Publishing a Book? CreateSpace vs. Lightning Source

Years ago I published my first book, Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity through Lightning Source, then the premier POD (print on demand) printer for books. All the big publishers used Lightning Source. I encouraged my consulting clients to use Lightning Source as recently as 3 years ago.

Then I found CreateSpace. I haven’t looked back: last year, I celebrated my 7th year of book design when I published my 11th book, The Avatars of Eden. All of my books are now printed by CreateSpace and available on Amazon: Aliyah Marr.


Here is the record of a chat I just held with LightningSource.

–begin chat–

Aliyah Marr
I published 3 books through you, but I have republished all those books (some of them several times) through CreateSpace. Now I have 11 books on Amazon, the print versions throughCreateSpace.

First understand that I am a professional graphic designer who is a published author. I design all my books and design my client’s books. In fact, I sent some of my clients to you and they have become book publishers in their own right. Now, however, most of them are on CreateSpace.

May I state why I decided to switch my business to CreateSpace?

You may.

Aliyah Marr

1. CreateSpace doesn’t charge any setup fees.
This is important when you find that you have a small or large error in your book and you have to correct it.

2. CreateSpace has an astounding user interface.
This allows a professional such as myself a seamless way to upload my files.

3. CreateSpace is Amazon.
Enough said.

4. CreateSpace has distribution world-wide.
They have deals with printers in various countries.

5. CreateSpace connects the reviews of my ebooks (Kindle) with the printed versions on their site.

6. And most important: CreateSpace has better print quality.
I once tried to talk to the tech department at LS about the lack of print consistency from page to page. They were able to tell me that this is due to different toners on the heads, but they were not able to correct the problem.

Another time I tried to talk to a printing professional at LS about how to up the quality in the books from my end. They had no idea what the various printing terms meant. They are not printing professionals, they can only run the book making machines, IMHO.

7. CreateSpace has great turn around too.

8. Lastly, I was never able to really talk to anyone down at LightningSource.
It seemed that my account manager was never in the office, and never returned my calls. Have any of these items changed? I mean, I haven’t really dealt with LS for years.

We do have support available 7 days a week.

Aliyah Marr
Have any of the other items on my list changed?

CreateSpace and LSI are very different platforms for differing types of publishers who have different needs.CreateSpace does use Ingram Distribution and printing. They are a customer of ours. Some publishers feel that the services that come along withCreateSpace better suit their needs as self-publishers.

Aliyah Marr
Yes, I know that CreateSpace is a customer of yours. I assume that I cannot control the quality of a book outside the US, but those that I see from CreateSpace are excellent in quality inside and out. Whereas the ones from LS were not consistent at all.

I’m sorry, but chat serves as a way for publishers to ask quick questions concerning their LSI accounts. If you are interested in discussing CreateSpaces’s services compared to our own, you are welcome to give us a call for a more thorough and satisfying exchange. Do you have any questions concerning your account?

Aliyah Marr
Will you please submit my list of observations to whomever may care to receive feedback?

Yes. I will.

—end of chat—

I assume that my feedback won’t have any effect. But I hope that this helps others who want to publish their books.

via The New and Improved Ingram’s Lightning Source


Design and Publishing Services


I am a bestselling author and book (and web) designer. I know what it takes to write, design, and publish a book. A book can go a long way to establishing your credentials in any field. I specialize in designing self-help books and historical fiction. I have written, designed and published 11 books of my own, and have helped several authors publish their books. Two of my clients became book publishers after I helped them publish their first books. Here is my online portfolio of work.…

The publishing industry has changed enormously in the last few years: eBooks and print-on-demand books are a large part of the equation now. I have even written a book on how to publish on Kindle:…

There are a lot of online publishing companies out there who would love to take your money and a lot of people with well-intentioned advice, but you can streamline your process by getting solid advice and practical advice from someone who knows the whole industry.

There are several stages to writing a book. If you are in the beginning, you may simply need a writing coach. If you have written your manuscript, you will need help in producing it as an ebook and print book. If you have already produced your book — actually, you should do this before you finish your book— you will need to promote your book with a website/blog, videos, and an email campaign.

I know how to do ALL of the above. I am a creative coach, a multimedia/online specialist, and graphic designer. Give me a holler if you need help with your book or online publishing needs. Here is a list of my skills:

Apple computers
Audio editing
Book publishing
Content Manager
Creative Consultant for Social Entrepreneurs
Creative Coach
Graphic Design
Social Media manager
Tutor: Graphic Design, Webmedia, WordPress
Website design
Web master
Website maintenance
Wordpress installation (self-hosted)
Wordpress maintenance
Wordpress template modification
Various office skills
Video editing/production

Contact me

unplug 365  The-visionary

Book Illustration Basics for Writers & Illustrators Alike

Man-Dog/Dog-Man © Aliyah Marr (reversible diptych)

You Want to Be a Book Illustrator

I recommend going to school and getting professional training. Take design and illustration courses from working professionals in the field. The design department of a university or art school is a great place to start. I would say that design skills are more essential than illustration skills in this field, since illustration can range from “raw art” (naive) styles to hyper-realistic art.

An illustrator or artist sells rights to their work, not the original, unless the piece was commissioned, in which case the work probably belongs to the agency. This is called “work for hire” and basically means that in accepting the commission, the artist has given up all ownership and even copyright rights to the work. They may not even get their name in the credits, although it is considered a good practice to credit the illustrator and designer. However, getting your work on a book cover is a great way to advertise your art.

There are three ways to work as a book illustrator:

  1. ARTIST’S WAY — make a portfolio of work that you think will appeal to a certain genre of books, for example, romance and sci-fi/fantasy always need good illustrators.
  2. EMPLOYEE’S WAY — work as an illustrator for a publishing company.
  3. FREELANCER’S WAY — establish a portfolio of work (best to specialize in 1-2 genres), and do custom work.

Should a book illustrator worry about “work for hire” or retaining some of their rights? I don’t think so; this is because book illustrations are too visible in the public sphere to be able to be used for any other book covers; no client would agree to letting you sell the book cover twice.

An illustrator should be able to retain the right to use their artwork in a personal project. An example of this might be a choice to use the illustration as an interior illustration in your own book. I have done this with my full-color book, Celestial Navigation.

You Are a Writer/Publisher and Want to Buy or Commission Illustration for Your Book

  1. Expect to pay a minimum of $500 for your book illustration. More rights are more expensive; a traditional rights agreement is North American rights, however, with the international book market, you should negotiate for world-wide rights, and pay the illustrator more. After all, your book cover illustration is one of your key marketing tools.
  2. Please, please do not allow yourself to be too literal in your approach. Educate yourself on good design by looking at award-winning books. The covers of these books are almost never literal interpretations of what is inside the book, and good design often plays a bigger part in the cover than the illustration. Research the idea of how metaphor  can be used in design/illustration to convey a subtle yet powerful idea. Hire a sophisticated illustrator, someone whose work wins awards; preferably someone who went to art school or got a degree in art or design. Your nephew or the cheap illustrator that you find on the internet is probably not going to help you, and the resultant illustration is more likely to make your book look cheap and unprofessional. Nothing screams SELF-PUBLISHED and AMATEUR like a naive or literal book cover illustration.
  3. Do you really need illustration? Look at your genre, especially the book covers that win awards. Are they designed (just typography) or designed and illustrated?
  4. The best books are designed well. Hire a good designer, and let the designer choose the illustration. Clients often get off-track because they try to hire the illustrator directly, without understanding the value of good design, or understanding what makes a good illustration. A good designer–educated in design in art school–has sophisticated tastes that can put your book in the running for awards and best-selling status. Letting an amateur designer design your book is analogous to letting your ten-year old nephew design and sew your business clothes.

From Wikipedia
A work made for hire (sometimes abbreviated as work for hire or WFH) is a work created by an employee as part of his or her job, or a work created on behalf of a client where all parties agree in writing to the WFH designation. It is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally recognized author of that work. According to copyright law in the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is “made for hire”, the employer—not the employee—is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship. The incorporated entity serving as an employer may be a corporation or other legal entity, an organization, or an individual.[1]

The actual creator may or may not be publicly credited for the work, and this credit does not affect its legal status. States that are party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works recognize separately copyrights and moral rights, with moral rights including the right of the actual creators to publicly identify themselves as such, and to maintain the integrity of their work.

For example, Microsoft hired many programmers to develop the Windows operating system, which is credited simply to Microsoft Corporation. By contrast, Adobe Systems lists many of the developers of Photoshop in its credits. In both cases, the software is the property of the employing company. In both cases, the actual creators have moral rights. Similarly, newspapers routinely credit news articles written by their staff, and publishers credit the writers and illustrators who produce comic books featuring characters such as Batman or Spider-Man, but the publishers hold copyrights to the work. However, articles published in academic journals, or work produced by freelancers for magazines, are not generally works created as a work for hire, which is why it is common for the publisher to require the copyright owner, the author, to sign a copyright transfer, a short legal document transferring specific author copyrights to the publisher. In this case the authors retain those copyrights in their work not granted to the publisher.


The Fine Art of Book Cover Design

In the last post I featured a book cover design that used very few elements to create an eye-catching design that instantly conveyed the mood and content of the book. I thought it would be fun to show how the designer could have easily missed the mark if she had gone on even a slightly different path. So I reworked some design variations using the same elements in Photoshop. The variations and my notes are below.

Original Cover Design


Version 1: I’ve moved the dustcover image of the drips on black up so that it covers more of the title. Now it is just too hard to read, and no longer intrigues the eye in the same way.

Version 2: While the orange color is pretty, and works with the pink, it has lost the neat tie-in with the author’s name “Lemon.”

Version 3: Taking away the yellow now makes the cover less interesting and flatter.

Version 4: I’ve reversed the colors of the top and the drips. Yellow drips are unusual but don’t make sense as the pink ones did — pink is closer to red, which hints at blood without being too obvious.

Version 5: Black drips on pink. The broad pink area actually conveys a happy mood more than an unhappy mood.

Version 6: Same as above, but now the drips look 3D. This is disturbing, but still it doesn’t work.

Version 7: Red drips seem more appropriate to a gothic novel.

Version 8: Dimensional red drips only make version 7 more inappropriate to the desired genre (memoirs) and mood.


A good designer  knows how to convey the content and mood of a book cover with very few elements. The way those elements are used is key to the success of the design. There is no one “correct” solution to any design problem, however, there are always solutions that are more elegant, communicate better, and, ultimately, sell more books.

A Happy Book Cover Design

A lot of folks new to publishing think that books need illustrations. But no matter how good the illustration (or photo) a book cover relies on the skill of its graphic designer. The job of the designer is fourfold:

1. To call attention to the book.

2. To give an impression of what the book is about.

3. To set the mood.

4. To get potential readers to pick up the book, and hopefully buy it.

I saw this book at the local library, and just had to pick it up. One thing that you, as an online viewer, cannot see is that the dustcover covers only half the book: in the photo it is the black bottom with the pink drips. The book itself is purely yellow, and doesn’t have nearly the impact of the book AND the dustcover.

Note the impact of the book relies on several very clever tricks:

  • The half-cover.
  • The contrast of the yellow top and black bottom.
  • The contrast of the “rational” font at the top of the word “Happy” with the “irrational” “uncontrolled” pink drips, suggesting a mental unraveling, and unhappiness.
  • The title of the book is only partially showing, obscured by the somber, forbidding, black half dust jacket.
  • The bright yellow of the book’s cover is a play on words with the author’s last name, “Lemon.”

All of the above suggest that the author’s memoirs are anything but happy. It takes real skill to come up with such an elegant solution to communicating the book’s content and mood through the book cover.

A well-known adage among designers in all fields of design is “less is more.” Graphic designer Carla Jayne Jones’ sleight of hand uses a minimum of simple elements to achieve a maximum impact.

~ Aliyah Marr

How Much Should a Custom Book Cover Cost?

This illustration on The Way of Love is a photo-collage of 2 copyright-free images: a photo of a classical sculpture & a photo of a pink rose

Whether you are publishing just an E-book or in print, you will need a book cover. This means that you will have to hire at least one design professional.

There are two people traditionally involved in book cover design:

1. The illustrator/photographer provides the artwork.

2. The book designer pulls together the art and the text/typography into a beautiful, eye-catching design.

Some books can get away with just design. A good rule of thumb is to assume that material set in a contemporary period or for material that references modern issues probably only needs design. In fact, an illustration may actually detract from such a book.

Genres that probably don’t need illustrations (or even photos) are self-help books, business, books, and some kinds of contemporary fiction.  Historically-placed novels require custom illustration. Here’s a chart of genres and what they need.

Action and Adventure YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL depends on time-period of material
Business YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL use only very contemporary design/illustration
Chick Lit YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL use only very contemporary design/illustration
Children’s Picture Books YES OPTIONAL NO in general, photography is not used in this genre
How-to YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL may be necessary to show visual of topic on cover
Contemporary Fiction YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL use only very contemporary design/illustration
Fantasy YES YES NO use top fantasy illustrator for cover
Gothic YES OPTIONAL NO use top Gothic illustrator for cover
Graphic Novels YES OPTIONAL NO normally illustrated
Historical Fiction YES YES OPTIONAL painting from historical master is a good choice for the illustration of a historical novel
Horror YES OPTIONAL NO photography for horror cover would probably be in bad taste, and title may be refused by distributors
Humor YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL humor can benefit from cartoons or other simple illustrative style, including a graphical treatment by the designer
Literary Classics YES OPTIONAL NO hire top designer, see notes for Historical Fiction above
Mystery YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL if mystery is set in past, then illustrate, otherwise, hire top designer with contemporary style
Picture Books YES OPTIONAL NO most picture books are illustrated since they are for children, however adult picture books may require photos
Inspirational YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL hire top designer with contemporary style, let them decide whether you need photos or illustration
Romance YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL if your romance novel is set in past, then use illustration, use photo for contemporary novel
Science Fiction YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL in general, Sci-fi is illustrated, no matter the time period
Self-help YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL no photography or illustration needed
Short Story Collections YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL no photography or illustration needed, just good design
Thrillers and Suspense YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL if historical, use illustration; if contemporary, use photography or just design
Western YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL design, illustration, photography or combination
Young Adult YES OPTIONAL OPTIONAL depends on time period of material

As you can see, all books benefit from good design.

Hire the designer first, then allow him/her to help you choose the illustrator or photographer, if you need one.
The designer will be the illustrator’s “boss” and make sure that the project turns out right. Many illustrators are not capable of design, and the natural hierarchy is for the designer to command the illustrator.

Think of it this way: the illustration is put inside the design. No matter how good the illustration is, the book will suffer if the design isn’t up to par, or if the design style is inappropriate for the genre.

It is reasonable to expect to pay anywhere from $600-2000 for a custom design.
(not including custom photography or illustration).

  • The low-range of the above price range would include self-help books with only a typographical treatment, and photo of author supplied by client or copyright-free photo obtained by the designer.
  • The mid-to-high range would be for a cover that utilizes photography in a creative usage (see illustration above). Higher prices reflect more work by the designer.

What you should expect for your money:

  • Any cover should include at least one revision.
    A higher price should reflect more potential revisions.
  • All covers should include a digital Ebook version.
    3 sizes for Ebook cover, advertising and icon (postage-stamp version).
  • If you provide the artwork, then you could probably fit into the lower price.
    However, sometimes this works against you. Always allow the designer to decide whether your artwork is appropriate.

Remember, that the designer of a book cover is responsible for the front, the back and the spine. Also, she is responsible for the color fidelity, and this requires a hard proof in all cases.  Never does the design on screen match what is in print, and all printers are unique. I know, for example, that Lightning Source tends towards magenta in the final print. (CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black; all color prints are made of all 4 colors).

Even if you are only doing an E-book, have the designer design a cover for the print version: that way, you will have it in a size large enough for a print version, should you ever decide to go to print. This will save you money in the long run.

I highly recommend that any publisher use a professional designer for their book covers, if not for the interior. After all, the cover is the most important selling tool that you have as an author.

There are many things that a designer knows that can make your process go much smoother. In the long run, unless you want to go to school to become a designer, it will be cheaper to hire one.

Custom book cover design

Should an Author Design Their Own Bookcover?

A few years ago I was asked to step in to finish a book cover design.

The author already had a painting to put on the cover, so all I didn’t have to illustrate the book. I used my expertise in print design to improve the appearance of the book. The original designer had designed the book with a black back cover. Color printing works with dot patterns of 4 basic colors; from those colors a printer can reproduce a full spectrum of color and gradients. This is known as the CMYK system: it refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.

The black chosen by the client’s original designer was just the K in the CMYK system. This would have rendered as an unsatisfactory greyish black in the final print, resembling a xerox instead of a full-color glossy book cover. I set the flat black of the back cover to a “rich black.” The black is specified with all the colors in the CMYK system, resulting in a rich black that offset the cover illustration and the knock-out (white) text of the back beautifully.

From that original design for the printed book, I generated the cover for the Ebook version, correctly sized images for his web site, posters and banners, business cards, mugs, and so on. Once the original design is made, the designer should be able to deliver everything else that you need to promote and market the book without much trouble or expense.

A good designer can save your book and you from a lot of trouble and pitfalls. Unless you want to become a designer, as well as author, you should seriously consider giving your book the edge of professional design.

aliyahmarr at gmail dot com

The Story of a Good Book Gone Bad, and What it Took to Save It

A couple of years ago, I had a client who had lost his book designer to a family emergency and asked me to finish the design of the interior of the book. As I explored the existing design I saw several errors; several may have been “fatal” to the printed version of the book.

It was over a 500 page book, but the first designer hadn’t left enough interior margin for a book with this many pages—the text would have either disappeared or the text of the facing pages would have “kissed” at the spine.

The first designer had set the text in the font of the client’s choice which had a small x-height which made it really hard to read even at the specified 14pt setting. This made the book much longer than it needed to be, adding to the base cost of printing it. In addition, the text blocks were set at left ragged, not justified. Most books are set justified, and this amateurish choice can make a book lose credibility with readers and professional reviewers.

What did I do to improve the book?

First, I chose a highly legible serif font for the interior, setting the lines to a length that made it inviting to read. The font I chose made it possible for me to set the book in 11 point, increase the margins to a visually beautiful width, AND shortened the book at the same time. I defined the styles in InDesign; for the chapter heads—I chose a display font that contrasted the body copy—and defined visually balanced fonts and proportions for other portions of the book, such as quotes, songs, etc.

But the job of the interior book designer doesn’t stop there: she has to make sure that there aren’t any widows or orphans throughout the book—single text lines on a page, or one word lines on an otherwise empty page. If the author changes the book even by one word after the design has been done, the designer has to check that the text hasn’t re-flowed and created an ugly book interior.

The so-called publishing houses that cater to self-published authors can’t provide the kind of custom design services that will make your book stand out on the bookshelf. Many authors are lost when it comes to producing their book, and often end up spending more money because they have to do it twice: once with a publishing house, and again with a designer.

The Boy With a Torn Hat went on to win an award for fiction. I like to think that the design of the book complemented the genius of the writing, and helped it win. I recommend that you read it and judge for yourself.

Aliyah Marr

Are you ready to publish your book? Publishing service that I offer –>

Advertising & Information Overload

It’s amazing how a philosopher from 1755 predicted the current age. I wrote about how people cannot stand any more information, especially in the form of advertising, in my new book:

Bird Seed, an unconventional book on social media

The new medium of social media has created a new grassroots movement. It is such a big change that almost no one notices what happened.

Social media shows us that a new paradigm has evolved. You can see it in the verbiage:

Old paradigm verbiage
Consumers, corporate power, mass marketing, advertising, planned obsolescence, email blasts, broadcasting.

New paradigm verbiage
Individualists, informed buyers reporting on products and corporations, freedom of choice, democratized media, viral messaging, conversation, democratic media, inclusion & participation, flocking behavior, community, global reach.

Or to put it more succinctly, the old paradigm of the advertising age and consumerism is being replaced by a new era of individualism, free choice, and democratic grass-roots viral media.


Consumers vs. Informed Buyers

Advertising vs. Information

Broadcasting vs. Interactive Communication

Autocratic Media vs. Netizen Reportage

Customers vs. Neighbors

Markets vs. Communities


Wikipedia article on information overload:

A quite early example of the term information overload can be found in an article by Jacob Jacoby, Donald Speller and Carol Kohn Berning, who conducted an experiment on 192 housewives which was said to confirm the hypothesis that more information about brands would lead to poorer decision making.[17] But long before that, the idea was introduced by Diderot, although it wasn’t by the term ‘information overload’:

As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that

a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe.

It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.Denis Diderot, “Encyclopédie” (1755)

Tips for Self-Publishing Your Book

Tips for successful self-publishing:


1. publish your print book with LS however, there are definite hidden pitfalls in their service, so you should have outside help  — they are not geared to help you, the small publisher, and can’t design your book, or even advise you on how to best design for their unusual production process.

Using LS can maximize your profits while you outlay very little upfront, but you must remember that the standard in the industry is to offer distributors like Amazon and B&N a 55% discount; if you set your price too low, you could get into a negative profit situation.

Here is an example: you naively set the retail price for your 250 page book at a reasonable $12.00. Amazon buys the book from you at $5.40, but the POD printer (Lightning Source) charges $5.45 to print the book. So you have just lost in the transaction. If you sell your books yourself, you can cut out the middleman, but who searches the web for independent publishers? So the only way to profit from your book at your price is to buy boxes of your book and sell them out of your car, or at your seminars or workshops.

2. hire the following people: a professional content editor, a book designer, and/or book illustrator.

3. prepare your manuscript in Word. Make it perfect there before giving it to the designer; she is not there to check your work.


1. output from Word for ebooks.

2. double-space after sentences.

3. use literal illustrations for your cover.

4. use services like Lulu that charge you for things you can do yourself. Spend that money on good design.

People do judge a book by it’s cover. If you don’t know what constitutes a good contemporary design, then check out the best sellers at your bookstore or on Amazon. The design of a book is one place where self-publishing can look amateur. If your cover and book interior looks amateurish, no one will read it!

BTW I started a new group for creative people on LI (I give a free business/web/book analysis for members who request it.) Join us at:

Creative Caffeine– brainstorm your life.

Here are some samples of my books and covers:

How Much Should a Book Cover Design Cost?

How much should a book cover design cost?

Before I answer that question, I need to review what it takes to produce a great book cover. There are two people traditionally involved in bookcover design:

The illustrator/photographer who provides the artwork for the cover.

• The book designer who pulls together the art and the text/typography into a beautiful, eye-catching design. Some books can get away with just design, but these tend to be self-help trade books, not novels.

How much should you expect to pay if you hire a designer to design your book cover?

It is reasonable to expect to pay anywhere from $500-1600 for a custom design.

Following is a list of what elements factor into the price range.

• If you can supply the art (photo), expect to pay in the lower range of that scale.

• The higher price range is for a cover that needs original illustration or photography.

• The mid-range would be for a cover that utilizes stock photography. Higher prices reflect higher-priced stock photography. The higher priced photography has fewer users, so you are less likely to find your image somewhere else (embarrassing).

What you should expect for your money:

• Any cover should include 3 comps/revisions. It is my experience that most clients need revisions: what amounts to 3 sessions with the designer.

• All covers should include a digital Ebook version, formatted in 3 sizes for Ebook cover, advertising and icon (postage-stamp version).

• If you provide the artwork (you have to have the rights to this artwork), then you could probably fit into the lowest price, because I would then be just designing your book, not illustrating it.

Remember, that the designer of a book cover is responsible for the front, the back and the spine. Also, she is responsible for the color fidelity, and this requires a hard proof in all cases.  Never does the design on screen match what is in print, and all printers are unique. I know, for example, that Lightning Source tends towards magenta in the final print. (CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black; all color prints are made of all 4 colors).

I highly recommend that any publisher use a professional designer for their book covers, if not for the interior. After all, the cover is the most important selling tool that you have as an author.

There are many things that a designer knows that can make your process go much smoother. In the long run, unless you want to go to school to become a designer, it will be cheaper to hire one.