Designing your own print book – don’t forget to bleed?

February 3, 2015 | By | Reply More

Lots of people writing novels have cottoned onto the fact that they can now bypass a traditional publisher such as Penguin, take their Microsoft Word file containing their novel, and with a little bit of extra work, have it uploaded for sale as an e-book on Amazon, iTunes and the Google Play store within an hour. Yes, the days when to be an author you had to first have an agent on your side and then a big corporation as your publisher are long-gone.

But what about your novel in print – the old dead tree? Surely you need to go through a traditional publisher for that? Well, actually, no. Amazon offer a free-to-use service called CreateSpace which allows you to upload your novel and have it come out the other end looking more or less like the books you buy in your local bookstore, too. Amazon use a technology called POD – print-on-demand – to print off novels in very short runs . . . as low as one novel, but maybe a couple or three books at a time if it’s selling well.

Designing your own print book - don't forget to bleed?

Designing your own print book – don’t forget to bleed?

Taking advantage of POD is not quite as easy as producing an e-book for sale, but it is still very much within most people’s grasp. There are a few extra print concepts to grasp such as ‘bleed’ (making your cover design slightly larger than needed for the size of the book, in case of a wonky guillotine at the print works), and there are extra software packages to master.

My favourite software for laying out print books (otherwise known as typesetting and page design), is Adobe InDesign. You can see how straightforward InDesign is to use when producing your own print book in these two YouTube videos created by the well-known science fiction author Hugh Howey, who is a very big proponent of the Do It Yourself route when it comes to publishing.

Here is Hugh’s excellent first tutorial on creating your book’s interior (the black and white pages that make up your book’s inside page).

And here’s Hugh’s fine second tutorial on how to create your book’s colour cover (jacket).

Together, these two videos add up to two hours free instruction. If you find them useful, you can say thanks to Hugh by buying a copy of his novel, Wool!

Category: Writer's Dojo

About the Author ()

I have been working as a full-time author publishing fantasy and science fiction novels for HarperCollins for the last seven years.

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