Common Self Publishing Mistakes

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. Among all of these authors, however, tends to be a series of common mistakes made by self publishing authors.

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 of 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:

1. Is your book properly sized?

Have you built your file to what the finished product will be. Most self publishing authors use Microsoft Word to build their book. The default page size is 8 1/2 x 11″. That poses a problem if you want a book that is 6×9″. Luckily it is VERY easy to reformat a word document. We are using the latest version of word, if you have an older version some things may be in different spots on your screen but this will give you a good starting point.

  • At the top of your screen choose the “Page Layout” tab – then choose margins.
  • At the very bottom of the drop down menu select “Custom Margins”
  • A small menu will pop up with 3 tabs: Margins, Paper and Layout
  • In margins you will want to set the top, bottom, left and right to no less than 0.5″ most common is 0.75″
  • You will then want to set your gutter between 0.15″-0.2″ (this is the part of the page that will be set into the binding of the book
  • Orientation: choose if your book will be portrait or landscape
  • Pages: choose mirror margins
  • Be sure that “Apply to:” is set to Whole document

Your next tab is the paper tab: Here you will select your paper size, most common sizes are 6×9, 5.5×8.5 and 5×7 – again be sure to choose “apply to whole document”

Click OK

There you have it. Your document is now your proper book size.

Another one of the common self publishing mistakes is book sizing. Check out our post

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