frequently asked questions
Click the red questions below to reveal the answers.
How do you price your services?
Our book production services are priced either on a per-page basis for the finished book or a project basis. Rates depend on the complexity of your project. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- A fiction book with no sidebars and special treatments would merit our lowest typesetting rate and lowest eBook rate.
- A nonfiction book with sidebars, pulled quotes, tables, and charts would require more design and formatting time — and so, we would charge a higher typesetting and eBook formatting rate.
- We have an additional rate for footnotes in print books since they require extra time to format, place, and re-align after each proof.
- On the other hand, we normally don’t charge for author’s alterations. We want our clients to read proofs thoroughly and are happy to make alterations that improve the book.
- Editing rates are based on word count and condition of the writing.
- With book covers, we provide two sample designs for one price, which also includes fine-tuning one of the designs and taking it to completion. You can commission more designs, but there will be an additional fee.
We offer variable rates depending on the specifications of your project. We really need to talk with you about the nature of your project to give you an accurate quote. After we have some details about your project, we can prepare a quote for you, specifying all the options, so you can see what everything costs and select just the services you need.
Use our Book Quote Form for quick service.
How long does it take to get a book ready for printing or eBook distribution?
We recommend that you plan for at least six to eight weeks for your book to travel through the entire production process — from unedited manuscript to printed or electronic product. On the other hand, taking a book already in print and formatting it as an eBook can be done in less than a week.
A book is a basket of details, and you have to remain sharp throughout the production process — whether it is a print book or an eBook. That means taking our time in production. We also want you to have plenty of time to review the proofs we send you. You’re going to be living with this book for a long time, so let’s take the time to make sure it’s right.
My book has been edited by a college professor. Does it really need more editing?
Teachers, friends, and family members do not always make the best editors. You need an unbiased eye on your work — someone who is more interested in crafting good sentences than in saying nice things about your work. Your Great-aunt Zelda may be willing to struggle through a poorly written book, but the average unknown reader being asked to plunk down hard cash for your book may not be so patient or forgiving of poor writing.
Every book, even those written by Nobel Prize winners, needs professional editing. Editors make sure the text flows and that it is well organized and well written. They look at grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure: Are there redundant words and phrases that can be pruned or sentences that can be tightened? Do sentences need to be reworked to make them clearer and more efficient? Are there inconsistencies in spelling?
We can work on hard copy, but most editing these days is done on electronic files such as Word.
- But what about my professor friend? At some point, you need to have a professional look at your work. A book is far different from a term paper. It’s written in a different manner and for a different audience. An editorial professional will know what is acceptable book style and will focus on creating a book that is well written, tightly woven, and accessible to readers.
- Won’t my publisher edit my book? If you are not self-publishing and hoping to find a publisher or agent for your work, you still need a professional edit. Many publishing houses have cut back on staff. They don’t have as many editors, and so, the few they do have want to see polished work. If your work is likely to require too much editorial attention, the publisher may pass on it. So get your work in the best shape it can
be — before you submit it to a publisher or agent.
What is book style?
Books have a particular style — a specific way of handling grammatical and punctuation elements — that differs from newspapers and academic papers. That’s one reason why your friend, the college professor, doesn’t necessarily make the best editor for your work. Most editorial professionals follow The Chicago Manual of Style in editing books. Newspaper reporters and editors follow a different style outlined in The Associated Press Stylebook. Students writing term papers refer to style manuals produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA). Let’s take the use of the serial comma to illustrate the differences:
- Book style: Use a comma before “and” in a series. This style is also used in magazines.
- Newspaper style: There is no comma before “and” in a series.
- MLA: Use a comma before “and” in a series.
Seek professional help. Professional book editors help you produce a book that adheres to industry standards in style.
What page layout software should I use to typeset my book?
Hold that thought. We’ve had clients try to design their book interiors and book covers in Microsoft Word, and invariably, it leads to headaches. Our clients complain of “text moving around” and problems formatting headers and footers in Microsoft Word files. Would you dig a basement with a spoon or a backhoe? Using the appropriate tools for book production saves you time, money, and misery.
We use professional design and creative software: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks. These tools are expensive investments, but they are designed to do the job of designing, formatting, paginating, and indexing large projects such as books. In these programs, you can nail down a design and easily revise it. You can insert index markers that flow with the text as text and layout changes during the proofing process. You can easily import graphics and make author’s and editor’s revisions.
All of these programs have a high learning curve. It takes practice to learn to use them creatively and efficiently. If you don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of these professional programs, take your project to a book production specialist.
Do I need to register my copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
What works are protected?
The following intellectual works can be copyrighted:
- Literary works—such as books and computer programs
- Musical works
- Dramatic works—such as plays
- Pantomimes and choreographic works
- Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works—includes maps and architectural plans
- Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- Sound recordings
- Architectural works
Some things you should know about copyrights
- Registration of copyright is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. However, you should register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office so that in the case someone infringes on your copyright, you can bring a lawsuit to protect your work. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. If registration occurs within five years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration.
Where do you register a copyright? Register your copyright at the U.S. Copyright Office. You can register online or via mail:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000
- What is the registration fee?The current fee structure begins at $35 per application for electronic filing.
- How long does the registration process take? The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the amount of material the office is receiving. If your application is in order, you may generally expect to receive a certificate of registration within approximately four to five months of submission.
- What does mandatory deposit mean? Copies of all works under copyright protection that have been published in the United States are required to be deposited with the Copyright Office within three months of the date of first publication.
For more information about copyrights, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website.
What information goes on the copyright page?
The copyright page is your book’s identification card. At a glance, it tells your book’s publishing history, who published it, and how it can be tracked down in book databases and library catalogs. Here are the elements of a copyright page:
1. Copyright notice
The copyright notice consists of three parts: the symbol ©, the year the book is published, and the name of the copyright owner. Although many publishers use both the word “Copyright” and the symbol ©, there is really no point to doing this. Either form is acceptable.
Copyright 2012 Sherry Roberts.
All rights reserved. Published 2012.
Printed in the United States of America
© 2012 Sherry Roberts.
All rights reserved. Published 2012.
Printed in the United States of America
“All rights reserved” ensures protection under the Buenos Aires Convention, to which the United States and most Latin American countries belong.
For more information about copyright notices, read our article “Do I need to register my copyright?”
2. Publisher’s address
Publishers often include contact information—a mailing address, phone, email, and website—on the copyright page.
3. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication (CIP) data
The Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program creates catalog records for forthcoming books most likely to be widely acquired by U.S. libraries. This catalog record (also called CIP data) is used by libraries for ordering and cataloging.
The following are not eligible to participate in the CIP program: self-published books, publishers who have published the titles of fewer than three different authors, eBooks, and books printed on demand. If you fall into this category, what are your options?
- You can apply for a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) through the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program, which is also issued by the Library of Congress and used by libraries for cataloging. Obtaining an LCCN is free, and each book should have an LCCN. Some publishers print only the LCCN on the copyright page in the same place where the CIP data would be printed.
- You can purchase a Publisher Cataloging in Publication (P-CIP). This is cataloging data that has been prepared by an agency of the publisher. You must have an LCCN for this. Agencies that prepare P-CIP data charge a fee for the service. Agencies that offer P-CIP services include Quality Books Inc., Cassidy Cataloguing Services, and The Donohue Group. Since this can be a quicker way to get CIP data, both eligible and ineligible publishers use this service. CIP data prepared by anyone other than the Library of Congress must clearly state at the top of the CIP block: “Publishers Cataloging in Publication.”
How to get CIP data for your book from the Library of Congress:
- Apply to the Library of Congress for a Library of Congress Control Number and CIP data. Most applications for CIP data are processed in two weeks but some can take months. CIP data prepared by the Library of Congress must use the words, “Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data,” at the top of the CIP block on the copyright page.
4. ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is your book’s identification number. All book databases use the ISBN to track books. ISBNs are essential for sales to bookstores, for online sales, and for listing in the Books in Print directory.
ISBNs are issued in the United States by:
121 Chanlon Road
New Providence, NJ 07974
Phone 908- 665-6770 / Fax 908-665-2895
To order an ISBN: Request an ISBN application from R. R. Bowker. Return the completed form with your fee. Fee varies according to the number of ISBNs you buy.
Cost:The cost of a block of ISBNs depends on the number you are ordering. Blocks range from 10 numbers to 100,000 or more.
Processing time: Allow 10 business days for nonpriority processing from the time an ISBN application is received at the U.S. ISBN Agency (Bowker is an agent of this agency)—not from the date sent by the publisher. Priority processing and express processing are available for an additional fee.
What products need an ISBN: Every edition of your title should have a separate ISBN number. A hardcover copy should have a different ISBN than the paperback and eBook. An audio version should have a different number again. An ISBN is not necessary if you do not intend to place the book in stores, libraries, or with wholesalers. The ISBN Standard says, “Each different format of an electronic publication that is published and made separately available shall be given a separate ISBN.”
When you need a new ISBN: If you change the cover of your book, or if you make significant changes to the content, you should use a new ISBN. There is some disagreement as to whether you should use a new ISBN when you change the price of a book. However, the Bowker website says when the price changes, the original ISBN must be maintained.
Expiration: ISBNs don’t expire.
Placement: ISBNS should be printed on the copyright page as well as the lower right-hand corner of the back cover of softcover books or the upper edge of the left-hand flap on dust jackets. If your product includes a disk or cassette, the ISBN should be printed on the label. Format for the ISBN information is the word “ISBN” and the 13-digit number: ISBN 000-0-000000-00-0.
Registering your ISBN: Once ISBNs have been assigned to products they should be reported to R.R. Bowker as the database of record for the ISBN Agency. Companies are eligible for a free listing in various directories such as Books in Print, Words on Cassette, The Software Encyclopedia, Bowker’s Complete Video Directory, etc. Book titles should be registered with Books in Print.
Transferability: If a self-publisher wants to be identified as the publisher, the self-publisher must get his or her own ISBN. A printing company or publisher services company cannot sell, give away, or transfer one of its ISBNs to a customer.
For more information on ISBN, visit the R.R. Bowker ISBN FAQ.
5. ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)
The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a numbering system like the ISBN and is assigned to serial publications, such as journals, magazines, yearbooks, and books in a series. The ISBN identifies the individual book in a series; the ISSN identifies the ongoing series. If a publication has both, each should be printed on the copyright page. ISSNs are assigned by the Library of Congress.
6. Prior publications, permissions, and acknowledgments
The copyright page is also where you note portions of the book that have been previously published, permissions to publish extensive quotations from copyrighted works, special grants and assistance, and photo credits.
7. Paper durability statement
In print books, many publishers include a statement on the durability of the paper on which the book is printed. Durability standards for paper, which take into account tear resistance, durability under folding, and longevity, have been established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Acid-free paper has a longer life expectancy. An example of a typical paper durability statement is: This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Do you actually print the books?
Our function is to provide the prepress work and give the printer of your choice finished electronic files to use for printing. If you are publishing an eBook, we send you the final files to upload to Amazon or other eBook distributors.
Who should print my book?
We recommend that you have your book printed by a printer that specializes in books. Book printing specialists have the equipment, personnel, and training to do your job economically, efficiently, and competently.
You may be able to save a few dollars on shipping costs to have your book printed locally, but unless your local printer is a book specialist, this decision may end up costing you in quality.
How do I locate a good book printer?
The number of true book manufacturers in the U.S. is relatively small. When you talk with people in the business, the same names will crop up over and over. If you are a member of a publishing organization, such as the Independent Book Publishers Association or SPAN, check with other association members to see which printers they recommend.
It’s important to note that even among book manufacturers there are specialists, and if you find the printer that specializes in printing books similar to yours, you’ll find the printer with the best price for your project. This is generally a function of the equipment setup at the plant; some presses are designed to print books by the hundreds of thousands while others are optimized for shorter runs of 1,000 to 5,000 copies.
These days, many small and independent publishers use print-on-demand services such as CreateSpace or Lightning Source to have books printed on an as-needed basis, eliminating the need to maintain and store book inventories.
From the Blog
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Copyright 1997-2013, The Roberts Group Editorial & Design, LLC. All rights reserved.