Self Publishing Guide
Self published your own Photo Book is fun, exciting and is extremely rewarding to see your images in print.
BookMark Self Publishing can make your Photo Book idea a reality, with our print on demand publishing capabilities.
The sky is the limit on creative Photo Books … when you self publish. You are in complete control.
Below, we’ll give you an outline to help start your children's book publishing process.
Where to Start
If you haven' t prepared your Photo Book yet, there are a few things you should know about the book you want to publish ahead of time.
Producing a Photo Book
Most authors are using their home computers to prepare their Photo Books. This is an easy and convenient method of preparing your files.
I order to get the best results; you’ll need to run your photographs through a photo editing program to correct color, remove dust spots, adjust brightness/contrast, etc. The best program for this is Adobe Photoshop, but there are affordable alternative like Adobe Photoshop Elements. Once your images are ready you can proceed to layout your manuscript
The content or of your manuscript will likely be primarily images with small bits of text. Just as with book with written text, a Photo Book also needs to be one contiguous file for printing.
Selecting software to use to prepare your book can be somewhat daunting. As a general rule we do not recommend any of the more common word processing software packages like Word, Works of WordPerfect for preparing your Photo Book files. These word processors are fine for files that contain only a few images, and are mostly text, but for large quantities of images, they are not suitable.
We do recommend any one of the more powerful software programs for preparing your Photo Book, such as Adobe InDesign or Quark Express.
There are a few different qualities that you may wish your Photo Book to be reproduced in, and of course the better the quality the more costly the process and the resulting books. As a general rule, the minimum quality you will want is to have your images as 300 dpi for the finished work. Anything less than this and the quality begins to suffer significantly. You may also wish to have a higher quality book produced.
Note that some Photo book printers (like Lulu) offer online templates, where you can just upload your images too. If your happy using their templates, then there is no need to layout your manuscript and you can skip the layout step.
You can purchase the software mentioned above here:
Editing and proofreading your Photo Book
Although it is likely there is little text in your Photo Book, we still recommend that it is proof read. In fact we highly recommend this particularly with books with fewer words and any mistakes be come glaringly obvious, which you don’t want, especially in a Photo Book … any distractions from the pictures are to be avoided.
Photo Book Size Layout
Since the paper your Photo Book will be printed on comes in specific sizes, it’s best to try and keep within more cost effective formats. Another point to consider is that if your book is to be sold in book stores, there are specific formats or book sizes that are preferred by bookstores (and expected by readers).
There are no real common sizes for Photo Books, but they generally rage in size from 6” by 9” and larger (8.5 X11 is an nice size), and many are in “landscape” format rather that “portrait” format that most novels and similar predominantly text books.
Photo Book Binding Types
The four main ways Photo Books can be put together or "bound" are listed below, along with their pros and cons.
50 to 1,000 pages: These are the most expensive to produce but are also
the most valued because they look excellent, and are long lasting. They
can also be more desirable as they are a premium product and command a
top dollar. Disadvantages, cost to produce, and weight for shipping.
- Soft Cover Perfect Binding:
Approximately 40 to 300 pages: Although these types of books use a soft
cover, they retain the “book feel” because they have a square back.
They are less expensive than hard cover to produce while still looking
very good (especially with a color cover). Disadvantages, the covers
can tend to wear out with heavy use (although we recommend laminating
which will help prevent this) these books don’t have the same premium
appearance as hard cover books, but are still a very good choice for
- Spiral Binding:
25 to 250 pages: This kind of binding is rarely used for Photo Books,
but is used for photo-book day-timer books, photo-book address and
similar type books. Advantages, when opened they lay flat and make it
easy to read and write in, they are cost effective to produce. No
particular disadvantages other than they do don’t looks as nice a some
up to 48 pages: These are the least elegant book binding to produce. In
some instances, books that do not have enough pages for other binding
types may need to be saddle bound. Disadvantages, the covers tend to
wear more readily (although we recommend laminating which will help
prevent this); these books don’t lay flat for the reader.
Photo Book Cover
The cover of your book is a very important element of your entire book publishing project, and should reflect the quality and the content of your book.
As the owner and author of your book, you should be aware of one book-cover reaction that lamination can cause on soft cover books. Laminating book covers can result in covers arching or bending from time to time, depending on weather conditions. This is a normal process which is caused by the lamination which blocks the flow of moisture through the book cover creating a small amount of pressure on one side of the cover and making them arch slightly. This is the normal reaction of cardboard covers with plastic lamination, and can really only be solved by going to hardcover books.
The front cover should have the title of the book and the author’s name, and any images on the cover should be added to enhance the “look” of the cover. The back cover could be left blank, a description of the book, or a paragraph about the author. What ever you put on the back, we recommend that it be something that is … “in aid of selling or promoting the book”. If the books are to be sold in bookstores, you will also need ISBN and Bar Code numbers to be printed on the back cover. We can help you with obtaining these if you do not have a source.
If you are preparing your own cover, the size of the cover of the book will need to be slightly larger than the actual book. This will allow for the trimming of the final book and cover, and provide nice clean lines on all three exposed book sides. If you are going to be making a “perfect bind” book, you will also need to allow for the thickness of the back of the book (spine) as determined by the number of pages in the book.
If you will be using any images or graphics on the cover that need to print with high quality, we recommend using a professional graphic program like Adobe Photoshop for best results.
For anyone who has some art and photography skills, now is their time to shine. As a long- time dedicated photographer and someone who grew up in the Kodachrome, darkrooms and processing labs era, photography today is wildly different and exciting.
It wasn't that many years ago that photo book printing was highly complex and enormously expensive. Today, with digital everything, extraordinary images are possible and you don't even have to go into the darkroom to make them. Even better, you can fairly easily have your own photo book printed to show off your prowess as a photographer and skilled artist.
Admittedly it is still somewhat pricey to create and have your own photo books printed, but like any similar endeavour, you need to make the best of your experience and your investment. More than many other types of self published books, those wanting to publish their own photo books need to have a clear vision of why they are producing a photo book and what they will be doing with it.
As many are coming to find, making online photo books is a fun and rewarding experience that lets you present your experiences in a fashion that customary photo albums can't. Best of all, these online photo books are produced by specialists, giving them the feel and look of any photo book in any bookstore. Some online photo book publishers even provide avenues for selling your finished photo book projects. So, what goes into making the ideal online photo book? Well, first off, selecting the proper photo book publisher, one that offers a sufficient quantity of binding and sizing options, while providing useful and convenient to use tools and applications to shape your online photo book is exceedingly important. When selecting a Photograph Book service, comparing site features of different online photo book publishers, like Viovio and Shutterfly and finding the one that works best for you is important. A critical feature to go looking for is whether the online photo book publisher offers themes, templates and beneficial tips and book concepts.
Though most photos can stand alone, adding a colourful background or having special templates to show off recent wedding pictures or the birth of a new baby, brings the picture to life in a completely new way, also while setting a mood or tone for the photo book overall. Many online photo book publishers host communities for sharing projects, both finished and partially finished, allowing for the exchanging of ideas and the chance to give valuable feedback to other users. This is a vital ingredient to making the ideal photo book.