Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Picking a printer to self publish your book

 Hello Again!

So, hopefully by now you have had a chance to tackle some of the below tasks as you strive to self publish your very own book.
  • Picked a topic/genre
  • Zeroed in on, and researched your target market
  • Developed your outline and storyline concepts
  • Developed your characters
  • Found the right illustrator (photographer, designer etc.) "Team members"
  • Envisioned how your book will look and feel, and what message it will send
Before we get to picking a printer, I want to say that even if you have done a few of the above things, or a little bit of all of them, it is totally okay!  It is about you being ready, as it does take time, energy, and money to self publish a book.  To be fair, I wanted to write Pug Story almost 13 years ago.  I am finally doing it, and so can you!

Now, back to our topic: Picking the right printer for your book
  • Get at least 4 quotes, or more: There are a ton of book printers out there so make sure you shop around to get the best pricing.  It can be helpful to create a spreadsheet of some kind to track and compare quotes including printing costs, shipping etc.
  • Find someone local: Try to find a printer within reasonable driving distance.  This will help with 2 major things: 1) No shipping cost to you once the books are made. 2) Tighter quality control and you can see the facility where the books will be printed.
  • Be Aware that many printers will only print, or advertise, standard sized books.  Based on your knowledge of your genre and target market etc. you will be able to better know what sizes are selling best, and what you like.  If you do not see the size you want on a website, just ask if they can do it.
  • 3 Potential problems with a standard size you didn't choose: 1) It is not the most efficient way to print the book on the press, therefore it is not the most cost effective. 2) It is not a best selling size for your market. 3) The artwork does not fit appropriately, and could therefore be compromised.  Plus...you should like it, it is your book :)
  • Speak candidly with said printer about efficiencies, turn times, payment terms, quality control assurances, and check examples or references of books they have previously made.
Here is an example of specs I sent to obtain a quote...this info will be helpful to learn as you get quotes, and also when you talk to your printer:
  • Title:     Children's book
  • Size:     8.5 x 8.5 (be sure to discuss bleeds with illustrator and printer)
  • Pages:   32 (2 black/white and 30 color)
  • Cover    Printed, laminated cover over 98 pt boards (hard cover)
  • In as :   Trouble-free files
  • Paper :  100# gloss text over 98 pt boards (# refers to thickness or stock of paper, matte can be nice depending on type of artwork you will have)
  • Inks :     4/0 process
  • Finish :  Lay flat gloss film laminate
  • Proofs : Color match proof
  • Misc.:   Text bleeds OK
  • Bind:     Smythe sewn case bind
  • FOB:     Printing Plant, TN 
  • Quantity: 300,500,1000

I have a lot of tips I would love to share with you all, and hope that you will find the information helpful as you move forward.  So, the next few entries will touch on marketing, details for registering your book, and raising funds for production of your book, if you wish to go that route.  But let's not forget, the ultimate goal is to sell your book, and we will get to that as well!

Don't forget to Write, Write, Write!