Author Feud: The SLPA’s book design game

  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015
  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • THE HEIGHTS: Richmond Heights Community Center

The cover design, page layout and even the amount of space between the lines of text, have an important purpose. They are there to make your book attractive and reader-friendly. Poor design quality may give the impression it’s not worth reading.


Join us in May for a fun evening of “Author Feud” as Peggy Nehmen and Cathy Davis, two professional book designers and members of SLPA, test the SLPA’s “brain trust” for book design best-practices. Based on the “Family Feud” quiz show format, Peggy and Cathy will test your knowledge of professional book design. The audience member who guesses the answers for each category will walk away with exclusive bragging rights for 2015!

Cathy’s Top 10 Book Design Bloopers

  1. A too-tiny title on the front cover. If your title is too small, no one will be able to read it on the postage-stamp size image used on
  2. Verbose title or subtitle. Be succinct — too many words do not attract attention.
  3. Cramped cover. If the cover is too busy it will put readers off.
  4. Fuzzy or stock photos. Use a professional camera or hire someone to take an original photo. Avoid the use of stock photography. Nothing is worse than seeing your book on right next to another book with the same cover photo.
  5. Fonts gone wild. Use easy to read fonts. If people can’t read the words, they won’t buy your book.
  6. Line spacing (leading). Don’t try to save money by cramming lots of words onto pages. Keep your text legible, airy and easy to read.
  7. Chapter starts. Chapters always start on a right-hand page. 
  8. Chapters too short.  If you have short, 3-page chapters, you’ll have a lot of blank, left-hand pages. Consider working with your editor to combine some of your chapters.
  9. No running heads. Running heads on the top of each page help readers navigate your book.
  10. No page numbers. Page numbers help readers keep track of where they are. 

Meet the speakers

Peggy Nehmen, a veteran graphic designer, has a love of typography, book design, and all things creative. Her design studio, Nehmen-Kodner, provides branding and marketing for self-published authors, start-ups, and established companies. Peggy helps authors through the design process to produce customized book covers, and interiors. She is a member of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association).Visit Peggy’s website at:

Cathy Davis, is a creative brand strategist. As President/Creative Director of Davis Creative, LLC., Cathy helps entrepreneurs and small business owners monetize their passion and optimize their potential for success through brand strategy, graphic design and independent publishing. 

Cathy’s latest book, UPSIdaisy – the Journal is a companion book showcasing her original motivational/inspirational designs found on Cathy is also the author of SeeMore Frog & the Midnight Flight of the CanBees, a color-as-you-read motivational limerick available via 

Cathy is an Executive Board member of MVF (Missouri Venture Forum), an active member of PWA (Professional Women’s Alliance), WEST (Women Entrepreneurs – St. Louis), and supports the efforts of Marygrove Children’s Center.

You can find Cathy at:

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