- what is design & typesetting?
You will probably have written your manuscript in Microsoft Word. This is a great product for word-processing but proper book design and typesetting requires professional desktop publishing software. Our designers take all your content from Word into InDesign before attending to an astonishing number of styling details. Here is what's typically involved for non-fiction:
We combine your files in sequence and review the material thoroughly. The text is cleaned to remove unwanted spaces, breaks, tabs and sections. Running headers are set to create a stylish arrangement that works for the book structure, trim and binding. Margins are adjusted to meet the relevant print house guidelines, allowing for binding on the inside edge and space to hold the pages on the outside. Chapter and section pages are then custom-designed and styled. Finally, page numbering is placed and styled throughout.
We arrange the front matter, main body and back matter of the book to show a clear hierarchy of content while adhering to the conventions of good book design. Front matter of the book will include things like the half-title, title page, copyright, dedication, contents, foreword and acknowledgments. The main body is the introduction, prologue, parts, chapters, paragraphs, conclusion, epilogue and afterword. The back matter for a novel might just be an author bio or advertisements. Read more on the parts of a book for full details.
figures and tables
We style and place images ready for print. This may include complete recreation of graphics to build a professional matching set. It may mean Photoshop work on resolution, color, saturation. Or it may require work to touch-up, crop or extend artwork. If images are to be captioned these will be applied and styled consistently throughout. See what about my images for further details. Table data will be presented in the clearest and most consistent fashion with styling and shading chosen to complement the rest of the overall page design.
A clear, consistent style will be applied to any footnotes and endnotes. Any index will be styled into 2 or 3 column format with visual levels applied for ease of reference. Please see can I get an index for further details.
We will select a licensed, professional typesetting font to suit the tone of the book overall. For a novel this might be a serif font like Jenson, Bembo, Electra, Arno or Minion. We will never use a Microsoft font like Times New Roman as it is intended only for word processing. Heading fonts, chapter numbering fonts and other flourishes will be chosen to further enhance the character of the book and complement its cover.
We follow best-practice on font size, leading, justification, indents, hyphenation, tracking and kerning to ensure text is perfectly polished and enjoyable to read. This means avoiding over-hyphenation as well as setting text with optimal number of characters per line and line heights. Emphasis in the text should also be applied correctly by employing subtle color/italics rather than distracting bolding/underlines. Furthermore, consistency checks are applied to ensure bullets have consistent casing and sentences end with punctuation.
The interior pages of a professionally-designed book will always look neat and tidy. By squaring off pages at similar heights to avoid awkward spacing and ragged lines, our designers achieve a truly consistent look and feel. We also consider text that shouldn't be split or objects that shouldn't be separated and may keep them together using a variety of balancing techniques.
- what should I send?
Whether your manuscript is finished and ready to go, in draft form before proofreading or you only have a few sample chapters — send us what you have.
We take confidentiality seriously so nothing is shared beyond our staff. In addition we will need any instructions, your cover and printer guidelines. We then review everything to quote a price and turnaround.
Please include all the content for your book in a Word file. If you have used an alternative word processing package such as OpenOffice or Pages then please export your file as a .docx so it is MS Word compatible. If you have split your book into parts that do ensure each file is clearly named like chapter1.docx, contents.docx, biography.docx and tell us the order in which your files should be combined. We also need to understand the structure within each file so using numbering, fonts, weights, size or color to distinguish between levels is very helpful.
In order to prepare your images for print, we will need to receive the originals at the highest possible resolution. If you have included images within your manuscript, please be aware that MS Word will automatically degrade their resolution. To ensure your book figures are prepared to print resolution we will therefore need to receive them as separate high resolution files, such as a jpeg, tiff, eps or similar. If alternatively you have just included markers in your manuscript such as figure1, figure 2 then please ensure any separate images files are labelled exactly to match.
If you envisage parts of your book being laid out in a certain way, please let our designers know. You may have also seen styling features you particularly like in another book in which case please send us some photos or a link to the Amazon 'Look Inside'. Alternatively you can simply leave it up to our designers to use their creative skill to produce something they feel really works for your material.
When designing a book and cover we think it's incredibly important that the two look like they are meant to go together. We have always found the best way to achieve this is to design the cover first. This way decisions have made for typography, layout, colors and imagery that we can go on to reflect in the interior. As an example, the typography choices for your cover may well then be reflected on the halftitle and title page, as well as in some of the headings.
So if you have already had your cover designed, please send this to us, ideally as a pdf.
We need to know the name of your book printer and what trim size, binding and paper you have selected. When preparing your final pdf we need to know the right settings for color, bleed, print marks, spreads, binding edges, font embedding and transparency flattening. If your printer is one we know like Ingram Spark, Amazon KDP, Bookmasters or Lulu then we already have the details we need. If you are using a different printer we will either need you to send us these print guidelines or we can liaise with the printer for an additional charge.
- can I get it done faster?
When it comes to fast turnaround on design without compromising quality, we don't like to blow our own trumpet but we have achieved some pretty amazing things. So if you're on a real time crunch with a book launch date and it's at all feasible for anyone to get your design work done, then it's probably us. Just a couple of things to keep in mind:
Should you need your files sooner than quoted please ask for our express service. Express jobs are subject to a 30%, 50% or 100% fee depending on the speed required. This is because we will need to prioritize the work over other customers and/or work outside normal business hours.
If you are planning to launch your book on a fixed date it is also important to be aware of the other times involved. Afterall, the publishing, printing, shipping and distributing of books is not instant. Most printers will take at least a week to get a proof to you, a couple of weeks to print and ship a batch of books, maybe a further couple of weeks for a book to settle in stock with distributors. Try to allow as much time as possible to avoid disappointment.
- when should I do editing?
is a team of graphic designers. We do not edit or proofread your book as part of our service and you wouldn't want us to
either — it requires a very different set of skills. However, that doesn't mean we underrate the importance of editing, it can make a big
difference to the success of your book. Here are a few tips we would suggest:
edit before design
Most authors find a few typos when reviewing their typeset proof, somehow these little errors are easier to spot once
the book’s overall layout and appearance have been made easy on the eyes. We can apply changes to your typeset file.
However, each edit must be located and applied individually by our designers so significant changes can become time-consuming
and therefore expensive. It really is worthwhile ensuring that your text is as error free as possible before passing your manuscript to us.
finding an editor
Ideally, you will engage some early assistance. A quick google of 'self-publishing editors' will bring up plenty of options for you to choose
from at a wide range of prices. Just keep in mind a 'proofreader' will skim-read your pages to find mistakes in punctuation, grammar, spelling
and consistency whereas a 'copyeditor' goes much further and actually reads your text to fix flow, transitions, wordiness and jargon.
DIY editing tools
While there are obvious advantages to having a book professionally edited, for many self-publishing authors it is simply too expensive. In these cases we would
recommend some great free, online tools to help pick-up the most obvious mistakes. Grammarly highlights mistakes in grammar, spelling and clichés
in your writing. Hemingway Editor highlights complex and lengthy sentences in different colors to help you see things like adverbs and passive voice.
ProWritingAid checks for grammar mistakes, spelling errors, overused words, readability, and use of clichés. One final suggestion, do ask family and friends
to review your manuscript, they may not be professional proofreaders but it's amazing how much another pair of eyes can help!
- how much will my job be?
Non-fiction books can be very varied. As a result the quickest way to get an accurate price for your job is to send us everything for review so we can quickly issue a quotation. In the meantime as a guide, we outline how the price for design depends on book genre, length, how well the manuscript is prepared and any special work.
Non-fiction includes biographies, histories, art books, humor, religion, philosophy, books on self-help or health or relationships, educational textbooks, business or economics books, home and leisure books, recipe books and poetry. The work involved in typesetting a biography is very different to a textbook full of equations or a high-design recipe book, the price will therefore vary accordingly. As a ballpark, you might expect a 200 page book for each genre to be in the region of:
$448 USD for a Biography including a few photographs
$640 USD for a Business book including tables, callouts, references, index
$960 USD for a Textbook including equations, tables, diagrams
$960 USD for a Recipe book including images, backgrounds, quantities
Depending on the formatting you have used in your manuscript, the same material could either be crammed into 100 pages or spread across 200. We need a reliable way to determine how much material we've been sent so our designers roughly format everything to standard pages — 6" x 9" with standard font size, spacing and margins. The resultant page count gives us a comparable measure of the work involved and hence a price. Your final typeset book might be bigger of smaller than this but the price won't change.
The way your manuscript has been prepared can also have an impact on the price. Providing clearly labelled files and a document with headings that are easy to follow will obviously require the least work for us to understand and we will price accordingly. If there are lots of files and folders and no instructions how to put everything together then it is likely to take us more time.
This might include something like retyping handwritten equations, creating a set of images from scratch, sourcing replacement stock images, editing or touching up existing images, OCR to convert images to text, creating new footnotes and so on. Things like this would be classed as additional work and quoted separately with a custom fee.
- how many pages will my book be?
It is typical to want to know, as early as possible, how many pages your book will be once typeset. This might be as you're keen to stay within certain constraints or you are keen to finalise your cover file.
Maybe you want to keep the page count down to minimise print costs. Maybe you want to push the page
count up so the book doesn't look too thin. Perhaps you have a target page count or you want to fit
within specified printer blocks. If any of these situations apply then it is important to let our designers know so they keep can these constraints in mind when making any design decisions.
Once we have produced your sample we can usually give a decent estimate of page count. However, we will only know the actual page count for your book until it is completely typeset and finished. Only when all the styling is set, all the balancing done, any images placed, chapter pages done and front matter complete can we be confident enough the pages aren't going to change. So if you are looking to finalise your cover design, this should only ever be done at the very end.
- what about my images?
Your quotation may include a fee for us to draw diagrams, commission illustrations, source stock images or rework charts and graphs. If you would prefer to leave your images as they are, tell us and we will remove the fee. Just consider that images in a book should be:
Images in a book should be designed to work with the content, genre, look and feel of the book. In a self-help book you probably don't want overly scientific-looking diagrams, whereas in a business text you're typically not aiming for hand-drawn and playful.
If your book contains a number of similar graphics then you don't want them looking like they've all been pulled together from totally different places. Don't mix quirky cartoons and sophisticated photos. You want things to look consistent in terms of whether they are isolated shapes, have borders, fonts chosen, sizing, line thicknesses, tone and color choices.
Any photos in a print-book should be at least 300dpi and line drawings, charts and diagrams should ideally be vectors. This is how to check image quality.
Any images provided as RGB (red, green, blue) files will need to be converted to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) process color ready for printing on a commercial press. This will darken some of the tones, particularly sky or sea blues.
If your book contains photos then you first need to confirm you are allowed to use these. Please see our article about sourcing book images for full details. You have full rights to any artwork or diagrams we create for you. For any stock images we source you can print these up to half a million times.
- can I get an index?
Many non-fiction books will benefit from an alphabetical index at the back for reference. Creating this is a highly specialized job and requires the skill of a professional indexer. The index can only be started once the rest of your book is completely finished so it's important to allow an extra few weeks for the indexing at this final stage.
creating an index
For many authors the time and money required for a proper index is often not practical. Firstly, it is worth considering if you really need one. If your book is not particularly long and includes a detailed list of contents at the front then an index at the back might not be necessary. However, should you decide it is then there are two other 'do-it-yourself' alternatives. If you are technically savvy then you can add XE fields throughout your Word file as you write it initially. The other alternative is to produce a concordance file yourself which will give you an index of sorts. To read more about these options see our article including a book index.
styling an index
However you create your index, once it’s finished, you will need to hand it back to us for styling at the back of your book. Our designer will set the index out as 2/3 columns of smaller text with hanging indents. They will then style the index title, alpha navigators, entries, sub-entries, indents, cross references and jumps in a way that works with the rest of your material. An additional index-setting charge applies.
- what about equations?
Technical books will often include equations. These may be included in your manuscript in a variety of ways just depending on how you have put the document together. But in preparation for having your book properly typeset there are a couple of things you may want to consider.
If you’re using MS Word, you may have inserted an equation as a separate image. Or maybe you wrote one out in normal text using conventional keyboard characters with lots of x's, spaces and underlines. If you have a little more experience, you may have used the inbuilt MS Equation Editor.
In order to typeset your book in InDesign our designer will need to prepare and convert your equations as MathType objects. Depending on how you have prepared your equations this can either require typing them out from scratch or setting all your variables, inline and display equations with the right typeface, sizing, spacing and captioning to work with the rest of the book. For more on this topic see our article equations in books.
- what if I need changes?
If when designing your book, we get every aspect of the design perfect for you first time, then that's super. But we don't expect that. Receiving your feedback and making adjustments is all part of the design process so changes may be requested at any stage.
We will design an extract of your book and send a sample file for your approval and comments. At this stage you can request an unlimited number of design changes without charge.
Once your whole book has been designed we return a review file. If anything we have done differs from the styling approved in your sample, let us know and we'll fix it without charge. At our discretion we may also include a few edits but all other changes are then charged at a fixed rate. Edits marked as pdf comments are each, edits written out in a list are $0.96 USD each and more extensive changes are $96 USD per hour. All changes are subject to a $48 USD minimum fee.
Once you have
completed payment we return your final print-ready file. After this point, changes are
much more expensive. Even the smallest change necessitates a design update plus printer re-submission and is likely to cost at least $48 USD. So take the time to check your review file carefully to avoid this.
- how do I print my file?
We will send you a final print-ready pdf file. If you are using our publishing or print services then you can simply keep this for your records as we will submit this file for printing on your behalf. If you are using another printer then you will need to submit the file for print to them directly.
Prior to payment we will send you a review pdf labelled 'WzWReview-Filename' that will be set to display on your screen in double-page spreads to resemble the appearance of a book with a review watermark across the pages. Once happy, you make final payment and we return your print-ready file.
Your final file will be labelled 'WzW-Filename'. It will display as single pages, without the watermark and may include a bleed area with crop, bleed or trim marks as required by your chosen printer. This is the file you need to submit your printer.
If you are using Amazon KDP or Ingram
Spark for printing then you will do the file upload in your own account. We cannot do this for you but we do have a few tips to keep in mind. Be sure to upload
the correct file for printing, that means the 'final file we sent you and not an earlier review file. Next be careful to select choices for color, paper,
binding and trim size exactly as agreed in your quotation as your file was prepared to this exact specification. If images in your book go to the edge of the pages then
for KDP you must also select the option that the file includes bleed. Should your file show any errors in the previewer, do just check the above items
have all been entered correctly before you contact us with details and include a screenshot of the issue.
Once your files have been uploaded, you must get a printed proof before placing any batch orders. Books look different in print from the way
they appear on screen so this is your opportunity to flick through the pages and appreciate the final product before committing it to distribution or to a large print run.
- what's this on my pdf?
When you receive a book file from us there may sometimes be settings, features or marks you don't recognise. Whether or not your file shows these just depends on what your printer guidelines specify.
This is a summary of things you might see:
If you notice that your final book pages are fractionally larger than the trim size of your book, then your book has bleed. Bleed is the printing of images or colors that go beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. It gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper.
Some printers specify that certain little black markings are required on a file. These help them to align and calibrate pages on their machines for manufacture. Markings include bleed marks, crop marks, trim marks and registration marks. These may appear as little lines, cross hairs or color bars. They will be trimmed off as part of the book making process and will not appear on your printed pages.
When reviewing your PDF file you may notice some very feint white lines. These “hairlines” are the result of the transparency flatteners used to create PDFs, and sometimes appear around the edges of text and images boxes. The line will not print when your book is produced and are only visible on your computer screen at certain zoom settings.
If your book has a background on any of the pages you may notice a think white strip on the binding edge of your file. This is required by the printer because binding glue does not adhere to paper when the latter is covered in ink.
This is the first recto (right-hand) page you’ll see when you open your book. It simply displays the name of the book, with no byline and no subtitle. Half title
pages have been included in books for centuries and they have the advantage of being the first page attached to the cover as it opens, rather than that being the title page.
Your file may include blank pages. Empty left-handed pages are often used to force key content like a new chapter, to start on a right-handed page. POD books must also have an entirely blank final page where the printer will include their barcode and details.
- can I have source files?
We are happy to share source files with customers upon request. For a $48 USD admin fee one of our designers will prepare, package and upload your files so you can save these on file should you wish to make changes in the future. However, unless you have plenty of experience, we would strongly
recommend you do not attempt to edit these files yourself for a number of reasons:
Our team is extremely experienced with a wide range of design software packages and will select the best software for each job. In the main, book interiors are created in Adobe InDesign with any graphics work done in Photoshop or Illustrator. In order to open and edit your files you would need to have purchased all the latest software and be familiar with using it.
In order for your source file to appear correctly, you must also have the right fonts installed. The license for a professional typesetting font means we can only embed it into your final-form PDF, we cannot include the font in your source files. We are happy to provide details on how to purchase these licenses for yourself but please keep in mind that a full professional font family can be expensive.
If your PDF includes licensed imagery from our stock libraries, we cannot include these with your source files. Under the terms of the license, we have access to use a huge number of images but they may only be embedded into final-form material. The original image files themselves cannot be sent as this is considered re-sale.
After any updates, your final files will need to be exported to PDF using Acrobat Professional. This means applying all the correct pdf distiller profile for things like colorspace, transparency and font embedding as well as including any required print marks for bleed, crop marks and spreads set as required. If any of these are set incorrectly then the printer is likely to reject your files.
In some cases, customers just want the text from their final-form PDF for editing to create a new edition or for translation into other languages. In this case we can export the text from your InDesign file into a cleanly formatted MS Word for future use. Please ask us for further details.
- what about my cover?
Every book needs a cover. But creating this is entirely separate to your book interior. You need a pdf of the front back and spine of your book cover to be submitted separately. The cover sets your first impression and it needs to look really good.
our cover service
If you do not have a cover yet, please see the details of our cover design service.
When designing a book and cover we think it's really important that the two look like they are meant to go together. We have always found the best way to achieve this is to design the cover first. This way decisions have made for typography, layout, colors and imagery that we can go on to reflect in the interior.
If you have already had your front cover designed, please share this with us. Once your interior is complete, the final page count will be known and you can then set your full cover layout with the correct spine width measurement. Please see our cover template layout
service if you need any help with this.
- is an ebook included?
This is a book design service to produce a pdf file ready for printing. An ebook is entirely different and something we would recommend, but it is not included with this service.
what is an ebook
An ebook is an electronic conversion of your printed book.
To create an ebook all the text and images in your book is first tagged and converted into html code. This code should then be edited to ensure the fonts, layout and styling will work for the widest range of ebook devices. The ebook file is then packaged as a an epub
for Kindle, iPad, Nook and Android. Any reader will then be able to download this file onto their digital device where it is instantly decoded and displayed for them.
converting to ebook
Most successful books are now available in both print and ebook version. Please read our article on
why you need an ebook
to appreciate why it's so important to have your ebook converted properly and not rely on free tools and cheap conversion
offerings to do this for you. Our ebook conversion service page provides
full details of our service to take your print-ready files and turn it into an epub. Prices start at $280 USD.
- what are your terms?
We do not have a written contract for you to sign. Instead we ask that you have read this know what you're buying section and accept our general terms and conditions which we have tried to make short and readable.