Step-by-step guide for preparing your
self published novel for printing.


Prepare Your Manuscript

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Writing a Novel

Most authors who have undertaken the task of writing a novel will often say that computer software posed a significant challenge to them. This is why at the outset, we recommend using software that you are familiar with. Take time to familiarize yourself with basic keyboard functions and toolbar commands.

Do not use two or more varieties of software to produce your manuscript. Choose one type of software and stick with it. If the software you have originally chosen is causing problems, we would suggest copying the files to a Microsoft Word document. While Microsoft Word is not a perfect software, we have found it to be among the most stable.  


Use a single computer. Using two or more computers or a variety of software can cause a number of problems with your file, the most serious being text-re-flow. Text Re-flow is the repositioning of text on the page. For example, if the word “afternoon” appears as the first word on a page on your computer, that same word may end up on the last line of the previous page when we print the proof of your autobiography. This problem is not insurmountable but in most cases is avoidable. Using a single software on a single computer will minimize the risk of developing problems like this later on.  





We have listed a variety of the most common software used to create your novel.  We have rated each type of software according to its performance.



Microsoft Word

Most common program for writing manuscripts. Microsoft Word accounts for approximately 90% of our submissions.

4 out of 5
Microsoft Works

Microsoft Works is similar to Microsoft Word in many aspects, but is less stable when dealing with larger files.

2 out of 5
Microsoft Publisher

Very serious text flow issues; so much so, that many printers will not accept Microsoft Publisher files.

1 out of 5
Adobe PageMaker

Adobe PageMaker has a large learning curve, and proves difficult when transferring larger files.

2 out of 5
Adobe InDesign

The ideal software to use is Adobe InDesign, due to its incredible flexibility and professional status. Unfortunately, the software has a steep learning curve and is quite costly.

5 out of 5
Corel WordPerfect

Corel WordPerfect is very user friendly, but completely incompatible with modern printing presses.

1 out of 5
Google Docs

Google Docs is a very flexible application that handles word processing very well. Because Docs is exclusively online, it autosaves all of your work so you never lose any important files.


Docs is completely free, and you can access it here.

4 out of 5



Unfortunately for users of Corel WordPerfect, font restrictions built into the software make it very difficult to print the file on our large commercial presses. We would strongly recommend copying the file into Microsoft Word before proceeding.

If you are interested in purchasing software to write your family history book, we would suggest you search online at Amazon.





Editing Your Manuscript


Editing is a term which simply means To prepare (written material) for publication, as by correcting, revising, or adaptingI would strongly advise having your file edited before you submit your manuscript to be produced. This is to avoid delays in printing due to last minute corrections and the added cost of printing several proofs. First, as a cost saving measure, we would suggest a friend or family member who is qualified do the editing. Another option is to hire a student from a local community college or University to do the editing. A third option is to hire a professional editor. Although we do not provide an editing service, we would be pleased to recommend a qualified editor.  

As the author, you should never do the final edit. If there are mistakes you probably won’t catch your own mistakes, no matter how many times you read through the manuscript.




Choose a Page Size / Binding Style


The most common page size for a novel is the standard 5 ½” x 8 ½” format. Other page sizes may be used, but they are not as economical as the 5 ½” x 8 ½” format.


The two most common binding styles for a novel are hardcover and paperback binding.




Our standard hardcover book comes with a full color dust jacket while the standard paperback comes with a glossy full color cover. As a rule, the cost of producing hardcover books is approximately twice that of paperback books. Having said that, the price at which your book would retail in the bookstore is roughly twice that of a paperback.


The advantage to producing your novel in hardcover is the low minimum order of only 50 copies. This minimum order means cheaper production costs and allows you the opportunity to test market your book and assess its potential.

We produce only the highest quality paperback books using state of the art printing and binding equipment. The minimum order for our paperback books is 200 copies.  The advantage to producing your novel as a paperback is the lower per book price.








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