Category Archives: Graphic Design

PPG Graphic Design Style Guide

The PPG Graphic Design Style Guide was created to ensure all our graphic designers follow the same professional standards for all our books. Each vendor we hire must follow these guidelines.

1. The bar code is always placed on bottom right-hand corner of the back cover and PPG logos should appear as shown in this image:

PPG Graphic Design Style Guide

2. The gutter and margins should be set as shown here to ensure proper spacing in final printed book:

Gutter and margins for PPG books

3. When doing initial design samples for clients, send only two samples each of both the entire cover and one interior chapter. (The entire cover includes the back cover, spine, and front cover as shown above. The sample chapter should include the title page and a couple extra sample pages to show the client how the margins, headers, footers, fonts, and spacing might appear.)

4. Here is a link to the cover generator (barcode generator) that Ingram Content Group (Lightning Source) uses for its books: https://myaccount.lightningsource.com/Portal/Tools/CoverTemplateGenerator. Please use this tool to generate all book cover templates for PPG paperbacks and hardcover books. It will provide the most accurate spine measurement as it factors in LSI’s chosen paper weights here.

Page counts have to be guesstimated in the beginning since we won’t know the final page count until the final version of the book has been completed, so here is a guideline to use when generating a cover template. Typically, there are 300 words on a page (in the average non-fiction/fiction book). So, if a raw manuscript is 50,000 words long, assume that the book will be 167 pages, plus another 13 pages to account for front matter and back matter, for a total of 180 pages. Always round page counts up to the nearest even number. Build the first draft of the cover for this number of pages. Change it as needed as the book changes.

5. Never include a price on a PPG book cover. Only include the barcode excluding the price.

6. Only make the author’s/editor’s/proofreader’s exact changes to a manuscript. Never make judgment calls regarding punctuation or spelling or anything other than graphic design. Punctuation and spelling are the editor’s and proofreader’s jobs. Graphic design is the graphic designer’s job.

7. Eliminate all visible widows, orphans, and bad breaks from both the back-cover and internal copy of the book. (You may not find them all, and that’s okay. Just do your best. The proofreader will find the rest.)

A book’s interior is usually either justified or flush left as shown in the diagram below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typographic_alignment

If you choose justified alignment for your interior, then you have to be especially concerned with bad breaks in words. For example:

http://nitens.org/img/latex/hyphenation.jpg

The words “curious” and “remember” are badly broken up in the above sample. To avoid this, you can kern that particular block of text either slightly looser or slightly tighter to ensure the full words land on one line rather than breaking up into two lines. Believe me when I say that extra little detail can subliminally affect the quality of your book in other people’s eyes. It takes no time at all to fix it, so I highly recommend that you do.

Widows and orphans are a concern whether your text is justified or flush left as shown in the below image:

http://www.edgee.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/widow-orphan.png

As shown above, a widow is a lone word stuck on a line by itself anywhere in a page; whereas, an orphan is a lone one or two words that have landed by themselves on a line, up on the next page. Both of these things affect the flow and professional appearance of a book whether you realize it or not. Professional publishers always ensure these types of issues are eliminated by meticulously kerning certain blocks of text throughout the book (as opposed to adding in extra line breaks or paragraph breaks in random places to try to correct the issue).

Related reading: PPG Work-Made-for-Hire Vendor Agreement

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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.



Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher

When preparing your digital files for a book publisher, you should follow these important guidelines. File naming conventions are especially important for proper records management.

Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher

PPG FILE NAMING CONVENTION

Each of your files should be associated with your book title, author name, and the current date. They should also indicate their individual purposes (e.g., book cover graphic, book interior text) so it is easy to differentiate each file.

Your file names should begin with the first five letters of your book title, the first five letters of your legal last name, and MMM DD YYYY for the current date. Here is an example file name for a book titled How to Publish a Book in Canada by Kim Staflund:

HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.SAMPLE.DOC

The most important parts of this file naming convention are the first three: the book title, the last name, and the current date. Ensuring consistency and continuity in these three areas will make it easier for everyone involved in the project to find files when they need to down the road. The final part of the file name is a guide to let everyone know what the file is for, and it can be typed in various ways.

Below are some acceptable file names 

for author photo files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.AuthorPhoto.tiff

for book cover files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.CoverGraphic01.jpeg
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.CoverGraphic02.jpeg

for book interior files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorGraphic01.tiff
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorGraphic02.tiff
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorText.doc

for promo piece files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.PromoGraphic01.jpeg

PREPARING GRAPHIC FILES FOR PPG

A graphic is defined as any picture, illustration, chart, image, logo, or graph you would like placed either in your book interior, on your book cover, or as part of any other marketing materials we may be creating for you.

Colour Graphics

All colour graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format, with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI, using the CMYK colour model.

Black and White Graphics

All black and white graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. For best results, they should be sent as grayscale/monochrome files rather than CMYK colour files. (We can accept CMYK colour images; however, they may not reproduce as well in black and white as a grayscale/monochrome image will.)

All graphics for your book (including all author photos) must be sent to PPG at the same time your interior text is sent.

PREPARING TEXT FILES FOR PPG

PPG will only accept text files (e.g., your manuscript) in Microsoft Word format with nothing more than the following formatting. This ensures the file is clean, making it easier for editors and designers to work with it.

  • Include all front matter, body, back matter, and back cover copy in this document in exactly the order you wish to see it appear in the final designed version of your book (NOTE: back cover copy should be placed at the very end and labelled as [Insert back cover copy here] so the designer knows what it is and where to eventually place it; but it must be included in the original text document so it can be properly edited along with everything else).
  • Leave room for the copyright page within your front matter (e.g., simply insert a blank page that says [Insert copyright page here] at the top of it, and PPG will take care of the rest for you).
  • Times New Roman font, 11 pt. size, left-aligned text
  • Entire document double-spaced
  • The only hard returns in this document should be at the end of chapter titles and paragraphs
  • Insert a page break at the end of each section and/or chapter
  • Insert an additional page break where you want blank pages to appear
  • Type [Insert image file name here with the following caption: caption text] where you wish to see an image and caption inserted. DO NOT INSERT THE IMAGE YOURSELF.
  • Italicize any words/phrases you wish to see italicized in the formatted version of your book
  • Bold any words/phrases you wish to see bolded in the formatted version of your book
  • Underline any words/phrases you wish to see underlined in the formatted version of your book

Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher

These guidelines for preparing your digital files for a book publisher are designed to make your life easier. You’ll be able to find the files you need more quickly all along the way. And it will be easier for everyone involved in your book project to keep everything organized.

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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.



The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

The elements of a physical book interior include the front matter, body, and back matter. Each element might differ slightly depending on the type of book being published. For example, a non-fiction book will contain an index in its back matter whereas a fictional novel will not. Following is a list of the components you might find within each interior element.

The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

The front matter of a book might contain some or all of the following components:

  • Primary title page: This is usually the very first page of the book in which the title appears on an otherwise blank right-hand page.
  • Secondary title page: The secondary title page repeats the book title along with the author and publisher’s name on the next right-hand page.
  • Copyright page: The copyright page will contain the book’s ISBN(s), publication date, copyright owner’s name, and a copyright notice such as, “No portion of this book may be duplicated or used in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) for any profit- driven enterprise without prior permission in writing from the publisher.” If the author also wishes to credit any of the book’s contributors (e.g., photographers and designers), that can also be done on this page.
  • Quote page: Sometimes a quote will be placed in the front matter if it sums up the essence of the story quite well.
  • Dedication page: Oftentimes, authors will dedicate their books to their loved ones. That dedication is placed in the beginning of the book.
  • Acknowledgments page: An acknowledgments page allows an author to provide more detail when crediting the book’s various contributors rather than just listing their names on the copyright page. Here, a heartfelt thank you can be expressed in a much more meaningful way.
  • Foreword: Usually, a foreword is written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to provide a history leading up to the story being told or explain what inspired the publication of the book.
  • Preface: Where a foreword is an introduction to the book written by someone other than the author, a preface is an introduction written by the author for the same purpose. An author might also use a preface to explain what methods of research were used during the creation of the work.
  • Contents: A table of contents lists the various sections (i.e., chapters, articles, poems, et cetera) within the book and that page numbers on which they begin.

The body of a book usually contains at least the following two components:

  • Title Pages: A title page is used at the beginning of each section within the body of a book. The purpose of the title page is simply to differentiate between the sections to help organize the flow of the work.
  • Sections: Sections of a book’s body can be divided up as chapters, poems, articles, et cetera. It all depends on the type of book being published.

The back matter of a book might contain some or all of the following components:

  • Appendix: An appendix contains supplementary details that help to clarify further any legal, technical, or scientific information within the book.
  • Bibliography (a.k.a. Citations): A bibliography is a list of the books, articles, webpages, et cetera, that were sourced and referred to throughout the book.
  • Glossary: A glossary of terms contains a list of specialized words that can be found throughout the book along with their definitions.
  • Index: An alphabetized index is used to help readers pinpoint the exact pages where they can find an important name, place, or subject throughout the book. (It provides a much more precise, defined search result than the table of contents at the front does.)
  • Promotional Content: A great way to sell your back list titles is to promote them in the back matter of each new release. It is best if you can provide a graphic of each book’s front cover along with the corresponding ISBNs. This way, readers can search for these back list titles online or at bookstores if they wish to purchase them.
  • Author Biography: An updated author biography helps personalize your book for readers by giving them a bit more information about the storyteller. It is also a great way to promote past titles, thereby increasing the chance of more sales.

The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

When writing your book, keep in mind all of the above elements. Bookmark places for them within your manuscript so you remember to add them in before submitting to a publisher. These extra details will add a certain air of professionalism to your published book.

Related reading: The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

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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.



The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

There are different types of physical book covers ranging from case-wrapped hardcovers (cloth or laminate) or dust-jacketed cloth hardcovers to perfect bound paperbacks. Although they each have their own unique requirements in content and design, some basic elements are common to them all. Using two of my backlist paperback books as examples, you can see all the elements of a physical book cover. Each one is made up of at least the following three components: the back cover, the spine, and the front cover.

The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

Back Cover

As shown in the above visual aid, the back cover portion of a physical book cover begins on the left-hand side. The dimension of the back cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

  • An author photo (optional)
  • Back cover copy (marketing copy that summarizes the contents of the book in a compelling way)
  • Room for the book’s barcode and ISBN on the lower right-hand corner
  • Room for the publisher’s logo on the lower left-hand corner
  • A short author biography (optional)

Spine

The spine portion of a physical book cover sits in between your back and front cover. Its height will match your chosen trim size (in the case of these examples 8.5 inches). Meanwhile, the width is determined by other factors. Two factors are the final page count of your designed interior and the paper stock being used. The spine also contains the following features:

  • The book title at the top
  • Author name (pseudonym) in the centre
  • Room for the publisher’s logo

Front Cover

The front cover portion of a physical book cover sits on the right-hand side. The dimension of the front cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

  • The book title (and subtitle, if applicable)
  • Author name (pseudonym)

Additional graphics will require additional graphic design time

The Elements of a Physical Book Cover

Your cover artwork can wrap around the spine of your book and span the entire height and width of the complete cover (as shown in the first visual for the book titled 11:11); it can appear on the front cover only (as shown in the second visual for the book titled A Letter to My Son); or it can be more complex (as shown in the third visual for the book titled A Letter to My Daughter).

All of these examples are correct. If going with the first example, make sure the artwork itself contains a minimum 1/4-inch bleed all around the edges. This will ensure the outside edges of the picture aren’t trimmed unnecessarily at the printer. If going with the third example, keep in mind that additional graphics require additional work for the designer. This will equate to additional upfront design costs.

Related reading: The Elements of a Physical Book Interior

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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.



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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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.



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.