Please note: In the event of any conflict between the below and your agreement, whatever is included in your agreement will prevail. Therefore, it will be to your advantage to consult your agreement first to see if the answer you are seeking is in there. Also, due to a lot of overlap of questions I get, if you do not find the answer you're looking for here, please consult the other FAQ sections before asking me your question(s).
I’ve already provided LBP my manuscript when I submitted it for publication. Why do I have to deliver it again?
With your submission, you provided your manuscript in PDF format; LBP needs to have it in Word or Rich Text Format, cleared of any formatting. The later date gives you a chance to change anything you’d like to before final submission.
How do I clear my manuscript of formatting?
First, in Word, under the Home tab, click on the paragraph symbol (¶); this will show all of the formatting present in your document. Several of the paragraph symbols in a row means you have used hard returns rather than page breaks. Delete these paragraph symbols, and at the end of each chapter or poem, insert a hard page break by pushing the “CTRL” and “ENTER”/”RETURN” keys at the same time. If you see an arrow pointing toward the right, this means you have pushed the tab key rather than using the tab function in Word, so go through and delete all of these arrows. If you have not broken your typewriter habits, you may also have hard paragraph returns at the end of the line - please delete these and allow the words to wrap from line to line. There should only be paragraph symbols at the end of paragraphs. This should get your document ready for publishing.
Can you define the nature of the editing/proofreading process? Does it include substantive/developmental editing or just copy editing? Why do I have to review the proof if you have already performed an edit? And if you perform the edit why aren't you responsible for errors instead of me?
LBP will do a copy edit (not substantive or developmental) and then a proofread after we receive the printed proof. Having your review after editing is part of our collaboration and working as a team. You will likely find that with any publishing agreement, the author is ultimately responsible for the manuscript.
Does LBP determine the book’s price?
Ultimately, yes, but considering the author’s opinion. For example, I’m not going to charge $20 for your book because nobody would buy it at that price, nor am I going to charge $5 because it would not cover the production cost.
How much control will I have over the book's title and cover?
Ultimately, as with all traditional publishers, the final decision on title and cover is made by the Publisher. However, I am very flexible and believe that there are several ways to do something "right." Unless it's way "out there," I will agree to pretty much any title you like, which can be changed up until the time that the book is sent to the designer. For the cover, I'll actually depend on you to provide ideas and any artwork (with permission) if you have it. Otherwise, you or the cover designer will locate stock images. If you have a cover designer in mind that you'd like to work with, I'm certainly open to that, provided that any payment to your chosen cover designer is to be negotiated between the two of you.
How do I find reviewers for ARCs/Galleys, and how does that process work?
You are not required to send out ARCs/Galleys, but finding reviewers is pretty much the same as finding publishers. If you decide to do it, I’m sure you can find many resources online to help you. If you are on Facebook, you will be invited to join the LBP author’s group where you can ask other LBP authors about it as well.
Is it customary for authors to go directly to bookstores and ask them if they will carry their book? Do I use author copies for that or are they distributed by the publisher?
Yes, authors need to contact bookstores to carry their books. I do not carry inventory or supply books to anyone except the author. Even though a book may be available for bookstore purchase through Ingram’s Books in Print, it is unlikely they will carry it without some sort of contact from or relationship with the author. The author copies can be used if the store takes the books on consignment, in which case you would deliver the books to them. Bookstores may also order the books wholesale from Ingram’s Books in Print, in which case you would not have to supply copies as they would be delivered directly to the store, and those sales would add to your royalties. I caution you to not “oversell” your book to bookstores or other retailers, and if they ask, advise them to be conservative in the number of books they order so that you can avoid excessive returns that would diminish if not eliminate your royalties.
Can I change how my author name appears on the cover or change the title of my book mid-publication?
If you are using a spelling or any name (like a pen name) different than the one that you used to submit your book for consideration for publication, I highly recommend that you make that very clear because I go by what was originally submitted when registering the ISBN. After initial delivery, there is time to change and decide on a final title so long as it’s by one or two weeks after you return your responses to the first edits (the date will be in your agreement), because once the designer starts the cover, depending on what the title is changed to, it might throw off the whole formatting, which makes my designer very unhappy, might incur extra costs, and/or delay publication. I also obtain your ISBN around that time, and we need the final title for that.
How do I submit my acknowledgments, dedication, or other front or back matter? In what order do I place them? Do I need to include a table of contents?
You can put the acknowledgments, etc. in the Word document or you can send them to me via email. The order doesn’t matter because we’ll put them in the correct order. Also, you don’t need to include a table of contents because we will generate that from the software, but if you could do me a favor and just put “Table of Contents” in the Word document so I remember to put one in there (not all authors want a TOC), that would be great.
Do you have a style preference for section breaks within chapters?
I don’t have a preference for section breaks, but usually just using five asterisks centered on the page will be sufficient.
What happens if I decide I would like to make significant changes after the printed proof stage but before publication? What if we disagree on what should be changed?
As the publisher, it is my discretion on whether to allow changes and what changes to allow; if you are not comfortable with relinquishing this control, I recommend that you invoke the termination provision in the agreement and either self-publish or pursue other publication options. The printed proof stage is a time to only correct obvious typos and not make significant changes or changes that are not incorrect, but rather that you prefer. In most cases, if the change is small (one to three words) and I agree that it will improve the book, I will make the requested change. At some point in the publishing process, it is necessary to “pull the plug” because every time an author reads their book, they will find something that they would like to change; thus, if I allow the author to continually make changes they prefer, the book will never get published.
I received my printed proof and noticed the words aren’t uniformly spaced. Why is that?
If you believe the spacing is too tight or too loose, please suggest words to add or delete to make the spacing more pleasing to you; if they aren’t too cumbersome or too numerous and I agree the suggestion will provide a better appearance, I will try your suggestions. However, some variation in spacing between words is the result of using right and left justification, which is the standard for book formatting. Similarly, though I will try your changes to create more uniform placement of lines on the page, some of that is also required to avoid widows and/or orphans.
Before I submit my final manuscript on or before the initial delivery date, there are some minor changes I want to make in my manuscript that don't affect the story, but I believe would make the story better. Can I make these changes?
I’m not worried about those kinds of adjustments made to the manuscript before you submit it to me in your initial delivery. So long as it doesn’t negatively impact the story, I trust that any adjustments authors make between signing an agreement and the original delivery date will only make the book better. In fact, if authors want these kinds of changes, I highly recommend making them prior to the initial delivery date.
Is it okay to use song lyrics or quotes from poems in my book?
Except for brief quotes, authors aren’t allowed to use entire poems or a significant portion of a poem without the poet’s permission. The only exception is if the poet has been dead for more than 70 years. These quotes also need to be properly cited in the text or via a footnote or endnote.
Can I include photos in my book?
Using images is fine so long as they are used sparingly and improve a reader’s comprehension or otherwise improve the story. They just need to be sent as separate JPGs or PNGs of at least 300 dpi, clearly titled, and indicated where they should appear in the book. Sometimes, I find that when authors want to include many or perhaps even several photos in a book, particularly in memoirs, they are wanting to do it more for their own benefit than the readers’ because I don’t think readers will be interested or need that many photos to understand the story.
When I review the formatted PDF of the interior, it looks like it’s laid out wrong, such as what is showing up on the left should be on the right and vice-versa. Why is that?
If you view the PDF as a two-page spread, be aware that when it is printed whatever appears on the left side of the spread will be on the right side, and whatever is on the right side of the spread will appear on the left side and the back side of the previous page that appears on the left.
Are bookstores able to pre-order my book?
It is unlikely that a bookstore will be able to pre-order the book more than a month or so in advance, if at all. This is simply due to my process and how uploading a book for distribution for print-on-demand works, which I need to use as a very small publisher. I go through KDP/Amazon first and when that’s good, about a month before publication, I upload it to IngramSpark, which allows retailers to order it wholesale from Ingram’s Books in Print. It takes at least a few days, and sometimes longer if there are issues to correct with the files, for the book to be approved by the distributor and allowed to go live, which can also take several days. It’ll be uploaded and ready for wholesale order by the publication date, but I don’t know how far ahead of the publication date it will be available for wholesale order. I tried going through IngramSpark first so it would create pre-order capabilities earlier, but it caused so many problems that I’m not doing that any longer.
I’m wondering if I should cut out, add, or change certain chapters or sections of my book to better suit the market. As the expert, what do you think?
I am somewhat familiar with the industry but nowhere near any sort of expert. I don’t think that a person can generalize about what everyone wants in a book, and I’m not a fan of “playing to the market.” If I thought that you should’ve cut out any part, added something to, or changed any part of your book, I would have told you that; I accepted your book as is because my submission evaluator and I like it as is. That’s not to say that everyone will like it or that it’s going to be a bestseller, but it’s an important story well told which is one of my missions with Legacy Book Press.
My book is about abuse, brain illness, or another sensitive subject, and I’m having second thoughts and misgivings. I’m not sure it’s good enough to be published. Am I overthinking things? Is it just the jitters or should I cancel publication?
I am not a counselor or therapist, so I would encourage you to talk about these misgivings about your book with one if you aren’t already doing so, but my guess is that these doubts/misgivings or overthinking are just more manifestations of your situation. Sometimes, due to trauma experienced, authors have these thoughts because they feel that they are not entitled to feel what they’re feeling and/or share their story, but they absolutely are. It’s important to remember that it is YOUR story; others’ stories may be different than yours, but though of course, any abuse inflicted was wrong, the stories themselves are neither right nor wrong. Perhaps one of your family members will disagree with what you say in your book, but it is YOUR story and a big part of your story as a human being. These feelings can be even more prevalent if you have been told you are too sensitive or that you make too much of things or that you exaggerate or something similar. Putting a book out into the world is scary for anyone, but it is extra scary when it’s a personal story, and even scarier when the story is about an author’s abuse or trauma. I can’t predict what readers will say, including them saying that what you are saying isn’t legitimate or reasonable, but hopefully reminding yourself that a legit (at least I hope so) traditional publishing company that believes in your story and accepted your story to be put out into the world as-is will help you feel better. I encourage you to do some soul searching; if you really are getting the feeling that you shouldn’t publish your story for whatever reason, then you should invoke the termination clause in your agreement, but if it’s just fear or the fact that you are out of your comfort zone, I think you should persevere.
My book is NOT about abuse, brain illness, or another sensitive subject, but I’m still having second thoughts and misgivings. I have worked on this book for so long; I just want the book to be perfect. What advice can you offer me?
I have found that sometimes the longer an author has worked on a book, the more scared they are to finally get it published, get cold feet, and sabotage the project. I want it to be as good as it can be as well, but that threshold to get there is lower for me. I understand wanting your book to look good, but you need to keep some perspective—except for perhaps family, everyone who reads your book will then either put it away, give it away, or throw it away; they aren’t going to display it. There will likely be some things in the book that you consider mistakes, but you will be the only one who notices these so-called “mistakes.” When traditionally publishing, you give up a certain amount of control over your book, though with me a lot less than with other traditional publishers; to retain complete control, you should have self-published. If you would like to do so, please invoke the termination clause in our agreement.
I am a perfectionist by nature; will you accommodate this characteristic in me? Will you [insert request here]?
I have no problem with authors being perfectionists, but I encourage you to read your publishing agreement very closely, get legal assistance if needed, ask any questions you have, make sure you understand all the provisions before signing the agreement, and refrain from making demands that are out of the agreements’ scope. I try to be as accommodating as possible, but sometimes I must enforce boundaries.
Can I offer my book for pre-order?
Unfortunately, I have found that doing pre-orders is more trouble than it’s worth. You are welcome to manually take pre-orders, then order the correct number of books you need as author copies, and then manually ship them to buyers. One other thing to keep in mind is that book marketing for books from small publishers like me is more like a marathon than a sprint. Unlike the big publishers, I’m not going to pull your book if it doesn’t sell well within the first few weeks, so you have more time to build momentum and interest. I have found that doing more post-publication promotion is just as effective, if not more effective, than doing pre-publication promotion for small publishers like me. That’s not to say to NOT do pre-publication promotion, though, because you want to try to build excitement for your book’s release—it’s just not as critical to get the pre-publication sales or reviews.
I received my interior digital proof; is this the way the book is supposed to look when it is finished? I expected it to look like [insert author name here]’s book. And I think the text is too small.
Yes, that is intended to be the final format. We design each book on an individual basis based on the story itself, coordinating the interior and cover. However, if you think your target readers would have a hard time seeing the text, we can bump up the line spacing a bit. Though I think your book looks great the way that it is, you are welcome to request adjustments to the formatting that you think will make it more pleasing to your personal preferences, which we will consider and make if it’s not too time-consuming and makes sense to us. Please note any requests when you return your list of other requested changes.
Why does the publishing process take so long? I wouldn’t think it would take more than a few months to get the book to print.
It takes so long because I am a one-person company working on multiple projects with two assistants who, by necessity, work other jobs and do other freelance work. I can only release approximately one book per month, so as I accept books for publication and agreements are signed, the book is scheduled for release in the next available slot.
Why doesn’t the printed proof exactly match the PDF version you sent to me? Why are the margins different on every other page?
Sometimes, we needed to make changes to get the book to print correctly in ways that don’t impact the PDF version, which accounts for the differences. The differences in the margins on every other page are due to the gutter margins required for the book to print correctly.
Will I get to give final approval or “sign off” before my book goes to print and is published?
This is another instance where you are relinquishing control to the publisher, and if you aren’t comfortable with that and want to retain control, you should invoke the termination clause in the agreement and self-publish. Though, of course, I want the book to be error-free (and am always willing to correct obvious typos), I know that given the chance to keep making changes, an author will likely always find something they’d like to change, so if I allowed an author to “sign off on” or make the final decision of when to complete the publication process, the book may not ever get published.
When should I start promoting my book?
You can start promoting at any time. Your coming soon page should be up on the LBP website approximately two months prior to publication; I recommend that you start promotion no later than that.
How many initial author copies should I order?
I can’t predict how many author copies you should order because I won’t know how many events you have planned, and even if I did know that, I have no way of predicting how many people will show up and buy books. I can tell you that most authors who have maybe a handful of events planned order between 25 and 50 books to start because you can always order more, understanding I may not be able to put the order in immediately and receiving the books will be subject to printing and shipping times, over which I have no control. Typically, also, unless authors have very large promotions planned, they don’t order any more than 100 books to start.
Why haven’t I received my printed proof by the date indicated in the agreement?
The agreement states that the printed proof will be requested on that date; it will take up to a week or so for it to arrive.
Why do I have to let you know more than a month before my publication date how many author copies I would like to receive?
I order author copies a month prior to the publication date so you have your books in case you plan any events on your publication date. If you don’t want any of your own copies or you don’t care if you receive them by your publication date, you can let me know the quantity and I can order them at any time (per the stipulations in the agreement).
Can I see a PDF of the changes after the changes found after proofreading the printed proof are made?
Our agreement doesn’t provide a provision for you to review an additional PDF after you request printed proof changes and prior to publication. However, I’m happy to do that for you JUST to ensure all the obvious typo/error changes you want were made, so long as you understand it may delay receiving your books, and in some cases, the publication date.
In the initial digital interior proof and/or the printed proof, should I tell you why I want something changed?
In most cases, I don’t need to know why you want the changes made; I just need to know what they are. If I have a question about a change, I’ll ask; otherwise, I’ll just make the change. After receiving your requested changes on the initial interior proof PDF, I will make the changes with which I agree, which will show up on your printed proof, at which point you will have the opportunity to request additional changes. At that time, I will only need the print book mailed back to me with changes marked; no other commentary is necessary.
How do I send the photos I propose using on the front of my book?
Please send any images you propose using on the front of your book as 300 dpi PNGs with transparent backgrounds (preferred) or as at least 300 dpi JPGs. Also, please advise how you obtained this image—if it is not a Creative Commons image with a commercial license to use it, I will need something indicating your permission to use it (if you purchased it as a stock image, you can just provide me with your receipt so long as it indicates it’s okay for commercial use).
Should I hire a publicist to help me obtain pre-publication reviews three or four months in advance?
Hiring a publicist for any part of your marketing is your decision, but in my experience, the only reviewers who require books three to four months in advance typically only review books by big publishers like Random House—most reviewers review small press books post-publication. Unlike a big publisher like Random House, I’m not going to pull your book if it doesn’t sell well in the first few weeks, so you can build reviews and momentum more gradually rather than having a big push at the beginning.
What is the ISBN for the electronic version of my book?
I won’t know the e-book “ISBN” until I go to upload it to the distributors closer to publication. I use the free “ISBN”s provided by the distributors (an ASIN for Amazon) because they are attached to the print ISBN as well, so I feel there is no need for a separate e-book ISBN, and as a result, there won’t be just one “ISBN.” If you want a separate, official ISBN for the e-book, I can provide one if you reimburse me for the cost ($30).
What if I don’t let you know how many author copies I would like to order by the deadline stated in the agreement? And how long after you order the author copies will I receive them?
I don’t know exactly how long it will take you to get your books because I can’t control how long it will take to print, ship, and receive them. Lately, book orders have been arriving around two to three weeks after ordering, but around the holidays, they were taking at least a month. For initial author copy orders, I allow ten days between when an author tells me the number of copies they want me to order and the date I’m ordering them just in case I’m not able to order them on that date. So, you can technically ask me to order any number of author copies at any time, but if I receive the number after the date stated in the agreement, I can’t guarantee that they’ll be ordered by that date, especially the closer that date comes before you tell me how many copies you want.
I am confused; it seems like you changed the rules saying that you would make my requested changes on the printed proof and then you said you’d only correct obvious typos/mistakes on the last PDF.
The rule changes you reference are all after the printed proof stage is completed. I am talking about sending you another PDF after making the changes on the printed proof and not allowing you to go through that and make even more changes that are not obvious typos/mistakes.
If I agree that the changes you note on the printed proof do indeed clear up confusion or make the book better, provided there are not an exorbitant number of them, I will make the changes. If there are an exorbitant number of changes, I will be more selective of what preference-type changes I will agree to make. Thereafter, the only changes I will make are correcting obvious typos/mistakes. Please note I am ALWAYS willing to correct obvious typos/errors that are found at any time, though I would ask for them to be sent to me all in one list instead of piecemeal so I can make them all at once. To clarify, however, after publication, I don’t mean piecemeal is weeks or months apart, but only hours or days apart. In other words, if you are looking for them, you read the whole book and send me the entire list at once rather than as you find them.
Why did you ask me to save the changes I want to request and mark them on the printed proof?
I have a due date for returning any requested changes you want to be made on the interior digital proof so you can go through the book as many times as you like and send me corrections in one document, not piecemeal. If I receive your changes prior to the due date, I will assume that is all you have. So if you intend to go through your book, or keep going through it, or have others go through it after you create a first set of suggested changes, please wait and put them all on one document to send to me on or before the due date.
Will I be able to check the book after the printed proof stage to see if you made the changes I requested?
I can send you the PDF after I make the changes from the printed proof so, if you want to, you can check for any remaining obvious typos/mistakes. At this point, you would be able to see what changes I agreed with and made; however, I am not going to have any back-and-forth discussions or negotiate about any requested changes not made that are not obvious typos/mistakes. If we incorporate this extra step, if there are obvious typos or true, obvious mistakes, I can correct them before ordering your books and before the book goes live for purchase online. This way, the publication date won’t be delayed, but you may not receive the author copies you want by the publication date. Also, I am always willing to correct obvious typos even after publication, but obviously they wouldn’t be in any books already purchased. Please note that after changes are made to the printed proof, I will only change things that are truly, obviously wrong and no word changes or anything that is simply a preferred “better” word, regardless of how much you may think it improves the book
I sent you a new bio and author photo months ago; why weren’t they included in the book or on the website?
I am working with at least 12 books at any one time, so sometimes I needed to be reminded of things. So I thank you in advance for your assistance and patience if I forget something.
Is it necessary for me to get pre-publication reviews? Or send my own press kit, or share it on social media, etc.?
I think anything the author can do to promote the book is helpful, or at the very least, won’t hurt. Nothing is “necessary,” but the more you do, the higher the chances of success for your book.
I am the most concerned with promoting/marketing my book. Am I the only one?
Your concern is quite normal; in fact, promoting a book is almost always the number one thing authors say scares them the most about publishing a book and the thing they like the least.
Where should I tell people they can buy my book in my marketing materials?
You can say the book can be purchased in print and e-book form on Amazon and all other major online book retailers as well as for wholesale orders through Ingram.
Amazon says that since this is my first book, I can only accept my Author Central page after publication. Is that normal?
Yes, that is Amazon’s rule and unfortunately, I’m powerless to change it.
Would it work for you to send me a Word file or PDF so I can make my changes directly onto the file?
No, sorry, but that won’t work because after the first edit stage, the book will be worked on in InDesign, which is the standard software used for book design. Unless you have InDesign and know how to use it, you won’t be able to directly make any changes after the first edits stage.
Would I be able to check the corrections to the interior digital proof before you order ARCs?
You can, but it will delay publication, and the next slot in my production schedule may not be for several months or even more than a year after the current publication date. Pre-publication reviewers expect to get uncorrected proofs.
Will the printed ARCs be bound? How do I get bound galleys/ARCs?
The printed ARCs you will receive will be bound, which I will order and have sent to you.
Some of the book reviewers want submissions in specific formats. Are the formats they’ve requested (E-galleys, digital ARC) the same thing as a PDF ARC?
You will need to check with the reviewers as to what they mean by the various terms and what specifically they want to receive.
Will be book be available in the following formats: trade paperback, Epub, or mobi?
It will be available as an on-demand trade paperback from Amazon and virtually any other online book retailer. It will be available as a Kindle book from Amazon and as an e-book on a few dozen other platforms. I don’t know the type of file they all use, but I think Epub. You will be able to order print author copies that you can sell directly, but anyone who wants an e-book will need to buy it online.
Can I get a list of all retailers where my book will be available for purchase after publication?
The book will be available in print and e-book versions on Amazon for sure; outside of those, I have no way of knowing all other retailers where it will be available. I suggest waiting until a couple of weeks after publication and Googling the book and your name to see what comes up. This is what I will do so that I can add purchase links to the book’s page on the LBP website. I also submit the book to Bookshop.org which will usually sell it, and it should be available from all major book retailers like Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million.
When will I get my book’s ISBN? What about the e-book ISBN?
Your book's ISBN should be included in the first interior PDF digital proof you receive. If it isn’t, please feel free to ask me for it. The e-book retailers will provide their own numbers for the e-book, which I won’t know until after publication, but they will be linked to the print book ISBN.
Why is Amazon showing a date that is earlier than the publication date in our agreement?
Typically, it is showing that because Amazon puts the date that the book was approved for distribution. It only lets you order author copies after the book is up and available for sale on Amazon. It isn’t a mistake, but just Amazon’s way. Amazon does now have the option to set a publication date in the future, which still doesn't allow for pre-orders, but I believe will allow ordering author copies (if that is not the case, I will update this FAQ as needed). Your official publication date is really just an arbitrary date that the publisher chooses as the date to send out the official announcements and press release, and to have an initial publicity push if that’s being done (it can also be more of a soft launch if the author chooses).