Writing a book is hard work. We appreciate just how challenging and time-consuming it is to outline, draft, revise, redraft, edit, proof, finalize, and in the end produce a manuscript ready for publication. So to help you out, we’ve got a pre-publishing checklist with a few items to keep in mind as you complete your manuscript.
Because once you’ve finally gotten to that stage, an entirely new set of tasks confront you.
Formatting and design
The file will need to be formatted to conform with layout requirements. The basic rule for self-publishing is to layout your book as a PDF, with all front matter and back matter included. There’s a lot of work that goes into laying out your manuscript, like selecting fonts, spacing, inserting page numbering, setting pages to appearing in the correct location (left or right side pages), and orienting all text in the right locations on the page. Most of these elements come down to your personal desires. But there are a few things you absolutely have to do if you want to be sure your book will look professional when you print the physical copies.
Use this checklist to make sure you’ve hit all the critical points for your file prior to uploading:
Print book Pre-Publishing Checklist
- If you create a PDF file for uploading, all fonts must be printable and embedded
- Pages are sized to match the Book size and are in the same orientation (portrait or landscape)
- Front matter (Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgment, Table of Contents, etc.) included in file
- Images sized properly and inserted at 300dpi resolution
- Margins, header/footer, and gutter are properly set (min 0.5”, 0.5”, 0.3” mirrored)
Once you have your print book prepped and ready, you can easily take the source file and make an ebook. The first thing you’ll want to do is to open the file in Microsoft Word (or your text editing software of choice) and wipe all that formatting you added for printing. All of it can go.
With the file cleared of all formatting, use this checklist to reformat and prepare your file for ebook conversion.
Ebook Pre-publishing checklist
- Word Files: Remove headers/footer/page numbering
- Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, are used to indicate titles, chapters, and sub sections.
- Heading 1 is used for Title (which must appear on the first line of the first page)
- All heading styles are used sequentially (1, 2. 3) in the document
- All other text is in Normal Style
- Automatic formatting turned off, and all automatically created elements removed or added manually (Such as lists or numbering)
- Images sized approximately 500 x 500 pixels, at 72dpi resolution, and inserted “in line”
- No text boxes or Borders.
These checklists are not the absolute and final list of things that have to be reviewed when making a book. A number of things can come into play based on the specifics of your project. The best thing to do is to review your files carefully once you’ve uploaded and converted. Then, once you complete publishing, order a copy to review yourself and give it a final look over.
We promise, the first time might seem like an insurmountable job, but with each book you publish, the process gets easier and more intuitive. As always, our support team is ready to help if you run into any problems you can’t overcome on your own.
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.