A) What size,
B) What binding,
C) How many pages,
D) Are there oversize foldout pages and how many,
E) Are pages printed on both sides of each sheet of paper,
F) How many pages are in color and/or black-white,
G) What is your paper preference, and
H) What are the typical quantities that may be ordered at any one time?
We can provide multiple quantity pricing once we've confirmed your book's format, size and page count. Often, discussion leads authors to re-think their original concepts to ensure cost effectiveness and 'marketability.' After we've confirmed your page count, format and binding - price quotes are all inclusive and totally straightforward. Where required by law, we collect and remit your State taxes for you. All Invoices are fully itemized, as Shipping is un-taxable in most locations.
2) What type of contract do I have to sign? None. We have zero interest in the "rights" to your work, have no say in your selling prices and in no way constrain your profits. As a commercial printing company our primary concern is producing the quantity of books you want in a timely fashion, honoring our quoted prices and accepting total responsibility for production quality (pre-press, printing and bindery services). Additional services provided upon request, such as referring authors to other sources for expert opinions and information, are done solely to enhance the knowledge, expertise and success of our customers.
3) Are there any limits upon the content you will print? Yes. Because our goal is to help self publishers who are having difficulty securing agents and getting contracts with major publishing hosuses, we have eliminated all the typical costs and pitfalls associated with subsidy and vanity publishing to enable socially responsible content to reach the marketplace. But, we retain the right to refuse to produce what we deem socially objectionable, irresponsible or malicious content of any kind. While respectful of all points of view, we choose to support the dissemination of 'content' which educates, entertains and enlightens readers.
4) What type of "Set Up" or "Composition Charges" will I incur? None, provided you don't request us to make extensive revisions to your copy. We advise you very carefully proofread your manuscript and send us as "complete and fully accurate" a copy as possible; in both digital and hard copy formats. At the point where you are engaging us, your writing and editing should be complete. When you receive a complimentary, fully bound proof of your book, it's typical to find a few minor changes you'd like to make. We accommodate reasonable revisions of proof without charge, provided they're not continual and don't result in a series of revisions to a series of proofs. We simply don't have the time to provide "text editing" services on the fly, and using us to make revisions that you can accomplish is a cost you should avoid. In an extreme scenario where you simply cannot make revisions to a proof, we may charge for manuscript repair with prior notification and your approval, but we prefer you make all final revisions directly upon our complimentary, first "bound proof" and return it along with a correct copy of your revised digital files (in which case there will be no charge to make reasonable and customary revisions and no charge to provide you a second, final, bound proof copy to confirm your final edits have been correctly incorporated).
5) If I'm scanning artwork or photos to include, what's the minimum resolution (or DPI) to use?
Presuming your book is to be digitally printed, we suggest you use a minimum of 300 DPI (or "dots per inch''). We scan at 2400 DPI, but current digital printing technology yields finished images at "600 DPI." If your book is being lithographed, the same general advice applies: provide us with the highest possible resolution you can achieve. The better your input, the 'crisper' and better your graphics will appear. If you don't have access to high resolution scanning technology, we suggest you send original photos and graphics to be scanned here, and they will be promptly returned. Provided you do not require us to make extensive image adjustments in addition to scanning, there will be no charge for our scanning services.
6) What's the easiest and "best" way to submit my book? Being in the service business, our job is to simplify. Because many authors work in Word, Word Perfect, or InDesign, many use Adobe Acrobat to convert their final files into "pdf's" and automatically imbed all fonts and graphics. Many advanced self-publishers like to convert their text files into software like InDesign. This gives them expert control over margins, layout and graphics, and they find it easier to manage cover artwork. InDesign files can also be converted to "pdf's" which are easy to email or FTP. InDesign is one of our preferred softwares, and we work with those files as easily as pdf's.
Two useful tips:
A) Very large files sometimes will not email. We-provide complimentary FTP service and file upload utilities making it easy and extremely fast to send huge files online).
B) If you're creating a book with extensive Footnoting, you may find that converting your text file from Word or Word Perfect to In Design "blows up the file." As a rule of thumb, it is generally easier to imbed the Footnotes after converting your text to InDesign.
7) What can I do to ensure quick and accurate proof turnaround when submitting pdf's? First, we strongly suggest you also provide a "hard copy" of your manuscript which we can compare to your digital files. Second, please "name" and give us the name (title) of your "pdf's" (or digital files) so we can quickly identify and open them.
8) If I need to submit a combination of photos, hard copy and digital files, what's the best way? First, contact us to confirm what you are sending, how and when...so that we can be on the lookout and immediately confirm receipt of your materials. If you include digital media, please note "PC" or "MAC" and the Name and Version # of software's used for design and composition. All of your materials will be returned as soon as the book goes into final production and your original input is no longer needed.
9) What if I simply want to re-print an existing book and only have a hard copy to submit? We can receive a hard copy and cut away the perfect binding to scan it (destroying that copy in the process) or simply "un-coil" and "re-coil" it for return. Printing is then a function of "the quality you've provided." Although we can sometimes make minor changes "within" a given page, we cannot reflow text and content between pages from scanned copy (which functions like photographs of existing pages). Photos and finely detailed graphics will likely not appear as crisp as in the original copy unless you can submit those original images (for scanning and reinsertion here) with your original hard copy text.
10) What are the "best size" binding and other features for my book? These questions are usually best answered by considering: "what is the purpose" of my book, "how will it be sold, distributed and used?"
First, size is a function of your content. For 'reader-friendly' perfect bound books, most prefer standard sizes such as 5 ½" by 8 ½", 6" by 9", 7" by 10" or 8 ½ by 11". Because books are priced according to their number of pages, experienced authors sometimes opt for slightly larger sizes to reduce the number of sheets of paper required to produce a book (and lower their cost). Consider: a 6" by 9" layout that runs 200 pages (on 100 sheets of paper) could, if printed in a 7" by 10" size, reduce your page count about 20% (to perhaps 160 pages on 80 sheets of paper if the content is all "flowing text"). Some authors, particularly those publishing business books, prefer their books to have a "feel," or thickness, commensurate with their desired selling price. Thus, they sometimes request slightly smaller sizes (to boost page count and thickness), use wider line spacing and margins, sometimes even printing only on one side of each sheet...to "bulk up" book size. Most authors have the opposite goal: minimizing the cost of printing and shipping. They might increase book size to reduce page count, printing cost and book weight.
Second, workbooks, manuals or any publications designed to be "written in" by your customers, ideally should "lay flat" for ease of use. Most are coil bound so that each page lays flat. Saddle stitching (stapling in the middle - commonly used in magazines) is not recommended for large page counts as the publication will likely not close properly. Perfect binding is most popular because page counts need only be a multiple of "2" (rather than a multiple of "4" for saddle-stitching).
11) What is an "ISBN", do I have to have one, and do you provide them? "ISBN" is an acronym for "International Standard Book Number," and ISBN's are used to simplify and standardize worldwide book cataloging. If you plan to have your books sold or resold by traditional booksellers and distributors, an ISBN is essential, and it certifies you as "the publisher of record." If you could be certain 100% of your sales (forever) were going to be 'direct-to-customers' from your own website, an ISBN would not be essential, but we recommend them anyway.
We do not supply ISBN numbers because we are not your "publisher of record." As a "self-publisher," you should get your ISBN numbers directly from: http://www.isbn.org
The application process is a bit tedious, but it works online using a credit card. The U.S. agency sells ISBN numbers in "blocks of 10" for $275. Be sure to pay online by credit card to avoid their $50 "manual payment fee." Nonetheless, spending $275 to certify yourself as "the publisher of record" is a sound investment if you wish to be taken seriously as a publisher...and those additional numbers can be used for future books...whether you publish more of your own or for others.
12) Is there an advantage to getting promotional full color post cards and book marks at the same time I have books produced? If your books have a color cover (any color other than black), we can often "gang print" full color promotional items at very low additional cost using the same cover stock while producing covers for your books. These types of items will have separate trimming and packaging requirements, but you generally will save money by combining multiple full color orders into single print runs. Some authors effectively use full color 2" wide / 5" tall "bookmarks" as oversize business cards, directing folks to their websites and "cross-selling" other products and services.
13) Is there a minimum number of books I can have printed at once? We request you avoid ordering less than 15 copies of any (continuing) book due to the volume of work we handle. We recommend, particularly if you're selling from a website, that you consolidate individual orders and email them to us after you have multiple sales (or order a small lot to personally handle slow-moving individual order requests). Emailing us a list with multiple buyer's names and physical addresses enables us to produce only the exact number sold and ship them directly to your customers (eliminating your having to receive, pay for, store a large number, repack, label and ship them). We assess a $1.00 handling fee per shipment to cover packing, labeling, shipping and tracking services, and this is included in our Shipping charges...which most authors pass along to customers. We use UPS Ground delivery service, which requires a physical address and phone number instead of a P.O. Box.
13 a) Why is it advantageous to get multiple orders printed at the same time? Simply put, the more books produced at any one time..the lower your cost per book / the higher your profit (because the same set-up labor is incurred no matter how many, or few, books are printed at once). Thus, it's not cost-effective to order 3 books/five times - versus ordering 15 at once. To maximize savings, many authors hold and email orders to us only when they achieve a desired number of sales and simply inform their customers: "Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery" (in their sales information).
14) Is there a maximum number of books I can have produced at one time? No, but when using digital printing, the general rule of thumb is: "more than 500 at a time is no longer cost effective." Because we're a full service printer, we can easily produce an extremely large run of books on very large litho presses, reducing the 'cost per book' significantly versus continuing 'digital only' production for that lot. We quote and recommend large orders be produced this way (even while continuing digital production to minimize cost for continuing smaller orders).
15) What is THE most common problem authors, particularly new authors seem to encounter?
Sales. Perhaps not too surprising, some share a tendency to fall in love with their book concept and get into the writing before doing a market analysis. Yes, "limited interest" books do have a place in the market, but learning that you may be the "umpteenth" person writing about a subject that isn't selling well for others should give you a realistic expectation of sales potential. The "labor of love" book may, and to everyone's surprise, occasionally turn into a best seller, but those who write for a living seldom count on "fate, luck or unpredictable events" to guarantee successful sales.
Second most common problem? We describe it as the "Ready, Fire, Aim Syndrome." Authors anxious to get quotes and make sales before they've finished writing, know final page count or size, and have failed to consider how they're going to market and sell their books...create needless stress for themselves. Whatever informational quotes we're asked to provide on inexact information will change if your book keeps changing. It's not uncommon for authors to get excited and begin guaranteeing publication dates, but it's very unwise if your work is still incomplete. There is no way we can guarantee when a book will be produced... before the author has completed it, furnished us with fully correct hard copy and digital copy, and before approving a final proof. We appreciate enthusiasm, but we counsel: take time to fully finish your manuscript, then begin to comparison shop printers. After selecting your printer and completing your input and proofing phases, give them at least 24 hours (Monday - Friday) to confirm things...and only then should you expect a professional printer to cite a "production timeline" upon which you can depend. Additional printings and reprints can be extremely fast if no changes are occurring, but the first time a new book is produced, please avoid making promises to customers that you may not be able to honor.
Doesn't "Print-on-Demand" literally mean "instant printing" or describe a "type" of printing business? No. Manufacturers selling and promoting digital printing technology have used the term "print-on-demand" so loosely it's led to a lot of confusion. First, digital printing (using data files to operate many types of printing systems - from huge Heidelberg sheet-fed litho presses to Xerox DocuTechs, Indigo, Scitex, Oce and other brands of toner and inkjet printers) provides tremendous speed advantages. But, digital printing jobs (often referred to as "print-on-demand" jobs) still have several of the same hurdles to clear as any other type of printing work. First, jobs must be 100% correct and approved by author, then most have to be converted into a 'proprietary language' before they can be printed using "on-demand" technology. This process is usually referred to in the printing trade as "RIPPING" (an acronym for Raster Image Processing). After files are "ripped" and ready for printing, appropriate stock must be on hand, the printer needs to schedule time for both production and bindery to produce complete books, and some printers have to outsource certain aspects of their work. Instant printing, if there were such a category of service, probably could only be applied to the use of a photocopy machine (which also requires paper, toner and availability).
16) What are the three most common complaints you hear from new authors? marketing, Marketing and MARKETING! Some authors fail to prepare and implement a marketing plan for their books and are stunned to discover that "the whole world is not waiting in line, cash in hand, for their book." Marketing research can reveal: likely demand, help you identify sales channels, prepare a PR campaign in advance of actual book production, identify media sources willing to review and publicize your work, help you set realistic selling prices (per book and in bulk), and confirm that your title and format are likely to be well received by your target audiences. Yes, you can overanalyze, but even a simple "Google search" will give you an idea of general interest in your planned topic. Many authors simply do not like "selling" and confuse that process with Marketing. Whereas "Sales" consists of "selling someone a drink of water," think of Marketing as the process of "making them thirsty." If you're not adept at marketing, sales and PR work...even if you hate it...don't despair. These services can be contracted out to experts, but they may cost you dearly unless you shop carefully. Get and check references from other authors before you hire! That's a fundamental marketing step to take before creating - and certainly before printing - a large quantity of books. Unless you have a very "niche specific" book and ready audience that's easy to reach, turning books into profitable sales can be, and often is, harder work than writing them. We don't want to discourage you, but you should undertake a clear appraisal of what's truly required to become a profitable and successful self-publisher. Thousands are succeeding every year, and many of them are "first time" authors. For every horror story, there are an equal number of success stories, but from our experience all the successes share common traits: informed selection of subject matter, good writing, good editing and thoroughly planned - consistently managed sales and marketing efforts.
17) Are there other places I can get practical self-publishing information for free? Yes. We recommend you navigate to, and join, "Yahoo Groups Self-Publishing." Simply "Google search" that 4 word term, and you will be able to join (at no charge) an ongoing dialog with frank, accurate and valuable information on everything from software, printing and marketing advice to expert information on "the business" of self-publishing. Yahoo offers 3 groups on this general topic, and we recommend "Self-Publishing" which has over 2000 contributors (instead of the "selfpublishing" or "pod_publishers" groups).