So How Much Does it Cost to Print a Book?

cost“How much does it cost to print a book?” This is a question that I always dread hearing when I first sit down with an author. Not because I can’t, or don’t want to get them pricing, but because it is such an open question.

I can get you pricing on printing your books, if you give me the needed information. With your manuscript, I can get you pricing on very basic typesetting and cover design, or even editing. However, that isn’t where the dollar stops. How much is marketing going to cost? What if I want a cover that really stands out? What if I want to employ a Literary Agent? What about distribution?

These questions are all good questions, but not something that one person can answer for you. Each and every single one of those answers has to come from people who deal in that specific business. There is another hitch. Before they can even give you an answer, you need to answer questions for yourself. How far do I want to take this? How deep do I want to go into my pocket? How deep can I go into my pocket? How far do I want my book to go? How much time can I put forward towards this? How much time am I willing to put towards this?

Without these answers, no one will be able to answer your questions. Really think on these before you get too deeply into your book. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars in design if you are only going to try to sell your book to family and friends, and it is unlikely that you are going to reach best seller status with your cover that you did in MS Word.

So, when I say that I, personally, can’t answer your question – how much does it cost to print a book? – it really isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s just not possible!

If you are interested in getting a quote to print your book, please fill out this form. 

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?

Should I Use Pinterest for Marketing?


Imagine if you have a cookbook. Take a good picture of a dish, put that recipe up on your site or blog, and then pin it using that picture. When they click on the picture, it will link it back to your site, and back to the recipe. Make sure that you have a great call to action button on the page somewhere that says BUY MY BOOK!! Of course, you can word it better than that (writing is your thing, after all!) but you get the point. So yes, you absolutely should use pinterest for marketing.

If you are utilizing your blog to market your book, then find a picture that you can legally use (don’t infringe on copyrights) that represents what your post is about, and pin it! You would be surprised at how quickly these pins can be shared, and by how many people.

Check out this awesome article from Wise Ink, and learn more about how you can effectively use Pinterest for marketing, and then give it a shot. What’s the worst thing that could happen? (Make sure that you keep writing and don’t just sit on Pinterest all day. That is the worst thing that could happen. It’s addictive!)

Find out more about using social media for book marketing.

What Does an Editor Do?

What-does-an-editor-doA good editor is imperative to a great story. I’ve said this before, and I will surely say it again. The question that many of you are asking though is, why? What will an editor do for me, and for my story that will make it so much better?

To begin with, an editor is a trained pair of fresh eyes—someone impartial from the outside who can come in and critique your story, without any emotional attachment. He or she is not influenced, as friends might be, by concerns for your reaction to criticism or advice.

There are different kinds of editing; below is a summary. We’re going to assume that you have already written your manuscript.

Copy Editing
Copy Editing is involved with improving the text of the story. Copy editors make sure sentences say what they mean, and mean what they say. To accomplish this, they correct grammar, punctuation, word usage (using the correct words in the correct places), and spelling (ensuring consistency throughout, whether Canadian, British, or American spelling). If sentences are awkwardly expressed or vague, copy editors will rewrite them. They also see to it that the text flows smoothly. Copy editors read the text for sense and check for coherence and internal consistency—for example, making sure a character’s eye colour or the car she drives doesn’t suddenly change a third of the way through the manuscript without an explanation.

Substantive Editing
Substantive Editing, also called structural editing, focuses on the content, organization, and presentation of the entire book. Substantive editors help authors (it’s very much a collaborative effort) shape the manuscript in the best possible way. This may include working with the author on plot and character development. It could mean eliminating extraneous material or asking the author to rewrite material or write new chapters.

Often Substantive Editing is not necessary, but when it is, it’s an invaluable service. Usually authors know that there is a problem with their story, but they’re just not sure how to fix it. That’s what substantive editors do—they fix stories, and manuscripts, so the authors can get on with their work.

Now, I know you’ve put a lot of time, love, and care into your baby, and it’s only natural that you look askance at someone who comes along and tells you your baby’s got problems. But before you take offense, take a breath. This is their job. While the critiquing may not feel warm and fuzzy, it really is, because it is constructive. The editor is trying to help you to create the best book possible, so that you can really knock everyone’s socks off. It isn’t a personal dig. Incredibly successful authors all have editors who will gladly tell them that there are parts of their story that they need to work on (and the authors are happy to take their advice!).

Proofreading involves correcting production-errors of text and illustrations. This edit looks at such things as typos, omissions, spacing, and page numbering. Once the manuscript has been edited, and the formatting, typesetting, and design is complete, a proofreader will take one last, final look over your book proof (get it, proofreading) to make sure that everything still looks right, and that nothing was overlooked. Once you have the A-okay from the proofreader, you are ready to say those beautiful words: PRINT IT!

Make sure that you are clear about what services your editor is offering you in the pricing. You want to be sure that you know what you are paying for, so that you don’t end up disappointed. Oh, and if you can, please, get the whole meal deal. It will be better in the end.

How Do You Write a Synopsis?

How-Do-You-Write-a-SynopsisAs we discussed previously, the first selling point of your book will be its cover. The way your book looks will always lead the reader to grab it in the first place. With that being said, it is the synopsis that will likely be the selling point for the reader. I don’t know about you, but I have never purchased a book just because it was pretty.

How do you write a book synopsis for your back cover blurb, though? Many authors enlist the help of professional copy writers and of their editors, which isn’t a bad idea. What if you want to write your own synopsis though?

First, you need to establish the who, what, when, where, and why, just like you were writing the outline for your actual book. Who is the book about? – Don’t forget important secondary characters. What is the main experience of the book? Where is the story taking place? – This can be a location, or just a general setting.  When is the story taking place? – Tie this in to the setting, once you are writing. As for the why, what is your character, or plot trying to achieve? – What is the message?

Remember, keep it simple, and avoid going too far into detail, or you will give your entire story away. While keeping it simple, also remember to keep it short. You aren’t trying to rewrite your book here. I’d suggest between 3-5 paragraphs, with 5 being the max.

The blurb should be incredibly captivating, and informative, and it should hook your reader in. When people are trying to get published, they are told that they need to create a hookline, which is a one line sentence that describes the book in great detail, and hooks the agent that is reading it. You know the old saying, hook, line and sinker? This is along the same idea.

A back cover blurb is an art form, and really is one of your most important marketing tools. I would always suggest enlisting the help of a professional, even if it is just to get feedback on the synopsis that you have written.

For more detailed information on how to write a great back cover blurb, check out this great article from WheatMark, or this one from eHow, and for information on writing a hookline, check out this article as well.

Getting Your Book Into the Library

Getting-Your-Book-Into-the-LibraryThis is definitely about more than purchasing a library card. We’ve discussed this topic before on this blog, but, previously, we really only scratched the surface.

It is a great idea to get your books into libraries. It’s a good way to get your book known, to get people talking about you, and to also do your part to help your local library. Of course, there are right ways to go about this, and there are wrong ways. I could try to explain it all, but I don’t think that I could do as good of a job as long time librarian, Marlene Harris. Lindsay Buroker, of, interviewed Marlene, and posted this amazing article to her site back in February of this year.

Please check out the article below, and get some great advice from someone who is really in the know. Check out the blog here.

When Should I Do That?

Clients often come in to us with things a bit backwards, and we help them to get everything in order, before they start going to print. So that you can be prepared, and make the most out of your money, here are some common, “When should I do that?” topics.

get your ducks in a rowEditing
Editing should be done immediately after you have completed your final draft of your manuscript. Before it ever falls into the hands of a formatter or designer, it should have the final edits from your editor. If you take your book to an editor after you have had your book design done, you are going to be paying large amounts of money for changes to your files.

If you are having illustrations done for your book, wait until after your editing is done. Something that is in the book now may not still be there, or you may have decided to change it. You want your book to be in its final form, so that you can be sure that your illustrations will be the final illustrations. This will save you a lot of money, time and headaches.

Design & Format
Design & format should be done at the same time; preferably by the same person, if possible. This should come after editing, and illustrations, but before quoting or proofing. While it is ok to get a price quote for printing before this is done, be prepared to guess at your page count, and to resubmit your specs for pricing, because they will likely be quite different once the files are completed.

Launch Parties & Book Signings
Booking a launch party or book signing before you have your books in hand is literally putting the cart before the horse. Suddenly, you will have a deadline that is urgent ahead of you, which can lead you to rushing your book along. That is a recipe for a book that won’t be as good as it could be. Relax. It took you a long while to write your book, and it is going to take you a long while to go through the motions to have a professional, finished book. Any number of things can arise along the way, so it is best to not put yourself in a position where you will have to call people to cancel your launch. Instead, wait until your books are literally done, and in hand. Then you can go ahead and book a launch for a few weeks or months down the road. You can do all of the preparations for it, and be ready to go, but don’t set the date until you know that you have your books in your possession. This allows for Murphy’s Law to take place, without it causing you any more grief than it has to.

If you are unsure that you are doing things in the right order, give your printer or editor a call, and see what they have to say. They will likely have some good input for you.

Self-Publishing Shouldn’t Feel Like Rocket Science!


Courtesy of NASA Images

Quite often I find people getting confused over all of the different terms that we use in the print world, which makes the task of getting a book printed all the more daunting. Here are some common terms, and their meanings. (All definitions that have an * were found on


1. to supervise or direct the preparation of (a newspaper, magazine, book, etc.); serve as editor of; direct the editorial policies of.
2. to collect, prepare, and arrange (materials) for publication.
3. to revise or correct, as a manuscript.
4. to add (usually followed by in ).
Editing is when someone reviews your book for grammar and syntax, essentially.

1. the general physical appearance of a book, magazine, or newspaper, such as the typeface, binding, quality of paper, margins, etc.
Formatting is creating the technical layout of your book interior.

1. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
Design is the artistic portion of format. For example, you design a cover.

1. a sheet or page margin trimmed so as to mutilate the text or illustration.
2. part thus trimmed off.
Any pages that need to have the image or color go right to the edge need to have a bleed. This prevents odd, thin white borders from appearing around the edges.

1. the number of pixels per inch in an image
We require of resolution of 300 DPI on all images, at the size that they will be printing, in order to prevent the image from appearing pixelated.

1. Dots per inch. This measures the number of dots of ink per inch.
The DPI of your image can be found in all professional image software, such as InDesign, Photoshop and Quark.

1. pertaining to a printed image which has been digitized; visible as a pattern of pixels; also written pixellated.
When something is pixelated, you can actually see the jagged edges and pixels printed on the page. This results from not having a high enough DPI, because the dots/pixels have to be larger, in order to cover the area, so the blending effect of the pointillism is lost.

1. one side of a leaf of something printed or written, as a book, manuscript, or letter.
A page is one side of a sheet.

1.the entire leaf of the printed thing, which contains two pages
A sheet contains two pages.

Are there any words that we missed here, that you would like to see on this list? Please send them to us at!

Vanity Publishing vs. Printers Who Work with Self Published Authors

Vanity-Publishing-Can-Cost-YouYou might ask is there a difference? The answer is yes, and quite often, it is a big difference.

You can usually easily spot a vanity publisher in the following ways:

They call themselves a publisher, but they charge you to print your books.

Actual publishers take on the responsibility of printing your books, and the risk associated with it. Printers who work with self-published authors will very clearly state that they are book printers, not the publishers.

They offer pricey packages that include everything from editing, to design, to distribution and marketing. They will make you famous!

Always be wary, and remember caveat emptor. If it seems too good to be true, it is. Once again, these are services that real publishing houses will take the risk with, exempting marketing, in many cases. Some printers will work with editors and designers that they can have work on your book, or that they will recommend you to, but they won’t offer fancy packages to cover it all.

They offer you an ISBN. For a cost.

Always be leery of this. In Canada, you can obtain an ISBN for free. What is their rationale behind the charges? Well, someone has to do the work to obtain the ISBN, which is a reasonable thought. However, why on earth would you pay for an ISBN, when you can easily get yourself one for free? Also, the ISBN will be forever linked to that company, and not to you. This was a common practice with vanity publishers, and book printers in the past, but once it was realized that the book was linked to the company, and not the author, many of us in the book printing industry stopped this practice. Vanity publishers still offer them up like they are a unicorn, something that is so difficult to obtain. They aren’t, so don’t buy it; Or the ISBN for that matter. See our blog on ISBNs and CIP data for more information on how to obtain your own.

They ask you to sign away some or all of your rights to the book, AND charge you to print your book.

Actual publishing houses will ask you to sign away a portion or all of your rights to your book in exchange for payment, as described in the contract that you sign with them. This will be very out in the open, and not secretly hidden away. You will still need a lawyer to review the agreement, to make sure that it is in your best interest, but at the end of the day, in exchange for your rights, you will get reimbursed. Meaning, you don’t sign away your rights, and then pay the “publisher” to take them. When you agree that the company owns rights to your files, this means that you can not ever change anything to do with that book without their assistance. You have now just married yourself to a company for the lifetime of that book. If you are trying to self-publish, then you should not be signing away any ownership of your book to the printer.

There are companies out there that wear both hats, as the vanity publisher and the straight forward printer. They will always be trying to upsell you. Don’t get sucked into packages, when you can do some research, and find yourself great editors and designers/formatters that will give you a professional final product. Strive to find partners to work with that care about you and your book, not just about turning a dime off of you.