About Lightning Source

Our printing is done by LSI (Lightning Source, Inc.). They produce top quality books with exceptionally good looking covers. They have a super reputation. Modest costs. Top notch quality control. Excellent support. And fast production.

And they handle shipping of the finished book, which is essential for retail sales from our websites. There's a charge, of course, but it all assures speedy delivery to our customers. Lightning Source, Inc. is owned by Ingram, the largest wholesale book distributor in the U.S.


Notes About Print On Demand

POD, as Print On Demand is usually referred to, is an automated printing process that imprints pages of a book from electronic copies in files on a computer. The setup charges cover converting a copy of your book to the electronic format required to produce a book.

The printing process is much as is used with a laser printer and in copy shops. It's a toner process which makes it cost effective to print only one book at a time, just as you might request a copy of your manuscript in a copy shop.

The cost per book is largely that of paper, toner, and the use of the printing system. Setup fees are paid only once. The cost per book is paid upon each order.

The cost per book is greater than with a print run of 4000 copies through a printer running an offset press. But there is a grand advantage in that the total run does not need to be paid for up front. And there is no need to warehouse inventory, an expensive proposition. Until you need over 1000 copies you know can be sold, POD remains the most cost-effective way to print a book.

Books produced are called "trade paperbacks." They differ from mass market paperbacks, which most call paperbacks, available on newsstands and in book stores. The quality of the book is much better, including the printing, paper, and binding.

The topic of POD is broad. While it is a relatively new process, there is nothing revolutionary about it as some claim. It is simply one of many ways of putting words on paper in a sensible manner.


Rules Are Rigid

For many authors, the most difficult point to grasp in using POD is the rigid requirements. There are few options. Once your book is run, you'll need to start all over, even if you want only one change. Which means setup fees must be paid again.

This rigidity may mean you'll want to do further editing and polishing before submission. You won't receive edited galleys upon which changes can be made, as you would from an offline house. You pay your money and a book is printed. Period.

There are two reasons for this. First, think of POD printing as a copy shop specializing in manuscripts. The process is totally automated to keep costs down. There is no method for handling off-norm procedures.

They print from images of the pages of your book, images much like .GIF and .JPG files you see on the Web. There is no easy way to open these images and correct the spelling of a word. It's easier to recreate them from a corrected .PDF file.

So it's best to get it right the first time. Else you get to do it over again. And pay again.


Colors And Book Covers

When working with book covers, the topic is always images. And the POD process is not going to render the startling prints produced routinely by The National Geographic. Think instead of the graphics you see on web pages (but without the fuzz). However even in this, there is a difference.

Images on web pages are generally .GIF or .JPG files displayed. Each pixel in the image is an RGB color. (Combinations of Red, Green, and Blue.) Images for POD book covers are done in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) and output is a .TIF file.

There are unavoidable differences between these two color schemes. For example, while blue is perhaps the strongest color on a web page, it may not render well in CMYK. Gradients, such as a sunset sky ranging from dark red to pale yellow, may tend to streak.

Good artists know these things. And will advise you if color choices are inadequate.

The Smart Move: Take the artist's advice. Pretend you're color blind, if you must. But do it. Changing colors to suit what you believe is best may add significantly to cost. What's worse, the result may not print well.




On This Page


How To Work
With An Artist

Provide any and all input possible up front. Then shush. Unless the proof copy contains obvious errors, accept it and go. Here's why.

You're an author. Your forte is painting pictures with words that fascinate readers. You are not a graphic artist. So regardless of your abilities to evaluate art, don't intrude.

When you wrote your book, you undoubtedly addressed a specific audience. That is, you wrote so this audience would appreciate your story and the way in which it was written.

A good artist has the same objective in creating your book cover. That is, he or she will seek to please your potential customer. You'll be way ahead of the game if you let the artist have a free hand.

If you intrude, as in requesting size or color changes, the artist almost always tries to accommodate your input. But in doing so, the overall concept in the design may be weakened, or even destroyed.


Using Another Artist

We work with Charles King, for in our opinion, he's the best available. However, you are free to work with anyone. But there's a problem in this.

We are not artists. We can not judge the quality of any presentation. Or whether or not the demands of our printer have been met. So we pay an outside consultant to assure all is ready for printing. If there's a goof, you'll have to do it all over and pay additional fees, perhaps even to your artist.

Click here for the cover requirements at Lightning Source. Then click on File Creation at the top of the page. From there, click Digital Cover Creation.

The back cover of the book should begin with a statement as to the type of book this is, such as: Action/Adventure. To the right of this statement, include the price provided in an easy-to-read size.

The bar code at the bottom left of the back cover must include the ISBN and the price provided.

For best image results, use the cmyk files. The small logo for the spine may work for you as a .GIF. But it may be best to resize fp_Back_Cover_cmyk.tif as appropriate.

Be sure to include

Published by
Foremost Press

to the right of the logo beside the bar code. Or beneath it. This choice likely depends upon the graphic layout of the page.

The invitation sticker should be cocked at an angle above the bar code so it looks like something pasted onto the back of the book. Slant it slightly upward or downward to make it seem more a sticker. And again let your choice be a function of the graphic layout of the page.

For a copy of the files you need, download:



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