Category Archives: Book Printing

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

In this post, I want to discuss why you need a graphic designer who understands printing. This is especially true if you wish to print business cards, book marks, and other marketing materials.

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

In past posts, I mentioned the different printing processes and what each one is used for. I also discuss that today’s digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights.

Now I want to take this a step further to discuss specialty “soft touch” papers and soft touch finishes. These are popular choices for those who want to emulate elegance and sophistication. But they have their limitations.

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

Graphic designers are truly creative people who can take your author business to the next level. They can design stunning business cards, book marks, trade show banners, et cetera, to complement your books. Many of them are recommending soft touch to their clients nowadays. Feel a soft touch business card or presentation folder just once, and you’ll understand why.

But before you hire a graphic designer to help you produce any speciality marketing materials, ask if he or she has a printing background. If not, ask that designer to vet his or her recommendations through a local printer before presenting them to you. It will save you a lot of time having your print jobs quoted and requoted several times over.

Some of these specialty papers/finishes cannot be run through digital printers. They’ll either get jammed or they’ll melt. They can only be printed on an offset press, which means you’ll have to produce large quantities of them. As discussed in an earlier post, offset presses cannot be used for short runs. This is because the set-up cost is far too high to print only a few copies at a reasonable price.

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

It used to be that, whenever a book was published, there was automatically a large quantity of 1,000 or more copies printed. All these books were then stored away in large warehouses by the publisher and/or its distributor(s). Long run printing was done because there was only one type of printer available to publishers back then: offset. An offset printing press is “old-school printing” in that it uses liquid ink, is the most cost-effective option for higher print quantities, and offers better colour control than today’s digital printers do. The downside is that offset presses cannot be used for short runs. This is because the set-up cost is far too high to print only a few copies at a reasonable price.

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

Today’s publishers (and self-publishers) have more choices available to them. If you want to print 1,000+ books straightaway and pay the lowest possible cost per unit, you can still use offset printing. Alternatively, you can choose to print smaller quantities of books using two different digital printing solutions: print-on-demand (POD) and short run printing.

A digital printer is what every business has in its office. These printers use dry toner rather than liquid ink and can run smaller quantities at a cost-effective price. The turnaround time for digital printing tends to be faster than offset. This is not only because of the smaller quantities but also the quicker set-up time for each job.

The difference between the digital printer at your office and one you’ll find at a professional print shop is that the latter offers “bigger, stronger, faster” technology. Also, it is run by trained operators who know exactly which settings to use for each individual print job.

What is print-on-demand (POD) printing?

Ecommerce retailers, such as Amazon, utilize POD and short run digital technologies to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback book in a large warehouse anywhere. Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their site. And they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time. This saves you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone buys ten copies of your book, ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then Amazon will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print-on-demand.”

Related reading:
Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?
Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Print-on-Demand (POD) Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]

Some clients come to PPG wanting us to help them design and publish hardcover books they can also sell online. This is possible. But there are limitations with print-on-demand (POD) books, particularly when it comes to endsheets endpapers endleaves. This feature can only be produced using a traditional offset printing press and manual binding process. In this post, I’ll touch on why this is the case. 

Digital Book Printing Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]: taken from https://www.bookmobile.com/book-production/hardcover-book-printing-know-how-printed-endsheets-and-endpapers/

Digital Book Printing Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]: taken from https://www.bookmobile.com/book-production/hardcover-book-printing-know-how-printed-endsheets-and-endpapers/

As shown above, one side of each folded piece of paper is glued to the insides of the front and back covers. This is what creates endsheets. It is a careful manual binding process that must be completed by a person. As such, it can’t be done by a POD printer. Digital POD printers are designed to mechanically print and bind individual books quickly.

POD Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]

Here’s another POD limitation. As I discussed in a past post regarding book trim sizes, digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights. Because of that, you’re limited to certain book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours if you wish to sell POD books online (which most of us do nowadays). Digital printers simply cannot handle the thicker paper stock that is used to create printed endsheets as illustrated below.

A Possible Solution to Have it Both Ways

When it comes to your book binding options, it is possible to produce a POD case-wrapped hardcover. But you cannot print anything on the inside of POD book covers. Nor can you insert endsheets with a different (thicker) paper stock than the book’s interior pages.

If you wish to have a traditional case-wrapped hardcover book created with printed endsheets inside, you can have this. A traditional printer in your area can print it for you. You just won’t be able to sell it online. You’ll have to sell those books direct. That said, you can also hire one of our graphic designers to produce a second POD version of your book that can be sold online. It will be almost identical to the traditionally-printed book; but the interior paper will be thinner, and there will be no endsheet included. It’s up to you.

Related reading: 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors: Consider This Before Printing Any Books

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Why did my paperback print in a different colour than what I saw on the computer screen?

Why did my paperback print in a different colour than what I saw on the computer screen? Colours are much more complicated than you may realize. How something looks on your computer screen may look completely different in printed format. There are many different reasons why.

Why did my paperback print in a different colour than what I saw on the computer screen?

Why did my paperback print in a different colour than what I saw on the computer screen?

RGB versus CMYK Colours

For starters, RGB (red, green, blue) colours are what you see on your computer screen. They are created using light. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colours are created by mixing inks/toners together in varying percentages.

When you are creating an ebook only, it’s okay to use RGB colours in your design. But if you plan to also print a paperback or hardcover version of your book, you should design it using CMYK colours. Otherwise, your printer may not be able to match the colours you’ve chosen since printers have a smaller colour gamut available than computer screens do.

Coated Paper Versus Uncoated Paper

Yet another thing that can affect the way your colour will appear after it’s printed is paper stock. In fact, the same colour can look completed different when it is printed on coated paper versus uncoated paper. I show examples of this inside 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors: Consider This Before Printing Any Books.

Digital Colour Versus Offset Colour

A digital printer is what every business has in its office. These printers use dry toner rather than liquid ink and can run smaller quantities at a cost-effective price. An offset printing press is “old-school printing” in that it uses liquid ink, is the most cost-effective option for higher print quantities, and generally offers better colour control than today’s digital printers do.

Another thing that can affect how your colour appears in print is the type of printer being used. Digital prints will usually appear more “shiny” and bright whereas offset prints will appear slightly duller. This is because toner is glossy whereas ink is not.

Related reading:
Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

Printers and Publishers: What Their Graphic Designers Will and Won’t Do for You

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



What is a Full Bleed Image?

What is a full bleed image? In printing, the term “bleed” refers the portion of an image that must be trimmed off because it extends past the page’s borders. Here is an example of a full bleed image on a book cover. All four sides of it must be trimmed to fit the page.

This book cover contains a full bleed image on it.

This book cover contains a full bleed image on it.

When you create any page (whether it’s an interior page or a book cover) with a full bleed image, you must leave room for trimming. Most printers will recommend allowing for a 1/4″ (quarter inch) bleed on all sides of the image when designing it. That way, nothing important will be trimmed off by mistake.

Floating Images With (or Without) Borders

Sometimes, you don’t want a full bleed image on the page. Instead, you may prefer that image to “float” in the white space around it. Here is an example of a floating image.

This book cover contains a floating image on it.

This book cover contains a floating image on it.

In this case, there is no need to account for trimming on any part of the image. So long as it is a print-ready file (300 DPI or better), it can be sized to fit the page however you want it to.

Preparing Graphic Files for Your Book

A graphic is defined as any picture, illustration, chart, image, logo, or graph you would like placed either in your book interior or on your book cover.

Colour Graphics

All colour graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format, with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI, using the CMYK colour model.

Black and White Graphics

All black and white graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. For best results, these images should be sent as grayscale/monochrome files. (CMYK colour images will not reproduce as well in black and white as grayscale/monochrome images will.)

What is a Full Bleed Image?

Truly, there is no right or wrong when it comes to using full bleed or floating images for your book. Much of this is subjective and all about personal preference. But keep in mind that printing a book filled with full bleed images will tend to be more expensive. These images use more ink, and there is also more time and labour involved regarding trimming the pages precisely.

Related reading: Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Book Distribution Options for Independent Authors

book distribution optionsbook distribution options

book distribution options

Wondering how to distribute your book to your reader base? That all depends on how and where you publish it. In this post, we’ll look at the book distribution options available to independent authors.

Ebook-only Distribution Options

You may not need to produce a paperback version of your book if you plan to distribute it online only. When you publish an .epub through Kobo, or a .mobi through Amazon, your book will only be available through these companies’ online distribution networks.

In Canada, Kobo is partnered with Chapters Indigo. So, when you publish an .epub through Kobo Writing Life, it will show up on both Kobo and Chapters Indigo websites. Books that are published to Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), on the other hand, will only be available for sale through Amazon’s ecommerce site.

Digital Book Distribution Options

The term “digital book” can refer to ebooks, paperbacks, and even hardcovers. Online worldwide book distributors, such as Amazon and Ingram Content Group, utilize print-on-demand (POD) technology to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback/hardcover book in a large warehouse anywhere.

Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their sites. And they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time. Of course, this saves you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone goes to their site to buy ten copies of your book, then ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then they will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print on demand.” This is a definite pro, isn’t it?

Now here are the cons: digital printers can only handle certain trim sizes and paper weights. This limits you to certain book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours.

Traditional Distribution Options

If you want your books sold on traditional booksellers’ bookshelves, you must play by the peculiar rules set by the traditional book supply chain. And, believe me, peculiar is the best word to describe these old rules.

As well, most “bricks and mortar” booksellers and libraries will only purchase their books through established distributors such as Ingram Content Group. They simply won’t deal with individual authors on anything more than a per-event consignment basis.

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

Related reading: Printers and Publishers: What Their Graphic Designers Will and Won’t Do for You

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



How to Price a Paperback Book

There are two main things you must consider regarding how to price a paperback book: who is printing the book; who is buying the book. These are your hard costs.

How to Price a Paperback Book

How to Price a Paperback Book

Who is Printing Your Paperback Book?

Any books that are printed using print-on-demand (POD) technology will cost more per unit than books that are printed in large quantities on traditional offset presses. As a result, you’ll have a smaller profit margin on POD books.

Still, it’s important to take advantage of POD in this day and age. It allows your customers to buy your books one at a time on ecommerce sites like Amazon. It also allows independent authors to print small quantities of your books at reasonable prices, as selling opportunities arise. For example, one paperback book may cost around $6 per unit to print on demand digitally.

Traditional offset presses are designed to print larger quantities of books at a lower cost per unit. In fact, they can’t print small quantities economically. It may only cost around $2 per unit to produce 1,000 copies of that same book on an offset press. The downside to printing this many copies is that it requires a large upfront investment. You will also have the added cost/hassle of warehousing all your books.

How to Price a Paperback Book: Printing Options

There’s a time and a place to use each type of printer, which is why PPG returns all working files and finished files to our authors. This allows you to choose if/where you’re going to print your book based on who you’re selling it to:

  • Traditional offset printing: best price for 1000+ copies
  • Standard digital printing: best price for 100 to 999 copies
  • Print-on-demand (POD) digital printing: best price for one to 99 copies

It’s always wise to contact a few printers to obtain quotes for 50, 250, 500, and 1000 books. Make your decision from there.

Who is Buying Your Paperback Book?

On that note, authors who wish to sell copies of your books through local retailers, such as book stores, will also have to factor each retailer’s profit share into your final retail price. Retailers/wholesalers buy publishers’ books at steep discounts in order to turn their own profits. They also expect your title to be marked as “returnable” (for a full refund) in case it doesn’t sell. Here are the industry standards for such discounts:

  • Book Wholesalers (i.e. Ingram, Baker & Taylor, libraries): 50-55% discount
  • Book Retailers (i.e. Chapters, McNally Robinson): 40-45% discount

Once your book has been designed and the final trim size, page count, picture count, and interior (black and white/colour) has been determined, a printer will be able to provide you with the cost per unit to print your book. It is best to factor in the highest possible printing cost (POD) along with the highest possible discount (wholesaler) when determining your book’s retail price. For example, if your POD cost per copy is $4.50, then your retail price should be set at $11.99 minimum as shown here:

How to Price a Paperback Book

How to Price a Paperback Book

Again, these costs are only a small part of the equation when determining the price of a paperback book and should only be used to calculate the lowest possible retail price. You should also do a thorough examination of your audience and what they value most.

Related reading: How to Price an Ebook: A Guide for Independent Authors

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

When it comes to your book binding options, you have a few choices: paperbacks, case-wrapped hardcovers (cloth or laminate), or dust-jacketed hardcovers. The below pictures illustrate the differences between them.

Book Binding Option #1: Paperback (Perfect Bound)

paperback

paperback book binding

Last year, PPG had the privilege of publishing the above paperback for a Canadian CFL Champion: Smoke and Mirrors: Life in the CFL with Richie Hall. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but this book has a standard 6″ x 9″ trim size.

Here’s an interesting video that shows you the difference between a perfect bound book and a saddle-stitched book: https://vimeo.com/61195060. Generally, the only time an author would choose saddle-stitching over perfect binding would be if your page count is too low to be able to glue the edge (e.g., from only four to 48 pages). In that case, printers fold the sheets in half and staple them in the centre, instead.

Book Binding Option #2: Case-wrapped Hardcover (Laminate)

case-wrapped laminate hardcover

case-wrapped laminate hardcover book blinding

Above is the best picture I could find of this children’s book PPG published for Denise Geremia back in 2013 titled The Pouty Puppy. Oftentimes, you’ll find children’s books are published as case-wrapped laminate hardcovers like this one. Because it’s more durable and easier to handle for children. Like Richie Hall’s book above, but this book has a standard 6″ x 9″ trim size.

Book Binding Option #3: Dust-jacketed Hardcover (Cloth)

case-wrapped cloth hardcover with dust jacket and paperback

case-wrapped cloth hardcover with dust jacket and paperback book bindings

PPG published the above centennial celebration book back in 2012: 100 Years of Memories: Celebrating Strathmore’s Centennial. As you can see, we did two different versions for this client: a case-wrapped cloth hardcover with a dust jacket; and a paperback. The paperback version was sold online. They are selling the case-wrapped cloth hardcover as a limited-edition book directly from their town hall. (Typically, if you want a dust-jacket around your book, the book itself will be a cloth hardcover as shown above.) Both versions of this book have a special 8.5″ x 8.5″ trim size.

Related reading:
Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?
Print-on-Demand (POD) Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?

book trim sizes

book trim sizes

When it comes to book trim sizes, there are a few standards: 5″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, and 6″ x 9″. These measurements relate to the width and height of your front and back covers in inches, as shown on the illustration to the right. This book has a 5″ x 8″ trim size.

Browse any bookstore, and you’ll see there are all kinds of different shapes and sizes of books to be found. Some of these books use a thick, glossy paper for their interior pages. Others use a thinner uncoated stock. In the traditional (trade) publishing world of corporate publishers with big budgets, they can afford to print large quantites of books on offset printing presses. This enables them to use any paper stock they want to use for their book covers and interiors. And if they want a uniquely-shaped book that stands out from the rest, they can pay to have special die cuts created to achieve that result.

As I discuss inside 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors, today’s publishers (self-publishers) have more choices than we had when I started my publishing career 25 years ago. If you want to print 1,000+ books straightaway and pay the lowest possible cost per unit, you can still use offset printing. Alternatively, you can choose to print smaller quantities of books using two different digital printing solutions: print-on-demand (POD) and short run printing.

The Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand (POD) Printing

Online worldwide book distributors, such as Amazon and Ingram Content Group, utilize POD and short run digital technologies to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback/hardcover book in a large warehouse anywhere. Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their sites; and they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time, saving you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone goes to their site to buy ten copies of your book, then ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then they will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print on demand.” This is a definite pro, isn’t it?

Now here are the cons: digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights. Because of that, you’re limited to the following book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours if you wish to sell your books online (which most of us do nowadays). The below specs come from Ingram Content Group’s Lightning Source® division.

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With B/W Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5 x 8 203 x 127 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.06 x 7.81 198 x 129 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
5.25 x 8 203 x 133 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
5.83 x 8.27 210 x 148 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
6 x 9 229 x 152 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1200 white small
jacketed 18 – 1200 white small
6.69 x 9.61 244 x 170 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.44 x 9.69 246 x 189 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.50 x 9.25 235 x 191 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7 x 10 254 x 178 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white large
8 x 10 254 x 203 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.25 x 11 280 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.268 x 11.693 (A4) 297 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.5 x 11
(A4)
280 x 216 perfect (paperback)
case laminate (hardcover)
18 – 1200
18 – 1200
white
white
large
large

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With Colour Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white small
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white small
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white small
jacketed 24 – 480 white small
6 x 9 229 x 152 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
7 X 10 254 X 178 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8 X 10 254 X 203 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8.5 x 8.5 216 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
8.5 x 11 280 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large

Related reading: The Elements of a Professional Book Cover 

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers? Because it takes a true specialist to understand and follow each printer’s unique file creation guide.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers?

What is a file creation guide?

For independent (“indie”) authors who wish to produce ebooks alone, things are pretty simple. You can write your book using Microsoft Word and create a simple but attractive book cover using Canva or Amazon.

It’s when you want to create a paperback or hardcover book that things get tricky, particularly if you want that book sold in traditional bookstores. In this case, you’ll need to use a company like IngramSpark® or Lightning Source® (both Ingram Content Group subsidiaries) as your printer/distributor. They each have specific requirements regarding how your cover and interior book files should be designed. These detailed instructions are listed in multi-page file creation guides. And, unless you’re familiar with how to use Adobe Creative Suite or similar programs, you probably won’t be able to understand or follow those instructions. But a professional graphic designer will.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Perhaps the most important reason independent authors need graphic designers is for their knowledge of colours. Believe it or not, colours are much more complicated than you may realize. How something looks on your computer screen may look completely different in printed format. There are many different reasons why.

For starters, RGB (red, green, blue) colours are what you see on your computer screen. They are created using light. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colours, on the other hand, are created by mixing inks/toners together in varying percentages.

When you are creating an ebook only, it’s okay to use RGB colours in your design. But if you plan to print a paperback or hardcover version of your book, you should design it using CMYK colours. Otherwise, your printer may not be able to match the colours you’ve chosen since printers have a smaller colour gamut available than computer screens do.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the specialized knowledge graphic designers have to offer. You can (and should) provide a draft layout of your book’s cover and interior so your designer knows upfront what you’re looking for. But let him or her do the rest. It will be well worth it, I promise.

PPG’s Graphic Design Process

Once your manuscript is edited, it will be given to a professional graphic designer. He or she will work hard to complete a professional design of both your book cover and interior within the agreed-upon project timeline/deadline.

The design component of your PPG publishing package includes:

  • two sample cover designs and two sample interior designs for you to choose one each from (before any full proofs are completed and sent out)
  • one colour cover with either a b/w or colour interior (plus up to 10 interior graphics automatically included in each graphic design package)
  • a half hour phone consultation with the graphic designer (if needed)
  • two proofing rounds (two .PDF proofs of each component) with up to five structural changes to the cover and up to 50 typographical changes to the interior allowed per round
  • one hard proof (physical book) for final proofreading

If you need more than the standard two .PDF proofing rounds and one hard proof, you can purchase these items separately. Keep in mind that doing so will extend your book publishing timeline and also increase your costs.

While you wait to see your first design samples, I recommend you click on these two links to read more about book cover and interior design: The Elements of a Professional Book Cover and The Elements of a Professional Book Interior.

Related reading: 3 Reasons Graphic Designers Should Never Edit Books

Related reading: Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

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