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What Is Typesetting?

Typesetting is the process of converting your manuscript from a word-processing document into a professional-looking PDF that you can use for printing. All major print-on-demand (POD) services, such as Amazon KDP, accept formatted PDFs. Typesetting is often underestimated, and it’s easy to understand why: if it is done well, you don’t notice it at all. Like a good paint job, the work should be invisible, yet leave a highly polished impression.

When Should You Have Your Book Typeset?

Typesetting should be the last step you take before publishing. We highly recommend that you get either a line edit or a copy edit and ideally a proofread before typesetting. If you decide to make changes to the content after typesetting, it can take a lot of work to incorporate those changes without affecting the already established layout of the book.

You should also decide if you will be creating an imprint and purchasing your own ISBN number, as both will be included on the copyright page.

Typically, you should have your book typeset at the same time as you have your book cover designed. Before your cover can be finalized, the designer needs to know the total page count, so they can make sure the spine is the right width; meanwhile, your typesetter can incorporate the font and layout of the cover into the title page of the typeset book.

Finally, you should give some thought to what you’d like the interior to look like. If you have any font preferences or ideas for how you’d like your chapter headings formatted, for example, make note of those and send them along to your typesetter. It can help to browse through some of the books on your shelf and send along photos of interiors you like so we can use them as a model for your book. If you’re not sure what you want the interior to look like—not a problem. We’ll take the genre, length, and writing style into account and craft a fitting interior design for you.

What the Typesetter Will Do

  • Determine the best trim size (physical dimensions of the book)
  • Set appropriate margins
  • Style chapter titles
  • Choose an appropriate font and font size
  • Style drop caps (if requested)
  • Add fleurons (fancy scene break icons)
  • Make sure pages don’t break in awkward places
  • Set word spacing for optimal readability
  • Style the headers, footers, and page numbers
  • Format the front matter (copyright page, dedication, etc.)

The end result of the process will be:

  • a PDF, designed to meet the guidelines of all major printing companies and
  • a fully formatted ebook, ready for online distribution.

The Process

  • You send in your manuscript, along with any ideas you have for how you’d like the book to be formatted.
  • We typeset the front matter (title page, copyright page, dedication, etc.) as well as the first few pages and send it back.
  • You review our work so far and decide if you agree with the direction we’re taking it. There might be some back and forth here.
  • When we agree on a style, we’ll typeset the rest of the book. After this point, there’s no going back—once the book is typeset, making any changes to formatting or content can take a lot of time and might even require starting the whole process over.

How Much Does Typesetting Cost?

Typesetting is an intensive process, and the longer the book, the more time it takes us. Our standard pricing is $250, and then we charge $3 for every 1,000 words in the manuscript. Every manuscript is different, however, so please get in touch for an exact quote. Also, keep in mind that if we get to the end of the process and you decide you’d like to tweak some aspect of the interior (change the headers or margins after they’ve been agreed upon, for example), we will have to charge by the hour for any additional work. Late changes to the content will require additional charges as well, so be sure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before sending it over.

To get a decent estimate for the cost of typesetting, enter your word count below:

*Actual price may vary depending on the specific needs of the submitted work and the return speed requested.

If you feel you are ready for typesetting, please submit your manuscript below for a free quote.

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