Everything you need to publish
Ideally, when you come to this stage you will have a finished, clean draft of your manuscript that has been copy-edited and checked. This will save you a lot of time and expense and mean less corrections at proofing stage.
There are physical aspects to consider about your book before you begin to commission and collate the files you require to publish.
Trim size: This is the height and width of your page. A list of available standard and non-standard trim sizes can be on all the POD platforms. I recommend using an industry standard size unless you have a good reason not to. Any that are not industry standard are clearly flagged up. If you’re unsure about the trim size that is right for you, ask your typesetter or grab a measuring tape and check out your bookshelves for similar titles to your own. Get an idea of what works for your genre or style of publication.
Spine width: This will be dictated by your page extent and so, often, you will have to work with an estimate of this as you begin cover design whilst you wait for your interior file to be typeset. Don’t worry as you won’t need to confirm it accurately until you finalise your cover. When I work on cover ideas, I tend to work with a temporary template with the correct trim size but an estimated spine width based on the word count. When the spine width is confirmed the final design is tweaked so the spine fits perfectly.
Paper stock: Most POD platforms offer a simple choice between cream and white paper stock. There is a small difference in paper weight (thickness) though so make sure you convey your choice to your typesetter and designer.
Cover treatment: For POD paperbacks the treatments are generally gloss or matte lamination. What you choose might depend on your genre or just how you’d like your book to look and feel.
A typeset PDF file for your interior pages.
A typesetter will lay out the text on your preferred trim size. They will add page numbers, chapter headings, a table of contents (if required), copyright notice plus anything else you need on the inside pages to make your book work. Illustrations need to be 300dpi resolution minimum to ensure a clear printing. For highly illustrated books you want to hire someone who can handle that. I tend to work with text only or a very low level of illustrations when I typeset.
Your typesetter will provide you with a PDF file of your inside pages. At this stage I recommend a final read-through, either by a proofreader or yourself for any final corrections. There should ideally be only one or two rounds of corrections here which is why it’s crucial that your text is as clean and final as possible when you hand it to your typesetter.
A high resolution cover design to the correct dimensions for your trim size and spine width (front, back and spine)
Kindle Direct, IngramSpark and other POD platforms offer downloadable templates that you can send to a cover designer or that they can download themselves. As I said above, I tend to work with a dummy template in the early design stages. Once you know your spine width you can confirm the correct template and transfer the design over.
All images used in your cover must be licenced for use. Artwork must be your own or commissioned by you and cleared with the artist for use on your cover. Some clients have friends or family members that create beautiful artworks for them to use on their book covers. All images must be your own original photography or cleared with the photographer.
Or you can licence images to use. A good source of images are picture libraries like Shutterstock where you can licence images for a very reasonable cost. I recommend browsing using keywords from your book or ideas that you might already have. Keep a note of the images you like or download the watermarked versions for drafts of your design rather than waste funds on downloading images you aren’t sure you’re going to use. Again, if you start this process early you’ll have a good source of creative starting points for how your book is going to look.
Getting a file ready for an ePub edition is easy to do once you have your manuscript finished and your paperback cover design is on the way to completion. Here are the files you require.
A formatted and checked ePub file of your text
This converts your text to html code which can be read by the web and e-readers. I provide a full guide to checking your ePub files and understanding the basics about how eBooks work for my clients when I send them their ePub files.
A jpg file of the front cover of your book cover only
This gets displayed alongside your book listing on the retailer’s website and linked to the file that is sent to them when they download the book so that the book cover appears in the library on their e-reader.
The final stage of the publishing process is uploading your files to your chosen platforms and ordering a print proof to be delivered to you for one final check and also the first chance to hold your paperback in your own hands. This process varies according to which platform you use but rest assured, they are all very user-friendly and mistakes are generally quite easy to rectify. I offer clients a guide I’ve created to uploading files and my formatting quotes include support through this stage of the process.
Once you’re happy with how your book is looking both in paper and digitally and your files are all safely uploaded to your retailer – you are ready to click that button marked ‘Publish’. There’s usually a short time to wait for your book link to go live but then you’ve done it – you have published your book! Congratulations!
For more information or a free quote on any work required to help you publish your book please contact me with your details: