What Else Goes Inside a Book?

Aside from the story itself, here are a few additional suggestions you will want to consider adding inside of your book.

Title Page - It's always nice see a clean title page when you open a book. Copyright Page - This is where you can include your ISBN information, CIP data,  publisher/contact information and a statement very similar to the following: "All rights reserved–no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or by any information storage or retrieval system except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the publisher."
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Common Mistakes Made by Self Publishing Authors

Each day I have the pleasure of helping authors take their final step in the journey of being self published - getting the book printed. For some the process takes weeks, others take months and some can stretch beyond a year. The biggest factor is Preparation. Are you really ready to print? At Blitzprint we are a digital printing company which means we work with digital files that we then send to our printing machines (think off it as a giant printer) The files that we can send to our printers must be in PDF format. Before we can get to this stage we need to make sure your file is "print ready". So let's start from the beginning:
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Book Signing with Amelia Lionheart

One of the most exciting parts of working with self publishing authors is seeing how successful they really become. We are very happy to share that local Calgary author Amelia Lionheart will be doing a book signing on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at the Chapters in Shawnessy. She authors the JEACs series which is geared towards a youth audience to to encourage our future generation to take an active role in environmental conservation. If you  have an event/book launch. Let us know. We're happy to support our authors.

Breaking up is Hard to Do

So, you thought that you found your dream company. They promised you everything and anything that you could have ever dreamed of, and they swept you off your feet. The problem? When they swept you off your feet, you landed in the dust pan. What do you do now that you have discovered that you don’t want to work with this printer anymore? 1. Review your contract. Did you sign a print agreement or contract with them? Review it carefully, and see what kinds of penalties you may be facing for walking away. Prepare yourself walking in. 2. Do you still own your files? Check closely for this information in all of the documentation that you signed and agreed to. Do you still own your book? If yes, did they create the files (did they typset and design)? If yes, do you own the rights to those files? 3. Get your files back. If you do, indeed, own the rights to your files, and you had them do the design work, tell them that you need them to give you the source/native files, as well as all supporting files, such as the fonts and the links, and that you want them all packaged up. Sounds like mumbo jumbo? That’s ok, they will know what you are looking for. You want ALL of your files, so that you can take them to another printer or designer. Get them if you can, since you are still going to be paying for them either way. 4. Write your Dear John letter. It seems like a mean way to break up, but it is oh so necessary. Write your formal letter and make sure that you send it to them in a manner that you have proof that you sent it, like email. Request a response from them, and make sure that you get it in writing. 5. Get your money back. Get your money back, and make sure that everything adds up. Check and double check.  Now is the time to do this. 6. Don’t get bullied. Stick to your guns and don’t get pushed around. Some companies try to use bully and stall tactics. Don’t be rude or mean, but be firm and stand your ground.

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Litho-Wrap Case Binding

In the fifth blog of the series, we will be discussing Litho-Wrap Case Binding. Litho-Wrap Case Binding: As we discussed last week, when you do a standard hard cover binding finish, if you want to include a printed cover with it, you must have a dust jacket. While this is a nice option, it isn’t the most durable option for the survival of your cover, and it is definitely not a great option for kids’ books. It also tends to be the priciest option. While not the most cost effective option, litho-wrapping allows your protected cover to be bound directly to the hard case cover, keeping it attached to your book forever, at a lower price than standard case binding with a dust jacket. As with soft covers, litho-wrapped covers can have a gloss or matte laminate done on them. The laminated paper is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive, just as with standard case binds and the cloth or buckram finishes. In the same way as standard case binding, the books are then bound and attached to the case, with end sheets inside to hide where the cover wraps to. It is not recommended to try to litho-wrap with a cover that has been embossed or debossed, as the covers are pulled tight and will likely lose their effect. Also, gloss laminate tends to be a better choice than matte, as the matte can scuff easily. Like standard case binding, this type of cover is very resilient, and should last a very long time. Longer than even standard case binding, typically. While this used to be a more popular binding for text books only, it has become quite popular with children’s books, and is readily becoming a more popular option for other types of books, such as novels, as well.  

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Standard Case Binding

In the fourth blog of the series, we will be discussing Standard Case Binding. Standard Case Binding: Standard case binding actually has several different types of materials that can be used, but we could go on with individual blogs forever, so we will just cover the most popular options here. Common, and popular choices are synthetics like Buckram and Tanotex, and natural materials like linen and leather. Synthetics are the most cost effective, followed by cloth and then leather. The material is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive. From there, the books are bound and attached to the case, with end sheets covering the inside covers. These materials are often adorned with the cover and spine text using either silk screening, which is the more cost effective option, or with foiling for golds, silvers, etc. This type of cover is very resilient, and can last a long time, but does not tend to be the most appealing option to the eye. Typically, these  types of covers are covered with a dust jacket, which allows for the cover art to be included with the book, but allows for it to easily be damaged or lost. This type of bind is usually something that I would recommend for a keepsake, vs. something that will be read thoroughly, or often. With the dust jacket, this tends to be the most expensive finishing option of all. Next week we'll discuss litho-wrapping.  

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Varnish

In the third blog of the series, we will be discussing varnish. Varnish finish: Varnish is a thin lacquer type substance that is applied to a book cover with an offset press. In order to have a varnish finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid, either as a flood (covers whole surface) or spot (covers only certain spots. People do this for effect sometimes), and then dries clear.  It very minimally protects against sun fading,  and general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is one of the right finish options for you. The varnish floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface. Varnish is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. In order to get a high gloss sheen, you would need to do multiple floods of varnish. Offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books. Varnish can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping. Next week we'll discuss UV coating.

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – UV Coating

In the second blog of the series, we will be discussing UV Coating. UV Coating finish: UV Coating is a lacquer that is applied to a book cover with an offset press, providing a very high gloss finish.  In order to have a UV Coating finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid as a flood (covers whole surface) and then dries clear.  It effectively protects against sun fading , and very minimally against  general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners, and to eventually experiencing cracking with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, this is a fantastic finish options for you. It is probably the best option. The UV floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface, just like varnish, but it provides a stronger, better finish. UV Coat is only available in a high gloss finish. Typically only one flood of UV is necessary. As always, offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books, and UV Coat is not available through all offset printers. Be sure to confirm that a printer actually offers UV and not just multiple coats of gloss varnish. UV Coat can be used as a coating for any type of book, including litho-wrapped books. Next week we'll discuss varnish coating.

There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Film Laminate

Gloss-Film-LaminateYou want to protect the cover of your book, of that, there is no doubt, but what is the best way? It depends on your cover and book, really. Over the next several weeks we will discuss the different finishes, with their pros and cons, so that you can confidently decide for yourself which coating will best suit your needs. Single side film lamination: Film laminate (Commonly referred to as book laminate, or single side laminate in the book world, and will likely be called this on any quotes that you receive) is a very thin layer of a poly (plastic) material that is attached to a book cover using high heat and a roller press. If done correctly, this protective coating will last you a lifetime. It protects against liquid damage, sun fading, tearing, cracking, and general wear and tear of a book. You won’t get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is likely not the right finish for you. The ridges and ripples can prevent a tight seal and adhesion of the laminate to the surface of the cover. With film laminate, if you experience any air bubbles, or lack of adhesion, you run a high risk of delamination, where the laminate lets go of the surface, either in spots or on the entire cover. Film laminate is available in both gloss and matte. While the technology to create a sturdy matte laminate has come a long way, gloss laminates are still recommended for covers that have wide spread areas of dark or highly saturated colors, as matte still scuffs more easily, and scuffs are also more evident, than with a gloss finish. Film laminate can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping. Next week we'll discuss UV coating.

Choosing a Font

Fonts are an important to a books success. Not just for esthetics, but more importantly, also for readability. I have many clients ask me, “What font should I use?” Unfortunately, this is not a decision that I can make for you. I am always a fan of the easily readable Times New Roman in an 11pt, but that may not be your cup of tea. So now, how do you decide? Here are some things to consider: What the heck is a serif, and why does it matter? As defined by Dictionary.com ser•if noun Printing A smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M. The little lines at the bottoms and tops of letters are serifs. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? Wrong. Serifs make smaller text much easier to read. Often, fonts that are sans serif will appear to print out more lightly, and will make your text body much more legible. The general rule of thumb is that serif fonts should be used for body text, and that it is ok to use sans serif fonts for titles. What size of a font should I go with? I really recommend a 10 or 11pt for most fonts, but a good idea is always to print out a page of text in that size, in the format that your final book will be, and ask yourself, is this legible? Some fonts are super tiny, so a 10 or 11pt is really more like a 7 or 8pt in any other font. For headers, do the same thing. Create your page full of text, and then test out your header sizes at the top. This will probably be easier to do on screen, with your view set at 100%, than if you were to print it, because your perspective will be skewed if you print the page, and have all of the additional white space from the 8.5 x 11 paper surrounding it. There are so many fonts out there. Where do I find one, and how? Do you have an idea at least of what you want? For instance, do you want a classic looking text, or a clean one? A cursive? I always recommend checking out DaFont. It is my absolute go to for fonts, every time, hands down. With an incredible collection, all that you need to do is search for the type of font that you want (great ones for titles can be found under typewriter or passport!) and maybe a detail like serif, or sans serif, if necessary. Make sure, though, that you check out what the usage rights are. The creators of the font may have stipulations for using their font. If not, make an effort to at least make a donation to them. That keeps these guys going, and where would we be without them?