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Producing Your Book

Pre-Press:Book Design, Typesetting & Layout
Printing And Printers
Other Editions (Online, CD, Audio, Large Print)

Pre-Press:Book Design, Typesetting & Layout

Book design. Visit a bookstore. Check your section, then look into other sections. Find a book you like-on any subject. Consider binding, layout, feel, margins, type style, everything. Then buy it. Use this book for a model. Tell your typesetter (or do it yourself) and printer you want your manuscript to look like this book. To get what you want, just buy a model and adapt it.

Most publishers today set their own type. All you need is a computer, a word-processing program such as MS-Word and a 600-dpi laser printer. Just draft and typeset your book in MS-Word and convert the file to PDF with Adobe Acrobat. Then you can send the disk to the printer. Or hire a typesetter with a page layout program such as PageMaker or QuarkXpress. See Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.

Testimonials, forewords, endorsements and quotations or "blurbs" sell books because word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forces in marketing. Anything you say is self-serving but words from another person are not. In fact, when readers see the quotation marks, it shifts their attitude and they become more receptive.

Your mission is to get the highest-placed, most influential opinion-molders talking about your book. You have more control than you think over who you quote, what they say and how you use their words. Testimonials are not difficult to get if you follow a plan. The easiest and best method is a two-step process. See Blurbs For Your Books, Document 609. For book designers, see our suppliers list.

Book covers matter. Everyone knows you shouldn't judge a book by its cover-but everyone does. Readers look at the front cover and the back cover and then make a buying decision. They do not read the book first. Retailers (bookstores) buy from the cover. Sales reps do not lug books around. Wholesalers make buys without seeing the text. They want you to submit just the cover-they don't judge the content. Reviewers receive dozens of books each day and can only review a small number. They have to select the books that appear to be the most interesting. Your book cover has to survive "the glance test."

Everyone judges a book by its cover. There are so many books and other things to look at-and so little time. All these very important decisions—whether or not to buy your book—are made on just one thing: the cover.

Stores display tens-of-thousands of books with the spine-out. With all this congestion, it is hard to get attention.

The package outside sells the product inside. The bookstore browser spends just 8 seconds on front cover and 15 seconds on back cover and this is assuming the spine was good enough to get him or her to pull it from the shelf.

A well thought out cover design will take into consideration who the competition is, who the target market is, and where the book will be distributed. A strong book cover acts as a marketing tool. It is an advertisement for your book.

Too often, cover artists for large publishers miss the point of the book or fail to relate to its intended market. The wrapper outside should reflect the message inside.

Too many small author/publishers put all their energy into the text. Then the cover becomes an afterthought. This is terribly unfortunate because, from a sales standpoint, the cover is the most important part of the book. The author may feel the text is the most important but it is the cover that attracts the buyer. If you do not attract that buyer, you won't get your message to him.

Unfortunately, many first books scream self-publisher for their loving hands at home look. Your book has to look like a book if you want it to sell like a book. Customers will not buy kitchen-table-published books. If they buy sight-unseen through the mail and are not thrilled, they may send it back.

Your book cover designer will lay out the package, incorporate the illustration, put it all on disk and send it to your printer but you must draft the sales copy. The free book cover layout will take you step-by-step through the sales-copy drafting process. This exercise will help you to focus on who your customers are and what you plan to share with them. The Book Cover Worksheet can be found in Document 116 (free) and The Self-Publishing Manual.

Each year, U.S. industry spends more than $50 billion on package design. Packages prompt buyers to reach for the product whether it is panty hose, corn flakes, hair spray or books. Invest your time in your text and your money in your cover. Make sure your customers reach for your book, identify their needs with it and buy it. See Covers that Sell Books, Document 631. For cover designers, see our Suppliers List.

Printing and Printers

Printing. Beware of "job printers" soliciting book printing. Many printers are looking for new territory and are attracted to the big-ticket item: books. There are only about 44 genuine book printers in the U.S. These printers print only books, have set up streamlined operations, have specialized equipment, use teams to handle the prepress functions and often run two and three shifts on their equipment. Their quality is consistently good—they don't have to spend time figuring out how to lay up the job so that the pages come out in the right order and right side up. They want to do a good job and they have to; they can't suddenly decide to switch to printing posters or labels or business cards. Their prices are the lowest because they buy their book paper by the multi-carload. A local "job printer" will buy just a pallet of paper for your book and will pay much more for it.

For best quality, lowest price and on-time service stick with printers who print nothing but books. How can you find book printers? We have the list.

Each book printer is set up differently. Some specialize in casebound (hardcover), some in perfect binding (softcover), and some in saddle stitch (staples). Any item in your specifications varying from their system will drive up their costs and your quote. When they have to take a book off the line to shift it to the other side of the factory or send it out to a binder, costs go up. As a publisher, you don't have to learn printer capabilities and printing equipment. Just send out a request for quotation (RFQ), describing your book to all 44 book printers. Take the lowest bid. It does not matter where the printer is located (most are in Michigan) because the bid will include delivery charges to your place.

If your next book has similar specifications, you will probably deal with the same printer. Once you establish a relationship with the printer, your costs will probably go down further because you require less handholding. But do send out RFQs from time to time to make sure your printer is still giving you a good price. For instructions on drafting a Request For Quotation and a list of book printers, see the Instant Report Document 603, Book Printing at the Best Price or The Self-Publishing Manual. For this information and much more such as what to look for in blue-line proofs and sample letters with shipping instructions, etc., see the Special Report Buying Book Printing. For printers, also see suppliers.

Trucking. If you are located in the west and your book is being printed in the Midwest or east, you can save 58% on your trucking by designating Clipper Express as your carrier. Just call Margaret Clifton at (530) 432-5521. We just saved you (another) bundle.

But what does it cost to publish? Let's compare prices for traditional ink-press printing, PQN (Print Quantity Needed) and POD (Print-On-Demand, one book at a time such as DocuTech). We will compare a softcover (perfect bound) 144 page 5.5 x 8.5 book with black text and a four-color cover.

  1. Press (ink on paper): $1.55 each but you have to print at least 3,000 to get a price this low. So, your print bill will be $4,650. See below.
  2. Digital printer (short run): 500 copies for $2.80 each or a print bill of $1,400, or 100 copies for $5.17 each and a print bill of $517. For more details, see suppliers.
  3. POD (single copies): May run $6 to $10 and are often bundled with other services. Print-On-Demand is a good option when a book has run its course, your inventory is exhausted and you still receive orders for a couple of copies a month. Rather than invest in inventory, you can have books made one-at-a-time as needed.
Hardcover. Most books are manufactured with soft covers, called "perfect binding." In traditional printing, hard or "case" binding runs about $1.00 extra per book. For Digital production, the cost for case binding is $1.65 to $3.25 each, depending on the page count (thickness) of the book. Those prices include the hard covers and the dust jackets. Then there is editing, typesetting that most of us can do on our computers, book cover design and other pre-press expenses. After the book is printed, it has to be promoted with book reviews, news releases and some direct mail advertising. For a book like the one described here, you should budget about $1,000 to $3,000 to get started. A good portion of that money will be spent on promoting the book after it is printed.

That $2.00 book could sell for $14.95 or $19.95 depending upon the audience. With this spread, you won't even mind giving the bookstore or other quantity buyer a 40 percent discount.

Other Editions (Online, CD, Audio, Large Print)

Electronic books. You are not a book author, book publisher or a book publicist. You are an "information provider." You work with ideas, words, typesetting, page layout, publishing, promoting and selling. You must dispense your information in many ways: Books, magazine articles, audio, videotape, seminars, speeches, and private consulting. These messages are the same but the delivery method for each is different.

The costs of electronic information delivery are decreasing while the cost of storage and physical delivery of books is increasing. That is why the fax became a common machine. We are moving from a print culture to an electronic culture. See The Self-Publishing Manual.

In the near future, almost every reference work will be offered in both print, downloadable and CD-ROM form. If you publish directories, manuals, lists, travel guides, or other reference books, you should explore your electronic book publishing options now. Nonfiction books will be next.

Now the Web offers you a way to distribute your "brochure" to lots of potential buyers interested in your subject matter and a way to sell your work in both printed and electronic form. These methods are very inexpensive.

Some of your potential customers commute or travel a lot; they do not have time to read your book. But they do have time to listen to it. Spoken-word recording (audio) is an efficient alternative delivery method. See our short report Audiobooks. See Free InfoKit.

Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books by Dan Poynter describes the New "Book" Model: the technology has finally arrived to enable us to write, produce, sell and promote books faster, easier and cheaper. You will discover how to build your book rather than just write it. You will multipurpose your "book" into downloadable, CD and ebook versions. You will wring maximum value out of your work by spinning off audiotapes, videotapes, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions and more. In fact, Writing Nonfiction will be your constant reference on writing and producing books as well as marketing your manuscript. You will learn how to break the topic down into easy-to-attack projects; how and where to do research; a process that makes writing easy; how to improve material; how to evaluate your publishing options and how to develop an individualized and workable plan. This book will help you decide whether to sell to a large publisher, a specialized publisher, get an agent or publish yourself. Using the "pilot system" of organization, the binder concept and the check-off lists will accelerate your book writing. If you are in the thinking-planning stages or the writing stage on your manuscript, you need this book.

Sample the Flip Viewer version of the eBook. Click or drag the pages. Test all the buttons.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-110-6
Cover Price: $14.95

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Is There a Book Inside You?, Writing Alone or With a Collaborator by Dan Poynter and Mindy Bingham. You will discover: How to pick your topic, how to break it down into easy-to-attack projects, how and where to do research, a process that makes writing (almost) easy, how to improve your material, how to manage writing partnerships, how to evaluate your publishing options, as well as how to develop an individualized and workable plan. They will show you how to write your book, get the help you need and publish or get it published. With self-paced quizzes and resources. A Writer's Digest Book Club main selection.
ISBN: 978-1-56860-046-8
Cover Price: $14.95

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Dan Poynter’s Book Publishing Encyclopedia. Finding book resources fast. Time is money. Writers, publishers and publicists need access to resources--quickly. Whether you deal in entertainment (fiction) or information (nonfiction), you need information on the book industry.

Dan Poynter’s Book Publishing Encyclopedia is the "Book Publishing Answer Book." It has thousands of tips and references in an easy-to use alphabetical encyclopedia. Each fact, figure, resource or reference, in its 222 pages, links to a specific page on a web site for more information.

Poynter’s Encyclopedia is available in softcover, large print and four types of eBook. All are laid out alphabetically--A through Z and have a voluminous index. The eBook editions may also be searched electronically.

Dan Poynter has been gathering these facts and figures for years. He has written more than 120 books and hundreds of other information products. The media come to Dan because he is the leading authority on how to write, publish and promote books.

Keep this reference within easy reach; you will refer to it often. When you have questions, this book will supply the answers and they will be easy to find.

Available in standard print, large print and three types of eBook.



ISBN: 978-1-56860-127-4
Cover Price: $19.95

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Blurbs For Your Books, Testimonials, endorsements and quotations. To make your book sell, you will need powerful testimonials on the back cover (3), front cover (1) and extras can go on the first page of the book. Many news releases today start with a blurb. This Instant Report gives you a simple two-step program for getting testimonials from VIPs. 6 pages.
ISBN: Document 609
Cover Price: $10.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $6.95

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Book Cover Worksheet. Paint-by-the-numbers instructions on how to write the sales copy and lay out your covers. Follow this outline; make your cover sell your book. 2 pages.
ISBN: Document 116
Cover Price: $4.00
Self-Service Electronic Price: $0.00

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Covers that Sell Books. Everyone knows you should not judge a book by its cover but everyone does. Your distributor, wholesalers, bookstore buyer and ultimate customer all make buying decisions on the cover; none read the book first. Your cover is your primary marketing tool. Learn the secrets of good cover design and where to get professional design help. 11 pages.
ISBN: Document 631
Cover Price: $12.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $8.95

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The Self-Publishing Manual, How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter is a complete course in writing, publishing, marketing, promoting and distributing books. It takes you step-by-step from idea, through manuscript, printing, promotion and sales. Along with an in-depth study of the book publishing industry, the book explains in detail numerous innovative book-marketing techniques. "Whether you sell out to a publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion. This book is about promotion." The Manual is a Bible and a constant reference for publishers. Writer's Digest Book Club selection. Revised edition.



ISBN: 978-1-56860-134-2
Cover Price: $19.95

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The Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2


SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BOOKS Book publishing is changing: this book describes how to take advantage of those changes. This Volume II is the sequel to The Self-Publishing Manual (Volume I), the most successful book ever written on the subject.


Learn how to use new techniques to write your book faster, new technology to publish it for less, new ways to distribute your book more economically, ways to have fun promoting it and how to profit from your investment by cutting out all of publishing’s’ gatekeepers in the middle.


You will discover how easy it is to:

&              Build your book rather than just write it—and copyright it in your name.

&              Print a small quantity and keep a small inventory.

&              Multipurpose your “book” into downloadable, CD, and eBook versions and others.

&              Wring maximum value out of your “book” by spinning off audios, videos, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions, and more.

&              Bypass the publishers and go directly to a short-run book printer.

&              Set up your own publishing company and take the tax breaks.

&              Promote your books with email, book reviews, autographings, feature articles, and radio/TV interviews.

&              Promote your book for virtually no costs via social media.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-146-5
Paper Price: $14.95
eBook Price: $7.97

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Printing and Printers - Resources

Buying Book Printing Buying Book Printing answers the question we hear most: How to find the best and least expensive printer for your particular book. Each printer is set up to manufacture certain kinds of books. Specialties vary depending on type of binding, book measurements, print-run, etc. This Report shows you how to make up a Request for Quotation and provides a mailing list of printers who specialize in book manufacture. A section on color printing describes how to contact local representatives of Hong Kong and other foreign printers. This Report tells you how to decide how many books to print, how to select the appropriate binding, what to look for when checking bluelines, should you use a printing broker, how to evaluate quotations, what kind of a printing job you can expect, how to inspect the final product, and even how to resolve disputes. This Report will save you thousands of dollars in printing, binding and trucking costs. Includes an action plan, forms, sample letters and an Appendix full of resources. 28 pages.
ISBN: 1-56860-055-0
Cover Price: $19.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $19.95

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Book Printing, at the Best Price. How to find the right printer for your book. This Report takes you step-by-step through the Request For Quotation and tells you where to send them. Includes a list of the 44 book printers with addresses, telephone and fax numbers. 13 pages.
ISBN: Document 603
Cover Price: $13.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $9.95

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Other Editions (Online, CD, Audio, Large Print) - Resources
AudioBooks: Turning Books & Speeches Into Spoken-Word Downloads & Disc Products shows you the quick and easy way to turn your material into a new product. Background, tips, ideas and resources. 8 pages.
ISBN: Document 635
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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pBooks to eBooks; Creating Digital Reading. How to turn your printed books into downloadable eBooks. Once your book is written and ready to be printed, it is time to wring more value out of it. eBooks do not have to be printed, inventoried or shipped out. eBooks are never returned for a refund. This report describes how to prepare the file, convert it into four popular eBook formats and then to submit it to the resellers (dealers) such as, Palm and Yahoo! All you have to do is sit back and wait for the checks. Written for book publishers by a book publisher who has been selling eDocuments and eBooks for years. With names and numbers; a step-by-step plan. 14 pages.
ISBN: Document 615
Cover Price: $13.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $9.95

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Large Print Books:Making your Work Easier to Read. This report describes a quick, inexpensive way to convert your book into a large print edition.

Large print is often preferred by the visually-impaired, youngsters with reading disabilities, people reading English as a second language and people from the Far East who learned to read a character-based language. There is an untapped market for your book out there.

Some of the larger publishers are cutting costs by, among other things, reducing the size of the type in their books. More and more people want larger print. The November 1, 2004 edition of Publishers Weekly has a section on the latest developments in Large Print books. People are buying them.

To see one of our books in Large Print, go to

Wring more value out of your Work.  6 Pages.
ISBN: Document 642
Cover Price: $14.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $10.95

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Get all of our books, disks, reports and documents in print and electronic form. You will receive everything you need to write, print and promote your book-faster, easier and cheaper. This is a complete, step-b-step, turn-key program. Most files are in both MS-Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF; take you choice. The Acrobat Reader software is also included on the disc. There are three valuable kits to invest in:

Starter Kit, #1:

Includes everything you need, and nearly everything we have, to lead you through your project:


4 "pBooks" -- Books on paper:

·                     "The Self-Publishing Manual: How To Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book"

·                     "Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts Into Books"

·                     "Is There a Book Inside You?: Writing Alone Or With A Collaborator"

·                     "Dan Poynter's Book Publishing Encyclopedia"


3 "pBooks" -- Books on disc -- for easy searching:

·                     "The Self-Publishing Manual: How To Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book"

·                     "Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts Into Books"

·                     "Successful Nonfiction: Tips & Inspiration For Getting Published"


·                     9 Special Reports on production and marketing.

·                     36 Instant Reports on production and marketing.

·                     Subscription to the Publishing Poynters newsletter.

·                     Supplier List. Service vendors to the publishing industry. Document 250.

·                     3 Book writing, producing and publishing information kits. (Autobots)

·                     Poynter's Secret List of Book Promotion Contacts, Document 112.

·                     Your books' back cover layout form, Document 116.

·                     Telephone Order Form, Document 147

·                     The New Book Model diagram.


ISBN: 978-1-56860-082-6
Cover Price: $297.00

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Master Kit, #2:

More resources to make your project go faster and easier.

Everything in Kit #1 PLUS:

·                     Publishing Contracts on Disk.

·                     Business Letters for Publishers on Disk.

·                     Mr. Self-Publishing's Notebook. All the tips and resources from the Publishing Poynters newsletter archive.

·                     30 minutes of telephone consulting on your project with Dan Poynter.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-083-3
Cover Price: $497.00

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Professional Kit, #3:

Everything in Kits #1 & #2 PLUS:

·                     Quotations by Dan Poynter on books, writing and publishing.

·                     60 minutes of telephone consulting on your project with Dan Poynter

ISBN: 978-1-56860-084-0
Cover Price: $897.00

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  Contacting Para Publishing LLC. Email:
  Telephone: +1-805-968-7277; Fax: +1-805-968-1379
  Postal Address: PO Box 8206-240, Santa Barbara, CA 93118-8206 USA.
  Street Address: 530 Ellwood Ridge, Santa Barbara, CA 93117-1047 USA.

Some relevant numbers: SAN 215-8981: Fed ID 95-6532235: Duns 09-141-9358: ISBNs 0-915516 and 1-56860.