David Siddall: Experienced, UK-based designer & typesetter of print and ebooks – self-publishing a speciality

david siddall multimedia graphic design

Book design & typesetting + creative and technical support for authors whose aim is to self-publish their work


Book jacket (cover) design

I've been designing book jackets for many, many years now, from novels to children's books, technical manuals to research treatises and academic and educational textbooks. This work, whilst initially for publishing houses, has now expanded to cover self-publishing in print and e-book format, where my jacket designs have contributed to the work of both established and first-time authors.

Paperback books

Topics the books I've designed for have been delightfully varied – from social history, aviation, humorous fiction and medicine, to singing and acting tuition, personal development, apiculture (bee keeping), food and poetry to name just a few.

Book and e-book design & typesetting

The majority of my work on books since the evolution of digital design and typesetting has involved working with publishing houses. More recently however I have become increasingly involved in helping individual authors achieve high standards of design and typography when self-publishing in print and e-book form.

My services include selecting appropriate book sizes and content templates, the application of advanced formatting to word-processed documents, right through to creating entire books from basic manuscript stage using industry-standard, professional typesetting and page-layout applications, all ready to upload to e-publishing and print-on-demand platforms.

Supported self-publishing & print-on-demand platforms

Industry-standard design & typesetting software

Self-publishing support

Whilst self-publishing platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly Create Space)® and Ingams's Spark offer previously unheard off opportunities to aspiring authors, and likewise appear to simplify the entire book production, sales and marketing process, creating a book to a standard which can compete with a professionally designed and published product often requires creative and IT skills which exceed those of the average computer user. Understanding how the various platforms work and their individual requirements is also an advantage.

Social Media is a key asset when marketing and promoting a newly self-published book. I can offer comprehensive social-media development and support, including Facebook and Twitter product page creation and administration.

If my 40 years of experience in the design and preparation books for publication, plus my professional experience of social media and the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Ingrams Spark (and Lightning Source) platforms would be of assistance in helping you self-publish your new book, please get in touch… my contact details are at the foot of this page.



Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How much does self-publishing cost?
If you have all the necessary literary and computing skills, and are prepared to publicise your book yourself then, theoretically, self-publishing could cost you very little. Apart, that is, from the sales commission charged by your chosen publishing platform and the cost of any printed copies you may order for proofing purposes or resale. You will however incur costs if you engage professional help with say, cover design, page layout or typography, or managing your chosen self-publishing platform.

How much do you charge authors for typesetting?
Print-on-demand paperbacks and hardbacks: My typesetting and page layout prices start at £2.75 per finished page*. Very roughly (and as a guide only) a 100,000-word manuscript typeset in 10pt type, with minimal allowable margins and gutters, is likely to result in a 200-plus page 5"x8" paperback when all the front-matter pages are included. Increasing type size, margins and gutters will increase the page total. My print-on-demand typesetting prices include one PDF proof and one upload to the publishing platform of your choice.

E-books: My prices for formatting e-books with an interactive table-of-contents start at £275*. My e-book prices include one digital proof (suitable for viewing in the Kindle app) and one upload to the publishing platform of your choice. E-book cover image extra (it may be possible to use a print-on-demand edition cover design for an e-book edition with slight modifications).

*The above prices are for guidance only and apply to plain text, simple layouts with no more than 10 images/illustrations; they also assume working from a fully-edited Microsoft Word manuscript. Higher rates may apply for creative or complex page layouts, 11 or more photos/illustrations, mathematical or scientific content and complex footnotes/endnotes; all due to the time involved.

How much do you charge authors for designing book covers?
My prices for covers and jackets for printed books start at £150, e-book cover images from £75. Prices include up to two concepts, one PDF proof and upload to the publishing platform of your choice. If you commission both a print-on-demand and an e-book edition from a single manuscript I can usually create the e-book's cover file from the print-on-demand edition's origination for about £35.

What other charges might I incur?
Books featuring more than 10 images/illustrations may involve higher rates than those suggested above. Processing, enhancing, converting, editing and scanning photos and/or illustrations may be a consideration when I work out a price for you. I'll only be able to advise you whether this type of work will be required, and what costs will be incurred, when I view the files you want to include. My hourly rate for this type of work is £35 per hour*.

Author's revisions, additional proofs and reloads to a publishing platform are all chargeable extras at £35 per hour.

* Please note: Images for both print-on-demand and e-books must be capable of being reproduced at 300dpi without loss of quality – this is a print industry and the publishing platform standard.

Do you charge VAT?
No, I don't currently charge VAT and it's unlikely that I will have to in the foreseeable future.

Would you work on a percentage of sales?
I'm afraid not. A traditional publishing company is more likely to be able to help you if you're looking for a deal which works on a percentage basis.

I've self-published my book to Kindle book from a Word document but I'm not happy with the page and type layout – can you help?
Yes, I almost certainly can. Advanced though they are, both Amazon's CreateSpace and, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platforms have known issues when it comes to converting Word documents to eBook format. The consequences of these can sometimes be minimised by the application of advanced formatting techniques. However Word itself has limitations, it is after all word-processing software not a professional typesetting or page make-up application.

I've self-published my book to Kindle from a Word document but I'm having problems with the index (or 'table of contents') – can you help?
Again, I almost certainly can. The techniques involved in creating an e-reader-friendly table of contents tend to be more advanced than most people would come across in their day-to-day use of word-processing software, plus there are limitations imposed by the HTML code used to generate Kindle pages.

I've been told that there are issues with the index (or 'table of contents') of my book on some hand-held devices – can you help?
In this case, unfortunately not. With so many devices and operating systems and only limited standardisation some compromises are inevitable.

Do you offer 'editing' services?
Yes, I can offer a modest level of editing advice based on experience. However I do not have the literary or gramatical skills of a professional editor.


I also have a dedicated publishing website which offers more FAQ's at: bookdesignandtypesetting.co.uk

David Siddall Multimedia is a deliberately small freelance business which I've allowed to develop organically over 20 years. My aim is to understand my clients' aspirations, to deliver on time and to a high standard and to always calculate prices on an individual basis. If geographical location is important to you, I'm based in Monmouth at the head of the Wye Valley in south-east Wales. If you've got a project you'd like to discuss please get in touch, I'd be very pleased to help.