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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Help With Printer Setup When You Self-Publish a Book

Nan Barnes

It’s called publishing, but sometimes you don’t want a publisher. You want to self-publish by putting the book online to be sold, or you want a printer to ship you a box of books. We offer a service that solves both problems, and we call it simply a “Printer Setup.” (Even when we’re setting you up for Amazon sales. They’re a printer, too.) We use our knowledge of the printing and publishing industry to locate the best resources. And we use our technical knowledge about book files to make sure your book is published, trouble-free, and that it looks good in print.

Courtesy of Zeeweez under Creative Commons

In fact, our “Printer Setup” service is a multi-step process, and it depends on your goals for your books. Essentially, it boils down to 1) identifying what you really need, 2) choosing the printer or online distributor that’s right for you, 3) setting up the account 4) preparing your files for the printer, 5) submitting the files and dealing with the printer on your behalf.

1. There are a lot of questions when you choose a printer for your book. Hard cover or soft? How many copies? Do you want to sell the book on Amazon? We interview you to match what you want with the best printer for the job. Our questionnaire, Publishing – Just 10 Questions, is a free download. With this information we research printers who best fit your needs. Our blog post, How We Choose a Printer, explains more about this process.

2. Some of our clients have more than one goal, and use more than one printer. For example, you may have some books printed with a local printer, (to save on shipping) and also use an online printer like Create Space,, or, for print on demand sales; perhaps an offset printer if you need to buy in bulk, and perhaps a specialty printer, for a few leather-bound copies for the family. All for the same book! It’s possible. Our “Printer Setup” is the same process whether you use one or printers/distributors.

3. First, we’ll set up your author account for the printer (s) you select. Each of these printers and distributors has different “application” processes to establish your account. They want information about you, and about your book. This is when we set up your ISBN. We create the account in your name and provide all the information they want.

4. Each printer has technical specifications for the files; it all depends on their printing press. We get that information from the printer so that we can adjust your book’s trim (page size), margins, the color profile, and the resolution of any images to meet his standards. We run a “preflight” check in Adobe Acrobat, the same check the printer will run, to spot any problems in the file. Spotting and fixing problems can save time and additional fees from the printer.

The cover is a separate file, and needs to be set up too. The thickness of your paper will vary from printer to printer. We provide the printer with the final page count; he calculates the thickness of the book to give us the spine width. We adjust your cover design so the spine , front and back covers fit perfectly. The printer will also have a specification we use to adjust the “bleed” - how far the artwork must “bleed” over the edge of the cover to be neatly trimmed to fit your book.

5. Next, we send your book files, and make sure they are accepted. We order and examine the proof copy to inspect it for printer errors, and talk with the printer if there are any problems. If you want copies shipped to you, or to any other location, we’ll make the arrangements with the printer. You can pay the printer directly. The account is in your name, so you can easily reorder books in the future without our help. If it’s an online account, we’ll walk you through the author’s console so you know how to navigate your account settings and order more books in the future.

That’s it! Does this sound complicated? It is. That’s why people hire us to do their “Printer Setup”; so they don’t have to learn how to do it. We make it seem easy, and you don’t have to deal with the learning curve or the technology involved in getting your book printed.