Identifying Your Source Files

Are you considering republishing your book with Emerald Lake Books? Perhaps it’s time for a second (third or fourth) edition? Or you haven’t received the results or support from your current publisher and it’s time for a change?

Whatever your reason, Emerald Lake Books does periodically take on titles for republication if they’re a good fit for our catalog.

If this is a move you’re considering, here are a few things you should know.

  1. Before republishing your title, check your existing contract to make sure that you have retained non-exclusive rights to your work.
  2. Carefully read through the agreement to discern whether there are any potential issues with your intended move, and what the procedures are to obtain the source files for your book. Oftentimes, a nominal fee is charged because the publisher will have to update the source files to remove all references to their ISBN and publishing house.
  3. Be prepared to wait as long as a month to get your source files, sometimes longer if the publishing house you’re leaving is in a state of turmoil or upheaval.

Understanding Source Files

So what exactly is a source file and why do you need it?

HTML Source FileThe source files for the interior of your book are often maintained in Word, InDesign or some less common publishing-related software. The cover may be designed in InDesign or Photoshop or other image-related software, and that’s a separate file (or set of files) from the interior.

A simple text-based book may consist of only two source files, one for the interior and another for the cover.

However, more complicated titles that involve more design work or have a larger number of images may consist of dozens, even hundreds, of files that work together as a package. When books are designed using InDesign, there are often content files, link files, document fonts, style sheets and more that combine together to create the finished result.

Whether there are 2 files or 200, these are the files that the publisher used to create the interior layout for your book as well as the cover.

From the source files, the publisher often will create a PDF to present to the printer and to you. PDFs ensure that there are no unintended shifts in font or design as the file moves from one computer to another.

So, the latest copy you have of your book is often the PDF that you were given as a proof or galley for review. Or possibly you received a subsequent updated, final version after your approval. However, this PDF is not a source file and cannot easily be used to republish your work. (It’s not impossible. It’s just limiting and far from ideal.)

Source Files at Emerald Lake Books

At Emerald Lake Books, the interiors of our titles are designed either in Word or InDesign, depending on the complexity of the project. For us to republish your work at minimal cost to you, we would need the original source files in Word or InDesign. That way, we can make the necessary changes to update the publisher references and assign a new ISBN to your book.

That’s not to say that we can’t create new source files from the PDF that you have. But the costs associated with republishing your book will be higher since we have to effectively redesign the layout.

Therefore, whenever it’s possible, it’s in your best interest to obtain the source files from your previous publisher if you can. All you need to do is request the source files from them, comply with their procedures for obtaining them, and then provide the source files to us using DropBox or HighTail‘s free file transfer service, whichever is easier for you.

It should be noted that having the source files is not the only factor in the costs associated with republishing your work. We do have a set of design and content standards that must be met as well. Assuming your book meets our criteria, the process should be a simple and fairly straightforward one. However, if our evaluation reveals that the design or content are not up to our standards, we will provide you with an estimate that clearly outlines the costs involved to meet those standards.

Second Chances

Once the stress of having to choose a new publisher has passed, many authors start getting excited about the prospect of republishing their work. They often take advantage of the transition to a new publisher to add new content, fix errors that got passed them the first time, improve their cover design, or to change or revise outdated content. They also view it as a second chance at the book launch and all that they wished they’d done differently the first time.

So while no one ever wants to be put in the position of having to find a new publisher, if you embrace the experience, it can be a fun and rewarding one with the right publishing partner.