Top Ten Common Grammar Mistakes

The famous American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Easy reading is damn hard writing”.
There are always some common spelling and grammatical errors that pop up to disturb the flow and comprehension of any story. Identifying and fixing these usual suspects will put you ten steps ahead of the writing game.

They’re, their and there

  • They’re is short for they are. “They’re English.” (“They are English.”)
  • Their is the possessive of they. “I like their English accents.”
  • There indicates a place. “They live there.”

You’re and your

  • You’re is short for you are. “You’re right.” (“You are right.”)
  • Your sits before a noun (word) to show that it belongs to it. “That is your opinion.”

It’s and its

  • It’s is short for it is. “It’s raining.” (“It is raining.”)
  • Its denotes ownership. “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

To and too

  • To denotes distance or movement. “I went to the movies.”
  • Too denotes something in addition to. “I too want to go to the movies.”

Then and than

  • Then denotes time. “We went to dinner, then we went home.”
  • Than compares. “Nike is better than Adidas.”

Who’s and whose

  • Who’s is short for who is. “Who’s that?” (“Who is that?”)
  • Whose denotes ownership. “Whose jacket is that?”

Let’s and lets

  • Let’s is short for let us. “Let’s go to the park.” (“Let us go to the park.”)
  • Lets is a verb. “He lets me use his computer.”

Loose and lose

  • Loose is a noun, as in “loose cannon” or “my belt is loose”.
  • Lose is a verb, as in “don’t lose the race” or “don’t lose your phone”.

Affect and effect

  • Affect is a verb, while effect is when you’re talking about the noun (word) itself. An experience can affect you deeply, while the experience had a great effect on you.

Alot and alright

  • A lot is always two words. Always.
  • Alright as a word for ‘satisfactory’ has grown in popular usage, as opposed to all right, which means ‘everything is fine’. To be on the safe side always use all right.

Does your book need a proofread before going to print? Blitzprint can help. Contact us today for more information.

The ISBN: What, Why, How?

The ISBN. What is it? Why do you need it? And how do you get it?


An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) identifies a title and its publisher. ISBNs are issued by individual agencies in every country that adheres to the standard. In the United States, you can acquire your number through In Canada, ISBNs can be acquired through Library and Archives Canada.

The 13-digit ISBN number helps:

  • Identify the specific title
  • Identify the author
  • Identify the type of book they are buying
  • Identify the physical properties of that particular book
  • Identify the geographical location of the publisher

You are under no obligation to get an ISBN; however, marketing your book will be difficult without one, as industry sales and distribution systems depend on them.

It’s simple and free to sign up. Register through ISBN Canada, or if you don’t have internet access, you can use the Library and Archives Canada mailing address. It takes about 2 weeks from time of registration to receive your ISBN(s).


Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries, and a free service in Canada. Unfortunately, CIP service has been discontinued for self-published materials. Library and Archives Canada recommends that authors of self-published books consider approaching their local libraries or bookstores about opportunities to promote their works.


After your first print run is complete, and if you registered for an ISBN, it is important at this point that you send in a copy of your book to Library and Archives Canada. This is called a legal deposit and confirms the information that you provided for your book and completes the registration process. Legal deposit applies to publications produced in Canada regardless of medium or format, including, for example: books (monographs); serials (journals, periodicals, magazines); sound, video and spoken-word recordings; multimedia or instructional kits; CD- and DVD-ROMs; microforms; cartographic materials; and online or digital publications.

At Blitzprint, we always recommend our clients register for an ISBN. Better to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it. For each client, we will create, free of charge, a barcode from the ISBN to insert on the back cover of the book.

For more information about ISBN, CIP and copyright protection, visit ISBN Canada.

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.

Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your Margins

This week we will discuss setting your margins using Microsoft Word. We always suggest a minimum of 0.5” for margins, and using a mirror margin to set a gutter edge of 0.25”. A margin is the space on the top, bottom, left and right side of the page in which no print will go. If you want an image to go right to the edge of the page, at that point, you will need to set a bleed. This is not something that you can really do with Word alone. The gutter is an additional bit of space that is added in so that the small amount of space that is lost to the bind is not noticeable. Setting up mirror margins sets the gutter so that it always falls at the center of the page.

Normal Margins:

1. Click on the Page Layout tab.


2. Select Margins


3. Scroll down and select Custom Margins



4. Now, put in your top, bottom and side margins, select mirror margins, and add in the gutter.




Your margins are now set!

What to Expect from Your Print Company

What-to-Expect-from-Your-Print-CompanyIt is a good question, what will your print company do for you as a part of their regular services? This is also a good question to ask. I, of course, can only speak for what Blitzprint does as a normal part of their service, and I have outlined some frequently asked questions below.

Will you tell me if there is something wrong with my files?
If there is something obvious, like your book files are set for a different size than you have been quoted, if your pages are missing bleeds when they need them,  your spine is the wrong size, so on, and so forth. We will sometimes catch other issues, like if you have your black and white images set to CMYK instead of grayscale, but we don’t guarantee that we will catch that. Our main concern is that your files will print and create the book that you were quoted for, so, those are the details that we look for.

Will you tell me if my sections are in the wrong order?
This is not something that we would look for. We don’t question the sequence in which you set your sections of your book up, as this is your book, and we will assume that it is set up the way that you want it to be, if that is how you have sent your files to us. Even if we are doing typesetting or formatting work for you, we will not question the order of your chapters, etc, because we will assume that your files are as you want them to be. This is something that would be tackled by your editor.

Will you tell me if I have grammatical or spacing errors?
If we notice something significant, or by chance, we will definitely mention it to you, but this is not something that we look for. This also falls under the jurisdiction of an editor.

Will you tell me if my photos are not going to print out well?
If we are doing a proof for you, there is a good chance that our prepress department will take a look at your photos and let me know of any concerns that they have. However, this is something that we try to make an effort to do, but not something that we charge for. As such, we can’t guarantee that we will catch every issue with photos. For that reason, I always strongly suggest a printed proof for books that contain images or any sort of grayscale or gradient.

Can I see a copy of my book before I go to print?
We will gladly send you a proof. A PDF proof is included in your pricing, but a printed proof would be additional, and something that you would need to request specifically.

Can you put an ISBN barcode on my back cover?
Yes, we definitely can, and yes we will, at no additional charge to you. However, with that being said, you must mention that you are requiring a barcode to be added at the time of placing your order.


Do you have any questions here that I missed? I will be glad to answer them in a future post. Send them to me at networking (@)

What exactly does POD mean?

What-exactly-does-POD-meanPOD means Print on Demand, but we all know that there is a lot more to it than that. There are different types of print on demand, each adding their own twist to the meaning.

There are the one at a time POD printers who retail your books. These guys are the CreateSpace’s of the world. CreateSpace, for example, is a subsidiary of lists your book, someone buys it, CreateSpace prints it, and ships it. These guys are really aimed at first time DIY authors. I don’t believe that they offer a hard cover option.

There are one at a time POD printers like Lightning Source, who market your book on a few different online stores, as well as in the Ingram catalog. These guys act more like distributors These guys work in a very similar way to CreateSpace. They are more aimed at experienced authors. They will take anyone on, though, and they are incredibly friendly.

Both of these types of POD printers have a set, low price for one book at a time. They do this by printing your book with hundreds of other books that have come in, and fall into the same “bucket” as your book.

Short run POD are printers who specialize in runs of soft cover books, typically from as few as 5, to as many as 1,000. Past 1,000, short run printers will often suggest that you find an offset printer.  Cost per book will get less the more books you order. There isn’t a break point, like there is in offset. It is literally cheaper per book at 400 books than it is at 399.

Now that you know the difference, how do you know what is right for your needs? Check out our previous blog, How Do I Find The Right Printer for Me?