Preparing a Book for Print

So you’ve written a book, and you think you are done. Far from it. The days when you could just hand your manuscript over to a publisher are pretty much gone. Today you have to take on some of the responsibilities of the publisher. Most publishing houses are running with a skeleton crew, so the better shape your manuscript is in, but more likely you are to have a happy publisher.

If you have decided to forgo the traditional publishers, the time, work, and expense has only just begun.  You have to have your book copy edited, at the very least. This gets expensive — in the case of my book, prohibitively so.  Academic copyeditors bill at between $40 and $100 per hour, and edit between 2-5 pages per hour. Best case scenario: the cost to copyedit my book would be  $3,640.

Only a fool copyedits his own writing. I am that fool. This means I have to check, recheck, and recheck again, often redoing work I just finished simply because I did something that repaginated the document.

There are plenty of helps available for the aspiring author, although most of them are meant for authoring fiction. The one I made the most use of is “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. The book and the authors have an active APE community on Google+ that can be quite helpful.

Just because you are self-publishing doesn’t mean you have to use a vanity press. There are plenty of options available. I chose to use CreateSpace from for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they provide relatively inexpensive ISBN numbers — ranging from  free to $99, depending on whether you want to use a custom imprint and whether you want to maintain the rights to be able to publish your book elsewhere. ) They have a variety of helps available, some for free and a wide variety of paid services. And they are the world’s largest bookseller, with global reach, so that’s a big plus.

It is important that you follow the instructions for creating a high quality PDF. If you don’t, your graphics will not be high enough quality (300 dpi) for print. But you may find that the conversion doesn’t proceed smoothly. Hopefully whatever publisher you use will identify the problems for you. It took some time, but I got rid of the problems one by one. One of the hardest was embedding the fonts into the file. This wasn’t hard with Word, but depending upon your PDF conversion process, it may be more difficult to embed the fonts into the PDF.  The hardest problem to find a solution for was deleting the line that Microsoft Word inserts between the body of the text and the endnotes/footnotes. It turns out you cannot do it in the Print View (WSYWIG) mode; you have to be in Draft. Follow the online instructions provided by Rivier University and you’ll be fine. Delete Endnote/Footnote Line Separators