Michele DeFilippo, Founder of 1106 Design, Shares the Secret to Producing a Top-Quality Book in Today’s Complex, Ever-Changing Self-Publishing Industry

In this exclusive interview with Michele DeFilippo, founder of trusted author services company, 1106 Design, Michele shares how authors can maximize their profits by self-publishing their books as indie publishing was originally intended—with the author as the true publisher.

The advent of self-publishing was a once-in-a-millennium opportunity for authors. Never before in history could they release the book of their dreams without permission from anyone else. Yet, with the ever-changing landscape of the self-publishing industry, it became too easy for new authors to get taken advantage of by companies that didn’t deliver on their promises.

With 52 years of experience working with first-time authors and seasoned publishers alike, Michele DeFilippo is on a mission to change that with 1106 Design. 1106 Design is a one-stop source for publishing services and guidance that serves independent authors who want the quality of traditional publishing without sacrificing their vision, rights, and royalties. To date, Michele and her team of senior publishing industry professionals have helped thousands of authors bring their dreams to life, and ultimately, publish like the pros.

This one-on-one interview shares Michele’s background and experience as the founder of 1106 Design.

Tell us about 1106 Design. 

1106 Design provides a full suite of publishing services independent authors can use to publish a traditional publisher-quality book. We make it EASY for authors to get from manuscript to market without the risk of going it alone or losing control of their files, rights, or revenue.

We’re not a publisher—we empower authors to be their own publishers.

Our most popular services are manuscript editing, cover design, interior design and typesetting, proofreading, eBook formatting, and audiobook narration. We also help with branding, logo design, author websites, promotional materials, and marketing.

Why did you start 1106 Design?

The original idea of independent publishing was that authors would assume the roles and responsibilities of publishers and ensure bookmaking remained an art. Unfortunately, in response to the unprecedented demand for services, it wasn’t long before companies with plenty of consumer marketing skills but no publishing background turned books into the ridicule-worthy commodity they are today.

Through 1106 Design, my mission is to change that, one author at a time.

What inspired you to become a book designer? How has your role as a book designer changed since starting 1106 Design? 

I wish I could tell you I had a plan, but after studying advertising art in college, my first job at Crown Publishers in New York was pure coincidence. Back then, designers created book cover concepts by hand, using a set of 200 magic markers. Now, covers are created using computers.

Change has been a constant in my career, to say the least.

Though my background is in design, I spend most of my time managing 1106 Design. It’s gratifying to work with a team of bright, talented people who always exceed author expectations.

What are the most important things authors need to know to succeed in publishing today? 

Write a book that buyers want. Authors who intend to make a profit should identify a popular topic or genre and write with their customers’ needs and/or desires in mind. Aim to create a book that is better than competitive titles on the market. To stand out, fiction themes should be unique and non-fiction books should solve a common problem in a new, more effective way.

Hire the right help. Hiring experienced professionals is an investment that will pay dividends in the long run. Offering subpar products breaks customer trust, promotes bad reviews, and decreases sales revenue. When buyers compare your book with others in the market, it should stand out for the right reasons.

Don’t leave money on the table. KDP and IngramSpark make worldwide distribution available to every author. Authors need book prep services, but it’s not necessary to “share” revenue with a middleman just to get your book published. When you are the publisher, as with true indie publishing, you can earn several more dollars per book sold.

Locate your audience. Nobody buys a product or service they’ve never heard of. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers only display books; they don’t usually take actions to help sell them. It’s the author’s job to bring the buyer to the retailer. Developing a solid marketing plan early on can help ensure your book launch and future sales efforts are successful. Part of this is learning about your target audience—where they spend their time, what social media content they engage with, and more.

How do you think the publishing industry will be different in the future? How is 1106 Design contributing to this change?

Predicting the future is not my skill set, but AI is poised to be part of it. I hope AI becomes better regulated because it’s hard to imagine a world (or a life) without genuine human creativity. At 1106 Design, we do our part to promote authentic human connection and offer authors the real thing, one title at a time.

We also predict that audiobooks will continue to rise in popularity. To meet this demand, we encourage authors to offer audiobook versions of their work and we provide audiobook services to help make that possible.

What is one message you would like readers to remember?

Bookmaking is not a do-it-yourself task if you hope to turn a profit. Automated systems and software are not substitutes for professional services. It takes time and expertise to create a quality finished product. Emulate the standards and processes traditional publishers have always followed to produce a market-ready book that reviewers and buyers will love.

Your book is a work of art and we’re dedicated to making it look like one!

How can authors learn more about 1106 Design?

A great place to start would be to download our free PDF guide, Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing, at http://1106design.com.

In just 88 pages, Publish Like the Pros clarifies the self-publishing process and shares six steps to publishing quality books that don’t scream “I’m self-published!” Indie authors will find essential information about cover design, book titles, typesetting, editing, and proofreading, as well as a special chapter on book distribution, pricing, and marketing.

You can also find 1106 Design on social media on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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