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Guidance to find a good typesetter/designer for a personal project?


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I'm working on a meaningful personal project. My wife and I had a 7-year correspondence long ago and I've edited our letters down into a 400-page book I'll have bound for her birthday. I already have my artwork, idea for the slipcase, the whole hog, and have consulted with a local bookbinder to choose the materials, etc.

I'm a little concerned that what I've been able to come up with on my own might miss a few opportunities in terms of the inner layout/typesetting/design, which the bookbinder has nothing to do with. I'm unsure where to start to find expert assistance and figured you folks might either be that kind of expert, know someone, or have recommendations. I would gladly make it worth someone's while to assist me (i.e., pay), but have certain limitations.

To make the date, I wouldn't have that long to collaborate before turning it in to the bookbinder. I'm hoping to have my final version finished by Monday, maybe Tuesday, after which I could maybe spare a day for someone to tinker with it.

My deliverable would already have everything finalized - the design, the spacing, my preferred font, the whole bit. I wish I had time to collaborate with someone from scratch, but I guess what I'd need at this point, and would be delighted to pay for, is an expert eye, where if I send someone my final "book", they could look at it before it goes off to the printers and:

Critique it: "I feel like the margins are too X, or the spacing too Y, or the layout design too Z", that kind of thing. I wouldn't want the person to feel like they HAVE to suggest a ton of changes; I would be just as pleased to pay for an expert to go, "I like what you have a lot, no substantive changes needed because XYZ".

Make the changes to my file based on their assessment and as permitted by time - whether that's moving things around in the layout or design, font, etc. If a ton of changes are needed, we can prioritize based on what's possible.

In most cases, I feel like it may be unlikely/unreasonable to ask someone to be available for such a quick engagement on such short notice.

So...do any of you know - or are! - typesetters or book designers who have experience with this, with a good intuitive eye for the balance between aesthetics, readibility, etc? I thought I'd take a chance and ask. Thanks so much

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