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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.


Book Design

CUSTOM Book Design

To publish a book, you need two files: the interior, and the cover. We all know that people will "judge a book by its cover."  They will also judge what is between the covers. So just as you would dress your best for an important interview, a book needs to be designed, to demonstrate its unique style.

Why CUSTOM book design? Because no book can be designed well through automation. It takes human judgement, and the style should suit the book's unique subject and tone.

What does it mean to "style" a book? Graphic design (unlike mere word processing) makes the best visual sense of your words and images. Special formatting indicates emphasis, pacing, and tone, which improves the reader's comprehension. A graphic designer uses typography, shapes, colors, and the space on the page to reflect the true meaning and accentuate the style of your book.

I did not know what kind of font to use, nor did I know how to add old photographs. How to design a book? I had no idea. And I needed an editor to proofread the stories. Except for actually writing the stories, Nancy and Biff did all the work. The result is a beautiful hardcover book.
— June Nessler

Nonfiction and illustrated book designs

Nonfiction books can be quite complex, and they require more design than fiction. They often contain illustrations, sidebars, or references, each which require custom typography and careful spatial layout. By breaking the content into clear sections, we help the reader to understand the material and the organization of the ideas.

  • family histories
  • children's books
  • business
  • academic
  • how-to, self help

Fiction (and other text-only prose) book designs

Fiction book design is far more subtle than the segmented nature of nonfiction. It is meant to appear nearly "seamless," so that the spell of the narrative pulls the reader along effortlessly and pleasurably.

The art of fiction design depends on great typography, custom adjustments to the spacing of the text on the page, and the judicious use of breaks and white space.

book spead 1.png

Which Book Design is RIGHT FOR YOU?


Standard Interior Book Design

Interior design for black & white, text-only books with no special sections, suitable for novels and essays. Professional, genre-appropriate typography, widow/orphan control, and suitable spacing for book length and style. This design includes:

title page (style and fonts derived from the book's cover)

copyright page

table of contents

dedication/acknowledgments pages

chapter titles and numbering


page headers for author and title, if desired

section breaks with text ornament, if desired


Custom Interior Layout

Interior layout for books requiring special text formatting. Unlimited photographs can be included (additional fees apply). This service includes all Standard Design formatting, plus elements such as:

text-wrapped images



journal or diary entries

interview transcripts

pull quotes


 Premium Interior Book Design

Interior design for books requiring special formatting. Unlimited photos and illustrations can be placed in the layout. This service includes all items  in Standard and Custom Interior Designs, plus:

charts or graphs

footnotes or endnotes




I am so excited by your work. The typesetting is really good. I LOVE the cover. Thank you for working with us. You are a good listener and continue to offer good advice on this project while trying to meet our stylistic needs.
— Marilou Ryder, co-author, 92 Tips from the Trenches
The co-authors at a book promotion event.

The co-authors at a book promotion event.


Standard Book Cover Design

Standard cover design includes two images, provided by the client. (Images are also available, fees apply.) The artwork is prepared in Photoshop (if using photos) or Illustrator (if using graphics) for the front and back covers. This design includes one background color and/or texture, and two suitable typefaces, for the title and the author.

Custom Book Cover Design

A custom design includes two-layer artwork effects, such as layers of transparency. We incorporate up to three images. provided by the client, or suitable artwork can be acquired for an additional charge. This design includes up to four complementary fonts: title, subtitle, author, and other text.

Premium Book Cover Design

Premium cover design is intended for commercial book projects. It requires complex art rendering, such as composites, hand drawn illustrations, or custom vector images. This design includes complementary fonts. It also includes assistance with marketing blurbs, award badges, and other commercial design features. Stock art components are included free of charge. Specialty art acquisition such as hand drawn illustrations will incur additional charges.

ARC Book Cover Design

An Advance Review Copy (ARC) cover adds an ARC label to an existing cover. This cover version is used as part of a marketing strategy to gather reviews before publishing.

INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION   Learn more about our high standards.


Learn more about our high standards.

We Design What You Envision

 If you have a unique color, font, or image in mind, we’ll be happy to incorporate it into your book design. Not sure what you want? Tell us your goals for the book, have our expert book designer mock-up a few options, and then choose the one you like best.


A book cover design in progress. To make this cover, we scanned the client's photo. Then we created a vector graphic to achieve the 3-D metallic Art Deco frame effect. (The same metallic effect is echoed in the type.)  We created a pattern for the orange background that was similar to the original,  yet bolder, to make the cover "pop."

We use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, the best software for custom book design.