Self Publishers Need To Understand Typesetting

For an author that has chosen the path of self publishing, after a book has been written and edited, it needs to be typeset. Typesetting is the process of having your manuscript laid out in book format. Whereas it once required a specialist for its completion, a technologically era has made typesetting possible for anyone who has a desire to learn it.

So when it comes to typesetting and laying out your book for printing, there are two choices:

Do it yourself

As specialised computer software is now accessible to the general public, self publishers now have the option of completing the typesetting stage of the book production process themselves. Programs such Adobe InDesign and Quark Express are examples of these programs.

In fact, depending on the purpose of your publication self publishers can even lay out their manuscript in Microsoft Word, which will also allow a self publisher to lay out design elements such as margins and diagrams. However, if you're creating a product for bookstores then books laid out in Word are usually not suitable as they require a more professional standard. Therefore, professional programs such as InDesign and Quark need to be utilised.

Once upon a time these programs were not available to the everyday person, however, these programs are now not only accessible but there are also courses that teach people how to use them. These programs are designed to perform a lot of technical tasks that other programs, like Word, are simply not designed to do.

Use a specialist typesetter

New self publishers have a tendency to outsource their work to any graphic designer. However, selecting just any designer can be a costly decision. If you wish to hire a professional to typeset your book, it is recommended to find a specialist typesetting company that deal with books regularly.

Book typesetters lay out books on a daily basis and know what they are doing. They can complete the job quicker than your average graphic designer thus costing you less money. If you choose to go with a specialist typesetter, make sure that your book has no mistakes before you give them your manuscript and that you are decisive in communicating what you want.

These are two things that typesetters dislike most. If they are laying out your book, they don't want to have to keep making corrections – this is not their job and they also don't want to put their company's name to a book riddled with mistakes. This only hurts their reputation. There are also a lot of decisions that need to be made in determining the layout for your book, so it can be time consuming for typesetters if clients keep changing their mind or won't make a decision.

Today we are fortunate to have an abundance of choices when it comes to laying out a book. To maximise the benefits of your decisions make sure you do your research and understand the stages of the production process. If you do this, then you will produce a book that is time and cost effective.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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