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How to create and self publish a print book with a lot of images and pictures
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Placing text and graphics onto your pages

This step refers to the layout program Adobe InDesign. You can use another layout program (like QuarkXPress) if you wish. Please review the hardware & software step first to familiarize yourself with the options you have.

If you followed the previous step when creating your layout document, then your bleeds, margins, and trim lines are already set up correctly. The information below is important to know, so that you can lay out the pages of your book correctly.

Let's look at the basics of an example spread, and what the different lines mean:

Trim Lines: The true edges of each page. This dark line shows exactly where the printer will trim your page. Text should not be placed on the trim line. Text should preferably be kept within all margin guides.

Margin Guides: Almost like an invisible fence around the edges of every page. The actual line doesn't get printed, but margins are shown on screen so you keep all text and important design elements within their boundaries. Designers often use guides to keep spacing consistent from page to page.

Center Guides: Another helpful marker for making sure page elements end up in the right place. The actual line doesn't get printed. It may appear slightly off-center to you because the margins in the middle of the book are wider. This is because a book does not open completely flat. Items placed on the center guide will visually appear to be in the center of the page in the finished book.

Bleed: The extra portion of the page design that is required by the printer so they have something extra to cut off when they trim your book. It is recommended you position images and backgrounds to extend all the way to the bleed line, but be aware that everything past the trim line will be cut off. This gives your book a professional look by having backgrounds & images fill pages to the edge. You cannot have different page sizes, so you must set up every page with a bleed, even if the bleed area is white.
Guideline Example Graphic

Support the author and download this entire guide ad free. Only 99 cents for the PDF. Click here! Left or right... the side a page is on makes a difference.
If a page appears on the left side of a spread, as shown above, it requires a .125 inch bleed on 3 sides: the top, left, and bottom. You do not need a .125 inch bleed on the right side because that ends up in the inside gutter margin of the book where it will not be seen. (Note: Other printers may actually want a bleed on all 4 sides, but CreateSpace requires no bleed on the inside gutter edge. Consult with your printer for direction on bleeds.)

If a page appears on the right side of a spread, as shown above, it requires a .125 inch bleed on 3 sides: the top, right, and bottom. You do not need the .125 inch bleed on the left side because that ends up in the inside gutter margin of the book where it will not be seen. (Note: Other printers may actually want a bleed on all 4 sides, but CreateSpace requires no bleed on the inside gutter edge.)

This makes the actual page size 7.125 inches wide by 10.25 inches tall, but during production the final printed book is trimmed down to 7 x 10 inches. Amazing, huh?! Understanding these technical details will accelerate your ability to set up your book.

Once you are ready, begin "placing" the image files you've prepared into your InDesign layout document.
When you "File > Place" an image file, the layout document (InDesign) displays that image only as a placeholder. When you print or finalize the document, it is going to call upon the original image file again. This means the image file will still need to exist on your computer, preferably in a folder that will be kept with the layout document so they are still linked and do not become misplaced.

The graphic on the right shows the window of an example folder which contains 1 InDesign layout document (MyBook.indd) and 2 TIFF image files (Background.tif and ClockGuy.tif).My File Folder Graphic
Below is a graphical illustration showing how the TIFF images and some text are basically all elements that get placed into the layout page of your book.

Notice the Clock Guy image is centered on the page using the center guide line (guides do not print). The blue background image is situated behind the text and Clock Guy image, both of which are transparent so the background shows through. The blue background is a Photoshop image that I made to fill all of the page with a colored gradient from edge to edge. The text was copy and pasted from a basic text document.

Placing Items Into Adobe InDesign Example

You may find it helpful to create a Photoshop document the size of one full page.
If you create a Photoshop document to the size of one full page, you can duplicate that single file and use it as a template for as many pages of your book as you want. Then place the pages into your InDesign layout.

In Photoshop, open up the "File > New" window. Enter the width and height of your book, but because the page has a bleed you must also add an extra .125 inches to the width and an extra .25 inches to the height. The resolution should be set to 300 dpi. For my 7 x 10 inch example book, the actual size I entered was 7.125 inches x 10.25 inches. This gives us the extra room needed for the bleed. Set the coloring to CMYK and click "Ok" at the bottom of the window.

What you have now is one Photoshop document that is the exact size of all of your pages. Save this blank document (call it something like "MyPageTemplate.psd"), then duplicate the document and use it as a template for all of your pages. If you use a lot of full page imagery, you might want 1 Photoshop Page Template for each page of your book. Number them Page 1, Page 2, etc... so you can clearly identify each page as you work on them. These pre-sized documents will help you streamline your book making process. Once the imagery is prepared, simply place the Photoshop pages into your InDesign layout document.

Take some time to acknowledge how far you've come. Your book is coming to life!

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