Author Self-Publishing Checklist
A manuscript's word count is needed for us to give a bid on critiquing, editing, and publishing. Most modern word processors include a word count command in the tools menu.
If your word processor does not have a word count command, it will then be necessary to manually count the number of words on a page and then multiply that number by the quantity of pages. It is common practice to state "about ### words," so don't worry about being exact, but do be close.
Hopefully no one is still using a typewriter, but if you are, then we strongly suggest that you copy the text into a word processor file. We can type the pages for you, but the fee is guaranteed to be expensive.
Although the word count will fairly well tell us almost everything we need to know about the text, we do need to also know the page count so that we can estimate how much blank space is being used.
We need to know the size of each graphic (e.g. 2 inches square), the quantity of each size, and whether the graphics are in color or gray scale.
Graphics should be of a quality no lower than 300dpi for gray scale, and preferably 600dpi for color. Minimum graphic quality will vary relative to the type of paper and purpose for each graphic, but it is best to already have the graphics prepared and saved onto your hard drive.
Preferred graphic formats are TIFF and high resolution minimum compression JPG. The graphics themselves will be converted by us to a PDF format before printing.
The industry standard font for a book's text is a serif like Times New Roman or Goudy. Typical point size is between 11 and 12. We will need to receive a copy of all font files used in your manuscript so that the files can be installed into the printing press software.
A finished book should have a line spacing of about 1.5 depending on the font and font size. We usually prefer single-spaced lines when critiquing and editing, but the format will need to be changed for the book itself.
The copyright page near the first of the book will have the author's name, date of publication, name of publisher, ISBN number, and the name of the printing company. We will enter in the information prior to preparing the manuscript for publication.
Similar to many major book publishers, we use printing companies that specialize in printing for publishers. It is far more economical for us and the author to subcontract the actual printing. Modern printing presses can cost millions of dollars, far more than what all but the largest publishing houses can afford. The two most favorable things about subcontracting the printing is that the self-publishing author saves a lot of money and gets the books printed by the same printing company that prints books for big-name publishing companies.
If the author has not already fully designed the book cover, then it is helpful if the author has a general preference of how the cover might look. We will finish developing the cover design and present it to the author for approval.
Book cover graphics cannot be finalized until after the book's page count is known. The actual size of the cover will widen to allow additional spine width for additional pages.
Sending Text and Graphics Files
Manuscripts are best sent by email as an attachment. We prefer the Microsoft® Word® DOC or DOCX format, but we can convert most any other word processing file to DOC/DOCX. Please be aware that a page format may be lost when converting from one file type to another. If your word processing software is an old version, the manuscript may require a reformatting at an additional cost.
Graphic files of under 10mb can be emailed as attachments. Large quantities of graphics must be copied onto a CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive and mailed, or, if you live in Amarillo we can drive by and pick up the disc(s) or drive.
As a document is reviewed, comments are inserted in Microsoft Word documents as shown in the first graphic. Non-Word documents are marked with highlighted backgrounds as shown in the second graphic. When the critiquing is finished, the comments are quickly and easily seen how they apply to each segment of the manuscript. It remains the author's decision whether or not to accept a suggestion for altering the document's text.
Printed manuscripts are given highlights using a highligher pen, and comments are hand-written in the margins and on the backs of the pages themselves.
Critiquing is charged at an hourly rate. The rate itself is determined by the qualifications and chosen rates of each individual reviewer. A typical sized book with a general genre may require around fifteen hours to read, and cost around $300.00 for the critiquing. A similar sized book with a specialized genre that requires critiquing by specialized individuals may require a lengthier reading time, plus higher hourly costs, for a total of perhaps $600.00 or more. It is extremely important to critique a manuscript before printing; little is as disappointing than to pay for a book printing and then later discover that something should have been written differently and better.
Editing is primarily the reading of a manuscript while correcting typos, misspelled words, wrong words, incorrect sentence structures, punctuation, and basic formatting. All manuscripts require at least a basic reading and editing prior to publication.
If an author requests, we can proof-read and edit an unfinished manuscript. All editing fees are charged at an hourly rate similar to the critiquing rates.
Preparing For E-book Publication
At present the only e-book distributor that we recommend is Barnes&Noble. In past years we had to convert all manuscript files to an HTML file, edit the HTML file to meet e-book format requirements, and then convert the HTML file into the e-book format that is compatible with e-book readers. A typical editing and conversion used to take days and weeks to complete. Now, however, the original DOC/DOCX file can be directly uploaded to B&N where their software will automatically perform all of the work. Creating an e-book at B&N can as easily be done by the author or by us, whichever the author prefers.
Preparing For Printing
It is the author's responsibility to have the manuscript finished and properly edited for content and format either by the author or by us.
We format the finished manuscript to meet the printer's requirements, we count the final number of pages, we then size the cover to fit the number of pages, we convert the finished cover graphic to a pre-press PDF format, and after all details are completed the files will be placed onto a CD and mailed overnight to the printing company.
The average wait is about two weeks to receive the book proofs from the printing company. The author is to review the proofs and sign that the proofs are correct. We mail the signed acceptance back to the printing company and then wait for the books to arrive. An average time between proofs and books is about four weeks.
Once the manuscript is finished and either made into an e-book or waiting for the printing to be finished, a website is created to advertise the book. The typical time required to design and create a single page website is two to three days, and about two weeks for a normal five page website.