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Print Book Parameters

“I’m loading my print book to CreateSpace/IngramSpark. Uh… what does all this stuff mean?”

The first time you load your print book files to a printer’s website can be daunting; all that publishing jargon. Here’s a guide to what the terms means and the standard choices for self-published works.

Trade vs Mass Market

The usual paperback novel is released in mass-market format, approximately 4″ x 6.5″ with newsprint pages. The majority of self-published works are released in trade paperback, a larger size with higher quality paper.

Trim Size

The finished size of your trade paperback book. There are a number of standard sizes, 6″ x 9″ being the most common. Your Friendly Formatter prefers the slightly smaller size of 5.5″ x 8.5″ that fits more easily into shelves, purses, and backpacks. When printing a book, the edges of the pages don’t always line up perfectly so the book comes off the printing press a bit bigger and then trimmed to size, nice and neat. The pages of your book should be exactly the same size.

Interior Colour and Paper

There are two elements here, the colour of the content (text, pictures) and the colour of the paper. After selecting the colour of the content, a few more items will pop open. These are for the colour of the paper.

Colour

The standard is black and white. Children’s illustrated books and coffee table books will be full colour. Your formatter should have given you a black and white pdf with all images in grayscale.

Paper

White paper is standard. It’s thinner paper, so it’s less expensive to print and ship. Cream paper is thicker, more expensive to print and ship, and can sometimes be a little too yellow. Your cover designer calculated the spine width based on the chosen thickness.

Bleed

When an image goes to the very edge of a page like in a picture book, the image is said to bleed. If your book has page margins, you do not have bleed.

Binding Type

This refers to how the pages are put together. Perfect bound (the standard) is glued together. Saddle stitching puts staples down the centre of a slender book of less than 48 pages; this is sometimes called a chapbook.

Laminate Type

Choose either glossy or matte. Glossy produces better colour with photographic images. Matte has a silky feel.

Page Count

The number of pages as shown in the PDF viewer, including both sides of the paper. Must be an even number.

Pricing

For information on pricing your print book, see Pricing Your Print Book.

Proof Copy

Always request a physical proof. You never know what could go wonky. I’ve seen wrong sized books, chapter headings the turned into boxes, fonts gone AWOL; you just can’t predict it and, should it ever come to an argument, you have proof that the book is yours and it was done correctly.

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How to Preview Your Print Book

“I’m looking at the pdf of my print book and there are these random blank pages in the front and back… why?”

Some pages in professionally designed print book are placed on the right-hand page of the standard two-page layout: title page, dedication, acknowledgments, the start of the table of contents and the first pages of the epilogue, chapter one, author bio, book excerpts. Blank pages are inserted to ensure correct placement.

“But it still weird looking at a book one page at a time. It just doesn’t feel like a print book.”

Why not try looking at your book as if it was already printed—in two-page layout? To get there, with your book open in Adobe Acrobat, three clicks will do the job as shown in the screen shot. Because I have a big display, I also click on the negative sign to shrink the image a bit.

Now your pdf looks like a real print book. 🙂

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Pricing Your Print Book

“My cover designer wants to know my list price for the bar code. Where the heck do I get that price from?”

The Cast

Before we begin, there’s a cast of characters for you to meet.

The Author/Publisher: that’s you.

The Printer/Distributor: companies like CreateSpace, IngramSpark and many others.

The Retailer: bookstore and libraries.

The Reader: the end consumer of your books. Continue Reading »

One More DIY Editing Tool: Hard Copy

Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.netNothing beats the benefit of a good editor to point out plot holes, sagging middles and blurry character development. I wouldn’t publish without one.

I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript, Word proofing options and fabulous websites and the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Read Out Loud function.

Another favourite tool isn’t electronic. It’s a print copy of my manuscript. I carry around and mark it up and pass to a trusted friend or two. Plus, it’s so good to get away from my desk.

Continue Reading »

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My #3 Favourite DIY Editing Tool: Acrobat Read Out Loud

Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.netNothing beats the benefit of a good editor to point out plot holes, sagging middles and blurry character development. I wouldn’t publish without one.

But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript. I’ve already talking about Word proofing options and fabulous websites.

My third favourite is using the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Read Out Loud function on my computer. Continue Reading »

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My #2 Favourite DIY Editing Tool: Websites

Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.netFor pointing out gaping plot holes, sagging middles and uneven character development, nothing beats the eagle eyes of a good editor. I wouldn’t publish without one.

But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript. My top fave is Word proofing options which I discussed in my last post.

My second favourite is a collection of many things; all the fabulous websites out there created to guide writers. Continue Reading »

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My #1 Favourite DIY Editing Tool: Word Proofing Options

Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.netFor pointing out gaping plot holes, sagging middles and uneven character development, nothing beats the eagle eyes of a good editor. I wouldn’t publish without one.

But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript.

This post takes a closer look at what Word has to offer.

Word Proofing Options

Word has a wide array of proofing options grouped under AutoCorrect, spelling and grammar checking, and writing style options. Continue Reading »