Monday, December 5, 2011

Why People Don't Do It Theirself

Why would anyone want to pay hundreds of dollars for someone to publish their book? (One vanity press has said that the average their customers pay is $1250.) For that matter, why would someone choose traditional publishing over self-publishing, when they get higher royalties from self-publishing and traditional publishers don’t do much to market a book anyway. Let me tell you what happened to me recently and see if you can’t answer that question.

I was nearly finished with typesetting the book when I decided that I wanted tabs on the edge so the reader could find key sections more easily. That requires the book be set up with bleed. So the ink goes to the edge of the page, the book has to be set up with the tabs extending past the trim line. When they trim the book, the knife will cut through the printed area, but since I’d set up the book without that, I had to resize the pages. The books contains both textboxes and images, so I had to go through the book page by page, repositioning the elements. The book is 540 pages long.

After getting it all set up, I sent it off to the printer, along with the cover art. The cover artwork requires two hours to render in Art of Illusion because it is so large. But then the printer kicked back the interior file. Somehow, I managed to set up the margins wrong. I won’t try to guess why; mistakes happen. In any case, I had to change the position of every element in the file again. This time, it wasn’t as simple as moving the elements to the right or left and adding a tab. This time, the text box got smaller, so not only did I have to move it, I had to resize it and then reposition the images to the right place with the text. The text was already small enough, but I was able to change the amount of indent. The other option would’ve been to add pages to the book, but with a two hour render time, I did not want to change the cover. I was able to keep most things in about the same location, but the reduced width made the lines in the examples shorter and I had to reformat them.

For the most part, it was tedious work. It was work that I would’ve been happy to let someone else do. While a novel doesn’t require the same level of effort, it does require work to setup any book. There are plenty of people who would rather just submit a manuscript and let someone else handle the details.