What’s involved in print interior layout and design? Why Is Interior layout and design so important?

Interior layout is easy to dismiss. It’s just formatting words on a page right? Wrong!  Professional books are not designed by uploading formatted text documents to an algorithm on Amazon. That is the beginners route for those that have no idea how to produce a professional interior for their book. It’s automatic, unthinking, and doesn’t even compare to skilled, educated, and experienced typography and typesetting can do. That’s right we said typesetting. The concept of good typography and typesetting still exists, even though it’s been translated to digital form. Professional book design is done in special software used in the publishing industry, software that has a learning curve and for some is quite expensive.


What goes into designing the interior of a book? A lot more than most expect. Here are just some of the decisions that must be made:


  • trim size (is your book going to be 6×9 trade paperback standard? Is it going to be 5.5×8.5, etc.)
  • color vs. black and white
  • other physical considerations (paperback vs. hardcover, paper stock, etc.)
  • font selection
  • continuity with the cover
  • spacing decisions
  • design elements in the headers, page numbers, and folios
  • Chapter page design elements.
  • if/how you want to incorporate illustrations, photography or other graphics (full page, behind the text, and other options available in professional design.)
  • The title page and copyright page has to be constructed
  • All book parts to a book need to be considered, because books are more than just the story, they generally have a title page, copyright page, table of contents, dedication, foreword, introduction, prologues, epigraphs, body story, author bio, and any other back matter that belongs to particular book like and appendix.
  • proper margins, font size, spacing, and whitespace must be understood in terms of the rules of typography and typesetting. A trained eye can see the difference.


The book designer must also attend to certain details and is the last one alongside your proofreader to catch common errors, such as:

  1. the right use dashes in the right places (hyphens, em, and en dashes, which all have distinct uses in grammar.
  2. Quotation marks style (straight vs. curly vs. foot/inch marks—all different things).
  3. It’s also crucial that the book is manually checked for widows, orphans, runts. Text lines that upset the flow of the book for the reader.
  4. The proper formation and spacing of the ellipses … which should have non-breaking spaces on both sides between words.
  5. The proper formatting of the of the em-dash—that’s right—which is not supposed to have spaces between characters and not supposed to be substituted by regular dashes or “en” dashes. And the replacement of the infamous double dash used in manuscript format to tell the typographer where to place the em-dashes, yes all those have to be fixed in the final print version of any book.


But that’s strictly academic, one of the main reasons people overlook good interior layout and design is because nobody really wants to do it. Interior layout is hard, tiring, tedious work, and requires a lot of hours from someone with at least strong baseline of design skills. That’s really the bottom line.


At GM Studios, we are prepared to package interior and eBooks services. Giving the client the proper production files needed for publication and print production. Cyrus of Cyrusfiction Productions is an educated publishing production specialist with years of experience in the publishing industry and in multiple genres.



  1. A Fully Edited Word document, double spaced, using only 12pt Times New Roman, and formatted according to the William Shunn Manuscript format. ( which explains right in the text while demonstrating on the page how to prepare a proper manuscript.
  2. Manuscript should be saved to .docx, .rtf, or .doc format.
  3. We will also need any front and back matter necessary to the book. We can assist in title page and copyright page creation, but when it comes to the dedication, introductions, prologues, epilogues, author bios, etc, the author needs to supply those or preferably work them into the manuscript. Remember there are many parts to a book, not just the story!
  4. Interior Illustrations should be provided as 300dpi CMYK tiff images. Line illustrations should be 600dpi greyscale tiff images. Adobe Illustrator vector graphics are also accepted.
  5. The full book cover production files (Usually Photoshop .PSD) along with copies of the fonts used in the cover. If you have done your cover with GM Studio, they will supply what’s needed.



  1. Client deliveres the fully-edited manuscript in word .docx, .rtf, or .doc form. As well as all the items that belong in the book listed above.
  2. Cover Files and Fonts are supplied
  3. Client is put into contact with Cyrusfiction Productions.
  4. Cyrusfiction Productions discusses with Client the different PARTS of the book and Client provides anything that is missing such as Author Bios, Dedications, Introduction, copyright info, etc.
  5. Preliminary Layout Samples are presented to the author for approval/selection
  6. Uncorrected Layout Proof is then built for proof reading and final editing by author/editor
  7. Edits are provided by author/editor of the proof to Cyrusfiction Productions in the form of:
    1. Page#, paragraph#, Line#, Some of the text, and the edit to be made.
    2. EXAMPLE (Page 5, para 3, line 2, “It was a dark and stomy night.” (change stomy to stormy)
  8. Corrections are made and final Print File is provided for final approval.
  9. Cover file is finalized to mechanical template.
  10. Cyrusfiction Productions assists the author in uploading and publishing the print book on Amazon’s Creatspace.

Additional Costs the author my need to consider and are responsible for:

Every book has to have what is called an identifier. It is a 13-digit number known as an ISBN #.


  1. Option One: While there are free ISBNs or ASIN number at Amazon, BUT these are exclusive to amazon and cannot be used elsewhere limiting your books interior file to where you can upload. This is an option for the author that just wants to publish on amazon and nowhere else. Note for small press publishers, this “free” option disallows the listing of your publishing company as the imprint.


  1. Option Two: You can purchase an ISBN on Bowker (the originators of ISBN numbers) which will cost $125, unless you buy more than one. You set up a My Identifiers account which allows you to set up all the book information for a specific ISBN and a dashboard to manage your ISBNs. This is the perfect option of small press and very active independent authors who may want to sell their books elsewhere other than Amazon. ( )


  1. Option Three: The second option offered by Amazon is a universal ISBN for $90. This is the best option if the author just has one book yet still wants it freed up to sell elsewhere besides just Amazon. It is few dollars cheaper than getting one directly from Bowker.


Deliverable: Professional Interior Production pdf prepared to meet most digital, POD, and offset printers needs. This might be one single file, or in the event of black and white vs color options for say like Hardcover books, Or printers other than CreateSpace, like Lightning Source, may include files for each.


Price for Print Interior Layout and Design $225