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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Publishing a children's book

    Hello All,

    I'm looking at publishing a set of children's books for the Head at the school here using a "self-publishing" website. I've signed up for Lulu.com, which I've seen around before and seems to be a well put-together sort of site. Does anyone else have much experience of book publishing and want to give me any pointers? For instance: what book size do I go for? It seems there's as many as 50 small-ish, colour-illustrated books, currently roughly laid out as A5 booklets. They're each maybe 40 or so pages in total, laid out as double-page spreads with text on the left page and a matching full-page illustration on the right. It seems that pretty much the only matching book size from Lulu.com is their "large square" 21.59cm X 21.59cm format, perfect-bound, minimum of 32 pages. That format can be distributed around actual, physical bookshops as well as being available to order from Amazon and Lulu.com itself. Does that sound okay?

    The above book would cost around £7.50 (i.e. Lulu.com would take £7.50 to print, bind, ship and order-process the book, which isn't bad, really), so we're probably looking at around £10 minimum for a book. Would you pay that for a 40-page children's book? My idea is that each book will come with an associated code in the back which will let you go to a website, type in the code and get a free web-based version of the book, complete with animated characters. I'm currently figuring out how to best animate things so they work on as many platforms as possible, including the web browser on the iPad - does £10 sound reasonable for a book-with-extras? Could we charge more? Does anyone have any idea how to get Lulu.com to print a unique code in the back of each book (this is print-on-demand, you'd think that'd be the whole point...)?

    Font-wise, I know the Sassoon fonts are popular within schools, so I was thinking of using Sassoon Book, their font designed for books. Does that sound reasonable, or does anyone have other suggestions?

    The illustrations are simply done in felt-tip on A4 paper - they're good pictures, but the ink has bled through the paper in some places. This shows up particularly when the images are scanned, which I've currenly done at 96dpi. Each scanned image will need some general tidying before it is ready to be printed, and should probably be scanned at 300dpi for best results. Can anyone recommend a scanning/retouching service - scanning and retouching 50 books will take a while...

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    The illustrations are simply done in felt-tip on A4 paper - they're good pictures, but the ink has bled through the paper in some places. This shows up particularly when the images are scanned, which I've currenly done at 96dpi. Each scanned image will need some general tidying before it is ready to be printed, and should probably be scanned at 300dpi for best results. Can anyone recommend a scanning/retouching service - scanning and retouching 50 books will take a while...
    If they are simple felt-tip illustrations it would be an idea to have them redrawn as vectors. It would give you the cleanest image and would also cover you for any future use of the images such as on promotional items, big book reprints etc.

    Have you got an example one to take a look at?

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    dhicks (12th April 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    If they are simple felt-tip illustrations it would be an idea to have them redrawn as vectors.
    An example (complete with scanned bits of book spine) is attached. I've tried re-drawing as vectors with Inkscape, but the resultant picture just didn't look quite right - this could well be my artistic skills as much as anything. The SVG files produced by Inkscape do seem to be easy enough to animate, though, with SVG being able to split things in to groups to be animated separatly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Publishing a children's book-example.png  

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Had a quick trace, see attached. When it comes to getting them all done it's going to boil down to the cost of someones time to redraw them.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Publishing a children's book-example-vectored.png  

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    dhicks (13th April 2011)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Had a quick trace, see attached.
    Many thanks. It looks about the same as I managed with Inkscape - what application did you use?

    When it comes to getting them all done it's going to boil down to the cost of someones time to redraw them.
    Indeed - I think each image is going to take a little while to re-do as vectors, hence I was thinking of using the original scans cleaned up a bit for the printed version of the book. How much would you charge an hour, and how long would you reckon you would take to do each image? This is both from the point of view of figuring how much the going rate for this sort of thing is and wondering if you might be available to give me a hand :-)

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