The basics of publishing can be broken down into three phases: Production, Printing, and Marketing. Part 2 is meant to familiarize you with some basic production steps and industry jargon.
Book production encompasses many things such as editing, book interior and cover design, and indexing. Some basic industry specific terminology you should be familiar with in this phase are:
- Trim Sizes: The trim size of a book refers to its final printed size, the most common of which (outside of the mass market paperback which is usually prohibitive cost-wise for the self-publishing author) are 5″x8″, 5.5″x8.5″, and 6″x9″.
- Binding Types: Hardcover Jacket, Case Laminate, and Trade Paperback are the most common forms of book binding these days, though there are still lots of cookbooks using Spiral Coil Binding.
- Paper Stock: The type (white, creme, etc,.) and weight of paper to be used for the interior bookblock and jacket or cover.
- Interior format: Basically, your interior can be black & white or color. be aware that adding color to your interior significantly increases printing costs!
- Bleed: For a printer to be able to trim the edges of a book cover so that the cover image goes to the the very edge, there needs to be a defined area to be trimmed; in printing, this area is called “bleed” and is usually an 1/8” of an inch (0.125 inch) to 1/4″ (0.25 inch) all around.
- Typeface/Fonts: The two basic typefaces are the “Serif” and “Sans Serif”. Serif fonts have small embellishments on the tops and bottoms of the individual letters designed to reduce eye strain and make reading more comfortable, while sans serif just means the typeface doesn’t incorporate those embellishments. The body text of book interiors are usually, but not always, designed using serif fonts, while headers and chapter titles often use sans serif typefaces for contrast. One of my largest expenses over the years, has been acquiring fonts. The few fonts that came with your computer are generally inadequate for quality book design, but you can find some inexpensive but interesting and beautiful fonts from independent designers such as Mark Simonson or browsing by the library of the large foundries such as LinoType . When it comes to fonts, quality always trumps quantity!
- Typesetting: The term “typesetting” these days has become a pretty generic word used interchangeably with “page layout” and “book interior design”. But the gist of the process results in how the body text, headers, footers, illustrations, tables, etc., will look on the finished page. When I begin work on a manuscript, I start by removing extraneous returns, trailing white space, and other formatting inconsistencies before the text is actually flowed into the layout I’ve designed for that particular book. The “styling” is then applied to each individual element from title page to endnote, then finally, each page of the book is examined individually for irregular spacing, hyphenation, awkward page endings, etc., and adjusted for appearance…whew!
Note: Word processors such as MS Word simply don’t offer the fine controls that modern page layout software such as Quark or Adobe’s InDesign do. If you’re in “do it yourself” mode, get the proper software and invest the time to learn to use it proficiently. Few things are as underwhelming for a reader than poor page layout and inconsistencies in font usage. Design it yourself or have your book designed, just be sure the finished product conforms to your chosen printers specifications or you could incur extra set-up fees and/or unintended results.
Tip: The best way to begin the book design process is by learning what’s currently tickling the consumers fancy; research what’s selling in your genre and familiarize yourself with the currently popular colors and styling, but as the world famous book designer Merle Armitage once said “Allow the subject of a book to determine its design and format.”
Parts of a Book
The ‘book block’ (or ‘text block’ as it’s sometimes called) is basically everything inside the cover.
This is the content that appears at the beginning of the book, before the actual body text. The front matter can be comprised of a single title page or even multiple title pages, a dedication page, preface, and foreword.
The title page (or pages) normally contains the title of the book and the name of the author. Other information or images you may wish to include depends largely upon the type of book you’re producing or your own preferences.
The copyright page contains identifiers and other information specific to the book:
- Publisher Name
- Copyright information
- Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
- Edition Number
- Date of Publication
Table of Contents (TOC)
A table of contents can simply list all the main chapter starts and their page numbers, or they can be complex multi-level listings containing sub-chapters and descriptions depending upon the type of book. Some books will benefit from a separate listing for relevant illustrations, photos, and charts that point to the page number where they can be found.
The preface gets the reader to read the book by briefly describing the contents, purpose of the book, and explaining who the book targets. For example, a software manual may be aimed at beginners or power users. The preface might describe the terminology or special conventions used in the book, such as symbols used for warnings, tips, and trivia.
Usually written by an notable figure in the field or genre covered by the book, the foreword is a endorsement of the author or the book.
A dedication section is a separate page that briefly names one or more persons of special significance to the author, often a loved one or someone else the author holds in high esteem.
An acknowledgment page is where the author acknowledges the contributions of those who helped significantly with the book.
The body of the book is where you’ll find the story, the description, the main text of the book sub-divided into chapters or sections.
Components such as Indices, End Notes, Glossary, Bibliography and Appendix that follow the final chapter vary by the type of book.