Featured Stories

Taylor Helfrich
By
April 23, 2019

Self-Publish Your Own Custom Book: Making it Happen

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At PrintingCenterUSA, we make the process of self-publishing your custom book extremely simple. Printing for artists, photographers, businesses, education professionals, health professionals, and non-profit organizations has never been easier.

6 Easy and Affordable Steps to Self-Publish Your Own Book:

  1. Write, create, and proof your book copy
  2. Create your files in the Adobe Suite (InDesign or Illustrator)
    OR
    Utilize our free online design tool.
  3. Upload your print-ready PDF files for a free 43-point file review.
  4. We will send you a proof within 1 day for you to ok.
  5. Approve or reject your proof.
  6. Once you accept your proof, we will print, bind, and ship your book to your specified address and within your selected time-frame.

Instant Book Pricing: Learn More

Free Book Sample Packet: Learn More

We’ll expand on some of the details of these steps throughout the blog. First, let’s clarify something.

What is the difference between custom book printing and book publishing?

Custom book printing is when you produce and maintain ownership of your book, booklet, magazine, memory book, children’s book, etc. PrintingCenterUSA uses your custom book PDF to print and bind your book without the use of an established book publisher. Traditional book publishers want to own your intellectual property in exchange for printing and distributing your book.

But self-publishing isn’t limited to books. At PrintingCenterUSA, you can self-publish your own soft-cover magazines, booklets, brochures, catalogs, and calendars. We specialize in short run soft cover books and are sure to have the perfect option for your custom project–and at an affordable price.

To help our customers on the self-publishing journey, we gathered some tips to ease any of your self-publishing apprehensions.
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DO YOUR RESEARCH!

After gathering all of your book content, you are sadly not done. Not at all. There are endless technical terms that go into getting your work prepared for book printing alone. Bleeds? Paper Weight? Saddle-Stitched? These are not exactly layman’s terms.

Our friend Markus Heinrich, author of a self-published children’s book Saving Like a Sloth, suggests that “when you need a break from writing, then do the research. There are tons of resources online for you to gather all the knowledge about printing and self-publishing that you could ever need."

Especially if this is a hobby that you’re trying to shift into your career, then buck up and start treating it like your job. And, with every job, there is a balance between fun vs. necessary. Here are a few of the maybe not-fun-things that you truly need to understand moving forward in preparing your print-ready PDF to self-publish.

  • Bleeds: Get used to it! Every cover and every page with images or graphics that bleed off the edge of the page should take bleeds into account. Wikipedia defines a bleed as “printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off.” PrintingCenterUSA has put together a file-checklist that will help you make sure you’ve done this right.PDF File Checklist
  • Page Counts: When saving your PDF, it is important that you count all single pages including: front cover, inside front cover, inside back cover, and back cover. We do not accept spreads. Your file will always include four cover pages. If you only want to print on the outside of the cover page, you can leave the second and third cover pages empty—but those blank pages need to be included in your file.
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  • Binding Options: At PrintingCenterUSA, we do not publish hard cover books. We do offer multiple durable coverstock options that are bound (pun intended) to add the that professional finish (another printing pun) to your project. The binding types we offer are:

    BindingOptions
    Saddle-Stitch Perfect Bound Spiral Wire-O 

    • Saddle Stitched: This is the most popular, inexpensive, yet professional form of binding. The pages lay flat and stay open when flipping through them. Saddle stitching can accommodate page counts from 8 to 92. Because saddle stitching is basically single sheets of paper printed on both sides, folded and stapled in the middle, the page count must be divisible by four.
    • Perfect Bound: Another one of our popular binding options, these are inexpensive and provide a durable, high quality, professional book. Perfect binding is the ideal choice for books with higher page counts (28 pages up to 2 inches thick). Perfect binding gives you a soft cover bound to the individual inside pages with strong, yet flexible PUR glue, creating a printable, square spine.
    • Spiral: can be up to 2 ¾ inches thick
    • Wire-O: can be up to 1 ¼ inches thick and may be more expensive.
  • Paper & Ink Options: Know what your product needs. If it’s a picture book, consider a 100# Premium Gloss Cover Stock + a Lustrous UV Coating for your cover. For your inside pages, consider an 80# Premium Gloss Text. The combination of these options will make your photo appear sharp and vibrant. If you’re self-publishing a project that needs to be able to be written on, such as a coloring book, then make sure you choose an uncoated inside text paper.


ENLIST THE TROOPS

Since a print-ready PDF file is required to self-publish with PrintingCenterUSA, you need to do your editing prior to reaching our pricing tool. You don’t always see the errors when you are nose-deep in a project like this, so be fearless and just ask for help. Get as many eyes on your writing and page layout as possible. It can be intimidating to have everyone reviewing your work, but it’s worth it. Heinrich isn’t a grammatician by any means, but “with weeks of revisions and a ton of outside help, [he] was able to put something together.” Here are some tips for getting your PDF print-ready

  • Befriend a printer: You will want to utilize a printer that specializes in book printing services.  PrintingCenterUSA has specialized in book printing services for over 45 years.  We have a team of very highly skilled specialists that can help you paper selection, pricing and production requirements.  We are a #1 nationwide supplier for all types of book & booklet products. All files provided undergo a 43 point inspection to ensure the best quality delivered back to you, our customer.  PrintingCenterUSA is Fast, Easy & Affordable and our mission is to deliver high quality printing on time every time.

  • Befriend someone who has self-published a book: Whether it’s via online blogs or your neighbor down the street, you should get as many first-hand accounts of the self-publishing process as possible. They may have some crucial tips. For example, Joe Konrath, an author with a popular blog, elaborately explains tips and ideas in his blog. Take advantage of opportunities like this to learn from the mistakes of others, especially when it comes to self-publishing.

    Request a Quote: Learn More

    Speak to a Specialist: Learn More

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JUDGE YOUR BOOK BY ITS COVER

If you aren’t visually gifted, then seek out help from your artist, designer, or photographer friend that you connect with. There are also very cheap options, such as Fiverr and 99 Designs for you to find the perfect visuals for your book (if you are lacking in creative friends). Heinrich believes “a well put together image can be just as descriptive as a page of text.” And he is absolutely right. Take your time and find the right solution.

Here are a few eye-catching examples to spark some ideas.

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Travel Guides Cook-Books Picture Books

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Magazines Calendars Programs



MARKET YOURSELF

Ugh, Yes. Yet another task to master: Marketing. Unless you are a major public figure, the general public won’t just stumble upon your book. Konrath set his own personal resolution to do something to self-promote at least once a day. With your eye-catching design and your own creative impulses, the opportunities are endless. If you’re serious about selling, here are some marketing suggestions:

  • Build an online presence: Commit yourself to building a website and being a dedicated social media master. Share posts about your book across all platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’d also be a great idea to start a GoodReads account. Read up on tips and tricks to gain a presence and see to it that it’s done—for your own sake.

    Great Website SEO Resource:
    Learn More
  • Build a mailing list: It’s good to capture as many emails as possible and send out regular newsletters with updates on publishing, sequels, book tours, etc. This will be a great place for your close friends, family, and colleagues to get exclusives. Look into places like MailChimp or Constant Contact that make newsletters extremely simple.

  • Build relationships: Get out there and network! Join book clubs, go to readings, and get on the radar of influencers. When the time comes, send your new friends in high places a copy of your book. Maybe you’ll get a shout out!

  • Target your marketing: Whether it be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, GoodReads Ads, or good ol’ fashioned legwork: find your audience and market to them specifically. This takes trial and error, so get to it!

  • Get Reviews: Who has read your book? Reach out to your readers regularly and get those reviews! This should be a constant effort.

  • Maintain & Engage: It’s not enough just to be marketing yourself. Especially on social media, you have to keep it regular and engage your audience. Did someone comment on your post about your book? Reach out! Give them a follow! This increases your likelihood of getting seen now that algorithms (versus timelines) have taken over the world. Keeping your personality at the forefront with every response will definitely help keep your book in sight!

If reading these marketing tips just gave you a total anxiety attack, then maybe you should look into some online marketing templates. A safe place to start on this would definitely be Hubspot. Or if you have the budget, do some more research and find a marketing team that can help you out!

 

TRUST YOUR VISION

It is true that when working with an editor and publisher, your vision can become compromised. It’s a serious creative struggle. This is where self-publishing your book gives you endless flexibility. If you can stick to your gut, then then you will be rewarded. Heinrich describes the feeling of holding his first physical copy of his book as “pretty amazing.” I imagine that’s quite the understatement.

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BOOK DESIGN RESOURCES

Free Online Book Designer

With our online design tool, it is easier than ever to design your saddle stitch, perfect bound, spiral, or wire-o book.

Online Design Tool

 Predesigned Book Template Downloads

If you have the Adobe design software (Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator) then you can choose between one of our many free book template grid downloads to help jump start your design!

Templates

If you are starting a calendar project and would like to speak with an expert, feel free to give us a call at 800-995-1555. Ready to place your next calendar order? Visit our website to get started!

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