A desperate call from a new author
Q: Do you do book design?
A: Yes, I do. How can I help you?
Q: I have a finished, designed children’s book, but I’m adding four more chapters. Can you help me?
A: Yes, but I need more information.
Q: What program did your designer use—InDesign?
A; That sounds right. I’m not computer savvy, so I really don’t know.
Q: How many pages are there in your book?
A: About one hundred pages.
Q: Do you have high resolution artwork?
A: I’m not sure, but I think so. I have all the files.
Q: Why aren’t you using the graphic designer who originally worked on the book?
A: We had a falling out. But I do have all the artwork. Can you help me?
Before I accepted the project, I asked Don to send me a PDF of the book in an email. He agreed but called back later while I was out of the office and talked to my partner, Gary. The PDF file was too large to email. Instead, Don made an appointment to drop off a flash drive with the files.
Don brought a printed sample of his book as well as flash drive. Yes, everything was there, and the illustrations were high resolution and organized in folders. BUT, each page was a separate Photoshop file, imported into Illustrator, then saved as a PDF. All of the story text was placed in Photoshop. Some type fonts were missing. “This is not the right way to construct a book,” I explained to Don. Your previous graphic designer didn’t know anything about book design. I use Adobe InDesign, which is for page layout. That’s the only way I would do this.” I agreed to do the four chapters.
Don told me that he plans to re-print his book with a local printer. That’s OK, but it’s a sure sign that he’s a newbie author who jumped into publishing without researching and learning the book-industry ropes. A local printer is not the same as a publisher or distributor with more author services.
I called Don’s printer to discuss the technical aspects He said, “When you’re ready, send high-resolution PDFs.” No problem 🙂 I typed up a contract for Don to sign so I could begin the project.
I asked Don if his book had been professionally edited. “Oh, yes,” he assured me. “It was edited by a person with a master’s degree in English.” Uh oh! (another sign of an inexperienced author.)
Don’s book did not have an ISBN, yet. He explained that the book is to be a “give-away,” included in a bigger sales offering. In the near future, he wants to sell the book on his website or online through Amazon. I suggested that he set up an account with R.R. Bowker, The official U.S. ISBN agency, especially if he is planning to write more books.
“By the way, I suggested, “You might be interested in using a print on demand (POD) printer, such as CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon.” Don’s eye lit up.
Before Don left, I told him about St. Louis Publisher’s Association. “We’re having a meeting next week, and you should come.”
Now he was really fired up. “I know this is was a lot of information to absorb in a short time,” I said. “It’s like taking a sip from the fire hose.”
Pandora’s box was opened. I compared the existing files with the printed book to confirm the book size. Then I saw something askew: The previous designer placed the folios (page numbers) on the wrong page of the spreads. (All even number pages should be on the left and all odd number pages should be on the right.)
When I created my InDesign file, it automatically places the odd/even folios. Rats! I did not have the budget to re-do all the pages. Best to call the client. Don was ok with whatever I suggested to get the book done (leave the pages numbers as is). Thus, I manually typed the page numbers on the wrong side, continuing the rest of the chapters.
One more thing: by adding four new chapters, the table of contents needed to be amended. Don was very appreciative with catching this last important detail.
Are you new to the book-publishing business as Don was? If you are starting out on this journey, N-K can guide you every step of the way. You CAN tell a book by its cover! See samples on N-K’s book design portfolio.