Where Publishing Gets Practical(sm)

What they're saying about Book Design and Production:

May 10, 2005 -- from Dan Poynter:


Congratulations. A masterful work. Chock full of detail and easy to read.
The industry has needed a book like this for years.
Best regards

Dan Poynter

Para Publishing. Dan Poynter: Author (100+ books), Publisher (since 1969), Speaker (CSP).

Information Products on Book Writing/Publishing/Promoting, Parachutes/Skydiving, Expert Witness & Aging Cats.

May 25, 2005 -- From Patricia J. Bell:


I've made a somewhat more than cursory pass through your book (that is to say, I've lightly read practically everything in it, looking more for the shape of things) and I have to tell you, it's fantastic!

Oh my, but this is a badly needed book. Good information on book design and production has been notably absent; [your book] fills that deep hole. I'm putting it up on the primary shelf with the basic books for neophyte publishers, along with Dan Poynter's The Self-publishing Manual, Tom and Marilyn Ross's The Complete Guide to Self-publishing, and John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Book.

This is an important reference book. (Dan's book is a "cookbook" -- I know, I started my first book from that.) It's too rich to read in a single sitting, or even two. It's to have at hand when one is starting the various stages of production for explanations that can help the neophyte publisher make good decisions.

What I like about it?
1. That enormous Glossary

2. The thorough backgrounding and discussion on each area covered. [I learned a lot, have a keener understanding of why some things are so.]

3. I liked the discussion on the several page layout applications. I liked all the practical tips on using these different apps, too.

4. I liked the discussion on why NOT to use Microsoft Word as a layout program; the demonstration of its shortcomings was eloquent.

There were lots of other really good things, too. These simply stand out as I sit here writing.

One of the best things about the book is that it is one a neophyte publisher can grow up with. Much of its value will come clearer and clearer as a publisher advances and matures.

Did I say I really like this book? Thanks for letting me read it.

Do let me know when it's going to be available. I want to start blabbing about it on the lists. It's an important book.

Use anything I've said about your book as you wish. I'm happy to say what I've said.

And last, I very much appreciate your kindness in citing my book and the Tool Shed among the materials. I'm honored to be included in this excellent book.

Patricia Bell
Cat's-paw Press

May 8, 2005

If you think readers won't judge your book by its cover, think again. Authors today must understand rudimentary book design. Pete Masterson's Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers is a must-have to stay competitive in this overcrowded marketplace

Fern Reiss
The Publishing Game: Publish a book in 30 Days (self publishing)
The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days (traditional publishing)
The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days (book promotion)

Sunday, July 17, 2005, 2:34:11 AM, Pete Masterson wrote: (in response to a question asking why I wrote Book Design and Production on a publishing list)

> As I became involved with BAIPA, I realized that the typography books
> were more directed at designers or graphic artists (or typesetters)
> rather than at a non-designer. I saw how Robin Williams' (not the
> actor) The Non-Designers Design Book addressed issues of design so
> ordinary people could understand it. That set me on my quest to
> create a comprehensive book for beginning publishers or small
> publishers to help them understand the issues surrounding book design
> and production.

[From Gordon Woolf:]

And Pete achieved his aim. I'm sure that he and I could enjoy ourselves discussing some aspects of points he makes, but I'd have no argument with any newcomer to book publishing who based decisions on "Book Design and Production: a guide for Authors and Publishers".

It should not be seen as just a book for those who want to do their own layout as it explains what should be happening in the process when you get the work done by others.

I have one substantial criticism. For a 316-page oversize paperback which should be a source of constant reference for the buyer, the retail price of $29.95 is far too cheap! Just one item of usable information would save the reader more than that, and this book contains hundreds of such items. I've been in the publishing industry for 40 years and it will be staying on my desktop bookshelf as an instant reference. Run to http://www.aeonix.com/ now!

Gordon Woolf
Publisher, Worsley Press

May 17, 2005 -- From Pam Schwagerl

I was delighted recently to get my advance copy of Pete Masterson's new book he has coming out in June. To be honest I didn't really see the need for ever buying a book on design since I have no interest in ever designing the interior or covers of any books as a publisher when I am so happy having Pete design all the interiors and Mayapriya designing all my covers. But I sat it next to my desk thinking that one of these days I would find the time to take a look at it. While waiting for a phone call this evening that chance came.

After reading for a few minutes I suddenly realized an hour had gone by and I was engrossed in the book! Pete your story telling interspersed with knowledge is a joy and you keep it simple enough for a computer illiterate like me to understand it all! The amount of important points on every page that I didn't know I needed to know is astounding! But as soon as I took in every tid bit of information I kept realizing over and over that "Wow! This is something I should know so when it comes up on a future book I can tell Pete that this is what I want!" Or "Wow! Next time I get a title like he describes here I'll know just what to tell Mayapriya I would like her to try on the cover!"

He mentions in the beginning that it will help small or self publishers but I have to say that he left out an important group of people. People like me who hire out all the design work and are willing to pay for the best in the business to do the job right for me. I still needed his book so that I can make sure that my designers are creating books even better than normal because I know the books better than they do and I know what they should look like but I need to know how to communicate that to my designers. Pete's book is teaching me how to do that.

Really looking forward to reading it all the way through.

Disclaimer: Pete had no idea I would say anything on the forum about his book I'm sure but just as I often recommend Dan Poynters book to people I had to let everyone know that this is a really great book. Who would have thought that a book on design would be a great summer read for Publishers!!?

Pam Schwagerl
Publisher, Tsaba House

May 17, 2005 -- From Gary Toyn:

As a preface, I must say that I've never met Pete Masterson, and I have only interacted with him on this list. [Pub-Forum: See my links page for more info.] I have decades of design experience, and now use InDesign exclusively, but I was first trained on PageMaker 2.0. (Does that show my age!)

He has not asked me, nor has anyone asked me to comment on his book. I feel compelled only by my desire express my comments to a group of knowledgeable and informed book people who may appreciate what I have to say.

I obtained a galley copy of Pete's book Book Design and Production. I have learned a great deal from this book, and appreciate his clear and concise writing. It is jam-packed with helpful nuggets that, if executed as he instructs, will translate into quality book design. If you have a basic idea about book design, this book can help you improve. If you know nothing of book design, this book is the place to start. If you have been designing books for years, I am confident you will learn something new. I predict that this book will become the bible of book design, and will be quoted for years to come.

Congratulations Pete on a masterful book.

Gary Toyn
American Legacy Media

July 28, 2005 - From Melinda Sherbring:


I just got, and now have read, Book Design and Production. I can tell I'll be sitting down with some of those chapters by my computer as I work on my own. It was all very pertinent (except layout in Word, I'm ignoring that chapter), and this is exactly the book I need to help me layout my first independent book.

The chapter on setting up for and using InDesign looks particularly useful, as I am just about to that step. I've used FrameMaker at work for years (decades?) but never used InDesign before. However, I bought the Adobe CS suite last year partly for access to that program. I am just beginning to work my way through the tutorials.

The chapter on "Hiring a Designer" told me that it may take about 6 months to get the book fully designed and typeset with someone else doing the work, so I'm not going to expect myself to go any faster. Thank you for the time estimate. Now I can tell my impatient friends that it won't be ready to print till next Spring, at the earliest. It helps to know that.

I also appreciate the detail you provided on the design of this book.

I am interested in historical book design as well. The details of how this modern book used many of the principles expressed in the Gutenberg 42-line Bible was fascinating. I will be going back to some of the Elizabethan books as possible sources of design inspiration for my book, as well as looking hard at the book designs used by my competitors.

Your advice to proof, edit, repeat is excellent.

It is a good book; I will recommend it.

Melinda Sherbring,
author and eventual publisher of Sweet Bags Richly Embroidered:
Design and Construction of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drawstring Purses

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