Frequently Asked, Expertly Answered: Prepare Files for Publication

Prepare Files for Publication



Self-publishing can be overwhelming for any writer, regardless of experience level, and one of the trickiest parts is learning to prepare files for publication. To get you on the right track, let’s take a look at some of the more common questions we receive here at Presto Page about the file-prep process.

How do I format my Word document for printing?

Click on the Page Layout tab in Word, then on Size, and finally on More Sizes. On the Paper tab, enter the intended dimensions of your finished book. Now click on the Margins tab and enter your custom margin sizes. For most books, you’ll want 1” margins on all four sides.

What is the difference between CMYK and RGB?

RGB and CMYK are color modes with very different applications. RGB is the standard choice for monitor and television displays, digital screens, and scanners. CMYK, on the other hand, is the standard preference in all print applications. Be sure to convert your RGB files to CMYK before submitting them to Presto Page. Better yet, you can design your project in CMYK to avoid any headaches in the future.

What is an ISBN and how do I get one?

An ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a unique identifier assigned to all books available for sale. If you plan to sell your book in bookstores or online, you will need an ISBN to maximize your book’s discoverability. Bowker is the only official source for ISBNs in the United States, and we recommend purchasing and registering your ISBN in their system.

Will my physical proof look exactly like my finished book?

Not quite. While we print our physical proofs on the same paper and press that we’ll use for your final run, we will not use binding. Because of this, a physical proof is ideal for reviewing folds, trim, bleeds, spine, and margins, as well as color breaks, image positions, halftones, and page order. Regardless, the proof will not precisely resemble a complete, bound book.

Do I own my book’s production files once they are created?

Yes! Every version of every file that we create is yours. In other words, we don’t just give you press-ready files — we provide you with all of the original production data so that you can take your project to any designer or printer in the world.

What does bleed mean in book printing?

In printing lingo, the bleed is the area near the edge of the page that will be trimmed off after printing or binding. Though printing technology has come a long way, it is still nearly impossible to print to the very edge of a sheet. To remedy this, we ask that you design your book with .125” bleed, especially if you have color or graphics meant to reach the page’s edge.

For more information, please connect with us directly. In the meantime, stay tuned for more questions and more answers.

Happy writing!

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