An overview and some FAQs of the book design process, from final manuscript to printed book.

The Book Design Process

An overview of the steps and inner-workings of the book design and production process.

Book Cover Design

Armed with a rough manuscript and some key information about the book, we can get the cover design process underway. You will be provided with one or more cover concepts to review. We'll then gather your feedback and make adjustments to get a final front cover you are in love with. At this point, we can generate a high-res graphic you can use to begin your marketing efforts for your book.

Delivery of Final Manuscript

Before sending us your manuscript, you'll want to finalize it as much as possible. We strongly encourage hiring a copyeditor to tighten things up on a broader level, and a proofreader to catch typos and punctuation that may have slipped through the cracks. Any changes that come after this will need to be worked into the production process.

Page Design

You will be provided a sampling of pages for you to review the fonts and text sizes suggested for the body text, headings, and chapter pages, as well as any other textual and visual elements in the book. We'll gather your feedback and make adjustments to get a final design template (a road map of sorts) we'll use to typeset your book.


It's now time to go through your manuscript page-by-page and format your book using the final, approved page design template, magically transforming your manuscript into what will ultimately be your finished book pages. Along the way, we will perform some general clean-up tasks, and provide a proof in PDF format for you to review and proofread.


At this time you'll read through your book one more time, which is now formatted as it will look in your printed book. No doubt some unseen typos and errors will jump off the page—they always do, and it's all part of the process. Better yet, pass it over to your proofreader for one more review. Mark up any edits, either digitally or on a set of printed pages, and pass them to us to get fixed up.

Type Edits and Changes

Here we take the compiled edits you have marked up and go back into the layout to make any necessary changes to the first proof. Once finished, you will be provided another proof for review and approval. Repeat the step above, if necessary. This is the time to make any final changes before we go to print.

Full Cover Design

Now is the time to send us your copy for the back cover, endorsements, images, and author biography to build the full cover. This includes the back cover and spine for softcover books, as well as dust jacket flaps, case cover, and endpapers for more complex projects. We will collaborate on any edits and changes needed to get a final cover file for your printer.

Final Approval

This is the final review process before files are sent to print. Send us confirmation that everything looks great and we will prep the final files and send them to your printer. They will likely require one more approval before books are finally printed.

eBook Conversion

Now that your print book is finalized, we can complete the process of converting your book to digital format. We will retain as much of the formatting from the print version as possible, and provide an online proof for review and approval. Final industry-standard Kindle and ePub files will be provided to you for uploading to the book retailers of your choice.


Still have a question? Let's clear them up.

What information will you need to get a custom quote put together for my book project?

Fill out the form on the ESTIMATE page as completely and accurately as possible. This will give us all the information we need to assemble a custom estimate specifically for your book design project.

I don’t live in Minnesota. Can we still collaborate together?

No problem! Most of our clients work and live elsewhere. Email and phone work well for basic communications, and viewing book cover designs, page layouts, and other proofs online is super easy.

What's the difference between a publisher and a printer?

A printer typically only deals with one aspect of your book: printing it. A publisher is involved in multiple aspects of your book, such as editing, design, legal, marketing, and distribution. Mayfly Design is a book design company at its core, but can also help you source your own printer as an add-on service, as well as other services offered by most publishers. Just ask.

What are your payment methods, and is there a contract?

If the estimate for your project looks agreeable, you will be sent a copy of it to sign and return. This will serve as our master service agreement. Payment terms are typically 50% down to start, with the remaining balance due at the end of the project. Payments can be sent by check, direct bank deposit, and credit card (with an added 3% surcharge).

How long does the book design process take?

A typical project, including book cover design, page design, typesetting, proofreading, edits, and eBook formatting will likely take at least 2-3 months or more. If your project is not as complex, or we are offering à la carte services, the timeframe will likely be less. Please ask if you have a specific deadline and we will try to accommodate.

I have an idea for the front cover of my book. How can I relay this to you?

We will provide a form for you to fill out before getting started on the design process. This is where you can relay your ideas and inspiration before we get the design process underway.

Where do you get the images used for your book designs? Can you create some custom artwork for me?

We rely mainly on stock images or resources in the public domain for most of our book design projects, unless materials are provided by the author or publisher. If you have a very specific image in mind for your book cover, we might need to have that created by an illustrator or photographed custom for your project. If you are looking for an image of a woman holding a bird cage, wearing a gold jacket and zebra pants, standing on train tracks in Berlin on a winter night, you probably need a photographer or an illustrator, not a book cover designer. We are happy to assist with connecting you with the right talent for your project.

I already have my front cover complete, but need help with the rest. Can you help?

Yep, no problem. We can take your finished front cover and assemble the back cover and spine, add the barcode, and be sure everything is set up to the specifications required from your printer.

Where can I find a copyeditor or proofreader?

We can bring editorial pros into the process that are skilled and experienced in the subject matter appropriate for your specific book project. Just ask.

Do you proofread my book while you are working your design magic?

While we do alert you of any typos, incorrect punctuation, formatting inconsistencies, and other errors we encounter along the way, do not rely on us as your editorial professionals. You will need a skilled editor to perform this task.

What about the copyright page? Do I need one?

We can supply a template for your copyright page, which you can use to fill in any info you would like to include in the front of your book. This is where you will include your ISBN number(s) and Library of Congress Control Number, as well as contact and ordering information.

What is an ISBN number and how do I get one?

An ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a series of numbers that is created and assigned to each format of a book, which the publishing industry uses to track sales around the world. You can go to to purchase yours. We are happy to assist with this process as an add-on service for your project.

Should I also buy a barcode? Is this something you can help me with?

No need to buy your barcode online. We can supply one free of charge using your ISBN and retail price.

How do I register my book with the Library of Congress?

To register your book with the Library of Congress, visit We are happy to assist with this process as an add-on service for your project.

How do I get my book on Amazon? Can you help?

To get your book on Amazon, you first need to setup a seller account. To do so, go to It is hard for us to assist with this part of the process due to the personal and financial information needed to set up your account.

Does Mayfly Design own my files and assure they are properly archived?

Mayfly Design does not offer archiving services of project files and is not responsible for lost or corrupt files after your project is complete. Native files will be supplied upon request for safe keeping and for future use.