Category: FAQ

What is a Book Proof?

Book proof
What is a book proof?

A book proof is a pre-publication version of your work. The purpose of a proof is so that you can check through everything before your work goes live. Creating a book is an involved creative process and you may want to make some last-minute tweaks at the proofing stage

What types of proofs are there?

There are 2 main types:

  1. Digital proofs – these are PDF files of your cover spread (front, spine and back) and interior of your book. These can be viewed on any computer in Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader. You probably already have this installed.
  2. Printed proofs – these are paperbacks or hardbacks that are created by the printer just for you before the book goes live. This is the last chance to check the book before it goes live.

What should I check for on a proof?

The list below covers some of the main elements to keep an eye out for, whether you are looking at a digital file or a physical copy of your book:Bookproof copyright page

  1. Check that the title page shows the correct title and author name, spelled correctly.
  1. Check that the copyright page shows the correct author name, pronoun (him/her), and the correct ISBN. If you have a website address or Twitter handle on your copyright page, check this is correct.
  1. Check that the table of contents. This can be time consuming but you need to check all the page numbers given refer to the correct chapters.
  1. If you have running headers (author name/chapter name/title) running across the top of each page, check these are correct. Generally speaking, you should not have a running header on any page that is the start of a chapter (as it detracts from the chapter name).Book proof header
  1. Check you are happy with the fonts used for chapter headings (we will match fonts used on the cover where possible) and the main body text of your book.
  1. Check the paragraph indents. Generally speaking, for fiction, we indent all Bookproof indentfollow-on paragraphs but have no indent at the start of a chapter or after a hard line break. However, some authors prefer different styles – that’s fine, just make sure it’s consistent.
  2. If you have any maps, tables and/or illustrations, check these appear as expected. You may want them repositioned slightly or to have the size tweaked.
  1. If your illustrations have any captions, check they are all as expected and in the correct font.
  1. If you have any footnotes/end notes or other complex elements, make sure to check they are appearing as expected and refer to the correct place.
  1. If you have an “about the author” section, check you have links to your website and social media.

You should also check your cover proof, to make sure the colours are as you expect them to be, not that all printers use the same ink, so there might be a marginal difference.

What if I want to make changes to my proof?

If we are publishing your book, you will find a typesetting correction form in your Dropbox. This is a spreadsheet that enables you to note down what you want changed and where. Another way to do it is to use Adobe Acrobat to mark up the PDFs themselves, but that is more complicated.

If you do request changes to your book proof, be aware that you will receive an updated file, which will also need to be checked through again.

Have any more questions about book proofs? Please submit them in the comments box below.

What is a Legal Deposit?

Legal deposits

Legal deposits can be confusing for self-publishing authors. Most authors know they need to send copies of their books to the copyright libraries, but don’t know how or where to send them. Some of the information out there is quite confusing and not very user-friendly. To make your lives easier, we’ve spoken to the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries and they’ve given us the low-down. So here is absolutely everything you need to know, as a self-publishing author, about legal deposit libraries in the UK.

What is legal deposit?

The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (UK) and the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (Ireland) make it obligatory for publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and Ireland to deposit their publications. This means that whenever you publish a book, you are obliged by law to deposit your publication in the six legal deposit libraries. These libraries collectively maintain the national published archive of the British Isles. The principle of legal deposit has been well established for nearly four centuries.

What do I get out of this?

The legal deposit system has benefits for both authors and publishers:

  • Deposited publications are made available to users of the deposit libraries. They are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and become part of the nation’s heritage.
  • Publications are recorded in the online catalogues, and become an essential research resource for generations to come.
  • Most of the books and new serial titles are listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB), which is used by librarians and the book trade for stock selection. The BNB is available on CD-ROM in MARC Exchange formats, and has a worldwide distribution.
  • If you lose all copies of your publication(s), you can go to the deposit libraries and ask them for a copy.
  • Your publications provide inspiration and source material for new books that will eventually achieve publication.

What is the Agency for legal deposit libraries?

The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) requests and receives copies of publications for distribution to five major libraries (i.e. all but the British Library).

The five libraries involved are:

These libraries have the right to request materials from publishers in terms of legal deposit legislation.

The British Library is also a legal deposit library, but has an automatic right to receive legal deposit materials.

Who has to deposit the books?

All publishers, that means you, too, because you are a self-publishing author.

What is the process self-published authors need to follow?

Step 1:  when your book is published, make sure you order 6 extra copies
Step 2: you have to send 5 of those copies to the Agency for legal deposit and 1 to the British Library. You will also need to include a cover letter, giving the title, ISBN and your contact information. Address details below:

The Agent
Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
161 Causewayside
British Library’s Legal Deposit Office
Boston Spa, Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY

Legal depositsWhat will it cost?

On their website you will see that it’s free of charge. Now, before you jump for joy, that means free of charge for thém, not you. You have to pay all costs of sending the packages, howevere there is no additional fee.

What is an ISBN?

What isISBNs can be tricky and authors often come to us with a lot of questions about them. What is it exactly? Why do I need it? Where do I buy it? In the following post we’ve listed a few of these frequently asked questions, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into when publishing your book!
If your question is not answered, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment section below.

What is an ISBN?
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number

What is an International Standard Book Number?
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique thirteen-digit number that identifies books published internationally. It consists of five elements, with each section being separated by spaces or hyphens. Thanks to the ISBN, it is possible to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from millions of books all over the world. Each ISBN is unique to a specific edition, and enables all sales, no matter at which retailer, to be tracked.
If an ISBN is assigned in another country, do I need to get a UK ISBN to sell the book in the UK?
No. All ISBNs are international, but they are assigned locally. There is no such thing as a UK ISBN.

Why do I need an ISBN?
The ISBN is what defines your book. It is the standard ID number used to identify books by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers and distributors. Without that number, no one would be able to find your book or publication, and no one would know it was yours.

Can I sell a self-published book/eBook online without an ISBN number?
Yes, if you only want to sell them on Amazon as they have their own unique identifier – the ASIN. However, if you want to sell your book(s)/eBook(s) on different websites or in shops, you do need an ISBN, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to track your sales.
Do I have to buy an ISBN or can I be assigned them?
You can either buy them or have a publisher assign them to you. They can be expensive for individual authors to buy as publishers get big discounts when they buy in bulk. We assign our ISBNs to authors most of the time. However, sometimes we work with authors who have bought their own. Either way we make sure the ISBN is registered, on the copyright page and on the back cover.
Do ISBNs have to be assigned to books that are not being sold?
No, not necessarily. But you can always opt to assign one anyway. It’s your choice. However, if you assign and ISBN and you change your mind at a later point in time and decide you would like to sell your work through retailers, everything is already set up to do so.
Do I need different ISBN’s for different formats? (paperback, eBook)
Yes. Your paperback, hardback and eBook are three different products and should therefore be tracked separately.

What does an ISBN look like?

Where does an ISBN get placed on a book?
The ISBN is printed on the copyright page of hardback and paperback books, and on the lower portion of the back cover of paperback books, above the bar code.
ISBN cover and copyright page 
What is the difference between a bar code and an ISBN?
A bar code is the graphic with vertical lines that encodes numerical information for scanning purposes, while the ISBN is simply a number.

Where do I buy and ISBN from?
From your national ISBN Agency.

Where do I buy an ISBN from if I live in the UK/US?
If you are in the US, you can purchase ISBN numbers from R. R. Bowker.
If you are in the UK, you need to buy it from Neilsen.
Can an ISBN be reused?
No, once a title is published with a specific ISBN, that ISBN can never be used again. Even if a title goes out of print, the ISBN cannot be reused since the title continues to be catalogued by libraries and traded by second-hand booksellers.

When do you need a new ISBN?

When do you?
  1. If you are producing your work in another format, e.g. paperback, hardback or eBook. If you publish in all three formats, you will need three different ISBN numbers to identify them.
  2. If there is any substantial change to the book, either to the cover or interior, you would need a new ISBN.
  3. New editions are considered different products and get their own ISBN.
When don't you?
  1. Once you own the ISBN, it remains the same for the life of the book. You can change printers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, or whatever else you want – the book remains with the same ISBN.
  2. When you change the price.
  3. When you correct typos.