Book Production with Lucy Llewellyn – What happens after you type ‘the end’?

AT Lucy xsm


Your masterpiece is complete. You’ve done umpteen drafts, run it by a few Beta readers. It’s been edited and the market awaits. You scratch the surface of book production and are faced with a new raft of questions. How to get a cover that will sell your book? What font is appropriate? How to format an eBook? What’s the difference between ePub and MOBI and does it have something to do with Herman Melville?
Lucy Llewellyn, in conversation and by example, will explain all, going through the do’s and dont's of cover design, what works best for eBooks as well as paperbacks, how the cover you imagined might not be the one you need. She’ll discuss how to make the inside of the book look as professional as the outside and the sometimes conflicting requirements of paperbacks and eBooks. Finally, she’ll outline the options available for authors wanting to work with professionals to produce their books and where she sees her company, Head &Heart, within that market.
Lucy Llewellyn launched Head & Heart at the London Book Fair in 2014. She works with many trade and academic publishers, independent authors, and creative organisations. She runs a tight-knit team of freelancers with a wider network of talented publishing folk that she can turn to when things get very busy. As well as driving her team, Lucy specialises in cover design.


Review of Meeting

We had a most interesting and informative evening with Lucy Llewellyn at the March meeting.  Lucy launched the Head & Heart (H&H) publishers at the London Book Fair in 2014, armed with an email address and a batch of business cards.  Richard Buxton kicked the evening off, interviewing Lucy. Main highlights of the interview follow, but do look at H&H web site to learn more about how to get your opus from manuscript to publication.

Her parents pushed books on to Lucy from a very early age. If she was a writer, she could go for thrillers but she’s not good at endings. If she chose literary fiction it would be very poetic, with no need for a good end. She got in to book production as a student and did some pictorial photos for book covers.  A publisher asked her to do a cover design, as one of his team went off sick.  She was initially reluctant, but he liked her work and offered her a job.

H&H do not offer marketing and distribution. They get your book to the point where it is ready to publish, giving advice all along the way. Bigger companies charge more and promise to publish, but they don’t usually achieve big sales.

She felt that the huge rise of e books has levelled off.  Print and ‘e - books’ are here to stay.  Electronic books will get more interactive, with the reader taking part in things like the creation of the story.

Lucy would love to automate the process of simple things, do more photography and learn to produce audio books.

About Head and Heart

Lucy gave a talk about H&H.  We saw some great book covers. There was a queue to see her and get advice after the talk.  The main points she covered were:


  1. 1. The Core Team – Amy and Lucy & ‘the others’.
  2. 2. Helen is a self-published author who works with authors (at least 1 session) & does freelance with Lucy.
  3. 3. Cover design includes genre, content/tone priorities legality/scalability (for Amazon, phone etc). 
  4. 4. Some designs shout genre, such as thrillers like Girl on the Train – copying Gone Girl, so it is a domestic thriller (code). Red = horror, murder. Historical fiction is much lighter with serif fonts. Historical is fact much more serious looking. 
  5. 5. Next – who are characters and what are they doing? Strong series brand too!
  6. 6. Covers – Steven King v The Road by Cormack McCarthy.
  7. 7. Zadie Smith covers – ‘shouty’ and say ‘this girl is going to be big’.
  8. 8. Never have more than two fonts on a cover.
  9. 9. How to cook a book- list of things to do (www).
  10. 10. She showed us proof reading marks on printed out copies, but mostly on Word these days.  Tracking changes and comments is important.
  11. 11. Shows Richard Buxton’s Whirligig book cover and says it is so simple and deceptively sophisticated.  Richard’s research is very interesting re civil war and so on.  Lucy and Richard looked at lots of covers in Word and discussed via email.  Next step is to research stock images on line. There are about eighteen thousand images to consider, so H&H search with key words. They need specific types of image to match the author’s name/title etc.  They tweaked the selected image for Richard’s book. The white stars give the period feel.  A big spine for title and author name is very handy in a bookshop. 
  12. 12. Illustrations were used to build the book cover up.
  13. 13. After typesetting the client looks over the book, then the proofreader is the ‘last eye’ on a book.  They look at every single word/comma etc.
  14. 14. Winning a new reader involves three steps – three seconds!  Readers guess the genre and decide if they fancy the book, by looking at the cover.
  15. 15. Special offer of free ebook if any West Sussex Writer signs up with H&H.
  16. 16. Blurb is the most important thing on back cover.
  17. 17. Richard has offered to talk with any of us who would like to know more about his experience with Lucy and how to get your book out there. 

Thanks to Alison for the tasty refreshments.  Well done to everyone who participated in the open mic, which was - as always - very popular. 

Liz Eastwood