I have to confess to being a bit of a philistine when it comes to art. And that is equally true for graphics, so I knew it would not be a good idea for me to attempt a book cover design. I further reasoned that someone who could design a cover might also be able to help with printing and binding, so I started making calls. Before long I located a small graphics shop in Oakville that shared space with a printer -- a relationship that worked very well for both of them. I ran my problem past Imilia, the designer, and it turned out she and her shop mate were quite accustomed to this sort of job. A quick trip to her office to see her work and I was certain I'd found the right person.
Just for fun (and because I really can be particularly frugal) I asked Imilia if she would consider an exchange of services: cover design for a wine tasting. She would, and we struck a bargain – my fee for a wine tasting was almost identical to her fee for a cover design. She and her friends had a marvellous party with my expert guidance, and I got a cover plus a few book sales. The cover was great and Imilia was a great help throughout the process.
Aside from a cover design, I also got the support of a professional designer, who cleaned up my fairly good lay-up job and translated it into top-rate content. I will have to admit that an important part of the process was to be cut off from revisions. No sooner had I handed over the manuscript than I began to discover material that simply HAD to be added. I think I got away with four additions, after which Imilia said ‘no more’. That’s an important point: It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fine-tuning to the point that you forget – or are unwilling – to let the project go. A good editor or other professional can help you recognize that it’s time to let your child cross the street alone.
One final addition and we were good to go: an ISBN number (which is, of course, redundant). There are some who would have you believe that getting an International Standard Book Number is a big deal. No, it’s not. Anyone can register with The Canadian ISBN Service System and get a number. Once you’ve applied and received your number, there are lots of agencies around that will take your ISBN and put it into a bar code for you for just a few dollars. I’ve heard of people paying $100 or more for ISBN and bar code. The ISBN is free and I believe I paid $12 for a ‘camera ready’ bar code. That brings up an important point to keep in mind at every stage of the publishing process: do your research. There are lots of folks out there who will be glad to take your money and give you not very much in return.