Most book printers and publishers offer free book templates for authors who want to publish a book. Before you can send your book proof to print you will need to set it up correctly according to your printer’s criteria. Their templates can be easily downloaded for use for your inside pages and also the cover of your book.
Most printers work from PDF files or what is more commonly known as a print ready PDF proof. There are various ways to arrive at this outcome. But you need to establish the sort of book you want to publish and what program best suits you first.
If you want to take the cost effective route and don’t have Word or something similar, then using the Inkscape method is probably the way to go. This is the basis of the DIY Guide and book set up featured here and it’s absolutely free to download and use.
If you already have Word and want to go that way to set up your book, then click on the link below for some tips on setting up your template for book pages in Word.
Word is ideal for novels and books with images well within the page edge. It has an inbuilt PDF conversion tool but you need the full version to access it. When it converts to PDF files it will group all the individual files together as your book proof.
Inkscape is ideal for any style of bookthe full version of Word in order to access the PDF in built conversion tool. Saving your files as PDFs can be done in Inkscape but only one at a time. Whilst it doesn’t save them altogether like Word, it DOES allow individual effects to be incorporated on any page desired without incident or affect to the rest of the text.
If your book is all text or with images that don’t go to the page edge, you can set your book up in Word for the internal pages and convert them to PDF format once you have finished. You will still need a vector program like Inkscape to design your cover artwork. You will also need the full version of Word which features the PDF converter. Alternatively you can use the free Inkscape program which has an option to save the SVG files as PDF format
If your book has background images which go right to the page edge, you will need to set it up in a vector program like Inkscape, one page at a time. There are issues with Word and any images that go to the edge of the page so for best results set up in Inkscape.
Follow these instructions to set up a book template:
- Go to Page Layout and select “Margins.”
- Select “Custom Margins.”
- Select “Mirror Margins” under Multiple Pages.
- Adjust the margin values to match the following:
- Top: .5
- Bottom .5
- Inside: .8
- Outside: .5
- Gutter: 0
- Select “Portrait” under Orientation.
- Select “Whole Document” under Apply To.
- Switch over to the Paper tab.
- Adjust the height and width to match the paper size your book will be printed in.
- Select “OK” to save the changes.
Setting up Bleeds for Your Interior Book Template
If you want the interior pages to bleed (where the artwork goes right to the edge of the paper) and are using Microsoft Word, or any other word processing program, you will need to add .125″ to each side of the document to accommodate for the excess paper that will be trimmed off.
For example: If you want a 5.5″ x 8.5″ finished trim size, you will need to add .125″ to all four sides of your document, which will create a 5.75″ x 8.75″ page size. We will trim off .125″ from each side to give you a finished trim size of 5.5″ x 8.5″.
For a professional interior book layout, we recommend that you keep any elements you don’t want trimmed off, at least a .5″ from the top, outside, bottom, and .8″ from the binding side of the book. Also remember to select Mirror Margins, when setting up your custom page size in Microsoft Word.
If you are using Microsoft Word, or any other word processing program, it can be very difficult to set up bleeds correctly and have everything line up evenly throughout the interior of the book. We suggest using a more robust piece of software like Adobe InDesign. Adobe does offer a free trial for 30 days, and has monthly plans as well.
If you are using a page layout program like Adobe InDesign, and want certain pages to bleed, you will need to include the bleeds and crop marks when you export your file as a PDF file. Adobe offers a great help section on how to set-up your document with bleeds using InDesign.
Pro Tip: When using any Adobe product to export PDF’s, always use the PDF/x-1a:2001 setting. This setting will alert you to any low resolution images and embed all of your fonts as well.
Common Book File Issues and Questions
What is Font Embedding?
Font Embedding is when all the font information is captured from your computer and stored inside the PDF file.
Why is Font Embedding so Important?
If the fonts are not embedded in your PDF files, the type can reflow and become distorted. Even common Fonts like Times need to be embedded, because what we have found is there are many different versions of the Common Fonts.
Mac computers will automatically Embed the fonts, so no need to worry about embedding the fonts.
Can I send in the Cover and Text in the same file?
No. You need separate PDF files, PDF files for the Book Cover, and one PDF file for the Text file. If the Cover artwork is part of the Text file, it will mess up the Margins of the Text, after the Cover is extracted.
PDF Page size must match the Book Trim Size
The Text PDF files must be the same size as the book trim size being ordered. If PDF book files are supplied as 8.5 x 11, but you want a 5.5 x 8.5 book trim size, then the files will have to be reduced, which reduces the fonts and all the elements in the PDF files. Reducing the file size is not recommended, because it will make the type small and hard to read.
DiggyPOD has a Video Tutorial at the top of this page, that will show you how you set-up your files to the correct trim size.
Page numbers on the binding side of the Book Text File
To avoid page numbers and headers ending up too close to the binding of the book it is recommended you centre them. If you are unsure print a copy off first to check your numbers are in the same position front and back of book pages.
Can I send in a new file, if I find mistakes when proofing?
Yes. But please be aware that we charge $40.00 for each new file that is submitted. We put a lot of work and time into quality checking each file, and when you send a new file, we have to start the process again from the beginning.
What if there are issues with my files? Can you fix them?
Most of the time, we can fix most common issues with your files. We do offer a Simple File Fix service, that cost is $35.00. You can choose this option when you place your order, and if there are any common issues with the files, we will fix them. If there isn’t anything to be fixed, we refund the $35.00 to you.
The $35.00 Simple File Fix Service includes up to three fixes, if the files have four or more problems, we will contact you and let you know if we can fix the issues and what the charge will be. We will also let you know what issues we fixed when we upload the online proof for your approval.
If you have to send in new files that we cannot fix. The charge is $40.00 for each new file because we have to start over our quality check of the file.
Do I count the blank pages in the files as pages?
Yes. Blank pages are counted as a page, we will not remove any blank pages.
Can I send my Word Files to you, instead of PDF files?
No. If you send the Word file to us, it will reflow and cause all sorts of formatting issues. When you send us your book files in PDF, we don’t have to worry about the Text reflowing.
Will I see a proof before you print my order?
Yes. All new orders get an online proof of the Book Cover and Text file before we go to print. You can also order a hard copy proof when placing your order. The online proof is free, but the hard copy proof is an extra fee.
All of your Videos are for Microsoft Word, can I use a different program?
Yes. Most of DiggyPOD’s customers use Microsoft Word, but you can use any program that you like to use. We also have quite a few customers that use Adobe Creative Suite. Some common programs that we recommend to avoid using are: Powerpoint, Paint, and any other program that saves items in low resolution. We also recommend not to use any graphics from websites, as most graphics on websites are only 72 dpi, and print in low resolution.
I’m using Adobe Creative Suite, what PDF setting should I use?
Adobe Creative Suite is great for laying out a book, we recommend exporting your PDF’s using the PDF/x-1a:2001 setting. This setting will automatically embed your fonts, and alert you if there are any low resolution graphics.