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Image Formatting FAQ

How important is the cover of a book?
Can Trafford give me any advice about covers?
What are the different cover design options available to me through Trafford?
Can I design the cover myself?
Can I use an image that is not my picture or illustration?
What are CMYK and RGB color schemes?
If I design an image for the cover, should I design it in RGB or CMYK color mode?
What should I know about the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes?
How thick is the spine going to be?
Can there be text on the spine of the book?
What should I put on the front of my book?
Can I print text or pictures inside the cover?
Can people buy my book in hardcover?
Before I approve my cover, what do I need to review?
What are the causes of color variation in printing the cover?
What should I consider regarding the color of my cover proof?

Images:

Can I put images in my book?
How do I place images in the book?
Can I include links to images and files in my manuscript?
Can I have color pictures in my book?
What is resolution? What does it really mean?
How do I determine the resolution of an image?
What resolution should the images be?
How do I save my manuscript so that the high resolution quality of the images is retained?
Can you print images "full-bleed" (images that go all the way to the edge of a page) in my book?
Can I use an image from another book or from the Internet?

Illustrations:

Why am I required to complete a Required Arts Directions Form (RAD Form)?
Do I get to talk with my illustrator?
Will my illustrator read my manuscript?
How do I submit or communicate my illustration revisions?
What happens during the illustration process?
How long will it take to complete my illustrations?

How important is the cover of a book?

Never underestimate the importance of a book cover. Nearly 200,000 new titles are published each year, which provides readers with an outstanding selection, but leaves authors with a highly competitive market. Even if you can successfully write the next legend of literature, you still have to capture the reader's attention with a great cover, or they are likely to pass it by without a second glance.

A great cover captures the attention of a book buyer, but it also needs to do more; it must actually convince the reader to purchase your book. Consumers often gauge the value of the book on its visual appeal, so if it looks like a million bucks, they will be more willing to give up their hard-earned cash to purchase it. A professional-looking cover is also necessary in marketing, especially if you plan to promote your book or push to have it reviewed professionally. First impressions and opinions of your book are formed instantly from the cover and impact whether or not a reviewer, reader or consumer invests time or money in your book.

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Can Trafford give me any advice about covers?

With the advent of desktop publishing and digital printing, the design of your cover is only limited by the ability of the designer and the digital assets at hand, which is why we offer cover design services through Trafford. When you're ready to start generating ideas about your cover, get started by doing some research. Spend some time at a local bookstore. Record the elements of books that catch your eye, as well as observing other customers. Identify the book's audience and genre – the cover should be designed to attract the people in your targeted audience. The design should fall within the norm of the book's genre, but stand out enough to draw attention and interest.

The main theme of the cover may incorporate metaphors that interrelate and unfold as the story progresses, taking on new meaning with each page. The cover's full meaning and value slowly becomes more apparent as the story is revealed to the reader and is only fully appreciated when the last page is turned.

Attaining equilibrium between simplicity of theme and detail of the overall design is key. Unnecessary elements decrease the overall efficiency and aesthetic appeal of a design. A simple design is often much more affecting than a design with a lot of details that ultimately make the cover look "busy."

Color choices also make an impact. Consider the psychological effects of certain hues. Warm colors, such as red, orange and yellow, tend to be high-emotion colors that stimulate the senses, while cool colors, such as blue, green and purple, cause feelings of relaxation, calmness and tranquility. The degree of saturation of a color, and the combination of colors, also convey specific ideas.

While the front cover is necessary to attract the attention of the reader, the back cover is extremely important to supply more details about the book and convince the reader to actually purchase the book. Most people spend twice as long reviewing the back cover than they do looking at the front cover. The back cover is a critical selling point for your book.

Overall, make sure that your cover reflects the content, style and mood of your book. You don't have to tell the entire story on the front cover, you just need to get a feeling or idea across in an appealing manner.

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What are the different cover design options available to me through Trafford Self-Publishing?

All books published via the Trafford standard publishing packages receive custom-designed covers, produced in full color. Unlike most self-publishing companies, Trafford does not use basic template designs for books that will be distributed in the channel.

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Can I design the cover myself?

This service is designed especially for authors who want to achieve commercial success.

Process:
1. Tell us about your cover design idea by answering a few design questions during and after the submission process.
2. An art director will ensure that your vision translates clearly into precise instructions to the designer, is appropriate for the target audience, and meets book-industry standards.
3. Once the concept is finalized, a Trafford designer will create an attractive and appropriate cover for your book under the direct supervision of our art director.
4. After the cover design has been developed, you will have the option of accepting or rejecting the design. Although the art director and our expert design team are here to give you helpful guidance, at Trafford, the author is always in control.

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Can I use an image on my cover that is a photo I did not take, or an illustration I did not create?

You can only use an image that you did not personally create if you have permission to use it from the copyright holder. Any image that you found on the Internet, in a book, magazine, newspaper or was taken by a professional photographer is most likely copyright protected. Please see the FAQ section about copyright laws or visit www.copyright.gov.

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What are CMYK and RGB color schemes?

These are two different color schemes or modes that describe how colors are created. RGB stands for red, green and blue. This category of color uses light to produce color: the more illuminated light involved, the lighter the image. RGB produces the widest range of color. RGB colors are typically used on computer monitors, digital cameras and televisions – any device that uses light to produce an image.

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This category of color uses the combination of ink pigments to produce color. The less ink used, the lighter the image; the more ink used, the darker the image. Printing projects typically use the CMYK color category.

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If I design an image for the cover, should I design it in RGB or CMYK color mode?

Set up your cover design in CMYK color mode, not RGB. Although we are able to convert a cover file from RGB to CMYK, the colors will not look as close as they should to the original file you submit. In order to have the best control over the end product of your cover, use CMYK color mode because it is the mode used by our printer.

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What should I know about the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes?

The difference is important if you are designing your own cover and also should be kept in mind when approving the cover proof.

There is a difference in the "gamut" of CMYK and RGB. The gamut, or range, is the specific complete subset of colors within the entire color spectrum. Although large areas of the RGB and CMYK gamut overlap, there are other areas that do not. For this reason, it is common to create colors on a computer screen in RGB that cannot be reproduced when printed out in CMYK, so the colors are lost in transition.

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How thick is the spine going to be?

The width of the spine will be determined by the number of pages in your book. We will calculate and adjust the spine width for you.


Can there be text on the spine of the book?

If your book has 100 or more pages, then yes, there can be text on the spine of the book. You can choose to add the title and author name to the spine. Any book less than 100 pages will still have a spine, but there will be no text on it. The reason we cannot include text on books 99 pages or less is because when the cover is wrapped around your book at the printer, the text could appear crooked, off centered so that it's on the edge of the spine, falling onto the front or back cover or it would be too small to be easily read.

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What should I put on the front of my book?

Depending on the cover design option you choose, you have a variety of options. If you choose from one of our templates, you can place the title of the book and author name on the front cover, along with a front cover design. Before you decide what design to have on the front cover, see our FAQ about advice for covers. There are many things to consider that you may not have realized.

If you choose to have one of our designers create the cover, you have a lot more options about what can be included on the front cover, regarding the layout and design elements. For example, some authors place a short phrase or quote on the front cover along with a pleasing design, the title and author name.

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Can I print text or pictures inside the cover?

No, our printer does not allow any text or pictures printed inside the cover.

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Can people buy my book in hardcover?

Yes, if you opted for any of the packages that include a hardcover format. The hardcover book features a durable cloth binding, an embossed spine, and a full-color dust jacket. The additional space provided by the interior of the dust jacket allows us to print descriptive copy about your book and your author biography on the inside flaps, while the back cover may include, for example, excerpts of reviews or endorsements.

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Before I approve my cover, what do I need to review?

By approving your cover, you are verifying that the downloaded proof copy is exactly as you wish for it to appear in the published version of your book. This includes all aspects of the design, formatting and content for the cover, such as: the text on the front, back and spine (including grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.); layout and design; font style and size, illustrations, images and captions, paragraph spacing, justification and indents; and title and pen name.

It is possible for some color variation to occur from the version approved online, and the color can vary from print to print due to the method of printing in individual print runs.

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What are the causes of color variation in printing the cover?

While it seems unsettling that color variation can occur and we cannot guarantee a 100 percent color match, this is actually very common. In fact, it is true for any image viewed on a screen or when printed. There are a number of factors that affect how a color looks from printer to printer and monitor to monitor. The image you see on the screen will never look exactly the same as it does in print for a variety of reasons.

Every monitor is different. The mechanics and construction of monitors differs based on and brand. Also, there are adjustable settings through which you can alter the color settings, brightness, and contrast on your monitor. Both these factors play into the inconsistency of colors.

Colors displayed on a monitor appear differently when they are printed. This is because monitors create color using light, while a printer creates color using ink. Other factors also play a role, like the difference in a monitor and printer’s mechanics and range of colors it can accommodate.

Individual devices do not speak the same language. A camera, scanner, monitor and printer all “talk” about color differently, using different ink formulas and values. They do not necessarily use the same values or measures to record or describe a color.

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What should I consider regarding the color of my cover proof?

Do not completely rely on one source when viewing an image. Try a variety of printers and screens to get an idea of the possible variations.

Our printer prints in CMYK color. Therefore it's best to print and view your images or cover in CMYK, not RGB, to get a better idea about what the finished version will look like.  Extremely bright reds, yellow or blues, will appear slightly more subdued because they are not included in the CMYK gamut.

Additionally, since we use print-on-demand technology, which enables any number of books to be printed at any time, covers and images in the book can vary from book to book, print to print. A variety of factors can affect the colors slightly, such as toner levels, variations in the mechanics of the printing press that day, and variations in paper.

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Images:

Can I put images in my book?

Yes, you can place images in your book. We suggest using a high resolution image of 300 dpi (dots per inch) or higher at the size you would like for it to appear in the book. (We cannot accept a book with any images less than 72 dpi.) It is in your best interests to use high resolution images in your book in order to achieve a professional appearance.

Also, make sure that you have the permission to use the image if you personally did not take the picture or create the image. See our FAQ about copyright and permissions for more details. If you do not have permission to use an image, you should not place it in the book.

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How do I place images in the book?

There are a variety of ways to place your image, however the most common ways are to insert the image, under "Insert"> "Picture" > "From file." Or, you can copy the image, and then paste it into the document. If you want the picture only on a page, you can insert "page breaks" before and after the image, under "Insert"> "Break…" > "Page Break."

Can I include links to images and files in my manuscript?

No, you cannot include linked images in your manuscript.

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Can I have color pictures in my book?

Yes, you can insert color pictures in the interior of your book if you purchased a Full-Color Publishing Package. If you picked a Black and White Publishing Package, the pictures printed in the interior of your book will be in grayscale. Note, however, that your cover picture may be in full color regardless of your chosen publishing package.

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What is resolution? What does it really mean?

The resolution basically means the clarity and crispness of an image, which is measured in points or pixels per metric unit (inch, centimeter, etc.) Pixels are units of a single color and value that make up an image. The more pixels or dots in a set area, the smaller the dots are, the finer the detail and the higher the resolution. You can see an example of pixel resolution on Wikipedia.
If the resolution is low, that means there are fewer pixels per inch, which means each pixel is larger. When the resolution is very low, you can actually see the blocky pixels - that's where the term "pixilated" originates.

A pixel's size is dependent on the size of the image and in relation to the density of pixels. Consider this scenario: two images of the exact same size are divided into squares. Each square can only represent one color and value and together they will be used to display the image. The first image is divided into 300 squares, and the second into 150 squares. As a result, the 300 squares in the first image are smaller than the 150 squares in the second image. Comparing this to resolution, the first image has a higher resolution than the second image because it has a greater number of smaller pixels.

But, resolution is not set. It changes when the image size changes. Imagine taking the first, high resolution image and enlarging the entire image to twice its original size. The number of squares, or pixels, remains the same (300), but the pixels themselves become larger to fill the larger area. It terms of resolution, this new larger format has lowered the resolution of the image. So what this means to you is that a high resolution image at one size can become a low resolution image at a larger size. Make sure that your images are high resolution at the size you want them to appear in your book.

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How do I determine the resolution of an image?

There are a variety of ways to determine an image's resolution and size. The best and most accurate way to check is by using an image viewing program. The steps to determine and adjust the resolution and size vary from program to program. For instance, in Adobe Photoshop, you can open an image in the program, then click on the "Image" dropdown menu, and select "Image size." When using Microsoft Office Picture Manager, you can look under "file" then "properties," or you can right-click the image and open "properties". You can typically use the "help" function within a program to learn how to check the resolution and size of an image.

Another basic measure is the overall file size of your image. Not the physical size of the picture, but the size of the actual file. If your picture is around 500 KB or more, then your image is most likely high resolution. 1 MB? Oh yes, you're in the clear. But if the file is small, 10, 50 or 100 KB, then the resolution is most likely too low.

If you're still not sure, try printing your image on paper. If it looks fuzzy or grainy, then it's probably low resolution.
If you really want to use an image and you're not sure about the resolution, you can always add it to your book. During the manuscript uploading process, the publishing wizard automatically checks image resolution to determine if any images are below our printer's minimum requirement. You will know for certain if the image passes our printer's requirement; you will have to remove any images that fail.

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What resolution should the images be?

We suggest using a high resolution image of 300 dpi (dots per inch) or higher at the size you want it to appear in the book. Any image less than 300 dpi will not look as clear as it could, but it can still be included in your book as long as the resolution is no less than 72 dpi. Depending on the degree of quality, an image less than 300 dpi will look grainy or blocky when printed, instead of crisp and clear. So, it's in your best interest to use high resolution images in your book in order to achieve a professional appearance.

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How do I save my manuscript so that the high resolution quality of the images is retained?

You will need to adjust the picture compression options when you save your manuscript file after inserting any images. If you have already saved the manuscript without changing this option, you will need to reinsert the high resolution images again, because the file was most likely already compressed.

When saving, under "File" on the main toolbar, click on "Save as", which will open a new window. In the "Save as" window, click on the "Tools" drop down menu. Then, select the "Compress Pictures…" option, which will open a new window. Unselect the "Compress Pictures" option and click "OK". (A warning may pop-up, stating that compressing the file will lower the quality of the images, but this warning does not apply to you, and is precisely what you are going to avoid happening. Click "Apply".)

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Can you print images "full-bleed" (images that go all the way to the edge of a page) in my book?

No, we cannot print full-bleed images in your book, so they cannot be included in your manuscript. All text and images must fit within the margins for your selected book size. If any images are outside of our margins when you upload your manuscript, they will be resized during our technical manuscript evaluation process.

Can I use an image from another book or from the Internet?

Most images from the Internet or another book, magazine or newspaper are copyright protected. You are required to get permission from the copyright owner to use the image in your book. If you have permission to use the image from a book or the Internet, then yes, you can use it in your book. For more detailed information about copyright protection and obtaining permission for images, see our FAQ section about copyright laws.

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Why am I required to complete a Required Arts Directions Form (RAD Form)?

A Required Arts Directions Form (RAD Form) is essential for the Trafford Illustration Design Team to effectively manage your Illustration project. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that you maintain total control of the content of your book—you are the owner and the director. And as such, it is your responsibility to supply us with the ideas and concepts for your illustrations. No one knows your story and its characters and settings better than you do. If you have questions about the RAD Form, please contact your Illustrations Coordinator for assistance.

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Do I get to talk with my illustrator?

Your Illustrations Coordinator handles all communication surrounding your illustration project and acts as a liaison between you and your illustrator. By speaking to your coordinator, your illustrator is able to complete your project on time and stick to what he or she does best—creating beautiful pieces of art for your book.

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Will my illustrator read my manuscript?

Illustrators need to have a clear understanding of your manuscript in order to create your artwork. The most effective way to communicate your book’s story and message is for you to highlight or pull excerpts from your manuscript for the illustrator to use as a resource for creating the art.

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How do I submit or communicate my illustration revisions?

All changes to illustrations must be submitted in writing. We accept written changes through e-mail, fax, or postal mail. These should be sent directly to your Illustrations Coordinator.

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What happens during the illustration process?

  1. Once we receive your completed RAD form, the Illustrations Coordinator reviews it and assigns an artist who best fits your project.
  2. Within two to three weeks, you will receive copies of the initial sketches for your review. (This is the best time to make revisions to your illustrations.)
  3. If you request revisions to sketches, your project will be put back into queue in the order it was received and will take two weeks for completion. (You are limited to 1 round of complimentary revisions at the sketch stage.)
    Sketch revisions are limited, depending on the complexity and time required to make such changes. For example, changing the length of a character's hair or adding or deleting a character or item in a scene constitutes a reasonable sketch revision. However, starting over with a completely new concept is not considered a sketch revision; it is considered a brand-new illustration, and you will incur charges to completely create an entirely new sketch.
  4. Once we receive your approval to go to final art, it will take approximately four weeks to complete your final illustrations.
  5. You will receive copies of your completed illustrations for review. You will be required to sign an Illustration Approval Form before your book moves on to production. (You are limited to one round of complimentary color revisions at the final art stage.)
    At this stage, if you want to make revisions to the final art beyond color modifications, you will incur additional charges to make those changes, or you may be required to purchase a completely new illustration. We reserve the right to make that determination based on your requested changes.

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How long will it take to complete my illustrations?

ILLUSTRATION TIME LINES

How long will it take to complete my illustrations?

On average, we will complete your illustration project in 6 to 12 weeks. However, more time may be needed as deemed necessary by the artist, and/or you, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Creating custom artwork is something that cannot be rushed, and we want to ensure that the product is of the highest quality for your book.

Please note that the illustration process is separate from the production process of your book’s interior and cover. The book production stage will begin once your illustrations have been completed and approved.

If you have other questions, please contact our Customer Service hotline at 1.888.232.4444 and look for your Illustrations Coordinator or e-mail us at CustomerSupport@trafford.com.

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