View Full Version : Decent Priced Book typesetting...where?

Sunrise Creator
12-02-2003, 01:22 AM
Is there such a place that is decent on :money for book typesetting and perhaps also book design? The place I found that claims to be "budget" is really $600.00 unlike their claim on the site as $250.00 plus a"slightly" higher fee if you're working with another publisher....blah, slightly isn't a word I would've used :\ Does anyone know of a place, in New England would be good.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 03:23 AM
Stay off the Internet. Find a place in your town using your phone book. Check with local printers.

Sunrise Creator
12-02-2003, 05:26 AM
This may sound like a silly question, I know...does local printers that usually print photocopies and such usually do typesetting? I looked in my phonebook...no web addy's..but I suppose I could travel and ask them, hopefully some do it for a decent price.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 05:50 AM
What town are you in?

Look, I could point you to a couple of pro-level typesetters who work for major publishers. I think you'll be disappointed by the prices they charge, though the results will be pro level.

So ... call your local newspaper or job printer. Even a place that does photocopying may know where you can get typesetting done.

You don't need to go there, at least not yet. Call 'em on the phone.

Is this for the book that's coming out in January? This is December... when are you going to press?

Did you budget the cost of typesetting into your book's overall cost to produce? The cover price is based on that, y'know.

And ... where was this typesetter that you mentioned in the first message? URL?

Sunrise Creator
12-02-2003, 08:50 AM
I didn't post the URL of the typesetting place that I have mentioned above but I can post it, if you'd like. The printer that I'm planning on working with is 2 weeks for 1000 books, only thing is the typesetting, the company doesn't do those services...so I'm in need of one.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 09:10 AM
If you want to keep the URL private, you can email me.

If you haven't gone to press yet, then there's still a chance of getting a blurb quote on the cover. Did you ever contact Ms. Steele? Did you send out galleys for review?

Sunrise Creator
12-02-2003, 09:44 AM
I don't mind giving the URL out.. Book typesetting that I was talking about. (http://www.budgetbookdesign.com/) Maybe someone else will be able to afford them. I can't give any copies out for review or Ms. Steele because I can't get any copies...that's wot I need the time setting for :( Once I have the typesetting done, I can get my book in copies from the book printer I have in mind. But I will look up in the phone book the printing companies and ask if they do typesetting. I would like to have review copies out but I can't even get a copy yet.

I had figured that I would have the typesetting done, have copies printed and have my own site...then while I have copies...also send out some review and possibly get a blurb...then I could add wot was said on my website.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 10:39 AM
Take your text, print it out from your printer, (Times New Roman, single space, right-and-left justified) take it to Kinkos, get some advance reading copies made up. There you go for reviews and so on. Many authors will give you blurbs based on manuscripts. (We're used to it.)

Okay, I see they're charging $250 for typesetting the book, and $250 for designing the covers. That's $500 total. Bar code for $25 ... yeah, I can see where they're coming from.

You'll be able to go cheaper by doing it yourself, depending on your skill with Pagemaker.

What format does your printer want your material in? You should be working closely with your printer at this time. Who does he or she suggest for typesetting?

sunrise creator
12-02-2003, 11:01 AM
Yeah... but I have the cover already designed and I have a barcode and such. Would Midwest Review, review the manuscript? I'm not sure who I would give reviews to in a manuscript form to be honest.

In case it looks weird for my name, I decided to create a global account, which is why my posts are so low.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 11:21 AM
<a href="http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm" target="_new">Midwest Book Review</a>only accepts finished books, after the date of publication. Other reviewers take advance reading copies (which can just be photocopies of typescript -- I've seen 'em) bound in cheap paper. That's where Kinkos comes in.

ARCs go to the newspapers, magazines, and others who you decided you wanted to have review your book. They want to be able to run the review the week the book comes out, if not the week before it hits the bookstores.

You'll also want their review quotes on your cover; it works both ways. They'll send you an advance copy of their review for just that purpose. You see why review copies should go out months in advance?

If you have the cover already designed (in a format that your printer likes) then all you need is a place to typeset your pages. Ask your printer. Really.

Sunset Creator
12-02-2003, 11:36 AM
I asked my printer if they typeset but they said they don't. I looked on www.cnet.com (http://www.cnet.com) for the adobe pagemaker you were talking about. They give you a 30 day free trial. Do you use it? Is it extremely or moderately hard to learn? That's the only thing holding me down. My illustrator uses an application like that and can give the illustrations to me on disk and the originals so that's all taken care of. I think I need to learn where to put the illustrations in the typesetting..does Abobe Pagemaker let you do that?

You've seen manuscripts in cheap bound paper that's been reviewed...do you know of a website that has this? I see why it's better to have it in advanced than later.

12-02-2003, 12:01 PM
pagemaker's not so bad. ask your printer what they want specifically. do they work with pagemaker or do they want quark express? if you give them a file with your manuscript in pagemaker, will they prepare from that?

i did a lit mag in college and used pagemaker for it. we would give the pagemaker file to the printer, they'd prepare it for print and call us if there were any problems with the files, formatting, etc. before they went to print with it.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 12:07 PM
No, I don't use Pagemaker. My publishers do the typesetting ... I just give them a typescript (double spaced, one inch margins, standard manuscript format).

Pagemaker isn't hard to learn, so I'm told; what's hard to learn is doing it well.

My understanding is that Pagemaker lets you put the illustrations in wherever you want them. (Are these color or B&W illos?) I'm not sure of what format you need to have them in.

Yes, ARCs are usually just perfectbound cheapies, and sometimes are merely shot-down photocopies of the author's original manuscript. I've even seen 'em with penciled copyediting marks reproduced on 'em.

A website? Darned if I know of one. Kinkos or Staples (or Sir Speedy) would be where to try; that's my guess. (Or a local print shop. Does your local high school or junior college have a print shop?)

(Perhaps Cafe Press (http://www.cafepress.com) has something set up -- they'll be expensive, though.)

Sunset Creator
12-02-2003, 12:20 PM
I'll make sure one last time before I attempt to learn pagemaker. I have a colored cover and back cover and 5 black and white illustrations.

Oh, I mean a website for reviewers that will review a manuscript.

James D Macdonald
12-02-2003, 12:33 PM
I'm unaware of a website that lists reviewers who will review a manuscript.

As far as major reviewers who will review an advance reading copy: all of them.

As far as who you should send ARCs to: who do you want to have review your book? Local press? State press? National press?

Where are you likely to a) get a review, and b) have the review be useful (that is, where people who read the review will actually be able to get a copy of your book)?

12-02-2003, 10:12 PM
Speaking as a reviewer...if you decide to approach reviewers individually to request a review, be sure to send an individual, personal e-mail that indicates why you're approaching that person (i.e., you know they review children's books and you're wondering if they'd be willing to review yours). There's nothing more alienating than a mass e-mail to "Dear Reviewer"; I usually don't even respond to approaches like this.

Here are a couple of great children's book writers' websites--you may be able to find some pointers there about review venues to approach:

www.underdown.org/ (http://www.underdown.org/)
write4kids.com/ (http://write4kids.com/)

You also might want to consider joining the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, which has a lot of good publications and helpful information; they also, I'm told, put on excellent conferences: www.scbwi.org/. (http://www.scbwi.org/.)

- Victoria
www.writerbeware.com/ (http://www.writerbeware.com/)
www.victoriastrauss.com/ (http://www.victoriastrauss.com/)

Sunset Creator
12-03-2003, 03:32 AM
Okay, I know who I'd want to review my manuscript, in fact some have seen it. I'll make sure not to have it say "Dear Reviewer" that must be annoying since it's not personal.

12-03-2003, 04:07 AM
PageMaker's my personal favorite. It has a steep learning curve, though it's not as steep as Quark Express, which is the other standard professional page layout application.

You can find decent typesetting on the web, but you really have to know what you're doing, so probably that's not a good option for you at this stage.

The best way to find a good cheap typesetter is to ask someone who buys typesetting. If your printer doesn't set type, ask him who does. Ask production outfits like WindHaven and Swordsmith.

Just to get this clear: are you talking about processing electronic text, or re-keyboarding a hardcopy manuscript? It makes a big difference.

If you have electronic text and want to turn it into an informal but readable advance copy, directions follow. They assume you use Microsoft Word. If you use some other word processing application, adjust accordingly. The underlying principles are the same.

1. Turn on the option that turns plain quotes into right-hand and left-hand directional quotes. Then do a search-and-replace in which you replace double quotes with double quotes and single quotes with single quotes. Word will automatically reformat all your quotation marks.

2. Turn all instances of double dashes -- like this -- into proper em-dashes with no space on either side of them. An em-dash is also sometimes known as a "long dash." Taking the spaces out to either side of them will not be correct in all instances, but it'll be correct in most instances, and it's better than having raw double dashes in the text.

3. Turn three-dots-in-a-row ellipses into proper ellipses. In cases where there are four dots in a row, the first dot is a period and stays a period, and the three dots following it are replaced.

4. Do a search-and-replace to remove all instances of double spaces. I don't care what anybody's typing teacher told them; double spaces don't belong in proportionally-spaced justified text.

5. If you have at any point typed words all-caps for emphasis, replace them with small caps. Full-size caps look okay on a manuscript page, but they're disproportionately huge on a typeset page, look bad, and are hard to read. Note: You're allowed to use a full-size cap if one of your small-caps words would normally start with a capital letter.

6. Most word processing programs have a default paragraph indentation that's two or three times too big for typeset text. Check yours against a professionally typeset book and correct as needed.

7. Whatever you do, don't set typeset single-spaced text the full width of a letter-size page. Your eye can't follow a line that long. It makes your writing harder to read. If you're going to use 8-1/2" x 11" paper, use a two-column format.

7.5 Very narrow columns are also hard to read. If you're tempted to use them: Don't.

8. After you format, justify, and spellcheck your text, go through and look for lines with unnaturally wide spacing between words. This is also hard to read. Try to snug them up by breaking -- that is, hyphenating -- an adjacent word. Break words where the dictionary breaks them into syllables.

8.5 Don't get carried away. You're just trying to avoid grossly mis-spaced type. One wordbreak is fine. Having two of them close together impedes readability. Three is excessive. Three in a row is called a ladder, and it's an error. Don't commit it.

9. Word has an automatic hyphenation feature that'll do your wordbreaks for you. I never, ever use it. Go for manual hyphenation. Word processors don't know as much about language as you do.

10. Use a decent serif typeface. You may not set body text in sanserif type. Palatino is good. So are Garamond and Galliard. Times is okay, but I think it looks pinched and crabbed. Useful tip: If you want your book to take up fewer pages, set it in Times. If you want it to take up more, try New Century Schoolbook.

11. Ten-point type is good. It's not wastefully big, but almost everyone can read it.

12. Turn off the drag-and-drop feature. Bad things happen to books in its vicinity.

13. If you want to get fancy, have your name at the top of every left-hand page, and the title of your book at the top of every right-hand page. Put the page numbers at the bottom. If you want to save a couple of lines per page, you can put the page numbers at the top, up with the title and your name. Tip: If you're talking to someone in production, the title and author name at the top are called running heads, and the page number is called the folio.

14. You can set up your chapters so they always start on a right-hand page, or so they start on either right-hand or left-hand pages; or you can leave some space and start a new chapter on the same page where the previous one ended. However, there are two things you cannot do. When you're running-in chapters, you can't start a new chapter if there's so little room that you only get the chapter head or the chapter head plus one or two lines of text at the bottom of a page. I opine that four lines of text are the minimum. Opinions vary. The other thing you may not do -- and this is something you may not do under any circumstances -- is leave a right-hand page blank. Blank left-hand pages are okay, but a blank right-hand page looks like an error. (Obviously, you can have blank right-hand pages at the end of the book. That's different.)

15. If you're going to bind your pages, leave a decent gutter.

16. You need a title page. It will have the title of your book, followed by your name. You're allowed to use a somewhat larger typesize, and if you wish, a reasonably chaste display face. Don't get fancy. This is an advance copy, not a book design. You want it to say, "Hello, I'm someone who knows this is just an advance copy."

17. On the back of your title page, if you're duplicating your pages back-to-back), or immediately following your title page if you're doing one-sided printing, will be your copyright page. On it, you will say:

Copyright (c) [date] by [name].
All rights reserved.

Some distance below that, you will neatly print your name and address. The copyright page will be in the same plain typeface you used for the text of the book. You will not dress it up. You will not add any bits of funny business. Why? Because nothing could possibly look more amateurish.

18. Dedications, acknowledgements, and other optional frontmatter doesn't belong in an advance reading copy. A table of contents is allowable, but is certainly not required.

19. There should be no marketing copy on an advance manuscript. If you want to say something of that sort, it goes in an accompanying letter.

20. When you've printed out the final version of your pages, stop. Have someone else look over them. Ideally, have someone else read them. Don't immediately have them duplicated. No matter how careful you are, bad things happen. Trust me on that one.

James D Macdonald
12-03-2003, 04:42 AM
Hapi's given you some very good advice, Sunrise.

Have you checked out at copy of The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book, 14th Edition
by Dan Poynter from your library? If they don't have it, they can get it via InterLibrary Loan.

12-03-2003, 04:56 AM
Thank you, Jim.

Sunrise, if you run a google search on book design, you'll turn up hundreds of outfits that want you to pay them to design your book, and not many websites that'll tell you how to do it on your own. I went out and grabbed a handful of real ones for you. I don't guarantee that they're the absolute best websites on this subject, but they're honest.

Some book design considerations:

web.utk.edu/~wrobinso/561_critique.html (http://web.utk.edu/~wrobinso/561_critique.html)

An admirably finicky piece baout doing wordcounts, except it leaves out the part where you take the total character count and divide by six:

www.printusa.com/articles/reinhard.htm (http://www.printusa.com/articles/reinhard.htm)

Another article on how to format an informal reading copy in MSWord, only the author thinks it's an article about designing books (okay, I'm being snotty, I'll stop now):

www.clearlakemedia.net/se...word1.html (http://www.clearlakemedia.net/selfpub-resource/printable-design-in-word1.html)

If you ignore the bits about using SGML, and concentrate on the rest of the information, this is trove of clearly-written observations about the (sometimes arcane) parameters of book design:

www.ucpress.edu/scan/epub/ucp_dtd.html (http://www.ucpress.edu/scan/epub/ucp_dtd.html)

I believe there's an article on Victoria's website about dealing with printers, and how to distinguish printers from vanity publishing operations.

12-03-2003, 05:09 AM
I found the article. It's in two places, neither of which is Victoria's website. Oh, well.

Here they are:

www.sff.net/featuredesk/o...cation.asp (http://www.sff.net/featuredesk/onwriting/selfpublication.asp)

www.sfwa.org/beware/selfpublishing.html (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/selfpublishing.html)

Sunset Creator
12-03-2003, 05:37 AM
Does Pagemaker allow you to put in illustrations and a back cover? Also, if you're using Microsoft Works, would that be a problem? Can Pagemaker be transformed in PDF format? I have found some typesetters =) Did a lot of research :grin

I have checked out some self publishing books, but not The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book, 14th Edition. How does InterLibrary Loan work? I've heard of it, but I've never done it.

Hapi- Thanks for finding some sites, I'll look them over...about 9 new typesetting service people wrote me back with offers. I'll make sure to read about the article if they are vanity or not.

12-03-2003, 05:56 AM
Pagemaker lets you do anything you want. You just have to set it up first.

Microsoft Word is a subset of Microsoft Works.

I don't understand what you're asking concerning PDF format.

You can make your local librarian happy by going to her and asking her to explain Interlibrary Loan. The basic info is that Interlibrary Loan is a system for those situations where your local library doesn't have a book you really, really want, but another library does. Your library passes along your request. The other library loans them the book, and they loan it to you. It's not the fastest system in the world, but it means that if you're willing to wait a little while, your bitty branch library can give you access to all kinds of rare, specialized, or otherwise unlikely books.

I'll take a chance and guess that if you don't know about interlibrary loan, you also don't know about reference librarians. They're your friend at least as much as Google is. Reference librarians get tired of being asked to do obvious things the patrons could have done for themselves, but if you're really trying to ferret out information, they're enormously helpful.

If your library only has one librarian, he-or-she is it. Cultivate his-or-her acquaintance.

About offers to do your typesetting for you: they may or may not be vanity operations. On top of that, they may or may not be good. A bad typesetter is worse than no typesetter at all.

How many words total are we talking about here?

Sunset Creator
12-03-2003, 06:09 AM
Without the copyright page, thank you page and about the author page...it's 23,424 words. Now it's a children's novel, not an adult's. My printer says it has to be in PDF format for them to print it, or hardcopy.

I would think that learning pagemaker would be good for me to learn and it would save me money and I would have control over it. Main thing is, I want my book typesetted with the illustrations so that I can send it to my printer and print up copies and have it on my website, which I have yet to set up. That's the main problem that I'm currently trying to overcome.

12-14-2003, 09:28 AM
macdonald is undoubtedly right again. this is a short-range project and you won't be wasting money over the net if you stay at home. plus you'll get more what you want. notice my reply concerning a printer, much the same applies here.

12-14-2003, 10:01 AM
wordperfect exports to pdf

12-14-2003, 10:48 AM
in fact, all these people are being incredibly helpful. i do not know them nearly as well as they know themselves, or at all, but i will take the liberty of addressing them first-name at this point. i am sure hapi's advice is all technically accurate, even though i don't understand it all. since you're inclined to do your own typesetting, the level of detail hapi uses is appropriate. it would probably be a good idea to track down a friendly typesetter who know what they're doing for general advice, anyway. i have worked with a quality typesetter, and hapi and jim are right on the money. i have also published a good deal of technical writing, and may be able to help out in the galley-proofing department. see below.

as to what hapi said, the business about double space-space, for example, is as far as i can remember a matter involving manual kerning. please correct me if i'm wrong, guys, and there's a general rule i'm missing. i don't know if you'll be getting into kerning, it's an artform in itself, but it can be done on your computer. jim did not disagree with anything hapi said, so i'll just ask them both don't some of these rules depend on the quality of typesetting you're doing? the ellipses, another familiar item, i do not understand hapi's thoughts on. i'm sure she'sd right but just can't understand what she says. and her first comment just does not make any sense to me at all. it is written in english but the words in the nomnative appear to repeat the words in the predicate. maybe it's because i primarily use word perfect. or maybe i'm just an idiot. i have been noticing a lot of patterns where i had not previously perceived them, so maybe i'm an idiot savant.

if you decide to go with pagemaker, notice that it has a steep learning curve. you may not have the time for that right now. pdf format is accessible by adobe acrobat. adobe reader, which is a free download, will let you read any pdf document, but you may need adobe acrobat to convert files into pdf. i don't know how useful acrobat is in formatting files, but ask jim et al. you can convert to pdf from any major word processing program, including word, far as i know. i am not quite sure why you need to go with pagemaker or quark if a simpler suggestion will suffice, but i'll leave that to the pros (j., hs., & v.) to answer. and these guys are pros.

there is a very good friend of mine who's an english professor at the univ. of massachusetts in amherst named nick, an excellent writer and published author who may possibly be able to give you excellent general advice about your options on a practical level at this point, as well as "new englandish" contacts. absolutely rely on jim et al. for the advice they're giving you, which is great, and nick won't better it anyway, but if you have further specific questions on the publishing process nick may be able to help. two caveats: he's busy so don't expect to take all day, write out questions you want to ask him to save time; and please don't get defensive, he's just trying to help you, and if your level of commitment is not immediately apparent to him you may need to make that plain; but don't argue with him immediately on a categorical level or ban him from your precincts if he is not on it immediately. trust me, he has a good heart and can be a major resource if you talk to him straight across. if you want his contact information write me privately.

one question you should be sure to ask him is if he knows any writers who may be able to read your ms. and blurb it. do not expect him to be able to do this himself, but if he can he'll tell you.

if you want an objective and pretty proficient writer to read your ms. in short order, i'll do it for you. i've won a few writing prizes, took a few years off to practice a certain profession, and am now working on a book about a tiger. i quit practicing that profession because no matter how much you practice, you never seem to get it quite right. a lot like writing, really. but as far as making money, that's another thing and i'll see what i can do to help these real pros help you do that.

yours, eric

Sunset Creator
12-14-2003, 10:25 PM
Umass...I went there in March for a writer's conference, I couldn't go full time or anything since I was still in highschool earlier this march. I've found a typesetter in my area, now I'm looking for the best book printer...after months of planning, everything in beginning to fall into place slowly :D

James D Macdonald
12-14-2003, 10:44 PM
as to what hapi said, the business about double space-space, for example, is as far as i can remember a matter involving manual kerning. please correct me if i'm wrong, guys, and there's a general rule i'm missing. i don't know if you'll be getting into kerning, it's an artform in itself, but it can be done on your computer.

Hapi's quite capable of answering this for hirself, but... the instructions were for making an advance reading copy (ARC) from a typescript, not for doing a full-scale typesetting job. It's for creating something to send to reviewers and potential blurbers.

Removing the double spaces that some people (me, for example) put after the period at the end of a sentence, is part of moving from non-justified monospaced fonts to justified proportional fonts. Replacing the quote marks takes out the one-kind-fits-both straight-up-and-down quote marks with the curved ones, where the open-quotes look like little number sixes, and the close-quotes look like little number nines. The em-dash is so-called because it's the width of the small-letter 'm' in whatever typeface you're using. (An en-dash is the width of the letter 'n.') The elipsis is a single character which looks, coincidentally, like three periods in a row. The spacing between the dots, and the size of the dots, is slightly different. Most readers won't notice consciously, but will get a feeling that something (they can't tell quite what) is wrong with the book if you miss little things like that.

The difference between good kerning and bad or no kerning in the final book is the difference between the readers picking up the book and saying to themselves "professional" or "amateur."

If making books were easy, everyone would be doing it.

12-15-2003, 10:22 AM
thanks jim, you were exactly on point. SC has apparently found a local typesetter who can give her good kerning when needed. you're right i did forget the context of the thing and i apologize.

SC, why the switch from sunrise to sunset? just curious.

Sunset Creator
12-15-2003, 10:15 PM
Sunrise to Sunset was because I've realized that I'm more of a sunset writer than a sunrise type. Before, when I had to get up early for highschool...I would get up extra early and start my day writing, since school would take up a lot, along with homework and extra activites and now I can write in the late afternoon as I want :)

Owen Platt
08-14-2004, 05:03 PM
Excellent advice here. Most people use Word which contains a lot of "auto" stuff which can produce surprising results if you're not careful. We are editors and like Word simply because we CAN reformat it very easily.

08-15-2004, 09:40 AM
While I dearly love both Hapi and Jim as long-time personal friends, neither of them do design & typesetting of books for a living. I do. (Though to be fair, Hapi started in typesetting back when I did, in the dark ages -- things have changed in the last few years, more rapidly than most people realize.)

Contact me by email. I'd be more than happy to advise you (gratis) on how to set yourself up to do this quickly and pretty darn easily yourself, if you have a decent design eye (and it sounds like you do).

BTW, folks, Pagemaker was abandoned by Adobe last year -- you can't even buy it anymore, except from people who sell remaindered software. It has many legacy problems, including the inability to use unicode.

Also, your printer will want PDF files -- giving them the original program files (Quark, InDesign) is not required anymore and hasn't been for many years (though some printers will try to convince you otherwise; this is a main avenue for making money for them -- they can "fix" your files if you have any corrections to make, for a rather large fee -- don't fall for that). There is a lot more detail than that I need to go into with you, including exactly what sort of PDF files you will need to save (and what programs are best for typesetting in, and how to do it on the cheap if you're doing it yourself).

Leaving me a message in my ezboard in-box will be fine. Just give me your email there, and we'll start talking. No, I'm not trying to sell you my services; sounds like you can handle this on your own with some free coaching.

05-10-2011, 01:31 AM
I'm a mathematician and use the (free) mathematical typsetting system LyX and TeX to typeset my novels. Although it's designed for mathematics with text interspersed but it work fantastically well for text. LyX is a word-processor app that uses TeX to typeset and print things.