Your Manuscript Layout is Complete - Now What?
Hey Guys Nicole Gabriel here! I hope you’ve listened in on the previous 3 parts to this 5-part podcast series on working with a designer. We are moving into part 4 to talk about what to do next once your manuscript is complete—working with the professional printer, editor, and the costs associated.
You are ready to print your book
The printer will have you define the materials for your book…
Getting the Files to the Printer
Getting a Print Template to the Designer
Book Image or Board Wrap Template
Sometimes the boards under the jacket are wrapped too. The video I created (linked in the blog) shows the template for that.
It might be fun to do the board wrap under the jacket completely different than the jacket so that when the jacket is removed something special is revealed to the reader. Think about reverse colors or special images that would be seen when the jacket is taken off. Many New York quality books would just have writing on the spine and a cloth cover so that mass production costs are kept down.
Understanding Roles for Changes
There always seems to be a bit of confusion over who does what after the manuscript has been written and the book layout is complete. As a self-published author, the printer simply prints and ships your books. That’s pretty much it. Essentially their job is not to change the manuscript or to manipulate the content in any way. If you need a change, don’t expect the printer to do it. You always need to go back to the designer to design and the editor to edit.
Let’s Talk About Costs…
Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about the cost of a designer. It will vary, but you will pay a bit more for the good or busy ones. The expense for a designer really varies depending on skillset, hourly rate, the type of project, rates vary depending on the region, the time allotment for each client, and even the idea of the client returning for additional business.
Costs are usually broken up into cover design and interior design. For a book designer (it’s not easy to find a freelance specialist in all things book that really knows what they are doing, yet you will find a bunch of competition), you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 an hour up to $350 dollars an hour. If you pay less in the creative efforts you will get less. This generally means the quality isn’t as good, but it also means that you have to understand the placement of all elements and work to guide the designer how to do things. If your job is not to be a designer and you never plan to write another book…it’s best to focus on what you do best and hire a professional designer to do what they do best.
So, the next question might be “how long does it take to create a book cover or interior design? And, what does it cost?
Most designers who have been doing this kind of work for a while have a very good idea how long each project will take. You will generally get a fixed price bid for your project. Using the cost per hour (as mentioned earlier):
Hours Worked: Rate: Rate: Rate: Total:
10 $50 $74 $350 $500 - $3,500
20 $50 $74 $350 $1,000 - $7,000
30 $50 $74 $350 $1,500 - $10,500
40 $50 $74 $350 $2,000 - $14,000
With my design business (Angel Dog Productions)…we budget for about 20 hours for both cover design and interior layout. This basically means we plan to get in and get out. It keeps costs down. But, this also means that you have to come in with clarity on what you want to produce. We charge additional hourly rates beyond this time or for special requests like custom artwork for the cover, additional inserted images, charts and graphs, call out boxes, or something else that would require more of our time.
You always want to go to the designer like you are approaching the printer…in other words, know what you want or be prepared to pay hourly for re-work or custom work.
First time authors are a bit nervous so designers know they will have to compensate themselves for a bit more hand-holding sometimes.
Now, let’s say it takes about 40 hours to complete the interior layout. Again I’ll use a minimum ($50), this would be $2,000 for your interior layout. An experienced designer will always charge more than the minimum rate. The good ones usually have waiting lists, are raising their prices, or aren’t taking new clients. And, where a designer always takes a risk is in the idea you won’t have many errors or changes. Based on these figures alone, you can expect to pay at min $2,000-3,000 for the interior design of your book. If it took 20-40 hours for the cover design, you could potentially add another $1,000-2000. It breaks down to time. Time is money. A designer can do many fabulous designs but what is it worth to you for your custom-designed book and how much clarity do you have for it’s creation?
The cost of printing is going to depend mostly on the quantity that you print and the materials that you use. You will need to include shipping costs as well. This is a pretty average quote for 100 books:
soft cover book (Perfect Bound) with French Flaps
(flaps are attached to the cover and fold into the book much like the jacket on a hardcover book)
272 Page 6 x 9
perfect bound binding- flexible thermal glue
Interior pages 70# paper
4-color gloss lamination jacket
Total Cost: $760
(price per book cost: $7.60)
Hard cover book (Case bound)
272 Page 6 x 9
Adhesive case bound, printed case
Interior pages 70# Paper
4-color gloss lamination 100 # jacket
Total Cost: $1,540
(price per book cost: $15.40)
I want you to keep these numbers in mind for when it comes time to pricing, distributing, and selling your book…the profit margin per book starts closing in on you quickly here as you are likely seeing.
Now that your book is off to the printer, you may be thinking about an eBook.
There are a few formats that eBooks are read in. Mostly an author doesn’t care what these are, but as a self-published author you are the one that manages the details for how you distribute your eBook so you need a bit of detail as you move forward.
ePub files can be opened in most e-book readers, including:
But, ePub files have to be converted before they’re usable on the Amazon Kindle. Amazon is it’s own beast. A good designer can help you out here, but let me explain how this looks as you go forward…
Printing with a Print on Demand Service - Let’s Do A Little Q&A
When is this the right approach to print in a digital print on demand system?
How do I get it formatted, who does that, and how much will it cost me?
At my design company (Angel Dog Productions), we prefer not to work with the print on demand environment. I get called all the time with people “job shopping” for the best pricing. After we talk they call me a boutique shop. I’m totally fine with that. I’m not about to sacrifice the quality of my work for quick print jobs. I prefer to work with high-quality clients that are using their high-quality book to transform their platform and enhance their career. I’d remove my name from the book’s copyright page if the day ever came where I was forced to sacrifice quality. I don’t want to associate with sub-par production. It’s just not how I work.
On that note guys…we are moving on to part 5 in the 5 part series on how to work with a designer. Next up is the future of my book and where do I go from here?
Don’t forget to go over to the store on my website to get all my disclosed pricing and to sign up for my online book publishing coaching program. We’ve lowered the price during these unprecedented times to get you going on your book project.
As always…wishing you peace, love, and light!
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