Thoughtful book design for professional writers.

Latest: A.E.S. O’Neill’s Even Climate Change Can’t Stop Love & Murder reached bestseller status on Barnes & Noble!

Book Cover: Even Climate Change Can't Stop Love and Murder. Ballet slippers and a shotgun superimposed over a dust storm amidst Tuzigoot monument.

At Ansgar, with more than 10 years of experience designing eye-catching book covers and gorgeous, readable interiors, we assist our authors in navigating KDP, IngramSpark distribution channels, and DIY print house production. Self-published work doesn’t need to look self-published.

While a great cover design can make your book stand out on shelves and ebook (and audiobook) marketplaces, a professional interior design not only helps the reader fall into your writing, but also communicates a certain caliber of work to reviewers and agents.

The cover is more than a sales tool—it’s the first moment in an author’s work.

Image of Peggy, an older white woman, looking down, thoughtfully happy. Title: Unsmudged, an Encounter with Peggy Williams, a first-generation teacher of the Alexander Technique, by Nanette Walsh. Forward by Walter Carrington.

A great self-published book cover lets readers know, at a glance, the genre and worldview of the work. It respects their time by not misleading them, and instills confidence that yes, this is a book to which they’d like to commit considerable time. A great book cover doesn’t condescend to them by pummeling them with ideas and plot points that the work itself already effectively covers, or that the title already conveys.

The well-designed book cover is also the first piece of suspense in any genre, drawing them in with just enough information to orient them, but enough mystery to induce the first page flip (or preview download).

At Ansgar, we design the cover with these principles in mind, but we also consider the necessities of competing in the unwieldy self-publishing market. What other books in the genre are doing well? What do their covers look like in thumbnail (or in black and white, if we’re designing the ebook)? Is competition the point of the project? Are the goals of the author to sell as many copies as possible? Or to build prestige and impress a book agent? Or to share a message or story with their community? This information, in addition to a careful read of the text, informs the entire design process.

The importance of great interior design is felt most strongly in its absence.

Great interior design should in most cases be invisible. From the text, the interior design emerges. Care is taken to remove any visual indication that the work is that of a hobbyist or amateur—at Ansgar, we work with professional writers across genres who for one reason or another wish to share their works outside traditional publishing channels. The reader spends a moment with the book cover, but days with the interior; reviewers especially will be thankful for a well-paced design.

Precise attention to the technical requirements of good typography—even more so than thoughtful typeface selection—elevates your work beyond the quality of an exported Word document. Aside from nitpicking necessities (are there too many words in one line? is the gutter too small for the page count? does this font size on page 18 cause problems on page 518?), the reader may be disrupted by the absence of good typesetting—whether the reader knows good typesetting or not.

Is a particularly dramatic line awkwardly interrupted by a page break? Does a cliffhanger chapter ending happen so close to the bottom margin that the reader thinks they missed something? These are the considerations that make the art and craft of digital typesetting a necessity for professional book production.

We can’t wait to see your work in print!

To get in touch, and for a rate sheet, email us at workshop -at- ansgar -dot- ink. We’re happy to answer any questions, and look forward to hearing about your book.