2-10 Work with Printers

The final step in getting a book ready to be read by its target audience is to have it printed.

Ingram Spark (www.ingramspark.com) or is a good printer choice for the self-published author who wants to manage the process himself or herself.

Lightning Source (www.lightningsource.com) is the short-run printer of choice for traditional commercial publishers

Both printers are owned by Ingram, the world’s largest book wholesaler and because of this, it offers the new, smaller publisher more than any other printer can. It can do both print on demand and offset printing, and it guarantees immediate turn-around in book production, which is essential in doing business with Amazon.com.

Please note that neither Ingram Spark nor Lightning Source  is a publisher. When your author self publishes, he or she is creating a new publishing company. Either can serve as a great partner, serving as both a printer and distributor since both offer wholesale and direct distribution in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Ingram Source will walk you step-by-step through their process on their website and also explain the difference between the two printers we will focus on the process for Lightning Source.

You can choose to have books shipped to you or to another person who has purchased them from you directly, or you can choose wholesale distribution, which means Lightning Source ships directly to a wholesaler, distributor or retailer (such as Amazon.com, Ingram, Baker & Taylor or a retail bookstore or other retailer) on your behalf when orders come in.

Lightning Source has printing facilities in the U.K., Germany , Spain, Australia, and Canada if you have an author who is traveling internationally books can be printed there and shipped locally to where they are needed.

Lightning Source Book Pricing

If you know the final page count for a book you can determine the exact cost per book for digital printing (assuming soft cover, one of the standard sizes, full color cover, black and white interior) through LightningSource using this simple formula:

Even if your author is not publishing in the US, the UK or Canada, he or she may want to sell books in these places and through Amazon. LightningSource is the simplest way to make that happen through a reliable process online.

Important Note:

LightningSource has two sites, one for the US, another for Europe. The site for Europe has specific areas for the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain (meaning that LightningSource has local printing facilities in those countries). Using the UK site may be the best option for non-US publisher/authors. Using the US site, you may be asked US-specific questions like Tax ID or Social Security #. LightningSource is making changes to their order entry shortly to be more friendly to non-US customers. Sometimes skipping those questions will work, other times you may need to call LightningSource directly for help in setting up the account. LightningSource is adding other sites for other countries later this year. For LightningSource Europe, go to http://lightningsource.com/international/index.aspx?loc=en.

Account Set Up

Here are the steps in the process to create an account with LightningSource::
1. Go to www.LightningSource.com, and put your cursor over “new customer” and click on “open account.”

2. On the next screen, where you see “If you are a publisher…,” click on “proceed to our New Account page.”

3. Now you are on the application page.
a. Your first job is to choose a login name and password for your account. Note both here:
Login Name ____________________________
Password _______________________________

b. Next insert your company name and contact information

Important Note:

Set up each author/publisher as a separate account, the the publishing company name, not your name and not the author’s name)

c. Next the form asks for miscellaneous company information, such as book category (you will probably want to select “micropublisher”), titles in print, new titles published annually, number of employees, and more.

4. Next you are asked to select which of Lightning Source’s products and services you will be using. You will probably want to select all 5 available (US and UK POD direct and wholesale distribution and eBook distribution). You can change any of these things later. If you want your title sold through Ingram, Amazon.com, Baker & Taylor and others, select Full Distribution services here and for each title you will set up later. The cost for full or wholesale distribution is $12 a year.

5. The next screen allows you to download the operating manuals for each distribution arrangement you selected. You can do this later, if you wish to save time now.

6. On the next screen, click “accept” in each of the boxes, one at a time. It will ask you in a pop up box with each “accept” to say who is agreeing to each distribution selection.

7. The next screen allows you to complete your application online. If you have your credit card and/or banking information, you will enter it next, so if you wish to, you can do this off line.

8. On the next screen you can apply for credit, if you wish, or just use your credit card number for purchases. If you want to use your credit card, make sure “no” is checked.

9. This screen asks for your credit card information.

10. The next few screens confirm your contact information, shipping address and billing address.

11. The next screen asks how you would like to be paid – electronic deposit (in which case they ask next for a U.S. bank account) or by check (in which case they confirm the mailing address to send the check).

12. The same questions are asked in the next screens for UK distribution if you selected that option.

13. The next screen asks where to send sales reports via email.

14. The next screen asks where to ship return in the US and then the UK.

15. The next screen asks where to email eBook proofs, if you selected the eBook option.

16. The next screen inquires about tax exemption. If you have a Seller’s permit and a resale certificate, click “yes” and then on the next screen click “we are purchasing books for resale.” Then it will ask you for some state information on your physical location and may require you to send them your resale certificate.

17. On the next screen is a final confirmation of your email where they will send you all the documentation to finalize the process.

18. Finally you come to a list of any part of the process left incomplete.

19. You will receive an email with further instructions to help you finish anything left undone, and give you copies of printed paperwork for which they need original signatures and how to mail them to Lightning Source for final approval.

Using Your Account

After setting up your account, you can log back into LightningSource.com to click various tabs to do what you need to do:

1. My Account – gives you the financial information (sales and payments). You can also print out the operations manuals from here as well.
2. My Library — here you can set up your first (or newest) title, accept proof copies and submit revisions. They have a great “Set Up Your Title” tutorial PDF download here.
3. My Orders – Once you have a title set up, you can order proof copies ($30 soft cover) and order finished copies of the book.

Adding a New Title

After you have set up your Lightning Source account as a publisher, you are ready to add your first title. Click on “My Library” at the top of the page, and then “Set up a New Title” and go through the series of screens:

The first page of metadata information required for New Title Setup is General Information, e.g., imprint, ISBN, title, and contributor. Enter the information into all the required fields

1. On the first screen, you can create printed books, either just for a single print run or for full distribution, or set up an ebook. Select which applies to you and click “continue.” You will probably want to select the first option for full distribution.

2. On the second screen, Title General Information, some of the information may already be filled in for you, such as your publisher name. You will be asked to supply the ISBN for the book and the title, as well as up to three categories. There is a search capability to help you select these from a list. Finally, you are asked to list the contributors (authors) and you can list up to three. After you have completed the required information, click “save” on the left of the screen and it will take you to the next screen.

3. On the next screen, there are many important entries to make, and we will describe them one at a time below:
a. At the top, you can choose to be part of Ingram Advance, a marketing opportunity only available when you first list the title with Lightning Source. For $50 the book will be listed one time in a monthly Ingram publication sent to bookstores and libraries.
b. Next you can choose content type (whether you are using black ink or full color) and the paper color (crème or white).
c. Your next choice is for binding (the trim or final size of the book). LightningSource has about a dozen standard sizes. You will probably be selecting a “perfect bound” (soft cover) book. You do not have to select anything about spine printing if you have selected a perfect bound book.
d. The publication date is very important. If you select a date in the future, there will be another pull down menu that asks if you are sure you want to do that. If you select a publication date weeks or months in advance, know that Amazon will list the book, but will only take pre-orders until the publication date.
e. You will need to make sure and have a final page count here so that they can price the book correctly. The page count must be a number divisible by 2, so if it isn’t evenly divisible by 2 add an additional page to the page count.
f. You are asked next to select a market, the United States, the United Kingdom or both, if you have already completed the contracts for distribution when you set up the account.
g. Next you enter the list (retail) price that is the price you list on the book.
h. Another important decision to make is whether to sell the book at a wholesale discount to Amazon and other retailers. You can select any discount amount from 20% to 100%, but 55% is typical if you want retailers, such as bookstores.
i. You are then asked if you want the books to be returnable and you have three options – no, you don’t want them to be returnable, or yes, return them and we will try to resell them, or yes, if they are returned, destroy them so I won’t be charged return shipping. If you wish to sell to bookstores or wish to have Amazon consider discounting your book, select “yes-deliver”, meaning that you are willing to accept returns and you want those returned books shipped back to LightningSource for potential reuse.
j. Finally they give you a place for the book’s description (which can be from 40 to 4,000 characters). This will be the description used on Amazon, so take care to write it in advance and paste it in the box. Click “save” on the left after you have entered all the information on the page.

4. On the next screen, they ask you how you will be delivering the cover of the book and the interior. These are delivered separately and can be sent via CD, uploaded or sent in hard copy. It is highly recommended that your book designer take care of this and that the designer send the files on a CD. Make sure you order a proof copy on the next line, especially if this is a new title. Click “save” on the left. LightningSource can supply the bar code at no charge when you supply the retail price and the ISBN. Refer the designer to File Creation Guide on the Lightning Source web site. He or she can get the information from you to fill out the Lightning Source Cover Generator.

5. You will finally arrive at a screen that shows your new title as a “work in progress.” It will be color-coded as “ready to submit” until it is in production.

Submitting the Interior and Cover Files

Once your cover and interior files are ready to submit, click on “My Library” and go to the “Titles Not Yet Submitted.” Click on the title you are ready to submit and enter “submit” in the box at the right. Click “go.”

The next screen will ask you to authorize payment of the set up fees of $37.50 for the cover and $37.50 for the interior. Please note that every time you make a revision to either there is a $37.50 set up fee. Click “I Agree” to approve the charge.

Ordering and Approving the Proof Copy

Once your cover and interior files are received, you will be notified by email and you can log into your account to order a proof copy. Click on “My Orders” at the top of the screen and find the title by ISBN, author or title. Order one or more proof copies. You can order them on a rush basis if you need books immediately.

When you have received and checked the proof copy, you must log onto your account again and approve the proof copy by clicking on “My Library” and “Proof Acceptance.”

You cannot order books yourself or books cannot be ordered by Amazon or other retailers until you have approved the proofs, so it is important to do that as soon as possible.

If there is a problem with the proof, call your Client Service Representative at Lightning Source. You can find that rep by clicking on “My Account” and scrolling down to the reps listed for you.

Lightning Source has recently become Ingram Spark so you will see LS on the video for now.

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