Saturday, September 12, 2015

How Do I Publish My Picture Book

I received an excellent question the other day on how to publish a picture book.

Publishing Question:
"First allow me to thank you for doing a video on publishing a kindle book in powerpoint, very well done and great help to me.  I wish to publish a hard copy book just like the ones you show at the first part of your video...large full colour, and high quality, I am in the process of putting together a book of antique illustrations which I have amassed in my personal collection, I wondered if you could tell me more about how you got the finished books done, (I'm not interested in Kindle versions)....thank you in advance for your kindness in viewing my request....Bryan"

Bryan, thank you very much for your questions. So there are several ways to go with printing physical books. The range from pretty straight forward to really high quality. The prices go from pretty simple to pretty expensive.

Entry Level Book Printing with Great Exposure, Selling on Amazon
CreateSpace/Amazon, CreateSpace is the print on demand side of Amazon. This is primarily the site and company I use for most of my books. They only do paperback and up to 8.5 x 11 in size. But lots of sizes inbetween. Black and White or Color, always color cover. I love working with this site. They are a division of Amazon and all of their books sell on Amazon. Amazon should be part of your publishing mix. They take two pdf files, the interior and the cover, process them and sell your book on Amazon. This is the big gorilla in the room. Excellent company to work with. If you are good with a paperback book then CreateSpace is the way to go and how can you beat selling your book on Amazon, it is all seamless. The quality is excellent but not National Geographic quality. They also have excellent prices if you want copies for yourself for say selling like at a conference or event.
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High and Higher Quality Book Printing, But Also Higher Price
If you want to go up in quality along with a hard cover or hard cover with wrap, there are two main companies, and Both of these companies print high quality photo and image books with Blurb being probably the best. You can produce a really nice, high quality book with Blurb. Both of these companies also have relationships with Amazon for selling along with sales options from their sites. The also have a variety of binding options, especially with spiral, perfect, saddle, cover wraps and more.

My issue with Blurb is that the books are expensive to print, the quality is outstanding, but expensive at around $1 per page. Tough to make much money from these sites. Blub does have some pretty good software for building books on line or you can download and drop a plug in into InDesign. It works great, I just finished a book using it.
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I have used all of these companies, except for BookBaby, and have been very happy with all of them. There are others but depending how much you are doing and how much you don't want to be a publishing company these are the main ones to look at. Some questions that you will need to answer also is are you staying just on line, or also looking at bookstores. Are you selling your book from a stage or your website.

The Bookstore Route for Selling Books
If you are going to the book store market along with Amazon then I would also take a look at IngramSpark is a print on demand printer tied into the book distribution world.

I also recommend that when you have finished your book and have sent it off to be published to take the pdf file and run it through Kindle Kid Creator and make a kindle book. It takes maybe 10 minutes to make a Kindle ready book file from your pdf. Just gives you another platform

How I Make my Books
Along with where to publish is the decision of how you are going to make your book. Most of my books are made in Adobe Indesign or Adobe Illustrator, but you can also use several other programs like Apple Pages or MS Word. At its simplest, physical books are usually produced using one of the Adobe products. Using them to layout out your book, you create two hi res pdf files, one for the interior and one for the cover. These are then uploaded to one of the print-on-demand sites like CreateSpace and they move the final book over to for selling. It is pretty amazing. If you have images the big key is to be sure their resolution is 300 dpi. I generally use one of the two Adobe products to design and layout my books. I go into all of the details in my 7 Steps to Publishing Your Book online video course.

As part of my course I produced a video for Module 3 on Where to Publish Your Book, which covers this same topic. I thought I would include it here.

If you aren't publishing but just wanted to make photo books of your illustrations then I might look at for some recommendations. Also look at the templates in iPhoto on the Mac, they are excellent and the quality is pretty good.

The beauty of print-on-demand publishing is that there is no inventory and no cost. No garage full of books. All of these sites are free, they take a percentage when someone buys. After your book is done there is no further expense. When someone buys your book Amazon or one of the other companies prints and ships the book to the customer. You do nothing. Your job is make books and do the marketing. It is an amazing process.

Be sure to download my free Book Marketing Checklist over on the right side. 14 pages of steps and tips for promoting your book.

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