BOOK DESIGN LAB
Celebrate and share your creative work!
When you reach those exciting words, “the end,” it’s time to consider what’s next. How will you finalize your work? What might finished look like for this particular piece? Do you want a hand-made book, or would you like your work to be professionally printed and bound? In the Book Design Lab, you’ll learn how to revise a draft for readers, how to lay out and design the physical book, and even how to hand-bind or print your book to keep in a final, beautiful form.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at how the Book Design Lab works:
Ready to publish your book?
Once your draft is done, don’t just shove it in a drawer! Let’s take your imaginative, inspired work all the way through the finish line. You deserve a book you can hold in your hands, share with friends and family, and keep for years to come. Whether you’re a crafty type person who loves to illustrate and design or you’re more of a “word person,” you have all the creativity and skills you need to make that manuscript into a book. In the Book Design Lab, we’ll show you how to highlight your own strengths and walk through the book design process step-by-step.
Here’s how it works:
The Book Design Lab is a series of videos that walk you step by step through the final stages of revision, layout, and design to complete a book. We also provide mentor support in the form of an editorial letter. When your book is complete, we invite you to share a photo of you and your book with us that we can celebrate you and share your success with our larger Inklings community.
Step One: Dream Up Your Book Concept
First, you’ll start thinking about your book in a new way. When it isn’t just words on a screen or handwritten in a notebook, what would you like it to look and feel like? Do you imagine illustrations or photographs? Maybe just small swooshes and ornamentations here and there? Is your book broken into chapters, sections, or stanzas? Are you picturing this book in black and white, or in vibrant color? How about fun features? Might you include pull-out letters, as in The Jolly Postman, pop-up images, or fun-fact sidebars? Will there be back matter or a dedication page? Take a look at a stack of books for inspiration and notice … a book can take many shapes and sizes!
Step Two: Revise Your Manuscript
Now that you know how your book may ultimately look and feel, we’ll polish up your words so they fit exactly the way you want them to fit. If you’re writing a picture book, this phase may include breaking your text up page by page and whittling down words. If you’re writing a chapter book, now’s the time to take a look at the full story, decide how you want your reader to feel when they reach the last page, and make revision decisions. Will you add or remove any scenes? Is there room to add description or dialogue? How’s your word choice?
We know that revision, or seeing your book again with fresh eyes, can be challenging after you’ve been working on a manuscript for a while. Before you start this step, one of our mentors will read through your book and write you a letter to help you focus on one important goal as you revise, such as making your character more funny or memorable.
Step Three: Design Your Book
Once your text is complete, it’s time to physically design your book. The videos in this step three walk you step by step through the layout process. This step also includes guidance in three illustrative styles that range from no drawing all the way through fully realized visual art, so that you can choose a design approach that appeals to your style, skills, and comfort level. You’ll also be given plenty of room and permission to design your book in your very own way.
Step Four: Finalize the Details
Have you chosen your title? Designed your front cover? Created the cover copy to add to your back cover? In this step, we’ll deal with those final details that can make all the difference in making your book not just beautiful, but over-the-top fantastic.
Step Five: Publish Your Book
In step five, we’ll walk you through the steps involved in either hand-binding your book or in submitting a PDF to a printer who can print and bind your work for you. If you print with a professional printer, the actual submission and payment for any printed books will be in your court, but we will show you step-by-step how to do it so you’re all set and in the know.
What kind of book can I publish with the Book Design Lab?
The Book Design Lab is flexible, and the step-by-step design process can suit poetry collections, picture books, chapter books, and even novels. You will learn design and illustration techniques, but keep in mind that the program is not a full-serve course in illustration. Should you want illustration mentorship or specific help with the art of the picture book, reach out to our team and ask about current camp, mentorship, or other opportunities with this specific focus.
What kind of revision help will I get from Society of Young Inklings?
You will submit your manuscript and in return, receive a personalized editorial letter that focuses on one lens you can use to level up your piece. If you’re writing poetry, your letter might focus on rhythm or imagery, and point you toward specific lines where you can revise your piece with that focus. If you’re writing a story, your letter might focus on raising the tension or humor throughout your piece, with notes about where you could try those strategies in specific scenes.
We strongly suggest you reach out to a friend or family member and invite them to proofread for you after you complete your mentor-guided revision. Every writer can benefit from a second pair of eyes to look for typos and mechanical errors before finalizing a book.
How long does the process take?
The amount of time will vary from writer to writer, but on average you can expect about 2-4 weeks from start to finish. Our mentors may need up to 10 days to turn around your editorial letter after you submit it, depending on our current volume of submissions.