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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Your Standards for Manuscripts?

We generally quote services on manuscripts that have strong intellectual and/or artistic appeal. We reserve the right to turn down a manuscript for arbitrary reasons.

Do You Work with Self-Publishers?

Not usually. If a "self-publisher" has published before, has a block of ISBNs, is familiar with both printers and distributors, knows how the Library of Congress works for copyright and LCCNs, treats the prospect of publishing as a serious job, and has a quality manuscript, we will treat the individual as a publisher. We are not in business to teach authors how to become publishers.

How Long Do You Take?

Usually 1-20 business days to edit a project, depending on backlog, complexity, etc. After the editing process is completed, the publisher has the manuscript in their court, and we respond as quickly as possible to any questions.

After the manuscript is finalized, typesetting and cover design usually takes 1-10 business days. Delivery of the first typeset draft (laserprinted, unbound page proofs) and cover CD ROM usually takes 2-3 business days via priority mail. The book is then in the publisher's court again, and we make any corrections as quickly as possible.

Will You Do Just One of the Three: Editing, Typesetting, or Covers?

Yes. We will do just editing, or just typesetting, or just cover design on a project. If we are doing just the cover, we request a copy of a finished PDF book design file or printed page proofs before quotation. If a book is poorly designed, we will turn down an opportunity to work on the cover.

How Much Will It Cost?

Editing and manuscript preparation ranges from $0 to $1,500 depending on the length, complexity, and state of the book.

Typesetting usually ranges from $150 to $1,000 depending on length and complexity.

Cover design usually ranges from $150 for a basic cover (basic lettering and a colorful background, no images) to $2,500 for dust jacket designs incorporating licensed artwork and studio photography. If the publisher provides the images in a reliable format, they are added to the project at only $5 apiece, so it is less expensive if the publisher is the source for the images.

Every book is unique and providing a ballpark estimate is difficult to do, which is why we request a complete and finished book before quoting our services.

What Typefaces Are Available?

It is a good idea to handle all manuscript editing before worrying about the typsetting. It can be unwise to get ahead of the process. At an appropriate point in the workflow, a typesetter will present the publisher with some printable page samples of possible typefaces at sizes appropriate for the project, along with a set of recommendations.

We typically use one of the seven book typefaces listed below. Many other script and ornamental typefaces are available for chapter headings if a second typeface is required in a book.

These OpenType (unicode) fonts support dozens of languages, italic and bold faces, text and lining numbers, true small caps, etc., and are a pleasure to work with and to read. Because a font can look very different in print, you should not make a judgment based solely on what you see on-screen. Links open new windows from the font supplier's website. Printable glyph sets are available on the linked pages, though it is better to wait for the typesetter's samples and recommendations.

Minion Pro Opticals
Garamond Premier Pro Opticals
Warnock Pro Opticals
Adobe Jenson Pro
Adobe Garamond Pro
Adobe Caslon Pro
Kepler Std

Do You Scan Books for Reprints?

If the publisher has the rights to the design, and the book is in very good condition, we support partial or total scan workflows. Note that typo corrections are often particularly difficult using this method, and are usually charged by the letter rather than the word, since the text does not reflow when it is an image.

Print shops can often offer this service at a lower price and we do not actively solicit scan business, but will review scan projects on a case-by-case basis.

What's a Galley?

We try to avoid the word "galley" because it can mean so many things depending on context. It can mean a set of laserprinted typeset page proofs from the publisher, a PDF proof with printer's marks, printer's bluelines, unbound page proofs from the printer, a bound proof from the printer, or an uncorrected advance proof produced in quantity for potential reviewers. The word "proof" is similarly confusing, though it has a "less finished" connotation than "galley." For clarity's sake, we try to refer to the source of the proof, the means of production and the binding (if any) when talking about a production proof/galley.

Do You Create Barcodes?

Yes, we create barcodes digitally and incorporate them into the back covers of the books. This is a free service and is part of your quotation for a cover design. The data in EAN barcodes comes from 1) the first nine digits of the ISBNs and 2) suggested retail price, so there is no outside information to gather; it's all provided by the publisher.

If we are not designing the cover, we do not create barcodes for the book.

Do You Charge for Typo Corrections After Typeset?

If the mistake is something we introduced or should have caught in editing, we correct it for free. If the mistake is the publisher's responsibility (something we couldn't have known, as the misspelling of a proper name or an aesthetic or "tinkering" rewrite of some sort), we usually provide sixty word changes free of charge. (A word "changed" includes an added word, a deleted word, or a changed word.)

Figure that aggressive rewrites after typeset will cost about $1 per word; writing should be complete well in advance of submission to us for evaluation and quotation, so this sort of extra expense is usually easily avoided. Since changes take about a tenth of the amount of time in word processing as they do in typesetting, all editorial concerns should be handled at the manuscript stage, not after typeset.

What's Print-on-Demand?

Print-on-demand (sometimes referred to as "POD," "on-demand printing," or "ODP") is any manufacturing method that prints books as needed in very small quantities (often as few as one at a time) to avoid excess inventory and large up-front investments. This is often an ideal tool for niche products, test-marketing, backlist titles, and small publishers' projects in general. We have extensive experience with print-on-demand and you can read some thoughts about it here.

Read more about POD halftones and print resolution resolution here.

Are You a Print Broker?

No. We sometimes have suggestions where to print, but we do not manage the relationship between a publisher and a printer, nor do we assess a finder's fee or anything like that. We're in business to edit, typeset, and design.

How Should I Save My Graphics?

Graphics should be saved as TIF or PSD files. JPG is acceptable only if the image compression does not show signs of webby blurring at "actual pixel" resolution. "Line art" means images using only black and white. "Halftones" also include gray. You are encouraged to use LZW compression (no loss of detail) on any TIF file. Resolution depends on the production method involved:

Offset Press (ink)

  • Line Art: 2540 dpi.
  • Halftones: Your printer's line screen times the square root of 2 (~1.414), rounded up to nearest 100. 300dpi is often sufficient.
  • Color Images: Your printer's line screen times the square root of 2 (~1.414), rounded up to nearest 100. 300dpi is often sufficient.

On-Demand Printing (toner)

  • Line Art: 600dpi or 1200dpi, depending on the printer.
  • Halftones: 300dpi.
  • Color Images: 300dpi.

Even with compression, images are often too big to email. Provide these files on CD or via internet upload (an FTP site, if you have one).

Can I Send Photographs Instead?

Absolutely. We would be happy to scan your photographs for you. Anything from 3x5" in size to 8.5x11" in size is easy to scan. If you need for your materials to be returned, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The cost of scanning and the cost of incorporating digital images is the same.

How Are You Employed by a Publisher?

We are work-for-hire contractors, and are not in the permanent employ of any publisher. We do not retain any rights to editorial suggestions or designs of books or covers after we have been paid for our work. There are several publishers that use us for multiple jobs on an ongoing basis, but we preserve complete confidentiality for other publishers and function independently.

Do You Share Source Files?

Not in our standard workflow. We provide print-ready PDF and/or TIF files that can be produced at the publisher's print supplier(s) of choice, according to their specifications. We can also provide generic "press optimized" versions of book PDFs that can be printed at a large variety of printers in the future. We do not want to be technical support for the applications we use, and the program extensions, fonts and proprietary macros/scripts necessary to recreate source files reliably are often very difficult to implement in an outside workflow.

We can support a shareable source file workflow if the publisher provides licensed OpenType fonts (or is okay with zero fonts coming with the source files) and requests a source file as part of the initial quote request. It is some extra work to support a shareable source file workflow, and is an extra expense.

Hey, You Didn't Answer My Question!

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