Category Archives: Book Printing

Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers? Because it takes a true specialist to understand and follow each printer’s unique file creation guide.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

What is a file creation guide?

For independent (“indie”) authors who wish to produce ebooks alone, things are pretty simple. You can write your book using Microsoft Word and create a simple but attractive book cover using Canva or Amazon.

It’s when you want to create a paperback or hardcover book that things get tricky, particularly if you want that book sold in traditional bookstores. In this case, you’ll need to use a company like IngramSpark® or Lightning Source® (both Ingram Content Group subsidiaries) as your printer/distributor. They each have specific requirements regarding how your cover and interior book files should be designed. These detailed instructions are listed in multi-page file creation guides. And, unless you’re familiar with how to use Adobe Creative Suite or similar programs, you probably won’t be able to understand or follow those instructions. But a professional graphic designer will.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Perhaps the most important reason independent authors need graphic designers is for their knowledge of colours. Believe it or not, colours are much more complicated than you may realize. How something looks on your computer screen may look completely different in printed format. There are many different reasons why.

For starters, RGB (red, green, blue) colours are what you see on your computer screen. They are created using light. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colours, on the other hand, are created by mixing inks/toners together in varying percentages.

When you are creating an ebook only, it’s okay to use RGB colours in your design. But if you plan to print a paperback or hardcover version of your book, you should design it using CMYK colours. Otherwise, your printer may not be able to match the colours you’ve chosen since printers have a smaller colour gamut available than computer screens do.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the specialized knowledge graphic designers have to offer. You can (and should) provide a draft layout of your book’s cover and interior so your designer knows upfront what you’re looking for. But let him or her do the rest. It will be well worth it, I promise.

PPG’s Graphic Design Process

Once your manuscript is edited, it will be given to a professional graphic designer. He or she will work hard to complete a professional design of both your book cover and interior within the agreed-upon project timeline/deadline.

The design component of your PPG publishing package includes:

  • two sample cover designs and two sample interior designs for you to choose one each from (before any full proofs are completed and sent out)
  • one colour cover with either a b/w or colour interior (plus up to 10 interior graphics automatically included in each graphic design package)
  • a half hour phone consultation with the graphic designer (if needed)
  • two proofing rounds (two .PDF proofs of each component) with up to five structural changes to the cover and up to 50 typographical changes to the interior allowed per round
  • one hard proof (physical book) for final proofreading

If you need more than the standard two .PDF proofing rounds and one hard proof, you can purchase these items separately. Keep in mind that doing so will extend your book publishing timeline and also increase your costs.

While you wait to see your first design samples, I recommend you click on these two links to read more about book cover and interior design: The Elements of a Physical Book Cover and The Elements of a Physical Book Interior.

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Project Timeline Template for Book Publishers

Every book is a little bit different. But this project timeline template will help you guesstimate how much time it will take to publish your book. It is essentially the same process for all books: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, et cetera. But some books will require all the below steps (e.g., non-fiction books require indexing) while others won’t.

Project Timeline Template for Book Publishers (Project Management)

Traditional Project Timeline Template for Book Publishers

Below is the approximate amount of time it takes to publish a paperback book the traditional way. For a 30,000-word non-fiction book, you can expect the entire process to take around four months. If your book is twice as large (e.g., 60,000+ words), then expect to double the amount of time it will take each person to complete his or her duties within the project. Plus, you can add up to another four weeks if you plan to print any books once the publishing process itself is complete.

Title of the Book: Sample Non-Fiction Book
Author Name(s): Jane Doe
Genre: non-fiction
Format: paperback
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Word Count: 30,000
Picture Count: up to 10 interior graphics automatically included in each graphic design package
Colour or B/W Interior: b/w
WORK-MADE-FOR-HIRE VENDORS
PPG Publishing Services (Project Manager)
Copy editor
Fact checker
Indexer
Graphic designer
Proofreader
PROJECT TIMELINE
Order Vendor/Author(s) Project Duties Deadline
1 Author Order publishing package (prepay) June 26, 2017
2 Author Digitally sign publishing agreement and submit to PPG June 26, 2017
3 Author Send Production Questionnaire to PPG June 26, 2017
4 Author Submit manuscript and interior graphics to PPG June 26, 2017
5 Author Submit cover text and graphics to PPG June 26, 2017
6 PPG Order ISBN & barcode June 26, 2017
7 PPG Submit contracts to PPG vendors June 26, 2017
8 ALL Vendors All vendors return signed contracts and initial invoices June 26, 2017
9 PPG 50% deposits sent to vendors June 27, 2017
10 PPG Send manuscript to copy editor June 28, 2017
11 Editor Copy editing July 11, 2017
12 Editor Return copy edited manuscript to PPG July 12, 2017
13 PPG Review and send copy edited manuscript to author for approval July 12, 2017
14 Author Finish reviewing copy edited manuscript July 18, 2017
15 Author Return reviewed/approved copy edited manuscript to PPG July 19, 2017
16 PPG Send ISBN and barcode to graphic designer for cover July 20, 2017
17 PPG Send graphics and copy edited manuscript to designer July 20, 2017
18 Designer Complete and send two sample cover/interior designs to PPG July 22, 2017
19 PPG Review and send the two sample cover/interior designs to author July 23, 2017
20 Author Choose one cover design and one interior design and let PPG know July 25, 2017
21 PPG Let designer know author’s choice of cover/interior design July 25, 2017
22 Designer Design cover and interior of book August 7, 2017
23 Designer Send first round .PDF proofs of cover and interior to PPG August 8, 2017
24 PPG Check over first round .PDF proofs and then send to author August 8, 2017
25 Author Complete first proofing round August 14, 2017
26 Author Send changes (if applicable) back to PPG August 15, 2017
27 PPG Check author’s comments and send first round changes back to designer August 15, 2017
28 Designer Complete changes and send next .PDF proofs to PPG August 22, 2017
29 PPG Check over .PDF proofs and then send to author August 22, 2017
30 Author Complete second proofing round August 28, 2017
31 Author Send changes (if applicable) or approval back to PPG August 29, 2017
32 PPG Check author’s comments and send second round changes/approval back to designer August 29, 2017
33 Designer Complete changes and send next .PDF proof to PPG September 4, 2017
34 PPG Check over .PDF proofs and then send back to author for approval September 4, 2017
35 Author Review and send approval back to PPG September 5, 2017
36 PPG Send approved .PDF interior to Indexer September 5, 2017
37 Indexer Complete index of the interior September 18, 2017
38 Indexer Send index in Word.doc format back to PPG September 19, 2017
39 PPG Review and forward index to designer to insertion into the .PDF September 19, 2017
40 Designer Insert index into .PDF September 20, 2017
41 Designer Return print-ready .PDF of interior and .jpeg of cover to PPG September 20, 2017
42 PPG Submit print-ready files to printer and order hard copy proof September 21, 2017
43 PPG Order hard copy proof for proofreader (Can take up to two weeks to receive this from the printer.) October 5, 2017
44 PPG Send suggested retail price to author for approval October 5, 2017
45 Author Reply to PPG with chosen retail price for book. October 6, 2017
46 Proofreader Complete professional proofread of hard copy proof October 18, 2017
47 Proofreader Return proofread hard copy proof to PPG October 19, 2017
48 PPG If more changes, submit to designer to complete changes and mail hard copy proof to author October 19, 2017
49 Designer Complete proofreader changes and submit updated .PDF proof to PPG October 23, 2017
50 PPG Review and send .PDF to author for review along with hard copy proof October 23, 2017
51 Author Compare hard proof to new .PDF proof and send final sign-off to PPG October 25, 2017
52 PPG Request all final-approved working and finished files back from designer October 26, 2017
53 Designer Send all final working and finished files back to PPG October 27, 2017
54 PPG Send author all final working and finished files October 27, 2017
55 PPG Submit final files to printer/online distributor(s) October 27, 2017
56 PPG Organize one book signing event at a local book store for author October 27, 2017
57 Author Print books (Depending on how many copies are being printed, this can take up to four weeks.) November 17, 2017
58 Author Submit book copies to Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada October 27, 2017
59 PPG Update PPG Facebook page October 27, 2017
60 PPG Update PPG blog October 27, 2017

Project Timeline Template for “Rapid Release” Publishing

In 2018, I discussed the many merits of “rapid release” publishing (e.g., releasing a new book every six weeks). Obviously, the above traditional project timeline template won’t work for independent authors who wish to self-publish an SEO-friendly book series like that. They will require a different approach as outlined in this mini ebook series. But for those of you who wish to produce only one book at a time the traditional way, you can use the above template as your guide.

Does “rapid release” publishing appeal to you more than the traditional publishing process does? If yes, here are 7 Tips to Help You Write a Book FAST!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.