There are two ways to have your book printed on paper: offset (traditional) and digital printing. Offset printing is more economical if you plan to print 1000 or more copies; with digital printing you can print 1 copy at a time if you like. Most of the printers listed here offer both kinds of printing, and binding as well. For e-books I recommend sending the designed file to a vendor that specializes in ebook conversion. Simple layouts, such as novels, work better as e-books than layouts that include illustrations, charts, sidebars, etc.
It is important to choose a printer before the other services, as the decisions you make with the printer affect all other aspects of the project. Shop around and choose carefully. Prices can vary a lot.
This is a small sampling of the book printers out there.
This Chicago book manufacturing company offers one-color printing for 4 standard trim sizes. They print and bind a minimum of 100 copies. They offer a web page on their site for each title that they print.
This traditional book printer offers every kind of binding (and an excellent explanation of each) and 1- to 4-color printing in runs of 500-100,000. They offer book storage and order fulfillment. The FAQ page of their site has excellent general printing information.
Bookmasters does short run printing, but the minimum is 100 copies. They also have a variety of other services including storage, order fulfillment, and an online bookstore.
Owned by Amazon. They are NOT known for their high quality printing or binding, but using them makes it a bit easier to use Amazon for selling your book. Use CreateSpace as your printer but not as your publisher—in other words, don't let them do your editing, designing, etc. Just your printing. They provide digital printing only.
Ingramspark is popular with self-publishing authors because they can print one book at a time, or in bulk. They offer digital printing with a limited range of book sizes. They also print on demand for Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and others. As with CreateSpace, it is best to use this company for printing and distribution only. Digital printing only.
This New Hampshire printer is known for the exceptional quality of its work. Their price may be a bit higher, but it will be worth every penny, especially if your book is illustrated. They use both offset and digital presses.
U.S. Copyright Office
Their website describes in detail the need for a copyright and how to obtain one.
Library of Congress Control Number
It's important to register your book with the Library of Congress. The LCCN is free.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
If you are a Canadian citizen, when you create a work you automatically hold a copyright on it. This website explains your rights in detail.
You need a 13-digit ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book—there is no way to sell the book without it. The number distinguishes your book from all others (and you need a separate ISBN for each format of your book—paperback, hard cover, Kindle edition, other ebook edition, audio edition). You also need a barcode with the ISBN (also known as the Bookland EAN) on the back cover of the printed book. When the book is printed and about to be sold, you will need to register it with Bowker Link to get it listed in Books in Print.
Bowker, the official ISBN distributor in the U.S. and Australia, offers ISBNs and bar codes singly or in groups of four or ten (so that if you plan to publish more than one book, or more than one version of the same book, your numbers will be more or less sequential). Bowker also has a service to help you navigate the world of publishing services.
ISBN number (outside U.S.)
To get a number in another country, you must contact the appropriate agency in your country.
ISBN-13 for Dummies
This site offers a PDF that explains everything you need to know about ISBN-13.
Create a barcode from an existing ISBN for $10 with Bar Code Graphics. But ask your printer first because the printer might provide a free barcode as part of their service.
Fiona Raven, coauthor of Book Design Made Simple, has designed hundreds of books for self-publishers, small presses, and first-time authors since 1995. Her clients come from places as far-flung as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Tonga. Fiona is a self-taught designer, having learned her craft from reading and examining countless books on typography, design, layout, and software. Every now and then she still gets a hankering to create a book the old-fashioned way—by printing on handmade papers, illustrating with wood cuts or watercolors, and creating a binding by hand.
Jenny Putnam has been a graphic designer and production artist for over 25 years, working with clients on a variety of projects from marketing collateral to product labeling. Her specialties are book design and production, digital photo correction, and print publishing production management. Jenny lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts with her young son.
Laurie started her career setting type for movie titles and end credits, then designed album packages for Warner Bros. Records and consumer products for the Walt Disney Company. She retouched key art for many popular NBC and Bravo shows at NBCUniversal, then moved on to Netflix, where she created hundreds of images for their site. Most recently she's been designing and typesetting book covers and interiors, including the 2015 HarperCollins book The Truth, for 8-time bestselling author Neil Strauss. She's very experienced in design, layout, art production and fine typography.
There are basically three levels of editing services that you can request.
1. Content editing consists of advice on writing style, suggestions on overall suitability for your audience, the best ways to get your point across, organization of your book, as well as corrections to your consistency, grammar, punctuation, word usage, and spelling.
2. Editing involves corrections to your consistency, sense, grammar, punctuation, word usage, and spelling.
3. Copy editing involves only corrections to grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling.
You may ask for any of these levels of assistance from the editors below.
As an experienced writer and editor with more than 35 years in educational publishing, Janet understands how to write copy that meets the needs of the target audience. She is skilled in writing in the author's voice, editing copy so that it says what the author wanted to say. Titles she has edited for the trade market include North Quabbin Wilds by William Foye, Having Twins by Elizabeth Noble, and Worcester: A Portrait of Central Massachusetts. She is also the author of Storytelling in Words and Pictures.
A veteran editor with over fifty editing projects to his credit, including a self-published book named one of the top ten new business books in North America. He enjoys working with fiction or non-fiction authors keen to improve their skills. His authors have remarked on his imagination and creativity, as well as his editing expertise. David offers a baker's dozen of services, from manuscript consultation to literary agent searches.
After the designer has laid out the pages, send them to a proofreader for review. Do not skip this important step in the production of your book. A fresh set of eyes can spot typos, omissions, and other errors missed in earlier stages.
Beyond Words Proofreading
Beyond Words Proofreading is a 25-year-old mother-daughter service. They have seven dedicated editorial proofreaders with a combined 60 years of experience. They specialize in textbooks in all fields, including but not limited to medicine, science, information technology, language, film/video, law, religion/spirituality, education, psychology/psychiatry, and literature. They are respected for the quality of their proofreading and for their ability to keep up with the important but often difficult deadlines of their field.
Joanna is a proofreader with experience in both print and online publishing. She has written and edited on a wide variety of subjects, including careers, communication, culture, entrepreneurship, food, green living, nonprofit organizations, social media, technology, travel, and volunteerism. Familiar with the ins and outs of The Chicago Manual of Style, she has many times proven her skill at catching errors in grammar and layout.
Indexing is usually only needed for nonfiction works. A professional indexer will do a better job of indexing than the author can. However, the author can point out or list the important subject matter that should be listed in the index.
Indexing Society of Canada
Find an indexer to suit your needs in English or French.
Linguist Systems, Inc.
Since 1967 this group has been translating for industry, publishing, and the legal profession. They can translate to and from 117 languages.
If you are in need of attractive charts and graphs, perhaps your designer can provide those for you. But there are a huge number of other illustrators ready and waiting to illustrate your book in any way you can imagine. When you contact them, you should of course be ready to explain in detail what you want, but the artist will also want to know exactly how many illustrations you want, and the trim size of your book. Here is a small sample of directories of artists.
Among other things, this site has a directory of illustrators of children's books, with links to many, many artists.
Children's Book Illustrators Group
This site has a large gallery of work by illustrators and contact information for each.
Cynthia has developed a distinctive style that is all her own. Her work is detailed and elegant, convoluted and richly feminine in nature, recalling the richly illuminated manuscripts of the Renaissance and the detail of William Morris. Her black and white florals are highly distinctive and have been adapted to many decorative and commercial uses. Her paintings and illustrations, utilizing a soft rainbow palette, incorporate symbols and mythic iconography into their dreamscapes. For illustration work, Cynthia works mostly in watercolor, colored pencil, and ink.
You can choose illustrators by category of their work, such as Medical, Sports, Caricatures, Realism Painting, Realism Stylized, Photo Illustration, and so on.
Discover hundreds of illustrators specializing in the medical and biological sciences in the Medical Illustration Source Book.
This is a website about multicultural books for children. It features mostly Korean-American writers and illustrators, including galleries of illustrators' work.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Their site promises a gallery of illustrators' work soon.
There are also plenty of stock illustrations to be found online. They are probably more useful as decorations than to illustrate a specific concept. You can find them by using the sites listed immediately below.
Sometimes a photograph is what you want. There are millions of stock photos available online. In most cases, you want to look for "royalty-free" photos. They come with no strings attached and no permissions needed, but do read the fine print to make sure you will remain within each company's guidelines. Each stock photography site listed below has millions of images, and many of them share the same pictures. Prices vary widely, however.
Find just the right royalty-free (or rights-managed) photo image here. Also videos, audio clips, and illustrations.
This is an American company with several subsidiaries, which I'm not listing here. Photos, illustrations, video clip, and audio.
Many of the photos here are contributed by photographers you won't find listed on the other sites. Almost all are royalty-free. When you locate the photo you want, be sure to get a high enough resolution version of it. (Ask me for guidance.) The prices here are lower.
This is a Canadian company, similar to the others.
All MorgueFile photos are free. They are contributed by the general public, and the quality varies. It may be a little confusing to use at first, and the photos change frequently, so it is not as reliable. Note that if you want a color photo that is large enough to use on your cover, be sure to pick one with a file size of at least 3.5 MB.
These are my own photos. I will let you use any one of them in your book at no charge.
This is an important subject that you should tackle early on, and many authors enjoy promoting their own books. If you are not one of those, there are lots of marketing/publicity agencies, and some of them specialize in books. Here is a short list.
This group offers everything from author websites to Podcast production and interview preparation.
Book Marketing Works
They offer an array of ideas for marketing your book, including a long list of book publicists, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, and dozens of articles on pricing your book, publishing, marketing.
This group offers consulting, articles, and how-to marketing books. The do-it-yourselfer can get a lower level of help here, including phone consultations.
You can sell your book directly to readers if you like. However, bookstores and libraries prefer to order books through a distributor. Here are some book distributors that cater to small presses and self publishers.
DeVorss & Company
This is a publisher and distributor for metaphysical, inspirational, spiritual, self-help, and New Thought titles.
Greenleaf Book Group
This is a national company devoted to getting books from small presses and self publishers into the hands of booksellers. Their web site offers good basic information about book distribution.
Independent Publishers Group
This group, based in Chicago, has a huge list of small publishers it deals with. It is one of the largest distributors to Amazon.com, though it also deals with bookstores.
Lightning Source and Ingram
Lightning Source (owned by Ingram) is also listed among the printers (above). They print on demand for Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and others. Many authors use Lightning Source for some of their printing while also printing an offset or digital run elsewhere. Ingram is the world's largest book distributor and is affiliated with some of the smaller distributors listed here. Ingram does not do any sales catalogs or the like; they function as a warehouse.
National Book Network
This is an independent full-service sales and distribution company. It offers marketing, order fulfillment, credit, and collection services.
Partners Publishers Group
This is the distributor for Book Design Made Simple. They are a division of Partners Book Distributing, a national book warehouse. They produce catalogs, attend book shows, and give good customer service.
Small Press Distribution
Started in 1969, this non-profit literary arts organization provides distribution services for fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction for independent writers and publishers.
© 2008-2017 Glenna Collett