Formatting for print is a little different. It involves trees to start with! But really, you need to design differently for print. The thing with POD publishing is that some self-publishers, once they figure out that they pay for every page, also realise that the bigger pages they use, the smaller font, and the narrower margins, the more profit they will make. On paper, yes; in the real world no.
In contrast typesetting for print books, has a long, and frankly, arcane history. The typesetters sneer at orphans and widows, an make sure that their hyphens line up nicely. Whether your mass market reader notices, is, I think, doubtful.
That’s why I call what I do formatting and interior design. If you need ever pixel just so, then I’m probably not the right book formatter to employ. I steer the middle road between the “cram them in and make them cheap cost-cutters, and the “we can’t possibly tyhpeset your book without hand designing each and every page (at your cost)” crowd.
I use Createspace to publish my print books, simply because it’s set up for beginner, and they make it fairly easy, and it’s particularly easy to make sure your book shows up on Amazon (who own Createspace).
POD Formatting Considerations
- book size;
- colour or black&white only interiors (all books have a full-colour laminated cover);
- front matter;
- back matter;
- how you will design chapter headings
Before you publish you will also need to decide whether you want to use white or cream paperstock.
Best POD Book Sizes
You are better off with a smaller fatter book, rather than a larger skinner one. If your book is under about 30,000 words I suggest that you go with 5”x8” which is the smallest size available. That will see you comfortably with a 120 plus page book.
However for a longer book, particularly fiction, you’ll be cost-effective sticking with 6”x9” “trade paperback” size.
The size of your book obviously affects the number of pages you will have. Less obviiously, you can’t finalize the actual size of your book cover because you don’t know how deep the spine needs to be.
For the full list of Createspace book sizes click here
Colour Printing or Gray-scale
It’s all or nothing: you can print every page with colour, or none. Because of the technical limitations of POD you cannot just have a few colour pages in the middle of a book.
In addition this is printing on matt paper, not glossy. This form of publication is not suitable for “coffee table” books.
To print a 100 page 5”x8” book with full colour means that you would need to price the book at $13.10, the same book in black and white would only be $3.55 – yes s nearly $10 difference in price!
With eBooks we are all about minimizing the amount of front matter so the reader can get immediately to the content of your book, in both preview and the when they sit down to read. Print books are a little different, if you don’t want your book to scream “AMATEUR”
I’d suggest that you consider using some or all of the following conventions.
- 1/2 title (just the book’s title)
- Other Titles by the Author on a separate page (or blank)
- Full Title including author(s)
- Copyright page
- Disclaimer (optional)
- Dedication (optional)
- Table of Contents (with page numbers)
- Author’s Note (optional)
- Author’s Biography (optional)
- It’s also common for print publishers to include ads for other books that may appeal to the author, so I do the same – including a one page blurb about other books in the series.