Hi! This is the Official Website of

Istvan Szabo

Book Formatter, Graphic Designer, Author, and Stock Photographer


My name is Istvan Szabo, and I live in Budapest, Hungary. I’m the owner of Sapphire Guardian International, which provides professional print and digital book formatting, and book cover design, and I’m also one of Fiverr's Top Rated Sellers with over 3520 5-star reviews.

Until January 2023, I worked on over 2774 titles and designed over 270 covers. I had the pleasure to work with over a thousand clients from seventy-two countries, many great organizations and companies inclusive, such as the United Nations, the CDC, ASM Maritime, McConnells Irish Whiskey, EasyCare, Destinée Media, Endurance Leadership, and many more who have sought help in their book and print related projects. I'm the author of White Knight's Guide on Writing Books where I summarized my decade-long experience as a typesetter to give professional advice to beginner and pro authors alike. I'm also a professional graphic artist, award-winning screenwriter and director, and stock photographer for Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Depositphotos.

In my free time, I like to take long trips with my family and friends and cruise for hours in my young timer sports car. As an avid sportsman, I'm a frequent participant of the Air Force Marathons (7 races), Conqueror Challenges (13 challenges), and other long-distance running events to compete in 10k to half marathon distances, the latter of which I have completed twice. I'm also a trained kickboxer, foil fencer, and licensed PADI open water scuba diver, who also loves sailing, indoor skydiving, sharpshooting, and photography. But most importantly I'm the proud dad of baby Christopher and loving husband of Barbara.

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What I Do

Book Typesetting

I help with print and eBook formatting for all platforms to get your book available for buyers in a couple of days and give your readers a pleasurable and unrivaled reading experience.

Turnaround: 2-5 days.

Cover Extension/Design

I extend existing front cover designs for print or if needed, I help to visualize your unique design into a clean, eye-catching, and professional book cover that will perfectly suit your book.

Turnaround (Extension): 2-4 days.

Turnaround (Design): 3-7 days.

Modifying PDF Files

I modify and edit PDF files, convert them to Doc format, clean up scanned materials, and if needed, I add fillable forms to suit your PDF file for your own or your client's interactive needs.

Turnaround: 1-4 days.


If you have general questions about formatting and releasing your book, please check my guidebook on Amazon which usually answers all the questions in detail that my clients used to have. If you have special requests, please contact me.

Special Note: I don't offer consultancy in marketing and promotions.

Service Fees

Text Books

(per format)

Available formats: Print-ready PDF, Kindle KPF, EPub, Downloadable PDF

Standard Text Books

Every 2000 words: 5 USD

Image Formatting*: 1 USD/image

Image Insertion*: 1 USD/image

Tablet Formatting**: 1 USD/tablet

Upload to Printer: Contact me

Source Files (DocX): Free

Poetry and Recipe Books

Depends on the content. Please contact me first.

Special Note: All textbook project files must be provided in Doc or Docx formats. Editable PDFs are also welcomed, though it may make the formatting harder, scanned PDFs are not possible to work with. All image files should be provided in 300dpi, JPG, or PNG. I do not work with InDesign and INDD files. If you work with Mac Pages, please let me know.

*Already inserted images provided by the client. I don't provide stock images for the content.

**Already made tablets provided by the client. If you'd like me to create the tablets, please contact me for a custom offer.

Always contact me before making any orders to discuss your project in detail. Upfront Payment via PayPal or Wise. Delivery via Dropbox.

Children/Image Books

(per format)

Available formats: Print-ready PDF, Kindle KPF, EPub, Downloadable PDF

Every 2 Pages: 5 USD

Text Insertion: 5 USD / 2 pages

Upload to Printer: Contact me

Source Files (PSD): Free

Special Note: The client must provide all image materials. I don't draw children's books, and I don't take photos for your book projects. All image files should be provided in 300dpi, JPG, or PNG. Text files must be provided in Doc, DocX, or PDF formats.

Always contact me before making any orders to discuss your project in detail. Upfront Payment via PayPal or Wise. Delivery via Dropbox.

Cover Design/Extension

For Already Designed Front Covers

Back Cover/Spine Design: 30 USD

Hardcover Jacket Flaps: 10 USD

Resizing: Contact me

Paperback to Hardcover: Contact me

Upload to Printer: Contact me

Audio Cover: 15 USD

3D Mock Up: 15 USD

Source Files (PSD): Free

Cover Design from Scratch

(Client must provide the image materials and back cover text)

Depends on the design. Please contact me first.

Special Note: All cover files should be provided in 300dpi, JPG, PNG, or PDF. Text files for back page text must be provided in Doc, DocX, or PDF formats. Please also provide the ISBN Number (For Ingram covers it's mandatory).

Always contact me before making any orders to discuss your project in detail. Upfront Payment via PayPal or Wise. Delivery via Dropbox.

Modifying PDF Files

Modifying Content*: 5 USD / 2 pages

Image Insertion**: 1 USD/image

Fillable Forms: $1-10 / page

Creating Hyperlinks: $5 / document

Additional Requests: Contact me

Special Note: The PDF must be provided in an editable format. Please contact me if you would like to modify scanned documents.

Be advised: I don't modify invoices and other legal documents as that is forgery and is violating the law.

*As every PDF is different, I always suggest to contact me first, so I can check that the modification is possible with your PDF.

**The client must provide all image materials. I don't provide stock images for the content.

Always contact me before making any orders to discuss your project in detail. Upfront Payment via PayPal or Wise. Delivery via Dropbox.

  • Important Milestones in My Life

  • Summer Works - My First Typesetting and Graphic Jobs

    June 1995 - July 2001

    During the summer vacations of high school and college, I worked many times at various companies, including day shifts in a commercial graphic arts company, night shifts in a newspaper printing company, and I took countless freelance jobs to create the typesetting of corporation newsletters and leaflets. During these times I also worked in a McDonald's making sandwiches and cleaning windows, I was a heavy loader in a furniture store, and a ticket taker at a movie theater. These jobs taught me how to work hard. So I thought I would mention them here as I also loved these jobs, I had a great time, and they shaped me in one way or another. Everyone started somewhere, right?

  • Generali Insurance Solutions - Insurance Agent

    July 2001 - January 2003

    I started to learn the art of negotiation as an insurance agent for Generali Insurance Solutions, I was trained and specialized in foreign customers, diplomats and ambassadors, and dealing with their needs.

  • Digital Reality - Scriptwriter and Book Formatter

    January 2003 - December 2006

    This is where and when my true writer and book typesetter career began. I became the writer and co-writer of two computer games, War on Terror and Warfront: Turning Point, and typesetter of their manuals. I also had a few additional credits in these projects, such as game designer and game tester, and on many occasions, I wrote the marketing materials.

  • Tourist Street Vendor

    December 2006 - December 2007

    Taking a year-long break from the corporate atmosphere and 36-hour long crunch times, I become a tourist street vendor in Budapest's most prominent Castle Hill District, where beyond meeting interesting people from all around the world and polishing my negotiating skills, I also had time for practicing foreign languages, to write stories and draw arts.

  • Freelance Screenwriter, Director, Typesetter and Graphic Artist

    August 2007 - July 2014

    I turned freelance and participated in various domestic and international projects, including my short movie project, 15 Minutes of Fame which achieved 3rd place at the UPC-AXN Film Festival 2007. All of the projects helped me to gather more experience and polish my skills and get to know many great people in the industry. During these years I also self-published a few stories.

  • CECOP Group - Graphic Artist and Marketing Material Writer

    January 2008 - December 2008

    While I was freelance, I was hired by the CECOP Group based in Madrid, Spain to be their graphic artist and write their marketing materials. During my stay in Madrid, I was personally mentored by the CEO and founder Jorge Rubio.

  • Police Academy

    2009 March

    I took a detour in my career when I applied to the Hungarian Police Department to be a police officer.

  • Fiverr - Book Formatter, Graphic Artist and Consultant

    December 2013 - Present

    At the end of 2013, I joined Fiverr's marketplace to offer my services to international clients and help both beginner and pro authors to publish their books.

  • Sapphire Guardian - Founder

    July 2014 - Present

    Parallel to working on Fiverr, I founded Sapphire Guardian, which is the homepage for all of my services.

  • Police Department - Hungarian/English Interpreter

    2014 August - 2017 December

    I became the interpreter for one of the homicide detectives of the Hungarian Police Department. During this time I also cooperated with various domestic agencies. The experiences from these years, especially with one of the kidnapping cases, sharpened my negotiating and observational skills. In 2017 the National Bureau of Investigation where my partner was promoted, offered me the position of recovery special agent, but I declined the offer indefinitely.

  • White Knight's Guide on Writing Books - Author

    March 2020

    To summarize the decade-long experience I have gathered as a typesetter and graphic artist, I wrote this guidebook to help beginner and pro authors alike with some insider tips.

  • AdobeStock, Shutterstock, DepositPhotos - Stock Photographer

    April 2020 - Present

    During the Covid lockdown, I tried to find another passion and photography became my new hobby. Most of my early stock photos were taken during outdoor trips that I made with my wife during the lockdowns.

  • Notable Achievements, Classes and Awards

  • David Freeman's Beyond Structure Master Class

    September 2005

    I attended and completed the Premiere Screenwriting and Script Development Master Class of David Freeman, the Executive Vice President of 20th Century Fox Television, in London, United Kingdom.

  • UPC-AXN Film Festival 2007 3rd Place - 15 Minutes of Fame

    October 2007

    My short movie 15 Minutes of Fame, where I was one of the producers, the director, and the scriptwriter, placed 3rd at the UPC-AXN Film Festival and was the personal favorite of one of the jury members, the producer of Total Recall, Die Hard 3, Terminator 3 & 4, the Rambo Series, Air America, Jacob's Ladder and many other great movies. Andy Vajna later became Government Commissioner in charge of the Hungarian film industry.

  • The Psychological and Criminological Aspects of Lying

    May 2019

    I took the Master Class of the famous Homicide Detective, Lt. Colonel (Ret) Peter Doszpot.

  • PADI Open Water Diver License

    July 2019

    I successfully finished the OWD (Open Water Diver) exam in Neufelder See, Austria, and became a qualified and licensed light scuba diver.

  • Reader's Favorite - White Knight's Guide on Writing Books

    March 2020

    White Knight's Guide received a 5-star review on the prominent Reader's Favorite website.

  • My first non-stop half marathon

    May 2020

    I ran my first non-stop half marathon, 13.1 miles/21.0975 km, in 2 hours 19 minutes 28 seconds. I completed this distance once again in May 2022, albeit a bit differently; 11.51km run, then 9.68km stroller push (12kg stroller + 9.5kg baby payload) = 21.19km.

  • Fiverr - Top Rated Seller

    October 2020

    After years of hard work Fiverr promoted me to the level of Top Rated Seller.

  • Various Master Class Courses

    February 2021 - July 2021

    During the Covid lockdowns, I took several Master Class courses to sharpen my skills, including the classes of David Baldacci, James Patterson, David Lynch, Neil Gaiman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Joyce Carol Oates and F.B.I. Negotiator (Ret) Chris Voss.

  • Fiverr Learn

    March 2021 - Present

    I finished the Fiverr Learn's Master Class courses of Oren Ben Ami's Online Freelancing Essentials, Jon Youshaei's Stories That Sell, Marjorie Asturias' Build a Professional Website with WordPress, and Andrea Holland's PR Mistakes to Avoid.

  • Air Force Marathon: History and Heritage Running Series

    May 2021 - Present

    I participated in five Air Force Marathons: History and Heritage running competitions (2021 Nighthawk run: 41st, 2021 Flying Fortress run: 51st, 2021 Valkyrie run: 23rd, 2022 Sabre run: 10th, 2022 Skytrain run with 12kg stroller + 13kg baby payload: 25th) and the 25th, and 26th Air Force Marathon competitions (Place: 152nd, 55th), all 10k distances, representing my country as the only Hungarian long-distance runner in these races. My best result was 10th place in the History and Heritage 2022 September "Sabre" run. I will represent my country in the 27th Air Force Marathon, once again in 10k, which will be in September 2023.

  • Fiverr - 3000th 5-Star Review

    June 2021

    Eight years after I started working on Fiverr my services received their 3000th 5-star rating on the site.

  • Fiverr Business

    April 2022

    My services were promoted to Fiverr Business, a subsidiary of Fiverr.

  • Special Book Project for the United Nations

    July 2022

    I was honored to work for the United Nations Office at Geneva on a very special and unique book project.

  • AncestryDNA and MyTrueAncestry Analysis

    November 2022

    According to AncestryDNA and MyTrueAncestry, I’m a descendant of two warrior nations, Hungarian Scythians (Genetic Distance: 4.025) and Pannonian Ostrogoths of the Roman Empire (Genetic Distance: 3.155), and among my ancient relatives are King Ladislaus I of Hungary, also known as Saint Ladislas (Genetic Distance: 12.153, Total Shared SNPs: 1374/229.23cM), King Bela III of the Arpad Dynasty (Genetic Distance: 14.897, Total Shared SNPs: 651/68.65cM), and the sorcerer/demon hunter Gleb Svyatoslavich, the Prince of Novgorod of the Rurik Dynasty (Genetic Distance: 7.2618, Total Shared SNPs: 252/15.47cM). I also have some DNA differences commonly found in elite endurance athletes.

My Books

  • Corporate Testimonials

  • "No question - it was a huge work in a record time. You did so beautiful! I would have never managed. I am very grateful to you. And I am so happy that it is done. It was unresolvable challenge for me, and you really made a miracle and brought it to life! Thank you for that!"
    — Mme. Evelina Rioukhina, United Nations, Switzerland

  • "Because Istvan is good at his job, he is always my end of the road and my last bus stop. Thank you."
    — Chigbo Ugwuoke, Institute for Career & Character Development, Nigeria

  • "Always does excellent work. His work keeps me coming back to get more jobs done. I highly recommend him."
    — Will Cravens, Endurance Leadership, United States of America

  • "Istvan has now formatted six books for me, several with many internal illustrations. He does quality work, is very fast, and he is responsive to any changes requested."
    — Ellis Potter, Destinée Media, Switzerland

  • "Near perfection. Istvan is always at the top of his game. Always delivers quality work fast. He possesses a superior intellect and, therefore, communicates beautifully. Istvan is a problem solver who I highly recommend!"
    — John Stephen Mauldin, Hardcastle Publishing, United States of America

  • "I trust Istvan one hundred percent. He has formatted many of my books and I can't say enough good things about him. The best of the best."
    — George Thomas, Fortress of the Mind Publications, United States of America

  • "First rate advice on best management practices for Amazon publishing and accurate, attractive, and prompt page layout service. Will hire again."
    — Michael E. Fraidenburg, The Cooperation Company, United States of America

  • "Istvan did the interior layout of our book. He delivered the quality one would expect from a major publishing house in New York or London."
    — Wayne & Tamara Mitchell, Third Ghost Press, United States of America

  • "A true pro. Have worked with him for years."
    — Andrea Olson, The Tiny World Company, United States of America

  • "Awesome working with Istvan. He came through and helped us meet a tough deadline while continuing to deliver an outstanding design. Top notch!"
    — Kathy Meis, Bublish Inc., United States of America

  • "Look no further for book formatting help! He's the best."
    — Iver Marjerison, FoodFlow Publications, United States of America

  • "It is always a pleasure to work with Istvan. This piece is part of a much larger project that I am confident will be completed to my satisfaction."
    — Laurie Weiss, Ph.D, Empowerment Systems Books, United States of America

  • "Fast perfection. Istvan can always get whatever I need done."
    — River Frost, Ballads and Bards Bookhouse, Australia

  • "He really cares to get it right. I have worked with him three times now and will continue. He is easy and helpful. I am particular and appreciate the support in a difficult process."
    — Marilyn Shannon, ReEnchant Planet Earth Publishing, United States of America

  • Indie Author Testimonials

  • "A patient professional who is focused, dedicated, and proficient! I would not use any other formatter. I was lucky to find him early in my Indie career."
    — Gwendolyn Cahill, United States of America

  • "Book cover design, layout, and formatting are done quickly and perfectly. You are a fantastic contractor. This is the 6th book you have done for our publishing company. Congratulations!"
    — Patrick Selvey, Kenya

  • "Fantastic! Istvan is highly recommended!"
    — Alfredo de Braganza, Spain

  • "Working with Istvan has always been an awesome experience. He's helped me so many times I've lost count! Thank you."
    — Fez McLeod, Canada

  • "Istvan is a real professional, he again delivered perfect and timely work, so giving the final touch to my new book."
    — Isidora D'Anna, Italy

  • "Wow what can I say? Istvan goes above and beyond to get things just right. I lost count of the revisions I gave him. Small things but things that were important to me."
    — Lynette Lovell, Barbados

  • "Fantastic work! It’s really admirable how you always see projects through from conception to completion."
    — Lyle Johnson, United States of America

  • "Couldn't be happier with his work. Excellent in every regard. Highly recommend."
    — A.N. Odette, Ireland

  • "Istvan is a true professional and was recommended to me by two of his former clients. He's fast, responsive, and thorough."
    — Georgeie Reynolds, United States of America

  • "Istvan delivers high-quality product fast. He's hardworking and understanding. I highly recommend him."
    — Lina Vine, Germany

  • "Istvan is exceptionally professional and reliable. It is a pleasure to work with him on projects."
    — Van Argan, United States of America

  • "Always fast and professional, and goes well above-and-beyond to make sure our work looks fantastic."
    — Avalon Robinson, United States of America

  • "Pleasant and Professional. Qualities that makes for a great finished product and building trust per the client-customer relationship."
    — Omolara Makini, United States of America

  • "Always excellent work. Formatting is perfect job and all accepted. Thanks so much."
    — Mark E. Wilkins, Ph.D, Philippines

  • "Super friendly, and very helpful."
    — Brien Feathers, Mongolia

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