Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Process of Book Printing Gives Literary Life

Your book baby is now bound and ready for your readers - heavenly!! Ebooks are cool and all, but print books are simply hot off the press, hot! 

I know I'm preaching to the author-choir here, but anyone who has ever published a print version of a book knows the thrill of it, and the vast particulars involved. It's important to get a number of quotes from different printers, and consider many factors when deciding which company to use. I've ordered from out-of-state printers, and local as well, and through the years, after hits and misses, I've been more than satisfied in using one reliable publisher who lives up to his commitments, and who is focused on quality while offering reasonable prices. Stick with what works.

Before you get the quotes, have a typesetter create a PDF file of your interior (they'll want to know the size of your book), and a cover designer create a PDF of your cover layout. Your cover designer will need the size of the book as well, along with the exact number of typeset pages so that he/she can set the spine width.

When obtaining quotes, you must determine:
  • The size of your book - for example, will it be 5.25 x 8 (a very common size for novels), 5.5 x 8.5 (also popular), 6 x 9 (was popular years ago for paperback, and is coming back - a lot of hard back novels are 6 x 9). My Oct. 2016 paperback book will be 6 x 9
  • Matte or glossy cover
  • Perfect bound (which is a spine process using adhesive binding - there's also coil, saddle-stitch, etc., but most paperback novels are perfect bound - hard cover can be case bound) 
  • You must know the exact number of typeset pages (always an even number)
  • C1S relates to the cover (glossy on one side) or C2S (glossy on both sides)
  • 10 pt. refers to the stock of paper used for the cover (or 11 pt., 14 pt., the higher the point, the thicker the paper)
  • Know the interior paper you want (white or creme - I ask for creme 60 lb. natural paper - some use 100 lb.) - text stock weight is described in pounds because the higher the weight, the thicker the paper - most non-fiction is white, most fiction is creme)
  • Tell them if you have only black and white text or if there are color photos/graphs
  • Provide your mailing zip code so that you can get a shipping estimate upfront, and there won't be shipping cost surprises later
  • Always ask for a proof copy before approving the final order.
Most companies have a quote form you can fill out. Also, consider ordering galley/uncorrected proof copies so you can get advance reviews (they are not cheap).

For detailed information on printing, pick up The Self-Publishing Manual by the late, great Dan Poynter, who was my publishing guru when I self-published my first book in 2000. Most authors have read his works, and there is much respect for him as he usually made himself available via telephone. Here is a Smashwords interview he did a while back. They also mention his unfortunate passing in 2015 - Smashwords - Dan Poynter

By the way, request a tour of a local printing company to see how things work, and also, sign up for the free publishing webinars offered through BookLogix, a printing company in Atlanta. Booklogix Web Events - webinars on Book Publishing, Book Marketing, Book Selling, etc. (I have never hired BookLogix for printing so I can't vouch for them).

The process of book production is indeed involved, and it takes time and patience, but it can be fun. So get those books written and if you decide to, printed. Once you open the boxes that arrive with your printed babies, there's nothing like the feeling of holding a book in your creative hands . . . books that you gave literary life to!! Well, almost nothing, lol!

Happy Writing, and Happy Publishing!


Jewel Amethyst said...

Wow! Information I can use. I have never self published a book. The closest I've come is going into a partnership with a small publisher. But who knows what the future holds? I may down the line consider self publishing several of my manuscripts near and dear to my heart but not what other publishers seem to care about. Thanks Marissa for that timely lesson.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hello Jewel, if it ever comes to that point and you need anything, please reach out. You are so very welcomed!!

Liane Spicer said...

Very informative post. I've used CreateSpace which simplifies the process somewhat. What I like about using them is that they are POD--print on demand--so they print only when orders come in, and I can order author copies at a deep discount on the retail price. That said, over the past year I've worked on moving away on a dependence on Amazon's systems, so I might look into alternatives to CS in the future.

Liane Spicer said...

...moving away ::from:: a dependence...