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Book Production

What is a “standard page” for data entry?

The cost for data entry of £2.00 per page is based on a standard letter sized page typed in a standard 12 pt. font and double-spaced.


What do you mean by "template"?

Templates are "patterns" into which we place your manuscript and images. Each template offers you a unique design, so you can choose the one you like best. Templates allow us to create your book quickly and with highly reliable quality assurance. If you opt for the Advantage, Basic or Professional services, you will be asked to select from our range of interior templates. If you choose the Custom, Premium, Executive or Platinum packages, you are more than welcome to base your design on one of our many templates, or provide your own design and formatting ideas.


How should I format my text?

To facilitate the smooth flow of the submissions and publishing process, please try to comply with the following formatting requirements for your manuscript:

  • Submit the manuscript as a single word processing file, preferably Microsoft Word or in Rich Text Format (RTF).
  • Write the following summaries using your word processing programme and save them as a single file, separate from your manuscript but on the same floppy disk:
    • Author's Cover Bio: 100 words max. A short, one-paragraph description of yourself that will appear on the back cover of your book.
    • Book Summary: 100 words max. A short, one-paragraph description of your book that appears on the back cover of your book and with your book listing on the Xlibris website.

    • Author Biography: 2,000 words max. A longer description of yourself or a message to your readers. It will appear on the author biography page that readers view when they click on your name within the Xlibris website
    • Book Description: 2,000 words max. A longer description of your book that appears on your book's page on the Xlibris website.
  • If the text is too large to fit on a disk, split the file into two parts and send two clearly labelled disks. Please use a PC-formatted CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Memory Stick, Zip disk or 3.5-inch floppy disk.
  • Label the disk with your name, telephone number, and the title of your book. Please pack your disks inside protective wrapping or a disk mailer to ensure that they will arrive in usable condition, and please make sure you retain a back-up copy of your manuscript.


What should I avoid if I am formatting my own work?

Xlibris can do all the required formatting for you. If you insist that you would like to do it yourself, please avoid the following:

  • Columns in your text. Xlibris offers a professional and standard book layout. If you insert columns in your work, you risk corrupting the layout of your book's text
  • Underlined text. Where possible, replace underlined text with italicised text.
  • Footnotes. If you need to cite your work, use in-text citations or endnotes (at the end of chapters or at the end of the entire text).
  • Pictures inserted into your manuscript file.
  • Wingdings, symbolic bullets or characters unavailable within the normal character set (this includes symbols of any kind). If you want to bullet any part of your text, do so with standard bullets.
  • Traditional manuscript format (i.e., your name and the page number on every page).

If you have any questions about these requirements, please don't hesitate to contact an Xlibris Associate on 0800 056 3182 (or +44 20 3014 4095 if calling from outside the UK).


May I supply my own cover?

Of course. If you have already designed a cover for your book, we are more than happy to adopt your design. This feature is included in all the publishing packages.


What kind of binding do you use?

Xlibris books use perfect binding.


What is your average turnaround time for a paperback book? Hardback book?

Once we receive your order, it normally takes 10-15 business days to print and bind a paperback book. For hardbacks, they normally take 15-20 business days.


Graphics and Illustrations

What is a graphic?

A graphic is any element in your book such as a picture, a chart or an illustration of any kind. It can be reproduced in greyscale or full colour depending on your publishing package.


Why am I required to complete a Custom Illustration Submissions Form (CISF)?

A Custom Illustration Submissions Form (CISF) is essential for the Xlibris Illustration Design Team to effectively manage your Custom Illustration project. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that you maintain total control of the content of your book—you are the owner and the director. And as such, it is your responsibility to supply us with the ideas and concepts for your illustrations. No one knows your story and its characters and settings better than you do. If you have questions about the CISF, please contact your Illustrations Coordinator for assistance.


What happens during the illustration process?

1. Once we receive your completed CISF form, the Illustrations Coordinator reviews it and assigns an artist who best fits your project.

2. Within two to three weeks, you will receive copies of the initial sketches for your review. (This is the best time to make revisions to your illustrations.)

3. If you request revisions to sketches, your project will be put back into queue in the order it was received and will take two weeks for completion. (You are limited to 1 round of complimentary revisions at the sketch stage.)

4. Sketch revisions are limited, depending on the complexity and time required to make such changes. For example, changing the length of a character's hair or adding or deleting a character or item in a scene constitutes a reasonable sketch revision. However, starting over with a completely new concept is not considered a sketch revision; it is considered a brand-new illustration, and you will incur charges to completely create an entirely new sketch.

5. Once we receive your approval to go to final art, it will take approximately four weeks to complete your final illustrations.

6. You will receive copies of your completed illustrations for review. You will be required to sign an Illustration Approval Form before your book moves on to production. (You are limited to one round of complimentary colour revisions at the final art stage.)

7. At this stage, if you want to make revisions to the final art beyond colour modifications, you will incur additional charges to make those changes, or you may be required to purchase a completely new illustration. We reserve the right to make that determination based on your requested changes.


How long will it take to complete my illustrations?

On average, we will complete your illustration project in 6 to 12 weeks. However, more time may be needed as deemed necessary by the artist, and/or you, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Creating custom artwork is something that cannot be rushed, and we want to ensure that the product is of the highest quality for your book.

Please note that the illustration process is separate from the production process of your book’s interior and cover. The book production stage will begin once your illustrations have been completed and approved.

If you have other questions, please contact our Customer Service hotline on 0800 056 3182 (or +44 20 3014 4095 if calling from outside the UK) and look for your Illustrations Coordinator or e-mail us at


Do I get to talk with my illustrator?

Your Illustrations Coordinator handles all communication surrounding your illustration project and acts as a liaison between you and your illustrator. By speaking to your coordinator, your illustrator is able to complete your project on time and stick to what he or she does best—creating beautiful pieces of art for your book.


Will my illustrator read my manuscript?

Illustrators need to have a clear understanding of your manuscript in order to create your artwork. The most effective way to communicate your book’s story and message is for you to highlight or pull excerpts from your manuscript for the illustrator to use as a resource for creating the art.


How should I submit my graphics?

You may submit hard copy / original images or digital images. Xlibris supports supplied hard copy images up to 12" x 17", including original images on paper (original art such as watercolours, line art using ink etc.) and photographs. If you are submitting digital images, please read the following formatting requirements.

  • Images are saved preferably as either TIFF or JPEG files, in CMYK color mode.
  • To ensure quality reproduction, all graphics and/or images should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi and be in actual size.
  • Save all image files as separate files. Please do not embed or paste images in your manuscript.
  • Provide as a separate file the instructions on where the images will be placed in the manuscript.
  • Please make sure you use the right file name for easy reference.
  • Please indicate directly in your manuscript where the images should be placed (e.g. text, text text, text). Please make sure you use the right file name for easy reference.
  • Aside from the interior images, you have the option to submit the following:
    • Cover Image - to be placed on the front cover of the book.
    • Cover Design - photo or illustration file for your book cover
    • Author Image - to be placed on the back cover of the book.


How should I include tables in my manuscript?

Using Microsoft Word: Create your tables, if any, in Microsoft Word and keep them in your manuscript.

Using Microsoft Excel: If you have tables created in Excel, do not embed them in the document, but save each of them individually. Name and number the table files consistently, such as table1, table2, etc. Indicate in the manuscript where each table is to be placed, for example: [Insert table1].


How do I submit or communicate my illustration revisions?

All changes to illustrations must be submitted in writing. We accept written changes through e-mail, fax, or postal mail. These should be sent directly to your Illustrations Coordinator.
Should you have any revisions or changes related to the illustration service that you purchased, please note that you will incur addtional charges/costs.


The Manuscript-Publishing Process

What is the difference between Black & White and Full Colour Publishing services?

Xlibris offers two types of publishing services.

The Black & white Book Publishing service is perfect for fiction tales, non-fiction books, memoirs, poetry or almost anything you can envision. Xlibris' Black & White Publishing services feature a full colour cover, greyscale interior and perfect binding. Available formats are bookstore quality paperbacks, hardbacks and custom-made leather bound tomes.

The full colour Book Publishing service is great for children's books to cookbooks, family photo albums to corporate materials, graphic novels to catalogues—the possibilities are limitless. Featuring a full colour cover and interior, Xlibris' full colour Packages enable you to share your story in dazzling colour and really bring your tale to life.


How many copies of my book will be published?

Each publishing package also has a number of copies included. Please check your particular package to see how many copies you will be receiving. After publication, we will print as many books as are ordered by individuals and bookstores. We do not charge you for these books and you earn royalties on each copy purchase by your audience. You can also order books for yourself at a heavily discounted rate.


Do I have to buy any copies of my book?

No. You are under no obligation to purchase any copies of your book. You simply have to tell your audience where to purchase their copy through marketing and publicity efforts. If you would like to purchase copies for yourself, friends, family, or to sell yourself, you are entitled to a deep author discount, which ranges from 30% to 60%.


Where does Xlibris print my work?

Xlibris is pleased to announce the establishment of an in-house printing facility. With the latest in print-on-demand technology, we stand by our book production and are the standard-bearer for quality in the print-on-demand publishing industry.

For books that are ordered through the distribution channel, Lightning Source Incorporated prints and ships them directly from their printing house.


What printing technology does Xlibris use?

Xlibris uses the latest in digital print-on-demand technology for both black and white and full colour books. Our black and white published books are printed using digipress technology, while for our full colour books we use NexPress digital production colour press, which is a special dry-ink digital printing device. Unique among digital colour platforms, the NexPress features a five-colour (pentachrome), LED based dry toner, digital offset electrophotographic perfecting engine and boasts a customer-configurability that allows for coating, glossing and gamut expansion, providing numerous options.


Will my book have an ISBN?

Yes, your book will be assigned the International Standard Book Numbers required by book sales channels to track and order your books. In addition, Xlibris will place a machine-readable Bookland/EAN barcode on your book's cover.


Can I revise my book once it is published?

Definitely. Because your book exists electronically, you can change or update your content even after it has been published. So if new information comes to light or certain details change, you can make sure that your published book is kept up-to-date. Post-publication revision services are £249 for a Black & White published book and £299 for full colour published books.


How does the book publishing process work?

Throughout the Xlibris author-centred publishing process, you collaborate with your personal Xlibris Author Service Representative to ensure that your vision is translated into book format. Our Author Service Representatives provide advice and support while allowing you to maintain creative control over your book. You decide what is best for the project, and we can design the book around your ideas.

Once we have received all of your materials, we learn about your vision for the project before we begin to work on your book. To fully understand your ideas, you are able to speak directly with an interior and cover designer. After reviewing your manuscript, we will collaborate with you to choose the most attractive and readable design template or custom design for your work. We will then design your book and send you an interior galley and cover proof to review.

As soon as you return the galley to us, we'll make any revisions you request and, if necessary, send you a second galley. This process will continue until you approve all the content and layout within your book and on your book cover.

Your book is maintained as an electronic file with Xlibris, and we are able to fulfil orders ranging from a single book to tens of thousands of copies as they are received. Because it is a digital file, your book will never go out of print, and you can make revisions to it at any time.


Production Timeline

How long does it take you to publish a book?

The time required depends on the shape the manuscript is in when we receive it, the types of services you purchase, and on the length of time you take to review the proofs. The entire publishing process usually takes between 90 t0 120 days once we receive your complete submission.


What is the average timeline for the publishing process?

Once we receive your complete submission, the entire publishing process will take around three to four months to finish. This is, however, also dependent on how long it will take you to review the galley proofs and the number of corrections you make.

  • Submission
    We will contact you within 2 business days from the time you sign up for a publishing package and send in your signed agreement form. We will talk to you about the needed materials and the publication requirements to ensure a smooth submission process. Once we receive your submission materials, we will review them to make sure that they are ready for production. This review will span 2 business days.

  • Initial Production
    Once your book enters production, you can expect the interior layout and cover design files within 10 business days.

  • Author Review of E-proofs
    You will receive e-proofs of your book’s interior layout and cover design before we proceed with publication. You will review them and make corrections, if there are any (read about Author Alterations). This process takes roughly 3-5 business days per set of corrections, depending on the number of corrections. Once your review the e-proofs and the corrections are fixed, you can make your book available for sale by signing the Release Form.

  • Release of Your Book in the Market
    Once we receive your signed Release Form, your book information will be uploaded to the Xlibris bookstore in less than 24 hours, and your book will then be available for ordering. However, your book’s avail
    ability in other online retailers will take an average of 60 to 90 days, depending on the channel.

  • Book Copies
    After you have sent your approval, we will proceed to print your author copy together with the book copies that come with your publishing package, as well as process book orders you may have for additional copies at a discounted rate. The printing of your book copies generally takes two to three weeks.