Print preparation

So I've decided to "draw a line" and start making my manuscript draft into something that not only should upload to Lulu on the first try, but also look reasonably professional.

 

My first question has to do with the book size and binding.

 

I've done all my drafts thus far (have run off a copy every now and then for my regular research trips etc.) as 8.5 x 11 with spiral binding, and I anticipate the book, if done this way, will run about 240 pages, depending on final margin settings etc.

 

Now, I'd come across a mention on a 'self-publishing guru's' website that most self-published books are typically done in the 6x9 format with perfect binding.

 

If I go the 6x9 route, a couple images will be too small to be usable (I already have to split my planned frontispiece image into two parts to fit in at 8.5 x 11). That and the page count will swell to 400+ pages.

 

I also have a preference for spiral binding as I have at least one large perfect-bound book in my "library" that's like a mousetrap in spite of its unwieldy 10x12 size. That and I notice well-used perfect-bound books inevitably develop bad creases in the binding (although I know the disadvantage of spiral binding is the tendency of pages to pull out or the binding to work its way out of place).

 

That same site also pooh-poohed the use of Microsoft Word in a BIG way, enough to leave me feeling a bit discouraged and wondering if I need to make the sizable financial and time / learning curve investment in Inde$ign.

 

To add on to that, it also frowned on using returns for vertical spacing and discouraged the use of tabs.

 

It also strongly recommended turning on hyphenation, which I AM considering (it depends on my next questions).

 

Looking at a couple other books as samples, I'm also a bit torn over whether to block-justify or not (the manuscript is currently block-justified but I don't seem to have a problem with "rivers" in the text) as well as whether I should be running the text in two columns or not (the only time I bothered with them was in an early draft and only for the indexes).

 

So, I just want a bit of feedback from those who have been there and done that.

Comments

  • The six by nine seems to be the norm here for distribution. The spiral binding cannot be used for Amazon and other outlets I don't think.  Also have you thought of making two books instead of one, like Volume one and Volume two?


    A lot of people on here use MS Word. I do all the time. But some do use Indesign and some use Open office.
  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    What sort of book are you writing, if it isn't a secret?

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    NDLineGeek wrote : "If I go the 6x9 route, a couple images will be too small to be usable (I already have to split my planned frontispiece image into two parts to fit in at 8.5 x 11). That and the page count will swell to 400+ pages."

     

    One of the books I am writing at the moment is a grammar of Filipino in French that has 660 pages in the 6x9 format. The proofs will be soft-cover, but the final version will be hard-cover. Why should you be deterred by 400+ pages?

     

    You can always make your big pictures full-page ones. If they are in the landscape format, turn them up in the portrait position. Readers will have no problem turning the book to see them as landscape pictures.

    Some use full bleed (no margin) pages for their pictures, and even spread them over two pages - an even one and the next odd one.

     

    If you are not satisfied with the 6x9 format, why not try the Crown Quarto format?


  • TheJesusNinja wrote:

    The six by nine seems to be the norm here for distribution. The spiral binding cannot be used for Amazon and other outlets I don't think.  Also have you thought of making two books instead of one, like Volume one and Volume two?


    A lot of people on here use MS Word. I do all the time. But some do use Indesign and some use Open office.

    So you're saying that if I make it available as spiral bound I wouldn't be able to sell on Amazon?

     

    I could easily develop this as two separate versions - one spiral bound and one perfect-bound, right?

     

    I've a couple friends who have published reference books within the past year and both books are 8.5 x 11 and spiral bound and thicker yet than my planned book (one is 280 pages and the other one is 260 pages).

     

    As for the choice of program, thanks for the reassurance - I just need to make sure to follow best practices as I continue cleaning up my manuscript.


  • potetjp wrote:

    NDLineGeek wrote : "If I go the 6x9 route, a couple images will be too small to be usable (I already have to split my planned frontispiece image into two parts to fit in at 8.5 x 11). That and the page count will swell to 400+ pages."

     

    One of the books I am writing at the moment is a grammar of Filipino in French that has 660 pages in the 6x9 format. The proofs will be soft-cover, but the final version will be hard-cover. Why should you be deterred by 400+ pages?

     

    You can always make your big pictures full-page ones. If they are in the landscape format, turn them up in the portrait position. Readers will have no problem turning the book to see them as landscape pictures.

    Some use full bleed (no margin) pages for their pictures, and even spread them over two pages - an even one and the next odd one.

     

    If you are not satisfied with the 6x9 format, why not try the Crown Quarto format?


    This is to be a history book about all the various power companies that served the state of North Dakota - i.e., who was the first to install a small power plant in the back of the local garage, grain elevator, blacksmith shop, etc. and who owned these plants through the years until the present-day power companies purchased the local plant and built a power line into that town.

     

    I have two pictures that were originally big maps - one was something like 17 x 22 while the other was even bigger. The state map I plan to use to illustrate the present companies' service areas I already planned to place in the book as landscape photos and is what I also plan to use as a frontispiece photo across two pages.

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    NDLineGeek a écrit :
    This is to be a history book about all the various power companies that served the state of North Dakota -

    I have two pictures that were originally big maps - one was something like 17 x 22 while the other was even bigger. 

    __________________________
    The best format for you is Crown Quarto.
    As regards big maps, you can have a simplified general one, as I did in the attached page, and separate detailed ones for specific areas.

     

  • Word uploads well.

     

    I have used MS Word for several of my projects. Be sure to use page breaks where you need them, be careful with the placement of photos, and review the print-ready interior before proceeding through the wizard.

     

    Here is an 8x11 perfect-bound book that I made, with many diagrams and photos:

     

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/cliff-robison/hotel-maintenance-a-study-guide/paperback/product-15921759.html

    hotel-maintenance-a-study-guide

     

    Also, you are not limited to a single format. You can make a spiral bound book, and then also make a perfect bound book using the same manuscript.

     

     

  • So I have a PDF that is definitely formatted in 6x9 pages. I cropped all the pages in Adobe Acrobat Pro. I went into the document properties and verified that 6x9 is the page size. But when I upload to Lulu, every time, it tells me it had to reformat my 8.5x11 pages to my chosen 6x9 format - and then it shrinks all my page layouts down to ridiculously tiny size, surrounded by swaths of white space, and complains that the font size is now too small to print clearly. I've been banging my head against this all evening. Help? 

     

    PS - My other option is to upload the Word doc, but then while Lulu keeps the 6x9 page format, it refuses to keep the fonts. Very frustrating!

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    RDFish1 a écrit :

    So I have a PDF that is definitely formatted in 6x9 pages. I cropped all the pages in Adobe Acrobat Pro. I went into the document properties and verified that 6x9 is the page size. But when I upload to Lulu, every time, it tells me it had to reformat my 8.5x11 pages to my chosen 6x9 format - and then it shrinks all my page layouts down to ridiculously tiny size, surrounded by swaths of white space, and complains that the font size is now too small to print clearly. I've been banging my head against this all evening. Help? 

    ____________________

     

    Is the original file in your wordprocessor in the 6x9 format?

     

     

  • I noticed that if I submitted a Word .docx file to Lulu, it did not always convert as I wished.  If I saved my Word doc as a PDF first and then submitted it to Lulu, the results were much better.

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    This is normal. A PDF is always preferable.

  • In reply to NDLineGeek

     

    I'd recommend you check the options for GlobalREACH distribution, the widest that Lulu offer:

    http://connect.lulu.com/t5/ISBN-Distribution/Which-Products-are-Eligible-for-Retail-Distribution/ta-p/33150

     

    Go for the size in the first table there that best suits your needs. A4 and US letter (8.5 x 11) are both bigger than crown quatro and will do your large photos better justice. The smaller page size will also lead to a fatter book, luckily all the sized discussed are within a sensible range. US Letter also allows internal colour, which A4 does not.

     

    Binding is a matter of personal preference, but I prefer perfect bound to spiral unless there is an overriding need to fold two-page spreads flat. Spiral is not an option for GlobalReach so fewer shoppers will ever see it.

     

    Don't listen to prima donnas who promote one authoring tool over another. The only key feature I would recommend is the ability to output as pdf, and nearly all of them will do that. If you upload Word or OpenOffice etc. formats, Lulu's pdf converter usually springs surprises and you get trapped in an endless tinker-upload-download-dismay cycle. Preparing for Lulu an almost-ready pdf offers you greater ease of control over the detailed formatting and I would never consider any other format.

     

    A two-column layout is best saved for the wider formats, and there it is a matter of preference. Wht do your target market expect? Single-column text should be fully justified, while with two-column plain left-justification is acceptable alternative. Making two fully-justified columns look properly typeset can be hard work. My own view is that two-column is best kept for short magazine-style books or booklets and that a serious book like yours should be single-column everywhere except maybe the Index if there is one.

     

  • In reply to RDFish1

     

    Pdf is a bizarre format and keeps track of all the changes made to  the original pdf file. So when you cropped them all, it remembered the original paper size. Lulu's converter missed the change log.

     

    You need to format your source files to the correct print size before pdf-ing them.

     

    Either that or find a tool that strips out the past history, though the only ones I know of run on Linux not Windows or Mac.

  • Steelpillow:

     

    I've already started thinking about doing the book perfect bound instead of spiral bound anyway.

     

    As for size, I'll either stay with 8.5 x 11 or go with crown quarto. 6x9 is too small.

     

    The fact that many here use Word is a reassurance in itself, but I'm actively looking for little things that I can do to minimize the 'amateurish' appearance of the book. Smiley Happy

     

    I've already determined the workflow I need to use for outputting the desired PDF format on this Mac: Word -> Postscript (via OSX) -> PDF (via distiller portion of Acrobat with press-ready settings) so that's not an issue at all.

     

    I've pretty much settled on a single column layout throughout the book except for the index (have the names index and town index in two columns to save space).

     

    I've one formatting hiccup left to solve, and I'm already underway with a search for typos and sentences that could  be tightened up a bit. Then I'll run off a draft for a friend to read from cover to cover while I start work on the images.

  • Here are a few more little things you can do right at the end when everything except the exact page numbering is sorted:
    - If you ever use dashes in your text - like this - use either [space][endash][space] or the longer [emdash](no spaces) throughout, to taste.
    - Where the word spacing gets wide, insert a "soft" hyphen at a syllable break in the first word on the next line, so that the first syllable or so jumps back to the end of the previous line. The soft hyphen means it doesn't print if a later edit throws the word back together again.
    - Where a single-character word such as "I" or "a" ends a line, replace the following space with a "hard" space so it attaches to the next word and starts the next line.
    Most professional typesetters pay this kind of attention to detail, few self-publishers do.

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    steelpillow a écrit :

    Making two fully-justified columns look properly typeset can be hard work. 

     


    My wordprocessor is Wordperfect. When I resort to a two-column layout, I can have both justified, even if they contain non-Latin characters, and this is no big deal.

     

    justified columns.jpg


  • potetjp wrote:

    My wordprocessor is Wordperfect. When I resort to a two-column layout, I can have both justified, even if they contain non-Latin characters, and this is no big deal.

    justified columns.jpg


    This is a good example of what I mean. On the left hand side the line beginning "quien. imp. maghaying ca nang..." is bunched up with small gaps between words. The line opposite it on the right hand side "The archaic Tagalong form..." has proportionally much wider gaps between the words. The narrower the columns, the worse the visual effect becomes and the harder it is to tinker with breaks and spacings to even them out to a full professional standard. It doesn't matter too much with something like an index or a glossary, but in the main body of the work it matters a lot more.

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