Poetic power – poetry publishing parameters

What is the role of poetry, what use is poetry, does anyone read poetry? There’s always a debate in the literary sections of newspapers and websites about poetry. It incites a conversation, splits the nation, causes contemplation. 

At Into Print we debate the most appropriate book format, fonts, paper and images to present poets’ work in the best possible way when poetry publishing in print. It’s a similar challenge to working with fiction but with the extra parameters and strictures that poetry can impose on writer and page designer.

There’s a lot of poetic activity: performance poetry, small presses creating minor publishing hits, poets collaborating with musicians, festivals celebrating past poets, theatre groups dramatising their lives. Mainstream media has no problems with poets like Tempest, Cooper-Clarke, Armitage and Zephaniah. Their work is on school reading lists, they make TV documentaries and their opinions are sought on topics of the day.

Book cover of Uncovering Autism: A Book of Poetry, by Matthew Ansell. The cover artwork is one of Matthew's kaleidoscopic artworks, which also appear in colour in the book

There’s also a huge output of poetry from contemporary authors on blogs and in print. Three recent poets to appear in print with the help of Into Print are Matthew Ansell, Steen Andersen and Barry Williams.

Ansell recently released his book Uncovering Autism: A Book of Poetry to express to people what it is like to have the condition. Andersen is a Danish author who writes poetry in Danish and English. Dream Passages takes the reader to a dreamy, half-remembered, faded but familiar world. Irish author Williams rhymes about his personal relationship with work, sport, politics and people close to him in his A Book of Poetry.

Reading the poems of these authors leaves no doubt that poetry has the power to enlighten and entertain. Entertained, one feels open to enlightenment and, once enlightened, inclined to try to make things better. Powerful stuff.

Simple yellow book cover of Steen Andersen's poetry collection Dream Passages

At Into Print, we analyse a poetry manuscript to make suggestions about format, font size and leading – for example selecting a page width to accommodate all, or most, lines without breaking them, thus enhancing the reading experience.

The white cover of Barry Williams poetry collection A Book of Poetry.
Matthew Ansell with his new book of poetry and artwork Understanding Autism: A Book of Poetry
In a recent interview with The Basingstoke Gazette Matthew Ansell said “I hope by putting these thoughts on paper it may help someone who is in a similar situation to I was, and give them peace of mind that they aren’t the odd one.”

Celebrate good times – with a celebration book

A celebration book full of photos is a good example of how books aren’t always about ‘publishing’. You can get creative with words, photos and illustrations for an audience nearer to home. You may want 50 copies of your family genealogy for family members only. In your business you may have a requirement to print training manuals which require regular updates.

If you have a special occasion coming up, your celebration plans may include sending special guests a memento of the important occasion  – wedding, anniversary, christening, awards ceremony. Having invested in high quality photography, why not print some celebration photo books?

An American A4 landscape hardback with Premium colour printing is perfect for celebration photo collections of all kinds – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries.

Wedding book cover, showing front cover with bride and groom and back cover with various photos from the wedding

Send us your choice of professional photos on a USB stick or ask your photographer to share a ‘cloud’ photo folder with us. We’ll follow your running order and layout brief to create a unique record of the special event. 

You can have landscape photos going edge to edge and the cover is hard-wearing and glossy. 24-page American A4 hardback landscape, 10 copies delivered by courier to one UK address, only £299.

Or 24-page square 216mm x 216mm hardback, 10 copies delivered by courier to one UK address, only £199.

Please note that the service is also available worldwide, with equivalent pricing in local currencies (subject to additional carriage charges depending on location). Call Mark Webb on 01604 832149 to discuss your celebration book project. Or drop us an email – intoprint@live.com – or fill in our quotation form.

Make libraries your allies when self publishing

Libraries are places where people meet books and their authors. They are often where young people first develop a liking for particular books, and perhaps particular authors. There are many different types of library and the most important for authors who are publishing their own work are: public libraries (for books with general appeal e.g. fiction, children’s illustrated), academic libraries (for books aimed at students or teachers) and legal deposit libraries (who have a right to a free copy of all books published in the UK).

Meet your public in public libraries

More interesting is how you can make libraries your allies when promoting your book. They are directly in touch with the reading public and the professionals and volunteers who work in them are book-loving and book-promoting and on your side. Authors are exotic attractions. Not everyone has written a story, let alone a book. Libraries want to attract families out for a weekend visit by putting on events and other attractions (hot drinks and home-made cakes often feature). 

So look out for libraries that are holding story-telling events and inviting local authors to take part. You can use the occasion to promote your book and the library will often provide a table for you to sell your books during the event. At Into Print we ship authors’ books into the libraries or direct to the author to provide stock for sale to the public.

Libraries are also great spaces for book launches. If you collaborate with your library, it may help with event organisation and invite a local audience – a book club or school depending on your book genre – to add to your own efforts at launch promotion.

Photo of author Angela Taylor seated in front of book displays in her local library. Angela is signing copies of her book Izzy's Quest for Gold.
Angela Taylor at a library launch of Izzy’s Quest for Gold.

Reach teachers and students

Academic libraries are the allies of authors who have written a student text book or a scholarly work. The academic librarian’s job is to obtain the books that their clients (students and teachers) need to do their work effectively. At Into Print we do our best to assist the librarian by providing as much information about your book as possible. We’ll encourage and help you, as author, to write short and long summaries, and a list of helpful keywords. Timing can also be important so it’s good to use the calendar so that information about your book is in front of the right people at the right time. You may wish to send copies to your contact list in advance of publication so that, on publication, you’ve got academic recommendations and reviews lined up to bolster the credentials of your work.

Knowledge bank

At Into Print we publish in the UK under the Paragon Publishing imprint and so we send a copy of your book to the British Library, and to the other legal deposit libraries on request. We do this on your behalf and at only the cost of doing so i.e. the print cost and the carriage cost. It’s a small amount in the debit column of being in the business of publishing and you get the satisfaction of having your book on public record.

Connect with librarians

So be nice to librarians. They can easily order your book – their databases are supplied with full searchable details. Also, the librarians’ trusted library suppliers are connected to Into Print’s print on demand service. In institutions of learning and in large businesses, librarians source digital versions of your book (also on their databases) and account for any in-house copying of printed works. This copying is enabled by large-scale licensing agreements with collecting agencies. Into Print will connect you to these agencies so that you will benefit from any such use of your work.

Sustainable publishing

The colour of self-publishing has turned out to be green

Self-publishing is surely the ‘greenest’, most sustainable, way of printing and distributing books. It’s not clear that the book distributors who first devised the idea of print on demand (POD) were thinking about the environment and some form of sustainable publishing. Rather, they were more likely thinking about globalisation and how to efficiently make books available everywhere in the world.

Distributing a single book ‘virtually’ to anywhere in the world luckily turns out to be much more sustainable than printing lots of books in one location and moving them in containers to hubs and then onwards to bookshops and readers.

Long-life books

Self publishing authors can rest assured that they are going into print as sustainably as possible. The books have a long life ahead of them. In addition, the print on demand process uses paper materials that are recyclable and cuts down delivery mileage.

Cover lamination helps prolong the ‘shelf-life’ of a book by protecting it from damage and spillage. Readers are constantly interacting with the surfaces and binding of a book, and a non-laminated cover won’t survive for long. The prolonged life provided by lamination results in a vigorous second-hand market for books, in charity shops and in online marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. We are all familiar also with book swap boxes in doctor’s surgeries and holiday homes.

All of these opportunities for re-use mean that each book does its job not just once, but many times over. That’s making the most of the original energy and materials that went into its manufacture.

Green painted one person car on illustrated globe with daisies and trees and birds to represent a sustainable energy future.

There’s always more to do of course. The lamination (used to protect a book’s cover) may restrict the re-use of the paper board. However, there are already laminations based on plant material that can be recycled and POD books are likely to benefit from these in the future.

Hardbacks are another super-efficient way of reaching multiple readers from a single copy of a book, through their re-use in public and academic libraries for example. Into Print sends metadata about an author’s book to the librarians, who can read details and see previews of a book on screen to check its suitability for their readers.

No-waste and low mileage

The POD factory only prints to order so there is no wastage. A reader enquires at a library, gets a steer from a friend, asks at a bookshop, or browses his or her favourite online bookseller. The resulting electronic order triggers the POD factory to print and bind a book. It does this by referencing the PDF artwork associated with the unique ISBN of the book, which is stored in its PDF database.

The factory is local to where the order was placed and so the printed book now travels the least possible distance. This one book – it could be your book if you are an author using Into Print – travels to the library or bookseller in the same box as a lot of other books collated from many different publishers and independent authors at the POD factory. This wholesaling process also minimises the environmental cost of transport.

Forest-friendly and recyclable

The paper used in the main POD factories have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification. The FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) system allows the tracking of FSC certified material from the forest to the consumer. By signing up to certification, the POD factories help independent authors create books that are produced responsibly. In turn, this helps readers when they are deciding to consume books responsibly.

The Earth911 website has good news on inks, suggesting that most inks used in printing are based on soy or other vegetable oils. Although soya bean growing is debatable in itself, this does mean that the paper and ink can be recycled together and that the paper can go back into the production of another paper-based product such as kitchen roll.

Although at Into Print we like the colour green, we don’t use it exclusively in our designs. Nevertheless we are happy that all of our books have green credentials and contribute to sustainable publishing. If we can help you do the same, please fill in our form to request a free quotation.

How Print On Demand enables self publishing

Print on demand (POD) enables authors to supply their book to the book trade, which is made up of booksellers, wholesalers, libraries and library suppliers. Print on demand has been designed so that authors can price books competitively for the customer (the reader) and offer the book trade an acceptable discount and a timely delivery service).

POD is lean and just in time manufacturing which works for both author and bookseller. So the author can concentrate on the fun of creating content and invest any budget in book promotion. Authors don’t need to tie up resources in the heavy lifting. POD takes care of the manufacturing and the logistics.

In other words, POD makes and ships a book when an order (demand) is received. Zero demand = 0 book. Demand for 1 book = 1 book, demand for 2 books = 2 books etc. The press prints from a library of PDF artwork, which Into Print prepares in industry-standard typesetting software.

The POD press references the PDF artwork to print the sheets, cut them to size and bind the sheets into a cover board to make a book. The factory line packages the book(s) and sends them out to the purchaser – usually a book seller.

Print on demand widens availability

The print on demand ecosystem goes much further than just printing. It includes electronic ordering from book wholesalers and retailers. When a bookseller gets a customer order, it sends an electronic message to the POD factory. The message contains the unique ISBN associated with the PDF artwork for that book title. The order triggers the printing and binding of that book, its packing and shipping to the bookseller’s address.

When you work with Into Print, we hold your hand and show you how it works; so you can decide how to use it most effectively for your book project. Fill in our form to request a free quotation.

Photo of author Kevin Marsh signing copies of his thriller The Witness. Kevin took pre-orders and assessed the number of books required for the launch and placed a print on demand order with Into Print specifically for the event.
Author Kevin Marsh signing copies of his thriller The Witness. Using print on demand, authors can order just the right number of copies for pre-sales and launch events.

Print on demand is economic and green

POD means:

  • no risk selling for authors.
  • you don’t have to commit to buying stock in order to drum up business.
  • instead we create a package of materials for booksellers to help them convince readers to buy your book, and only after a reader has bought your book, do we print it, on demand.
  • worldwide exposure and availability.
  • booksellers everywhere get data about your book.
  • no need to ship long distances.
  • instead we print and ship from our nearest factory e.g. Australia for Australia, New Zealand and Australasia, USA for North America, UK for UK and some parts of Europe. Partner factories in Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Korea, India and China, make delivery even more local.

Print on demand also facilitates other author activities:

  • organise a launch event and ask Into Print to ship a box of books into the event venue on the day before.
  • take delivery of a small quantity and send out to reviewers with a signed copy and personal letter.
  • sell some books to a specialist bookseller and invoice on your agreed terms; Into Print ships the copies directly into the bookseller. 
  • low cost fulfilment of legal deposit copies.

Take your own Photographic Journey

Author Chris Halliday has launched his book Strathspey Myths and Legends – A Photographic Journey. The local bookshop has quickly added it to its window display to entice Christmas shoppers to the attractive mix of photos, maps, illustrations and tales from the mountains.

Photo through the shop window of Strathspey Myths and Legends, Chris Halliday's photo-based book.
Strathspey Myths and Legends, 216mm x 280mm landscape format, colour softback, 144 pages, £25.

We’re told that the local newspaper has reviewed the book favourably; Waterstones in Aviemore will stock it and so too Visit Scotland in the region’s tourist information centre. 

If you take photos, you may have visualised a book based on your work. Into Print can help you self publish a photo-based book with worldwide distribution. It’s not easy to compete with books that are TV-spinoffs or have celebrity backing. But you’ll know if there’s a local or specialist interest in your photos – birds, trains, castles, churches, landscapes and more.

We print hardback or softback premium colour in portrait or landscape formats, which present your photographs to the standard required by book retailers, libraries and, most importantly, readers. If you’d like to know more, request further information via our form or email our editors – intoprint@live.com

Strathspey Myths and Legends appreciation

In this beautiful book, Chris Halliday has re-united the rich lore of Strathspey with the places that gave it birth. His evocative photographs, personalised maps and focused storytelling style make this an irresistible invitation to explore and enjoy. In addition the use of the civil parishes as markers makes sense of both the geography and the culture. It’s  a labour of love which people of this area and far beyond will love.’ Donald Smith, Director, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. 

Illustrations : Gwen Walker

Photography: C.J.Halliday 

Available from Waterstones.