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View Full Version : HELP!!! Formatting for print-on-design



SandyC
07-21-2016, 06:17 AM
Hi all. I'm hoping someone in here can help me regain my sanity. I have 3 books almost ready to go through the print-on-demand process. One of these is more of an indulgence - my partner wrote his memoirs and wants about 10 copies to distribute to his family! (Yes, I know, no comments please, lol) But I thought I would use it as a trial run and have been internet researching which has simply made me more confused.

Of course, he had to make it complicated by including 20 b&w photos and 2 different text fonts, but it will be an interesting learning experience!

Here's what I have ascertained: Createspace is what most people use for POD, and that's fine if (a) you're in the US (we're in Australia which means cost of postage from US) and (b) you want to offer it as ebook and pod in Amazon, which we don't.

Next option is Lightning Source, or Ingram Spark - bit of confusion here because it seems they are the same company, but from what I have gleaned from youtube presentations and blogs, Lightning Source tends to deal more with publishing houses or multi-published authors and don't give first-timers much help, while Ingram Spark are a little more tolerant. Any comments?

It is also apparent that LS, and to a lesser extent, IS, will only deal with print-ready mss that have been formatted precisely to their specifications (a 41 page pdf of those requirements that lost me by page 2 - but that might be just me, I'm not totally computer-savvy) so this suggests the best option is to have it formatted by someone who is very familiar with their guidelines. Any recommendations?

My other concern is that having spoken to LS (I can find no phone number in Australia for IS) I'm told that it will cost around $300 for set-up, revisions and printing, and then around $5 per book. People I have listened to on youtube who have been through the experience say it cost them over $1,000 to go through LS or IS. Perhaps they are also including the cost of editing, which we don't need (both having been writers and writing teachers for many years and my partner was a senior editor at a major publishing company (pre new technology) so we edit each other's work.

I just want this all to go as smoothly as possible so we can get on with publishing our other almost-completed books, but it seems there be dragons out there in the POD world. Any comments, suggestions, recommendations, advice, warnings, etc would be more than welcome. :)

Old Hack
07-21-2016, 10:42 AM
Hi all. I'm hoping someone in here can help me regain my sanity. I have 3 books almost ready to go through the print-on-demand process. One of these is more of an indulgence - my partner wrote his memoirs and wants about 10 copies to distribute to his family! (Yes, I know, no comments please, lol) But I thought I would use it as a trial run and have been internet researching which has simply made me more confused.

Of course, he had to make it complicated by including 20 b&w photos and 2 different text fonts, but it will be an interesting learning experience!

Here's what I have ascertained: Createspace is what most people use for POD, and that's fine if (a) you're in the US (we're in Australia which means cost of postage from US) and (b) you want to offer it as ebook and pod in Amazon, which we don't.

There's Lulu too, which I've used. It was easy; and while Lulu is in the US, my books were printed in the UK, where I am, so postage wasn't extortionate. I haven't used CreateSpace: but from what I half-remember, you don't have to approve your books for publication there, you can keep them as proofs only so they won't go on sale. This means the books you order will have "proof" printed in them at some point but I think it is on a page which is easily removable, and I hope others with more experience than I will weigh in here.


Next option is Lightning Source, or Ingram Spark - bit of confusion here because it seems they are the same company, but from what I have gleaned from youtube presentations and blogs, Lightning Source tends to deal more with publishing houses or multi-published authors and don't give first-timers much help, while Ingram Spark are a little more tolerant. Any comments?

LightningSource is for trade publishers, Ingram Spark is for self publishers.


It is also apparent that LS, and to a lesser extent, IS, will only deal with print-ready mss that have been formatted precisely to their specifications (a 41 page pdf of those requirements that lost me by page 2 - but that might be just me, I'm not totally computer-savvy) so this suggests the best option is to have it formatted by someone who is very familiar with their guidelines. Any recommendations?


Strictly speaking, e-books are formatted; print books are typeset.

Typesetting is very skilled work, which takes years to learn how to do properly. Most self publishers set their own work, or use people who have set themselves up as book formatters: the results are mixed. You will find people who will do the work for you, but it's not going to be cheap to get it done well.


My other concern is that having spoken to LS (I can find no phone number in Australia for IS) I'm told that it will cost around $300 for set-up, revisions and printing, and then around $5 per book. People I have listened to on youtube who have been through the experience say it cost them over $1,000 to go through LS or IS. Perhaps they are also including the cost of editing, which we don't need (both having been writers and writing teachers for many years and my partner was a senior editor at a major publishing company (pre new technology) so we edit each other's work.

I doubt they're including the cost of editing in those figures.

You can get it done much more cheaply, I know. But as I said earlier, the results are mixed.


I just want this all to go as smoothly as possible so we can get on with publishing our other almost-completed books, but it seems there be dragons out there in the POD world. Any comments, suggestions, recommendations, advice, warnings, etc would be more than welcome. :)

There's a lot of information here which might help. Read the self publishing diaries, some of which are extraordinarily useful and fun, and ask all the question you can. And good luck!

SandyC
07-21-2016, 04:07 PM
Thank you Old Hack, very helpful information. I will certainly look into Lulu as well. :)

J. Tanner
07-21-2016, 08:05 PM
CreateSpace always ships from the US, so the costs will be a bit high. It should still be under $100 for 10 books, plus printing costs. The PROOF page Old Hack mentioned is added as the last page of the book. It's not noticeable at all even if you leave it in.

IngramSpark has a setup fee which should be under $100. And per book they're a bit more. But they'll ship from Australia so your shipping will be much lower and/or much faster. I don't see any reason why it would cost near $1000. They also don't have their requirements, process, and customer support as bulletproof as CS from what I've heard so you may have more kinks to work out yourself, and might need an extra round of revisions after seeing a proof.

So it'll be something of a wash price wise from what I can tell. Take the hit as the setup fee or as extra shipping costs.

Old Hack
07-21-2016, 08:18 PM
An issue with IngramSpark, I think, is that they charge a fee for every round of corrections you make. I might be wrong. With Lulu and CreateSpace you do the corrections yourself, and it's free. I think!

eqb
07-22-2016, 05:02 PM
There's Lulu too, which I've used. It was easy; and while Lulu is in the US, my books were printed in the UK, where I am, so postage wasn't extortionate. I haven't used CreateSpace: but from what I half-remember, you don't have to approve your books for publication there, you can keep them as proofs only so they won't go on sale. This means the books you order will have "proof" printed in them at some point but I think it is on a page which is easily removable, and I hope others with more experience than I will weigh in here.

Weighing in!

Yes, the proof copy has that 'Proof' page, but you can approve the book without making it for sale. I did that for a Kickstarter campaign, where a print copy was one of the rewards. No proof page, and I could simply order as many as I needed, shipped to my house.


With Lulu and CreateSpace you do the corrections yourself, and it's free. I think!

With Createspace it's free to make changes, but the print proof copy costs money. However, you do have the option of downloading a PDF proof, and that is free.

SBibb
08-01-2016, 07:57 AM
I've used Createspace and Microsoft Word and achieved decent results. Granted, I've also formatted a few different print books now, and I had to go searching for answers every time Microsoft Word just didn't want to do it right. But my suggestion would be to find a book that's similar to the genre of what you're publishing, then try to mimic what they do. What does the title pages look like? How is the copyright page set up? Which side has the author name and which side has the title? See where the page numbers are, and pay attention to which side is odd and even. Pay attention to where blank pages show. Watch for the justification of text, and how big the font is, and what kind of font they use.

The nice thing about Createspace is that they have a digital reviewer to let you get a feel for how the final book will look, based on the PDF you upload. Downside is that you have to jump through a few hoops to make it look good. I highly recommend ordering at least one proof copy after you've reviewed the digital version to make sure everything looks all right (and to check for typos).

Whibs123
09-03-2016, 07:17 PM
Picking LSI or Spark - both are ingram, but you can work with LSI if you have more than 5 titles, and spark right from the go. Spark is a bit easier to navigate as LSI is geared for experienced presses, but totally fine for SP authors too. You get to set your discounts a bit more on LSI, but having worked wtih both, I actually prefer Spark. As for layout design/typesetting - that truly is highly skilled work, and while you can do it yourself, it won't look as right as if you hire a professional. Pros charge about 2-3 dollars a page, you can find less expensive options on freelance sites, but you have to really guage their experience. There is a finesse that goes into typesetting/layout that is developed with experience.