October 21, 2014

Ask Design: “Hey guys, what exactly is a ‘Pre-Flight,’ anyway?”

One of the services that Self Publishing, Inc. provides to its book printing customers is a Pre-Flight check of printer-ready PDF files that have been provided to print book covers and interiors. What exactly is a Pre-Flight check? Any pilots out there?

Whether you think of your book as a Boeing 777, ready to go out and take the world by storm, or a Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, ready to knock all of the competition out of the sky, every book sits on the runway and needs a thorough going over before its ready for its maiden flight and print job. Without carefully going over the book’s files and approving them for the printer, there is a greater likelihood that something could go wrong and mistakes will be missed. A Pre-Flight is exactly the kind of pre-printing look-see your files need before they head off to make books.

There are several elements that are checked during a Pre-Flight check at Self Publishing, Inc. We’re looking to make sure:

  • The trim size specifications match the print order. If you’re ordering a 6×9 books, the files shouldn’t be set up for 5×8. The spine width has to be set up to match the interior stock.
  • The cover file (and the interior file, if necessary) is properly set up with the proper bleed. If you don’t know what this is, you probably won’t set it up correctly yourself.
  • Files do not have the fonts, graphics, and other inserted elements, properly embedded into the PDF. Another one of those steps in the PDF conversion process that if you don’t know what it is, probably best not to attempt it yourself.
  • Color elements are not saved in CMYK color mode. Most graphical programs have the RGB setting as the default. Printing is a four-color (full-color) process. Make sure you’re using CMYK.
  • Your ISBN barcode is not in grayscale color mode. Anything other than grayscale will not work.

There are several elements that are NOT checked during a Pre-Flight check. As you are your own publisher, you want to be confident to have checked over the following very carefully before getting to the stage where you are providing press-ready files for a print job:

  • All editing should have been checked, double-checked, and corrected before submission. It’s really best to have checked out a printed proof before and after the design stage of the publishing process. You’ll have a final chance to check your printed proof for any last minute and missed errors, but you really should be confident that the editorial integrity is wholly intact.
  • Page numbers match the Table of Contents. Changing up more than a few sentences inside the book can throw off whole paragraphs and pages. Check them over and correct them before submitting your files for printing.
  • Images are matched to their appropriate captions, figure titles, etc. Another step that should be completed before submitting files for printing.

Self Publishing, Inc. is pleased to provide a Pre-Flight process for every print job where we haven’t designed the files. You can be assured we’re looking to catch problems and help you fix them before a printed proof is created for your final review. You have the option of having us make changes on your behalf or making the changes yourself. It’s up to you. We want to help you publish and print the best book you can. We appreciate your printing business!

Share / Print

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Print

Speak Your Mind