Your account setup is complete – now what?
The first step in moving forward is setting up your title on your account
- You can add a new title by selecting the “Titles” tab from your Dashboard, then select Add Titles on the left hand side of the page.
When you complete the title setup process, you will be asked to provide information about your book. This is what we refer to as metadata. The metadata conveys information about your book to customers, bookstores, and libraries. For this reason, it is best to make your metadata as accurate and specific as possible.
As you navigate each title setup step, you will see a red asterisk beside required information. You will not be able to continue to the next step until required information is completed. Fields without a red asterisk are not required, but you are given the option to include more information in these fields that will enhance and improve your metadata.
What is required?
- Title – This is the title of your book, and it is one of the first things customers, retailers, and libraries will see. You are given the option to include a subtitle if you choose. This can be a more precise description of your book’s subject matter, e.g. Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus).
- Language – This is the primary language in which the book is written.
- Full Description – The description should describe what your book is about and provide the reader with a general idea of what to expect when reading your book. If you aren’t sure what to say here, some publishers will use the marketing blurb from the back of the book’s cover.
- Contributor – At least one contributor is required (e.g. author, illustrator, etc.). Enter the last name of the contributor here first. Then add the contributor’s first name and middle initial (optional). Take note that this is the name that will be publicly listed as the author (or other contributor) of your book in Ingram’s database and distribution network; so, if you write under a pen name, pseudonym, or nom de plume, now is the time to lock it in. If your book credits an illustrator or editor alongside the author, enter his or her name as well, then choose the appropriate job title from the dropdown menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the “About Contributor” button next to any contributor to provide additional information about that contributor.
- Imprint - An imprint identifies a branch of your publishing company and is typically displayed as the publisher on most retail sites. By default, your imprint will be listed by Lightning Source as the business name associated with your account; you can also request an additional imprint name by clicking the link.
- Subjects – Subjects (also referred to as BISAC codes) describe and categorize your book with standard codes accepted by the book industry. You can search subject codes by clicking on Find Subjects. You can also access a complete list at the Book Industry Study Group website.
- Book Types - There are also Regional and Thema Subjects. Regional Subject is a list of geographical places used to modify the major subject. For example, a book on the football team "Tennessee Titans" would have a BISAC category as "Football" with the regional BISAC of "Tennessee". Thema Subjects offer global and unique subjects to categorize your book.
- Audience – Classifying the intended audience (juveniles, adults, students, etc.) is required by some retailers, and it helps categorize your book even further. If your book is not marketed to a particular age range, it’s best to default to adult/general.
- Trim Size – This is the finished cut size of your book. Popular sizes for trade paperbacks are 5x8, 6x9, and 7x10, while 8x8 is very popular for kid’s picture books. You should make your decision based on what you think would be the best fit for your book.
- Interior Color and Paper – Here you will select if you would like your book to be in black and white or color. If selecting black and white, you will have the option of white or crème paper. If selecting color, you will have the option to choose between four color interior types:
- Standard Color – Printed with an inkjet printer on 50lb white paper
- Standard Color 70 – Printed with an inkjet printer on 70lb white paper
- Premium Color – Printed with a laser printer on 70lb white paper
- Binding Type – You will select either paperback or hardcover.
- Perfect Bound has a glued spine with a color cover
- Saddle Stitch is stapled with a color cover
*4-48 page count and premium color interior only
- Case Laminate has a color cover that is glued to the boards
- Cloth Blue or Gray is clothbound with an option for a color dustjacket and stamped text on the spine. In order to receive a dustjacket, you will need to select either gloss or matte as the laminate type. Selecting “Cloth (None)” will remove the dustjacket option. *Please note that not every interior or binding type is available for each trim size.
On October 22, 2019, we will be retiring our blue and grey cloth covers and gold foil spine stamping in favor of a blue and grey digital cloth image with linen textured lamination. Learn more here.
- Page Count – This is the total number of pages in your interior file.
- ISBN – The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to every book. You can think of an ISBN as a Social Security Number for your book, and no two books will have the same ISBN. An ISBN is required for distribution. If significant metadata updates are made (changing trim size, binding type, interior color/paper, or more than 20% of the book), a new ISBN is needed. Additionally, each format of a book must have its own ISBN. For example, a paperback, hardcover, and eBook of the same title will each have its own unique ISBN.
- SKU – If you do not want to purchase an ISBN, you may use a SKU instead. It is important to keep in mind that SKUs are not accepted in the distribution channels, so distributors will not be able to carry your title if it has a SKU.
On the pricing section of title setup, you will see six different markets. Adding pricing will allow your title to be distributed in each respective market. If you decide to include a list price for different markets, we recommend using our currency converter.
It is up to the publisher to determine the list price, wholesale discount, and returns status. It is also important to note that the pricing of your title will affect your publisher compensation (royalties).
The list price is the price that retailers will charge their customers when selling your book (retailers may offer discounts to customers for promotions or coupons, but those are taken out of the retailer’s profit, not yours).
You can offer a wholesale discount between 30% and 55%. The most acceptable industry standard wholesale discounts are 53% to 55%. The wholesale discount you offer is what our distribution partners receive. They may pass on a portion of that discount to their customers. By offering a wholesale discount of 53% to 55%, bookstores may receive their normal trade discount or contracted discount from the wholesalers they buy from, such as Ingram. If you offer a discount lower than 53%, your book will be considered a “short discounted” book and many brick and mortar stores will not buy a short discounted book. However, many online retailers will often list a title on their website even if the discount is less than 53% to 55%.
Knowing the purpose of returns and how they can affect a publisher is important to understand. Many brick and mortar stores will not order a book unless it is returnable, but if books are returned, the publisher is expected to pay the cost of the return (the wholesale cost of the book).
- Global Connect – Our Global Connect program allows your book to be even more accessible in various parts of the world. We are currently partnered with printing facilities in Germany, Russia, China, Poland, South Korea, Italy, Spain, and India. With the Global Connect program, our distribution partners in these markets are able to print orders as they come in from their local channels and retailers.
*Pricing for Global Connect must be in US Dollars.
- Publication/On Sale Date – The Publication Date is the date that you plan to make the book available to bookstores, libraries and online retailers. The On Sale date is the date before which the book may not be sold by retail partners. If you would like your book to be available for pre-order, you will use the On Sale date to determine when your book will be sold. You may read more about the On Sale date and pre-orders here.
- File Uploads – This is where you will submit your files to Lightning Source for review. Print books require an interior PDF file and a cover PDF file. eBooks require an EPUB file and a JPG cover image. You can read more about our print file specifications in our File Creation Guide.
Once your files are submitted, they go through an initial Content Validation process. If our computer system flags something in the file that may cause an issue when printed, you will receive a notification. Some file issues are required to be fixed by the publisher before moving forward, and a new file with corrections may need to be uploaded.
After submitting your files, you will be asked to pay the title setup fee. Once payment has been made, your files are moved into the queue for our premedia technicians to review. If any potential printing issues are seen, you will receive an email notification with information about the issue, and you may or may not be asked to upload a corrected file. The typical turn-around-time for file review is 2-3 business days for new titles.
After the file review process, you will receive an eProof to review. Approving the eProof allows your book to be printed, and you will have the option to enable distribution.
*Please note that orders will not print until the eProof is approved by the publisher.