You wouldn’t—I know you wouldn’t—turn up at an important occasion, let’s say your daughter’s wedding, with dirty, messy hair.

OK, maybe if you are Johnny Depp, you might. But for the rest of us, it’s unthinkable.

And yet, I recently spent a whole Friday looking through about 120 books as we shortlisted some for the Australian Business Book Awards 2023…and I have to tell you…some of them turned up to the occasion with dirty, messy hair.

What I mean is that, even after going to all that effort to write a book, to pour their smarts, heart and soul into every word, some authors did not invest in great design and printing for their book.

I understand that great design and printing aren’t cheap. But please, if you want anyone to read your book, make it look brilliant.

Here are the three biggest mistakes I saw:

  • Cover designs that have poorly drawn graphics or illustrations, weird (e.g. gothic) fonts, and don’t fit the genre (business books).
  • Internal designs (the pages inside the book) that were cramped or “gappy” (which isn’t a word, but you know what I mean) and so uninviting to read.
  • Stiff paper that made the book difficult to open and flick through.