With today’s acim it is now easier than ever to get your books published. There are many POD (Print on demand) services that print books professionally, quickly, and inexpensively. In this article, we discuss some of the important issues to think about when writing and getting your book published.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) makes your book “official” and is required if you want to sell your book and make it available in libraries. Publishers can buy ISBN numbers in bulk, so it is often a good idea to work with a publisher instead of paying a premium to own a single (or several) ISBNs. You can buy ISBNs from the Bowker agency in the U.S. Although Bowker is the only official agency in the U.S. to sell ISBNs, you can also obtain ISBNs from publishers and other firms that resell ISBNs.
Note that in addition to obtaining the ISBN and using it within your book, a barcode of the ISBN also needs to be created for the book cover. Finally, the ISBN and relevant book information needs to be registered with the Bowker agency’s database. You will need a different ISBN for each format in which you wish to publish your book. The ISBN is the first thing that people wonder about as they think about writing a book. What are some other things to consider?
Before you start writing, you should be aware of – and try to stick with as many industry standards as possible. Your publisher and editor should be a good resource. Please be aware of the following standards:
- You will need to decide on the size of your book. Is it 6 inches x 9 inches? Or 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches? Check with your printer to make sure this is a good standard size that they can print. And then set your paper size correctly in your word processor.
- Font: Some people like to use Times New Roman, but note that this font was designed for newspapers. Some good fonts to use for a book include: Garamond, Georgia, and Bookman.
- Font size: Most trade paperbacks are printed with a font size from 10 to 12, but this is not set in stone. Think of your target readers and audience, and the length of the book, when deciding on your font size.
- Margins: You can check out the margins on some books that you like. I like to leave a slightly larger margin on the edge of the page that will be bound.
- Page numbering can normally be set on the outside bottom edge of each page.
- Make sure your page layout is good. No paragraph headers at the bottom of the previous page, for instance!
Creating the PDF Document
With today’s print on demand technology, once you have your book written, edited – and settings correct (fonts, font size, margins, page layout, etc.) – it is as simple as creating a PDF document, right? Or is it that easy?
It IS as easy as creating a PDF document, but there are a few things to remember, that are required by most print on demand printers. Again, working with an experienced publisher will help smooth the process.
- Embed your fonts in the PDF document,
- Make sure graphics are rendered with at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) for the best appearance, and
- Make sure the output PDF is the correct size for the book.
Note that most publishers purchase software such as Adobe Acrobat to accomplish all of these goals when producing a professional and print-quality PDF document. The publisher and printer will use the PDF to create your book!
This is more important than you think. A nice cover will attract readers to your book. Make sure your cover is professional, attractive, and matches the theme of your book.
Using a Publisher
Some authors may decide to use a publisher when they write their books. The publisher’s expertise and knowledge is often well worth the nominal cost to use an industry professional. A knowledgeable publisher can often save an author time and trouble. In some cases, the cost of the publisher is just a little more than purchasing your own ISBN!