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Think of graphic novel printing as adult comic book printing. Graphic novels tend to be longer stories, usually perfect bound rather than saddle stitched. Publishing Xpress is experienced in printing both graphic novels and comic books. As experienced graphic novel printers, we can offer great customer service and all the options you need for your graphic novel printing project. Take a look at these insightful lessons from Comic Book legends.
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For purposes of these tips, we will assume that your graphic novel will be perfect bound, since that is fairly standard for graphic novels. As you work on your graphic novel, consider these tips:
Before you start your layout, decide on the final size of your graphic novel. Although you are not required to design it at a specific size, the standard comic books size is 6 5/8″ by 10 1/4″. To print at this, you would select our 8 ½” x 11″ size for pricing and ordering purposes, noting in the special instructions section that that final size is 6 5/8″ by 10 1/4″.
All of your images and graphics should be high resolution (300 dpi) with colors converted to a CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) color profile. Images designed on a computer often default to RGB (red-green-blue), but must be converted to CMYK when printing. It is best if you make that conversion yourself, so there are no unintended variations in color.
Graphic novels usually have a lot of images and text on a page. To ensure that nothing is lost when the novel is trimmed, it is important to have large margins between text and graphics and the edge of the page. Larger margins will make your finished graphic novel look more professional. Also be aware that some of the page will be lost in the spine of the bound edge. You will want to leave even larger margins on the bound side of the page, so that critical graphics and text do not get caught in the spine or get so lose to the spine that the reader pulls the book a part to see that text. We recommend at least 1/2 inch on the three unbound edges and 3/4 inch on the bound edge. If you do have images that you want to print right to the edge of the page, make sure that you provide proper bleeds on the file so nothing is cut off when the graphic novel is trimmed down to size.
Select the paper you want for the inside pages and the cover. We offer text stock ranging from 60# uncoated text to 100# gloss or matte text. For perfect bound covers, we offer 80# cover or 100# cover stock. We recommend ordering our free sample package, which has a plastic coil book that has samples of all of our paper stocks in it. It also shows examples of gloss and soft-tough lamination. Many clients find this very helpful when deciding on which paper stock to use. The sample package also has samples of all four of our binding styles — perfect bound, plastic coil, saddle stitch, and wire-o.
Consider laminating the covers of your graphic novel. Gloss lamination will make the colors on the cover pop, while soft-touch lamination has a very velvety feel to it. Lamination will also protect the cover.
With perfect binding, you need to be careful of images and text spreading across two pages. Since some of the page on the bound side will get caught in the spine, you can lose parts of text and images in the spine. Make sure that any text is clearly away from the spine. With images, make sure that characters’ faces are to the left or right of the center of the spread. Be careful of images that are spread across two pages.
Before you finalize your project, do two things: Review other graphic novels and have at least three people look at your finished graphic novel. By reviewing other graphic novels, you might come up with some ideas for your project. Maybe you like the title page or dedication page or an advertisement page. Maybe someone did a great job of explaining the process of designing their graphic novel. You don’t need to copy another graphic novel, but you might find things that you want to be part of your project. Because you are so close to your novel, it is easy to miss obvious typos and formatting issues. If you have the budget for it, you might want to hire a professional editor to review your graphic novel. But if you don’t have the budget, consider asking three friends or family members to review the graphic novel for you. You might be surprised at the things they notice that you didn’t see. Before asking, however, make sure you are prepared to take their criticism without letting it impact your personal relationship.
Please check out our articles regarding graphic novel and comic book printing:
We work hard to make the entire printing and publishing process easy for your clients. You will be assigned to a dedicated client service rep, who will make sure that all of your questions are answered and that your graphic novel turns out exactly the way you envision it. We hate the word no and will do everything in our power to make sure you love your graphic novel and your experience with Publishing Xpress. But don’t take our word for it. Check out all of our 5-star Google reviews.
Please contact us to learn more about graphic novel printing. You can chat with us online (our chat feature is located in the right hand corner of every page on our website), call us at 1-877-977-3779, or email us at help@publishingXpress.com. You may also want to check out our other book printing ideas. We’ll be happy to talk about your graphic novel project, explaining your different printing and binding options.
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