Book publishing is a lot of work. If you are doing it all yourself, it is more work than what you could imagine. What makes matters worse is it’s hard to find a helpful document that outlines it all for you. This means you spend an enormous amount of time doing research. I’m starting a little series called, “Children’s Book Publishing 101,” which I hope helps you on your journey. Of course, these steps apply not only to publishing a children’s book but publishing any book. Here are the first three things you should start with as you get your children’s book ready to publish.

The World of Online Book Printers PT. 2

posted in: Educational, Self-Publishing | 14

Last month I wrote about book printing being a challenging aspect of book making. I said it was
not for the fainthearted.


When you spend so much time working on your artwork, you want everyone to see it as
you created it. However, you are going to have to free up on that requirement because it won’t
look exactly like you created it. If you have a finely tuned eye, you are going to notice more issues
than most people. You have to drop your bar a bit in this area.


I know….

It’s unbelievable.

It’s ridiculous.

It shouldn’t be.

I still fuss about it.


Here is some of my insights to help you get closer to what you might be seeing on your screen
and what you might get back from the printer.


You can read my printer notes for CreateSpace here:


To progress forward, this month we are going to tackle IngramSpark.


Like I wrote last month, I’m still working on getting a good print from IngramSpark with If Only ~ Biblical Truth for Children.
I’m at the breaking point of trying. My husband and kids have told me to throw in the towel and call it quits, but I still might
give it one more go. Remember, perseverance isn’t for the faint of heart in this area!


Messed up cut lines even though I followed the template.
Messed up cut lines even though I followed the template.



What I learned this time around is the cutmarks on their templates are followed very loosely, so never get anywhere
close to those lines. I had to move the words on my cover a good .25 inches in to make myself a “fail safe” cover
where they couldn’t cut off things. It would have been easier to have my cover built this way to start with instead of
having to build a new cover twice. Lesson learned, and I won’t make the mistake again.


Second messed up cover, which is worse than the first one!


Lesson 2


Don’t pay for premium color. You don’t get as good colors. They are not as saturated, and they lack in all color
spectrums. Not only doesn’t it look good, but it costs more to print with it. I tried premium color for this book, and
it wasn’t anywhere as nice as Createspaces colors. With my first book Be ~ Biblical Wisdom for Children I had
enough similarities between color between printers that I was ok with it. This time around, I was shocked at how
different the colors were between printers. I rectified that issue when I changed back to standard color; however,
to make any type of change within IngramSpark, it will cost you twenty-five dollars per change. That adds up
quickly. Pick standard color and save yourself a twenty-five dollar fix.


IngramSpark has a checklist for how to export from them. If you don’t follow this document it will be up to you to
pay twenty-five dollars to change the document out. They also make you sign a note saying that you are understand
that you are not exporting your document the way they say to, and it is a consequence you are aware of. This means
the fault is  yours, and you will pay to fix it.


Granted, I signed that document, and my print didn’t look any different, but I was willing to pay extra money in my
attempt at finding the perfect print.


After many, many test prints, I’ve decided on these settings.


I export my CMYK file (read to see how I set up my documents for print) as a PDF/X-1a:2001


I check bleeds & slugs, so it gets exported.


Color conversion happens automatically on this setting, so it will have convert to destination (preserve numbers),
and the destination is the document CMYK US Swop 2


Don’t bother judging how your hardcopy will be by looking at your PDF or the one IngramSpark sends you as a
digital proof. Both of those do NOT in any way show you accurate color. You must pay for a print to see what it
will look like. Don’t change your file based on what you see. I did that a few times, and it didn’t help me at all!


If there are issues with the print that are on their end, like wrong cut marks, you can talk to customer service and
they will pay to have it reprinted. Don’t settle for their mistakes. There needs to be better quality control with book
printers, and I think the only way that is going to happen is if people require a higher standard to their service.


The dreaded white bar that won’t be covered because of poor binding.


Last insights for IngramSpark….


You will need to buy a barcode for your book from Bowker Identifiers. This will cost you twenty-five dollars.
You need to download the cover generator from IngramSpark to know where to place the barcode. If you don’t
place it where they said, your file will be rejected.


To easily find their “File Creation Guide” go here:


To easily find their “PDF File Checklist” go here:


To make a cover template specifically for your book you must go into your account, and on the top navigation
menu click the “Help.”


Scroll down to “File Creation Tools” and you will see the hyperlink to “Cover Template Generator.”


Remember, if you are working on a color book, this process is not for the faint of heart!



If Only is a unique, Christian, read aloud book designed to enable parents and grandparents to easily share Biblical truth with the children in their lives.
Don’t read it once and put it on the shelf. Take the book further. Each purchase comes with the ability to download free resources, which will enable you to impress God’s word into the minds and hearts of the children you love. Purchase options on Amazon.




Free resources included.







14 Responses

  1. Bob

    Wow, you are still working with one of the printers to get the book fixed? Crazy.

  2. Angela

    This is really really helpful information, L.A. Thanks for sharing it. I’ve been looking around for information like this, but it’s hard to find.

      • Roseann

        I had them do a couple of things. One they did okay, the other they did better. But they were fairly new the last time i worked with them. I’m hoping by now they ironed out their kinks.

        • L.A. James

          Good printers are hard to find.

          I use WHCC for all my business printing (they don’t do mass market books though). You need to set up an account with them, but they actually call you if there is a problem with your print. They have great customer service.

  3. Penny

    Printing books is depressing me L.A. I think you need to write more to encourage those of us that are struggling.

    • L.A. James

      Hi Penny,

      Printing can be depressing. I understand. It’s not for the faint of heart, remember. Keep learning and you will get the hang of it.

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