FAQs

Does my manuscript have to be in an electronic format?
What types of files do you accept?
What is a PDF?
How do I save my file as a PDF?
How can I send you my files?
Should I format my own book?
How do I format my book for printing, if I choose to do it myself?
What happens if you format my book?
Does my cover also have to be electronic?
What is a full-bleed cover?
Can you print hardcover books?
Can you print photography/children’s books?
Can I use my own ISBN or Press/Publishing company name?
How long does it usually take for my books to be printed?
How much will it cost to print my book?
Can I print my book elsewhere after The Troy Book Makers formats it?
What makes you different from other businesses that provide self-publishing services?
What if my question isn’t listed above?


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Does my manuscript have to be in an electronic format?
Yes. We only accept digital files, whether we format your book or you format the book yourself. If you only have a typed or handwritten manuscript, we can help you find someone to transcribe it. This service usually costs about a dollar or two per page, handwritten pages can cost about $5 per page to have transcribed.

What types of files do you accept?
If you format your own book, we require that your manuscript be submitted as a single, fully formatted, print-ready PDF.

If we format your book, we will accept your manuscript as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).

What is a PDF?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format, which is a file format that preserves the exact “look” of a file on many different computers and cannot easily be edited. This ensures that if you save your book as a PDF file, we will print the book exactly as you created it without requiring you to package images, colors, fonts and graphics for our readability.

How do I save my file as a PDF?
The exact steps vary from program to program. If you have a PC, the best way to find step-by-step instructions is to read the Help section for your chosen application, visit PDFonline, www.cutePDF.com, or download or buy a program such as pdfforge or Adobe Acrobat. If you have a Mac (Apple computer) you are in luck: PDF printing is built right into your computer and no extra software is needed. 

How can I send you my files?
You can either upload your files to our website, mail us a CD with the files on it, or drop off disks at our office if you are in the area.

Should I format my own book?
It really depends on your computer knowledge and technical skills. Many of our authors who started to format their own book eventually gave up and paid us to do it when they were displeased with their progress.

How do I format my book for printing, if I choose to do it myself?
Acceptable formatting depends heavily on your chosen size and the content of your book. For basic formatting, download templates from the Submission page. These guidelines will give you a great start for setting margins adequate for printing.

As for choosing what the interior of your book looks like when it comes to typefaces, page numbers, chapter titles, etc., it is completely up to you. We strongly suggest browsing through your personal book collection or visiting a local bookstore to find out what format you prefer for your book. We also have resources available in our office that can guide you in the formatting process.

Note: If you choose to format your own book, your completed file must include at least: headers and/or footers, half-title and full title pages, and pagination, in addition to the body text and any other needed pages, such as the copyright, dedication, and contents pages.

What happens if you format my book?
You supply us with your fully completed and edited digital manuscript as a .doc or .rtf file. Then, we reformat the content to have essentials such as proper margins, pagination, title pages and table of contents, if needed.

We also design the overall appearance of the interior, working with you to make decisions on typefaces, chapter starts, and other stylistic features. We format your book using Adobe InDesign – built specifically for handling documents with lots of text – so that your book has a clean, professional look.

Does my cover also have to be electronic?
If you have a fully designed cover, the answer is yes. If this is the case, you must submit the cover as a PDF with quarter-inch bleeds and the correct spine width, which we can provide based on your book’s page count. Please note that the spine must be at least a quarter-inch wide in order to have any spine printing.

Otherwise, we can design a cover for you; in this case, we would discuss cover ideas with you and develop a cover for your approval during the proofing process. If you have a photo or two that you would like to use on your cover, we can incorporate those as well.

What is a full-bleed cover?
A full-bleed cover has printing that extends off the cover’s edges. All our covers are printed full-color, full-bleed.

Can you print hardcover books?
Yes. Currently we are only able to print casebound books; this means that the cover image is printed directly onto a case wrap, which is then folded around and adhered to the hard book board. We do not offer cloth covers or foil stamping; dust jackets are available for an additional fee. Keep in mind that casebound books usually cost at least twice the price of paperback books, require a minimum order of 25, and take an extra week or two to produce.

Can you print photography or children’s books?
Yes, we can. We are able to print high quality, four-color (CMYK) images on bright white, 80# glossy paper. However, keep in mind that books with a lot of color printing cost significantly more to print than books printed in B&W. (Four-color printing uses four times as much ink as B&W printing). Full-color books have a minimum order of 25 books and can take an extra week or two to produce.

Because color printing is so much more expensive than B&W printing, we find that it is difficult to sell children’s books at competitive prices in small numbers. If you would like to do a full-color family history or personal project, we say “Go for it!” but we always want to warn authors that it could be quite a challenge to recoup their cost of printing a children’s book that was printed in a short run.

Can I use my own ISBN or press/publishing company name?
Of course! We do not require that you buy an ISBN through us. If you have bought a single or block of ISBNs, we will gladly use the ISBN that you provide. We would be a ghost printer for your publishing company, so our name and logo would no longer appear on the title page or on the spine of the book, unless you want it to. If you still need a barcode, we can produce one using your ISBN number for a small fee.

How long does it usually take to print my book?
A basic timeline goes like this… To get started, we need three things: a signed copy of our contract, a 50% deposit on the quote, and the completed digital files of your book. Once we have those three items, it takes us one to two weeks to get you a bound, proof copy of your book. Then, we like to give the author about two weeks to go over the proof with a fine-tooth comb, noting typos or anything else that needs to be changed. The author then comes back to us with the corrected proof; at that point, allow about a week for us (or for you, if you did your own formatting) to make the changes.

Once the author approves the proof, we ask for the remaining balance on the invoice before going to the final printing. The printing takes about two to three weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the order.

So, that’s a rough timeline. Sometimes, an author makes significant changes to the book after the proof and the process can take a little longer. But this should give you a basic idea of how the process goes when you work with us. Considering that traditional publishers can take more than a year to produce a book, working with us is a breeze.

How much will it cost to print my book?
This depends on several factors, such as the size and page count of your book, the number of copies of your you have printed, the amount of interior color printing, and the additional services you may purchase from us. Please request a quote or arrange to meet with us and we will be happy to give you a custom quote. We also have a new quick quote form that will give you a ballpark with out having to wait for an official estimate.

Can I print my book elsewhere after The Troy Book Makers formats it?
Yes! We’re happy for you if you find a publisher or need to go to an offset run. As long as you have completed your initial print run with us we can send your final PDFs to you electronically. You can then have them printed anywhere else you would like – but we cannot supply technical help with the files or your printing. If you need to make changes to your files before printing elsewhere, normal per page charges still apply.

If you would like the packaged InDesign files for your book, we need 2-3 working days and there is a $150 fee that must be paid before we start the process. This fee covers our time for making sure all the images, fonts and other pieces of your files will work wherever you are taking them, and allows the designer or printer you will be working with to call us once with any questions. 

What makes you different from other businesses that provide self-publishing services?
For starters, you can meet us in person! Many other self-publishing businesses provide only a phone number or email address as a means of contact, leaving customers frustrated and alone if things go wrong. But at The Troy Book Makers, we pride ourselves on meeting our authors face-to-face in our wonderful downtown Troy office. By working closely with us, you can be sure that we will give you a quality final product. We also have a great number of resources available in our office.

Two other important distinctions between The Troy Book Makers and many other self-publishing businesses have to do with authors’ rights and production costs. When you work with us, you retain all rights to your work – before printing, after printing, always. In addition, we have no hidden fees; you will always know up front what you’re getting and what you’re paying for it. We provide our services at very reasonable rates, and you can be certain that after working with us, you will end up with an attractive, well-designed book in your hands.

The Troy Book Makers was founded by independent booksellers in 2006, we know the book business and are committed to creating beautiful books that fit right in on bookstore shelves.

What if my question isn’t listed above?
Just fill out the form on the Contact Us page, give us a call at (518) 689-1083, or arrange an appointment to come in and talk with us.