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Frequently Asked Questions

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What types of books do you prepare?

We have helped publish hundreds of books of all kinds and have the resources and experience to do them well. Our booklist includes technical and professional books, memoirs, family histories, regional histories, novels, short story collections, poetry, how-tos, self-help, humor and cartoon collections, textbooks, cookbooks and children’s books, including full-color picture books.

What rights does Ghost River acquire?

We acquire no rights of any kind whatsoever. Your book remains entirely your own property. All registrations, including ISBN, Library of Congress Number and copyright are in the author's name. We feel this is extremely important to any author.

Do I have to be local?

You don’t have to live nearby. We prepare books for people all over the U.S. and many foriegn countries. We can do your initial consultation over the phone and will happily exchange manuscripts and galley proofs by mail or e-mail. We do this frequently, and have worked out the processes for making it work well.

What if my manuscript needs editing?

One of our main jobs is look over your book and give our honest appraisal of whether it is ready to print or needs additional work. We offer editing services with a firm cost quotation. Our editors will choose a representative sample of pages from your book and edit these at no charge to generate a quotation and give you a chance to see how we would work with your book. We are proud of our sensitivity to your individual voice and will gladly work with you to improve your writing as necessary.

How long will this take?

Most books are in design, layout and proofing for three weeks to a month. After that, most properly managed printing processes take another three weeks to a month.

In what format should I submit my manuscript?

We can accept books in virtually any word processing format or in printed manuscript form.

How much will it cost to get my book ready for press?

All services to design and prepare a book, including a beautiful, full-color cover, range from $800 to $2000, averaging around $1500.

How much will it cost to print my book?

Your costs will depend on the process you choose. A small first printing is typically a break-even proposition, costing about as much to print as you make from the book after expenses, but is a wonderful opportunity for test marketing before you do a larger printing.

A typical small first printing of 100 books ranges from $6 to $12 per book, averaging around $8 to $9. This is why it tends to be just a break-even propostion–because you are absorbing the prepress and other set-up costs in that first printing.

Subsequent printings of 100 books tend to average around $3 to $5 per book, though you can order printings of any number of books you need. The cost per book goes down as order size increases.

Larger printings usually cost $2 to $3 per book in quantities of a thousand or more.

Print-on-demand costs are charged per page, plus cover, frequently costing somewhere between the above figures.


What about print-on-demand and e-books? Why should I get my book professionally designed and laid out instead of just submitting my manuscript to the various automatic processes?

To get a book and its cover beautiful and right is the same job, no matter who’s doing it. We are pleased to be able to offer both print and electronic indexing and high quality photos properly placed and captioned in books prepared by us. In addition, with our straightforward system you retain control of every aspect of design throughout the process. We are available to answer any and all questions and we work hard to make this an easy experience you can enjoy.

Even if your book is going to print-on-demand, it still has to be laid out so that it will print properly. And if it is going to be converted into an electronic book format, it needs to be built so that it will convert correctly into that form. (Changes and corrections at the printing stage are the most typical way for a book to cost a lot more than originally estimated.) In addition, professional book layout enables you to take advantage of all the more advanced navigational features of electronic books.

What is Kindle?

Kindle is an electronic reader that is being marketed by Amazon at a one-time purchase cost ranging from $140 to $190, depending on the model you choose. They are already offering many thousands of titles that are downloadable to the Kindle reader by wifi or a wireless technology similar to the one used by your cell phone, but with no continuing monthly costs for the service. This means that the reader is constantly connected, enabling the user to browse Amazon's selection of e-books from almost anywhere, download a free sample first chapter of the books that interest them, and then download the remainder of any book they care to purchase. This takes just a minute or two, and the purchase is billed automatically to a credit card. Downloading most titles costs from about $4 to an average of under $10.

While books have been available in various electronic formats for many years, Amazon's implementation was the first to solve the many problems associated with electronic books that have hampered their wide-spread acceptance. The quality of the reader, the costs, the generous and rapidly increasing title offerings, the fair author's royalties and the simplicity and immediacy of their process made e-book publishing an avenue that authors could finally take seriously.

We have converted several of our author's already printed books to the Kindle format (and all the other formats as well) and have developed a system for making this otherwise complicated and technical task into one that the author can enjoy and that we can offer at moderate cost. We can also develop books for e-book distribution directly, without the book necessarily ever going to print. The cost to convert our print-ready layouts to e-book format is small, frequently $300 or less. The cost to develop a book directly for e-book will depend on the complexity of the book, but will be modest in most cases.

Are there alternatives to Kindle?

Yes, Kindle is only one of the current e-book readers available. Sony, Barnes and Noble, Apple and many others have competing readers and programs for downloading e-books. One of the more complex decisions you must make when deciding to offer your book in e-book form is which, or how many, of the competing formats and programs to participate in. Which formats and programs will work best for you may depend on the nature of the book, or may actually depend more on the overall marketing plan you develop. For most authors a carefully considered combination of printed book and e-book makes the most sense.

In Summary

Making these choices wisely is important and with our experience it can be made simple. We would love to help. Please call or email us with your questions and to arrange for your free consultation.



Ghost River Images
5350 East 4th Street
Tucson, Arizona 85711
(520) 327-8522

mike@ghostriverimages.com (consultation, layout and design)

tama@ghostriverimages.com (editing and illustration)