How to pick a book size
Book Printing Cost, Book production, Cost, Design, Page Layout, Pre Press

How to Pick a Book Size for Your Genre

Printing a book takes a lot of decisions. What will your cover look like? What font will your book be printed in? How will your characters escape their fate?

how-to-pick-a-book-size

There is one question, however, that authors often forget to ask themselves until their book is ready to go into production: what SIZE will my book be?

Trim size affects not only the price of your book but also how your readers will perceive and handle your book. Your readers will have a preconceived notion of what kind of book they are about to read based on the page count and size.

What book sizes are best suited for my genre?

While book size is largely a matter of preference, below are some of the most common genre and book size pairings.

5_5x8_55.5 x 8.5” – Pocketbooks, Travel books, Novellas

If you intend your reader to travel with your book, 5.5 x 8.5” is a convenient size for readers to fit in a purse or briefcase. This is also a great size for books with shorter word counts, as it will increase your overall page count.

Genres that work great as 5.5 x 8.5” include business guides, thrillers/mysteries, self-help books and instruction guides.

6x96 x 9” – Paperbacks, Novels, Anthologies

6 x 9” is one of the most traditional and well recognized trim sizes. This is your “standard” book size, great for paperbacks and softcover novels. It is also one of our most popular sizes, chosen by many first-time and independently published authors.

It would be hard to find a genre that doesn’t work well as a 6 x 9”. Popular choices include sci-fi, memoir, spiritual and both general fiction and non-fiction.

8_5x118.5 x 11” – Workbooks, Textbooks, Histories

If you have a book with a lot of content, 8.5 x 11” is a great size choice to reduce your page count. It also gives your pages a lot of room to show off charts, tables and photographs. Most document editors are also set up for 8.5 x 11”, making this a convenient size when preparing your files for print.

Popular genres for 8.5 x 11” include school textbooks, ancestry books, family history books and picture books.

11x8_511 x 8.5” – Art books, Photo journals, Children’s books.

If you’re looking for a size that will help your book stand out, consider a landscape trim size. Landscape books are often intended to be put on display, such as coffee-table books. This size also works really well for books with multiple columns.

11 x 8.5” is a great choice for books that want to showcase their artwork, including children’s books, photography books and artist portfolios.

How do these trim sizes affect my final cost?

Paper is commonly bought as what is known as a parent size. Two common parent sizes are 25 x 38” and 23 x 35”.

For example, if your book is 5.5 x 8.5”, it would likely be printed on stock that started as 23 x 35”. If the book is 6 x 9”, it was likely instead printed from a 25 x 38” parent size. These sizes give you the best cut out with the least amount of waste to still allow for finish trimming.

So what if your desired size is 6 x 8.5”? This would then mean your book would be printed from the 25 x 38” parent size, creating the possibility for additional charges for a non-standard size. This might not be the case if your book is printed on different equipment or if the bindery is able to adjust to a non-standard size without time loss.

Check with your book printer before you do the final page layout to find the most cost-effective approach for your book.

Check out these other helpful self-publishing guides for how to pick the size of your book:

BookCover Cafe

The Book Designer

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Book production, Self Publishing

August 2nd is National Coloring Book Day!

Coloring books have become a big category in the publishing industry, with adult coloring leading the trend. Even those of us who are less artistically inclined can find relaxation, creativity, and fun in the pages of a coloring book.

We print coloring books for a variety of customers. As you can see, plastic spiral binding is a popular choice because of its ability to truly lay flat. Jamie David, Hawaii-based author of the early reader novel, Johann Sebastian Humpbach, created a companion coloring book (example page on the left).

Coloring Books

Gigi Murfitt is a writer, speaker, and mentor who has developed a series of journals to help people going through tough times. She incorporated coloring book pages into her journals and devotionals. Great idea, Gigi!

Do you have a coloring book project you’ve been planning? Come to us for multiple binding options (we can perfect bind your coloring book, too!) and high-quality paper that will hold your colors.

Just feel inspired to color inside the lines? Enjoy a few vintage book plates to get you going.

Learn more about Coloring Book Day here: http://www.coloringbookday.com/

And don’t forget to call us if you’re planning your own coloring book!

 

Book production, Cost, Links, Local authors, Marketing, Self Publishing, Social Media

Need to pay for your book project? Try crowdfunding!

We’ve seen many authors and artists come through our shop who have used a crowdfunding website to fund the cost of publishing their books. What is a crowdfunding website? It’s a website that exists as a platform to help people who have an idea, but need dollars to make the idea a reality. In our line of work, that idea is a book.

Listing your project on a crowdfunding website is also a great way to test the market’s interest in your book before it’s published. It will help you start thinking about the niche your book will fill. If you can successfully generate buzz for the concept of your book on a crowdfunding platform, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy some traction with your marketing efforts once the book is published.

The most commonly-used crowdfunding website is Kickstarter. Here is a link to their handbook to get you started, and a few tips to help along the way:

  • Backing others helps you learn the ropes and get a feel for the Kickstarter community.
  • Set up your payment options in advance so you are ready to accept funds on day one.
  • Be clear on discounts and perks – and get creative!
  • Aim high when setting your dollar amount, but not so high you can’t meet your goal and cash in.
  • Tell the story of your book, and consider making a video.
  • Answer all backer questions. They are supporting your efforts!
  • Use a simple analytics tracker to learn more about your readers.

Time to get inspired! Here are a few authors we know used Kickstarter to fund their book projects, then hired us to print them.

Bard_Hey Baby

 

Breena Bard, a Portland, Oregon-based cartoonist and graphic novelist released “Hey Baby,” a 6.5×8.5″ softcover, in summer 2016.

Breena’s Kickstarter

http://www.breenabard.com/

 

 

 

front-spine-back-covers-under_covers-outlined.eps

 

 

 

Margaret Davis, another Portland-based writer and book artist, funded “China Under the Covers” this past winter.

Margaret’s Kickstarter

http://chinaunderthecovers.com/

 

 

 

 

Adobe Photoshop PDF

 

 

Olympia-based fungi enthusiast Ellen King Rice funded her novel “The Evo Angel” in 2015 for publication in spring 2016.

Ellen’s Kickstarter

https://www.ellenkingrice.com/

 

 

 

 

Back in 2014, Peter Donahue funded a beautiful full-color, full-size landscape hardcover book complete with custom-printed end sheets and a matte-laminated dust jacket for the first volume of his popular “Rudek and the Bear” comic collection. As one of his Kickstarter pledge prizes, Peter drew any supporter who pledged $35 or more into the style of his characters and added it as a spread in the beginning of his book.

RUDEK AND THE BEAR VOL 1.indd

Peter’s Kickstarter

Peter’s ongoing web comic: http://zuzelandthefox.com/

Test the waters for your book project! Try crowdfunding!

Book production, Events, Local authors, Marketing, Reading, Self Publishing, Writing

We Went to Wordstock!

This time last week, Genevieve and Alison were loading up boxes of guidebooks, tote bags, business cards, candy, and Genevieve’s trusty typewriter Buttercup to drive south for Wordstock, Portland’s recently-rebooted  festival of books and writing hosted by Literary Arts.

2-wordstock-boothThousands of writers and readers from around the region gathered at the Portland Art Museum last Saturday to attend workshops, hear readings from over 100 authors, and wander the booths at the book fair.

We talked to dozens and dozens of readers and writers, most of whom stepped up to our booth to browse our beautiful selection of sample books, and to pull a word from a fish tank to use in a sentence on Buttercup, the 1950s Royal typewriter that made the trek with us. Many of them took a copy of our free guidebook to learn more about the book printing process for themselves or a friend or family member working on a book.free-words

As a short run book printer, we attended this  event not only to meet writers who might be interested in publishing their own work who might need a printer, but also to chat with the 25+ independent publishing companies who were there to meet writers and sell their books.

While many of these publishing companies are big enough to need quantities of books that warrant printing on offset presses, they may need Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) ahead of the run that will be sold in stores. Our digital printing methods mean we can keep costs low on a smaller run of books, and we can produce them on fairly short notice if a publisher finds themselves with a deadline an offset printer couldn’t hope to meet.

We had the great privilege of printing the ARCs of City of Weird, a fresh-released collection of short stories from Forest Avenue Press. This book was a Powell’s Pick of the Month in October! We also saw past clients at tables for Atelier26 Books as well as the Willamette Writers, who print their literary journal, The Timberline Review, with us. We made friends at booths for YesYes Books, Chin Music Press and Overcup Press.

All in all it was a day full of excellent conversation with fellow book-folk. We can’t wait for next year!