You've finished writing your book and can't wait to see it in print, in your local bookstores, on amazon.com, etc. Well, there are plenty of steps in between: getting your full cover and interior pages to the printer in an acceptable size and format - without any of the glitches that may occur along the way.
Many authors try to "do it all" - creating a full cover (be it softbound or case bound), with appropriate size, bleed, spine width, resolution, etc. Then there's the book itself - is it formatted to the trim size you've agreed upon with your printer? The list of specifications goes on and on - and while there are some authors who prefer to "do it all" - most don't have the time, technical expertise and software to make their book the reality they've dreamed of. That's where a good graphic designer comes into play. Through a collaborative partnership, you can achieve success, not break your budget - and most of all - produce a product that stands up - and even surpasses - your competition on those bookshelves.
At NZ Graphics, we like to discuss all aspects of your book project upfront - to help you understand the processes, timelines, and the costs involved. However, there are some tips or guidelines that can help speed along the process as it begins:
NZ Graphics utilizes the major desktop layout programs in the industry: QuarkXpress, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker, and the suite of complementary graphics programs of Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop, and Acrobat.
When preparing your Word document to submit to us (for importing into QuarkXpress, etc.):
Microsoft Word has many layout capabilities and has, over the years, become one of the most popular word processing softwares.
So what's the problem with using Word to design pages? You've worked hard on your document - it looks great printed on
your laser printer. You're now ready to take the next step and get your masterpiece commercially printed. You would think it would
be as easy as copying the Word file to a disk, and sending it off to a printer for printing. But it's not that easy. Microsoft has failed to add critical functions to Word. This makes it difficult to get professional and consistent high-end output from this very popular application. Many commercial printers and prepress facilities will not accept Word documents because of the many problems that could be lurking inside the seemingly harmless files. Commercial printers are faced with the following four primary problems when working with native Microsoft Word files.
FONT PROBLEMS - Font conflicts are the single most frequent problem with Microsoft Word files. Word does a poor job of managing
fonts. In fact, Word will automatically - and without warning - substitute your specified document fonts with fonts that happen to be
active on the local workstation. So while your file looks right on your computer, it may look entirely different on another computer.
With that said - you should know that in most cases, Word's font substitution works rather well, and the software usually substitute
fonts that look relatively close to the specified font. Sometimes the difference is so small that you might not be able to tell the difference.
So what's wrong with fonts that look "just a little bit different?" In most cases, the substituted fonts do not have the exact character
spacing as the specified font. This small spacing difference, over many pages, will usually add up to a very different document . So unless the fonts on each workstation are an exact match, you will most likely have multiple font problems when submitting your job to any printer.
BLEEDS - Word does not give you the ability to create bleeds. If any type of bleed is required, then significant additional work will be required at the prepress stage. To add the bleed, a prepress operator would have to manually modify each individual page, an expense that could be avoided.
COLOR - While Word allows you to specify the color of type and graphics, it does so only in RGB. Word does not offer the option
to specify process colors (CMYK) or spot colors. This means that while we can print the document, the color change could be significant.
PRE-PRESS OPERATOR CONTROL - Finally, in the normal course of preparing jobs to be printed, experienced prepress operators sometimes need to tweak files to make them work. Word files are very touchy, and in most cases operators are unable to make necessary corrections without causing reflow throughout the document. Often, the Word files need to be returned to the client for correction.
THE SOLUTION? - Using a page layout program such as QuarkXPress, Adobe PageMaker or Adobe InDesign (these programs are expensive and the learning curve is quite steep) will help to solve all of these problems. These page layout programs are common in the graphic art and the professional design community. But you don't have to give up Microsoft Word totally. While QuarkXPress and PageMaker have strong word processing facilities, you can continue to use Word to compose your manuscript.
Once you're ready to work on the layout, simply flow the Word document into the page layout document, and finish the document there (your graphic designer can do this.) The use of PDF files also alleviates some of the above problem. If you can convert your file to a pdf and it still looks the same you should have no problems printing with a digital printer. The color factor discussed above would still be a problem, and printing offset would be troublesome.
Contact NZ Graphics before you start your project and together we can address any and all issues and concerns.
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