Resources and tips for the self-published author.

Where is Book Publishing Headed? 5 Questions with Joel Friedlander

by Samantha Knoerzer •  May 6, 2015  •   Follow SamanthaKnoerze

Published in Interviews  •  5 comments

We’re super excited to have award-winning book designer and founder of BookDesignTemplates, Joel Friedlander, as our guest today for our 5 Questions Series. The 5 Question Series focuses on interviews with the people who are changing the face of book publishing now.

Joel shares how he embarked on his self-publishing journey, how he was a varsity track player, and why indie authors are still still unappreciated, and more!


1) Tell us about your background and how you started BookDesignTemplates?
I have a long history in the graphic design, advertising, and book publishing businesses. For many years I’ve run a book design and production company (Marin Bookworks) servicing small- to medium-sized publishers and, increasingly, lots of authors who want to publish their own books.

While I’ve spent years learning about book typography and creating custom designed book interiors for hundreds of books, I’m also aware that most authors have simple requirements for their book’s interior: they want a book that looks good, reads well, and conforms to publishing industry standards.

When I started offering “template” designs to my custom design clients, they leaped at the chance to save time and money in their publishing process.

From there it wasn’t a big leap to realizing that many authors might be interested in easy to use templates. When I got together with Tracy Atkins, who is an expert on Microsoft Word, we were able to create book templates that would work in a word processing program. The result was the 2013 launch of, where we offer pre-designed book interiors for both Word and Adobe InDesign.

2) What do you think is the one thing missing right now in book publishing?
It seems to me what we are missing most is a clear idea of where book publishing is headed as a business, and how we’re going to get there.

We all know the disruption that’s going on in publishing as old financial models crash into new technical and social realities. But no one knows where it will end. Will traditional book publishers survive these changes and thrive in a new environment? Will authors continue to gain more leverage and influence over the process of publishing, as they have wanted for many years? Will writers finally get the treatment they feel they deserve from their publishers? Will ebooks eat the world?

The uncertainty around business models, the uncertain state of bookselling in the U.S. and the continued demand for print books have all disrupted the predictions about where this disruption will end.

And perhaps the biggest thing missing right now is an appreciation of just how great an influence indie publishing can have on the whole publishing business.

3) What role do you see publishers playing in the changing landscape of book publishing?
Well, publishers publish most of the books we buy, read, and love. They will continue doing that, but they are going to have to get a lot smarter about changing from a strictly business-to-business model to one where they are more in touch with their readers, and in this they could learn a lot from the indie authors who are enjoying a lot of success.

4) Share something about yourself that most people don’t know.

I’m having a sale today, so here are three things you probably don’t know about me, all for the price of one:
1. I took up the “x-sport” of mountain biking in my 50
2. I once held a California Real Estate license. Didn’t use it, but I had it.
3. I swam on the varsity swimming team in high school, and my event was the 100 yard breaststroke.

5) What are some of your predictions for 2015?

We’ll see more new services starting up to help indie authors get their books done, more “assisted self-publishing” services coming online, more uses of technology to help authors track and analyze sales, and more publishing solutions that attempt to make the process easier for authors. I also think we’ll see more collaboration on the part of indie authors, and more small presses starting up as authors get comfortable and excited about publishing. Should be interesting!

BONUS QUESTION)What is your favorite book of all time?
Tossup between My Name is Red by Orhan Pahmuk and Focault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

Thanks, for stopping by Joel!

Looking for a book template? Bibliocrunch members get 20% off on all BookDesignTemplate products.

About Joel Friedlander:

Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman) is an award-winning book designer and blogger. He’s been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 from his book design and consulting practice at Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California. Joel also writes, a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book, and he is the founder of The Self-Publishing Roadmap, a training course for authors, and, where he provides tools and services for authors who publish their own books. Joel is currently serving as the president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Connect with him on Google+.

About Samantha Knoerzer

I am the Social Media Coordinator and Author Relations Manager for BiblioCrunch. And I love to read, OF COURSE! From the classics to YA and children's, you can find me reading it all. I have a masters in publishing from NYU's Print and Digital Media Studies masters program, and have undergraduate degrees in music, marketing, and english. I have a passion for reading, music, and travel. My goal is to travel to as many places around the world as possible. If you need to find me, you can catch me traveling all around the world at any chance I get – always with a book in hand!