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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Pros and Cons of DIY Design

By Alan AC Armstrong

You have spent countless days, months, or perhaps even years writing your eBook and your master piece is finally ready to be launched online. At this stage you have two choices available to you and they are;

1) Pay a designer to produce your 3D cover and professional format your content.
2) Save your money and do it yourself.

Can anyone design and format their own ebook?
Yes, anyone can create their own 3D cover and there are ample applications and free scripts available online which can help you do just that with the press of a button. And, yes, anyone can do their own content formatting. But the question begs "Why, if you don't have the required skills, would you choose to?" Would you do your own tax returns if you only had rudimentary maths under your belt? No, you hire an accountant. Would you attempt to fix your own car if you knew little or nothing about engines? No, you get a qualified mechanic to do the job.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't do it yourself, I'm just saying you should first consider the pros and cons and then make an informed decision as to whether or not you think it's worth taking on.

Pro's of DIY
1. Designing something yourself is extremely satisfying and comes with a sense of pride and personal achievement.

2. You have complete control and flexibility in experiment with different ideas.

3. You can save money by doing it yourself.

That last one is actually a con disguised as a pro and probably isn't going to save you anything in the long run. Why?

If you produce a mediocre cover design then potential buyers will naturally assume that your written content is also mediocre and will choose not to make a purchase from you. You just lost any chance of making a profit and your DIY approach has cost you money.

Or perhaps people still make a purchase and then you are flooded with after sales refund requests because your eBook formatting was poorly presented and difficult to read. This time around your DIY approach has cost you both money and time because you now have to manage all of the refunds. Worst still, you have lost any opportunity of making future sales to your disappointed customers. Ouch...

Con's of DIY
1. You will require specialist applications regardless of what you read online about free scripts being the answer to your needs.

2. You have not spent four years at college or university developing essential skills and learning best design practises.

3. You need an understanding of the elements of design, for example: balance, white space, shape, texture, colour, fonts, character tracking, kerning, leading, aesthetics, and image composition... you still with me? Your designer is trained in applying these subtleties and how they will affect your finished project.

4. You need to know how to correctly prepare your file for online distribution? Do you know how to compress your images? Do you understand colour correction? Do you know how to add hyperlinks, URL's, and navigation to your eBook?

5. You need to develop your eBook with an overall visual brand offering in mind? This is the biggest mistake DIY designers make by designing everything as standalone individual pieces. Your visual brand needs to be consistent from your squeeze pages, sales pages, and even your subscriber email campaigns. A visual and tonal brand will help to instil trust in your service or products and your customers will buy from you because you are consistent.

6. You won't receive constructive feedback. Showing a draft to your partner isn't going to help because they love you and don't want to hurt your feelings. If you really want constructive feedback then show your design to a designer and listen to what he has to say because your online success depends on it.

Perhaps now you understand the value of hiring a professional designer and you won't be spoilt for choice. There are countless creative services online and you should do your research and shop around before making your final decision. Don't be tempted to simply go for the cheapest. Look at what your designer is offering, check out their website to see how they visually represent themselves. Do they provide value add to your purchase? Are they offering any after sales service or money back guarantee? Sign up for their newsletter or email campaigns and see what additional value you get by way of helpful information to help market your online business. Download any free eBooks they've designed and get a feel for their creative work and attention to detail.

Design done well and supported by a solid marketing campaign, can propel your online business to great heights. When don't badly you won't even get off the ground.

What to learn more about what it takes to become successful online? I have just completed my short guide "Fancy Graphics Don't Sell Ebooks", Download it for FREE here:

About The Author
Alan Armstrong is a professional graphic designer and internet marketer. His creative packages "Gloss And Substance" are tailored for article writing, list building, autoresponder campaigns and backend profit techniques.

For more information about his creative services and internet marketing coaching programs visit:


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