“Fancy a self-published book that doesn’t look like a self-published book?”

Nothing screams “Amateur!” more than a book design you have produced yourself.

The result?

Sales figures as low as those for oven-ready yorkshire puddings in my adopted country Germany.

“You should never judge a book by its cover” – nonsense!

Lots of great books by talented authors are self-published. But also loads of sh… erm, lower-quality books too, precisely because pretty much anybody can spit the contents of their brain out onto paper and publish it as a book (and many seemingly have).

Contrary to the stale, overused cliche in the subheading above, it’s therefore extremely important that your book makes as good an impression as possible. The cover design must not only be inviting – in terms of its visual imagery, colour, layout and typography – but must also fit the topic of your book.

Only with an accomplished cover design does your work have the possibility of standing out from the crowd, in order to have a chance in this fiercely competitve market.


Your masterpiece – in which you have invested so much time and energy – becomes a (digital) shelf-warmer.

So hopefully it’s now clear to you:

The days when you could just publish a book with a cover you cobbled together yourself have gone (hooray!).

You don’t have the knowledge or the time?

You’re about to self-publish your (possibly very first) book?

But you don’t have the skills to design an attractive and suitable cover?

Or to create an appealing, fully functional ebook?

Let alone to be able to produce print files for a printed book? Especially so that they will actually print properly?

And proper typography presumably also isn’t on your radar? (That doesn’t surprise me. In the world of self-publishing, professional typesetting is unfortunately not a self-evident matter of course. No wonder so many self-published books look so amateurish – they are just Word® files that have been printed and bound. Ugh!)

And as if that wasn’t enough:

There are also the technical things to consider. What software would be the best to use? How should you familiarise yourself with its bewildering array of functions? What would be the best workflow? How on earth should you create this thing?

Book design: from me you get a self-published book that doesn’t look like a self-published book!

  • Ebook (EPUB or Amazon)
  • Paperback
  • Hardback

  • Amazon KDP
  • Other print on demand
  • Fixed runs (careful!)

Especially for beginners, realising a book design project really can seem like a closed book, no matter whether you’re publishing just an ebook or a printed book.

But don’t panic:

From me, you get a self-published book that doesn’t look like a self-published book!

You benefit from a professional book design, comprising an appealing, inviting cover and expert typesetting (just like the books from established publishers that you see in your local bookshop).

And an appealing, quick-loading, fully functional, user-friendly ebook, regardless which platforms you want to sell it on.

Harness more than 20 years’ experience

I gained my first professional experience in the fields of book design and typesetting way back in the 1990s, when I was still an employee.

As a result, over the course of the years decades, I have contributed to quite a number of book projects, whether with design, typesetting, image editing or technical help, right up to looking after entire projects – from ebooks to elaborate printed books for aficionados. (Not to mention translating the occasional book from German into English.)

I would therefore be pleased to help you get your special project off the ground, design and create your ebook and/or printed book and help you realise your dream of publishing your own book.

If required, I provide you with not only an attractive book cover, appealing book layout and professional typesetting, but also advice and support in relation to your entire project.

How do I realise your book design project?

First things first: How I don’t realise your book project:

I don’t upload a Word® file and let Amazon’s (or whoever’s) system automatically convert it into an ebook or printed book! Just because something’s theoretically possible, that doesn’t mean to say you should do it!

From me, you get a self-published book that doesn’t look like a self-published book. Simply uploading a Word® file will give you a self-published book that looks like (yet another) amateurish self-published book.

That out of the way:

I approach your project on a case-by-case basis, as every project is different. The nature of your project determines the software I use, along with the workflow.

But you can be sure of one thing: books and ebooks I produce aren’t perfunctorily executed products, straight off a conveyor belt, but rather exquisite works of quality!

  • Appealing cover that fits your book’s subject in terms of visual imagery, layout and typography – no terrible typefaces or overbearing Photoshop® filters!
  • Your book complies with established typographical standards1 that are often neglected in the world of self-publishing, in respect of widows and orphans, dashes, quotation marks, ellipses, hyphenation, (non-breaking) spaces, aligned baselines, tracking and kerning, ligatures, fractions, subscript, superscript and superior and special OpenType functions etc.
  • Your ebook meets current standards, but still works properly on many older devices. I also take care of styled hyperlinks, footnotes, the navigation and, if required, a ‘physical’ table of contents, as well as ensuring that the underlying code is as lean as possible. Various additional ‘nice to have’ options also possible. Simply selecting ‘Export as EPUB’ isn’t enough for me!
  • My software arsenal for book design includes InDesign®, Pages®, LibreOffice®, BBEdit®, Sigil®, Calibre®, Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Acrobat® and various smaller tools.

1 The typographical possibilities for ebooks are somewhat restricted compared to those for printed books. But I do what is possible!

Book design from me – your benefits at a glance

  • From me, you get a self-published book or ebook that doesn’t look like a self-published book or ebook. In one swoop, your book stands apart from a considerable proportion of your competition, which in turn increases your chance of healthy sales figures.
  • No need for you to search for the most appropriate software for your project, and therefore no need to familiarise yourself with it.
  • There’s also no need for you to acquire knowledge of code such as XML and CSS.
  • Absolute beginner? Harness my knowledge – there’s no need for you to comb through the entire internet looking for an answer to your questions, whether in relation to keywords, strategy, pricing or the technical aspects.
  • Code that’s as lean as possible means that your book loads as quickly as possible, which helps you save on Amazon’s delivery costs.
  • Benefit from my thorough way of working – ugly ‘typewriter’ quotation marks have crept into your manuscript? I’ll find them, and replace them! Or you’re worried that your printed book may contain widows and orphans? Don’t worry: I’ll reunite them with their family, as standard!
  • As a result, you win more time to dedicate to writing your next book!

Cover of Rose Doran Dreams ebook by Berlie W Doherty

Case study

My blog features a three-part case study looking at how I helped award-winning, best-selling author Berlie Doherty plan, market and create her ebook project Rose Doran Dreams. Part 1Part 2Part 3

Book design from me – typical questions and concerns

Below you can find a selection of typical questions and concerns that people may have:

“Fork out money for a book design or to create an ebook? I’ll do it all myself!”

Have you got the creative ability, technical knowledge and general knowhow in this topic area, along with the time, to realise your book or ebook project?

Great! Then it’s true: you really don’t need the help of an expert.

Were I to write and self-publish my own book, that is exactly what I would do – I’d do everything myself (with the possible exception of editing, where a second pair of eyes can help!)

But if this doesn’t apply in your case: your self-published book will look like a self-published book.

“I know somebody who’s got a pirate copy of graphics software X!”

Leaving aside the legal and moral aspects for a moment:

Does this person you know have the creative ability, technical knowledge and general knowhow in this topic area, along with the time, to realise your book or ebook project?

If not, the result will be the same as in the point above: your self-published book will look like a self-published book.

“Service provider Y offers book design or ebook design for £X!”

I don’t doubt it.

Just as in every other industry or sector, there are providers who compete on price, in order to win as broad a customer base as possible.

Such providers often work on a conveyor belt principle. They import your text into a template, adapt the title and that’s it, more or less.

Of course, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. I also have certain templates and proven workflows. But I’d have a bad conscience if half-hearted work ever left my computer. I therefore take the time to consider your project as being unique, so that I can really get the best out of it, which is what I deliver to you.

“On platform Z, I can get a book cover or an ebook cover for £X!”

Students, hobbyists and providers in developing countries all lurk on these platforms. (Nothing against students, hobbyists and providers in developing countries!)

Maybe you’ll find the whole experience of using these types of platforms really pleasant, and maybe even a valuable use of your precious time.

If so, good luck!

“Yes, yes, but despite all that, your prices still aren’t what I’d call affordable!”

If you engage me for your book design project, you’d be engaging someone who not only brings the necessary creative skills and technical knowledge. I also have the necessary background knowledge. I’m therefore in a position to advise and support you during the course of the project.

And if that wasn’t enough: you also benefit from my diligent and thorough way of working.

For these reasons, and others, I don’t compete on price.

“How much time do you need to realise my book design project?”

As a general rule of thumb: the larger the project, the more time will be needed to complete it.

But apart from that, I also work with a number of loyal customers who regularly feed me new jobs. As a result, I may not be able to work on your project constantly. I’d need to take a break from it here and there.

If you engage me, I can give you more precise information.

And if your project needs to be completed urgently, don’t hesitate, but contact me today!

A book and/or ebook from me – the packages

Your standard ebook
Your self-published ebook that doesn’t look like a self-published ebook – flowable ebook
Up to 100,000 words
Flowable ebook (EPUB/Amazon)
Printed book (Amazon/other print on demand)
Novel or similar, mainly comprising continuous text
Cover design (not including cost of stock photography)
Design, layout, styling and creation of your ebook
Professional typography and typesetting (as far as ebooks allow)
Expert typography
Any internal and external hyperlinks (websites, footnotes and any other links), including internal navigation and, if required, ‘physical’ table of contents
One (1) round of amendments included
Secure nowSecure now
À la carte
€ enquire
Your custom book design project
For those with special requirements or wishes. The sky’s (virtually) the limit!
More than 100,000 words
Anything that differs from the other packages
Non-fiction and reference books that don’t necessarily comprise continuous text
Photos and other images
Graphs and charts
Table of figures
Fixed layout ebooks
Anything else your heart desires (as far as is practicable)
Number of rounds of amendments depends on scope of project
Secure nowSecure now

* All prices are net prices, and are therefore subject to the statutory VAT.

Secure your professional book design!

You don’t want your self-published book to look like a self-published book?

I help you realise your special project:

  • Design and typesetting of your printed book
  • Design and creation of your ebook
  • Help and support over the course of your project
  • By working with me, you save your valuable time, which you can then invest in writing your next book!

Take the first step now:


There are only 24 hours in a day. And considerably fewer hours in the working day.

So if your book design project is urgent, don’t dilly-dally!

All photos of me: Ellen Hempel Fotografie

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