It’s important for a publisher to produce a quality product. Since self-pubs are especially scrutinized by book industry members, it’s even more important for a self-published book not to look home made. Bindings, paper, all the things that contribute to the look and feel of a book, need to be just right.
I had a good idea which printing house to choose, but asked around to make sure. Book Surge didn’t seem popular. Lulu fared better, but I heard grumblings that made me pause.
Lightning Source appeared to be the leader. My small press publisher, Hard Shell Word Factory, had used the same printing house for Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams, and I was pleased with the result. Not only that, Lightning Source belonged to Ingram, which meant a great distribution base, including not only Ingram itself, but Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, NACSCORP, Rittenhouse and even the Espresso Book Machine. That was just in the United States. In the United Kingdom, Amazon.uk, Bertrams, Blackwell, Book Depository, Ltd, Argosy Ireland, and more distributed Lightning Source books.
I found out that Lightning Source not only distributed books to a publisher’s customers through its Partners program, but it also shipped books at a discount straight to the publisher upon request. If I needed books for book signings on consignment, or for special events such as craft fairs or Christmas bazaars, I could have them shipped to me.
I registered, chose a username and a password. Before long I was accepted into the fold and assigned a representative. Believe me, I needed one. I had no idea what many of the basic publishing terms meant, such as bleeding or book block. I kept getting mixed up about crazy things. One time, I half-filled out the US contract, but needed to look up some answers. When I came back to find it, I didn’t know where it was. An e-mail to my representative told me where to go, in a nice way, that is.
While this was going on, I was finishing up my edits. Once the book was ready in that respect, I needed to make decisions on the printing end. A confusing drop-down list of choices threw me off at first, but I was able to make my selections by thinking of what I would like as a reader. I wanted a book that would not fall apart, so I chose perfect binding. I wanted paper without glare, so I chose an off white, called crème. I knew how many times I would pick up a book, see the small print and put it back down, so I chose one a little larger, everyday 12 point Times Roman. I liked the size of my prior books, so I chose the 5 by 8 size.
I was happy with my selections, but an even more difficult choice awaited me. Readers look at covers before anything else. What should mine look like?
Come on back for Day Five, when my topic is Setting Up Cover Art & Logo.
Before you leave, maybe you can tell us - Does the inside of a book influence your purchase?