Plan to make your book special

Posted February 28th @ 4:38 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Monday’s planning tip for authors

One of the best ways to make your book special, visually differentiating it from competing titles, is to plan your book in terms of 2-page spreads.

Each pair of left-hand and right-hand pages should be planned as a single unit, like the example shown above, that you can explore online.

After all, when your book is printed, readers are going to be looking at both the left-hand and right-hand pages while reading!

Design & writing benefits of planning books as 2-page spreads

The biggest advantages of planning your book in terms of 2-page spreads is focus. By focusing each 2-page spread on a single topic, you’re able to create better-looking pages because you can balance the text and graphics on the left and right-hand pages. This creates a bigger “stage” for presenting your ideas to your readers.

You can balance large graphics–like drawings, photographs, charts, or tables, on the left-hand page with text on the right. Or, you can also balance a quotation on the left, like a pull-quote reversed out of a black or colored background, with text providing support for the pull-quote on the right.

Another, all-text, approach would be to devote one page to paragraphs of text and subheads describing an idea, and organize implementation tips and/or examples on the facing page.

Today’s readers want more than information; the design possibilities offered by planning your book in terms of left and right-hand pages devoted to different topics, makes it easy to create a platform for design excellence.

Writing to fit = better writing

Another advantage of planning your book as a series of 2-page spreads focused on different topics is that it encourages you to write as concisely as possible.

This technique, called Writing to fit, improves writing because, if you write more text than can be accommodated in a give space, you’re forced to edit what you’ve written, saving space by…

  • Searching for short words to replace long words.
  • Eliminating unnecessary modifiers, i.e., adjectives and adverbs.
  • Deleting, or moving, details that aren’t essential in that location.
  • Replacing long sentences with passive verbs, (i.e., The ball was hit by the dog), with shorter, active sentences, (i.e., The dog hit the ball).

Examples of best-selling business books planned as 2-page spreads

Learn more by using’s Look Inside! feature to see how the authors of the following recent successfully-published, Amazon Top 100  books, have planned their books in terms of 2-page spreads:

Today’s readers want more than just words; today’s most successful authors combine their words with graphics and page layouts that make their book special and set their books apart from the competition. Planning your books as a series of 2-page topics can be the tool you need to make your book special. What are your favorite examples of books planned and designed as 2-page spreads? Please share your discoveries as comments, below.

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  1. Mark Joyce
    March 2, 2011

    Roger – I enjoyed your analysis of the 2-page spread format. Sort of the older brother of the 1-page idea.

    In addition to the books listed, one of the books I find useful that also uses the 2-page spread format is Universal Principles of Design.

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