So I want you to visualize your book. Close your eyes and imagine holding your finished book in your hands. Look at the cover. The images, colors, fonts—what stands out for you? What do you like? How will it measure up to best sellers? I hope you’re feeling really proud of yourself!
Open the book and look at the pages. What is the paper like? The color and texture? Illustrations? What do you notice about the text? Font size, spacing, white space? Easy to read? A beautiful book?
What do you need to do to achieve your stunning book?
I know you need to write it, but let’s start at the other end of the process.
You need someone to print it. And you need someone who is good at it.
Before you think about printing though, you need to think about distribution: How widely do you want to distribute your book? If you are going to store your books in your basement and only take them to conferences or cart them over to your local independent bookstore, that’s one thing. But if you want your book on Amazon, or to be searchable in catalogs distributed to thousands of retailers, that’s quite another. You will need print-on-demand. Print-on-demand versus Offset Printing, there are many companies purporting to offer print-on-demand, but they act as funnels to two companies: IngramSpark and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). We recommend IngramSpark for print quality and superior extended distribution.
These two companies don’t just take any file. They need your file in specific formats that follow rules. You can get your book to follow these rules, but you need to know what the rules are before you or a professional designer do the typesetting; in fact, you must understand these rules in order to make an informed choice about hiring a professional designer. Or perhaps you decide you don’t want to do the research at all, meaning that you want some hand-holding throughout the process. In this case, reaching out to a professional book design firm such as 1106 Design needs to happen early on.
What it all boils down to is this: You need to start with the end in mind.
For many self-publishers, printing and distribution (along with marketing) are an afterthought. However, waiting until the last minute—after you have spent hours and hours honing your Word skills, messing with templates, or pulling your hair out over InDesign—means you run the risk of investing all that time, energy and money only to have IngramSpark reject your files because they don’t match their file specifications, thus sending you back to “Start.”
We see this all the time. But by starting with the end in mind and adjusting your plans and resources accordingly, you can avoid this pothole along the path to self-publishing success and produce the beautiful book of your dreams.
To learn more about the publishing process, click here to see our step-by-step guide.