instead, I look for independent bookshops that focus on transportation. Currently, my book is available on my website, and now it is also being offered at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California.
Book Design Made Simple. You can do it yourself.