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Camera Ready Digital Preparation

Go directly to Specific Digital Concerns
DIY: Digital Design Suggestions | Electronic Book Design Service
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Have a hard copy manuscript you want digitized? Let us spare you the stress and work!

You have worked long and hard in this labor of love that you are preparing to share with family, friends and fellow researchers. The needs and requirements of the genealogist and historian are sometimes quite different than many other authors. We fully understand these needs and the desired results.  If you are completing an e-book, check out our electronic publishing page because e-books aren't limited to traditional manuscript preparation.

The manuscript preparation, for any body of work, is very important. After all, it is from this master that the book is printed. While one can only do that which is within his means, there are several things that can be helpful.  A good rule of thumb to keep in mind during the preparation process is "what you see, is what you get". 

Manuscript preperation via computerYou are the author and you can write and construct your book in the manner and format you like. You will determine your margins to allow for imprint area when formatting the project. One should always check with his printer/publisher to establish their impression area requirements. Most have minimum and maximum impression areas and can suggest margin settings that will fall within. Photo, document, artwork and other design elements, as well as location within the manuscript can vary, from desire to cost effectiveness. All elements must fall within your target margins.  Just because the manuscript uses a photograph, if it is to be printed, it needs to be within the impression area regardless of the type of object. If the part of the photo that is outside the margins is optional background, trim the photo instead of running the risk of putting together a less than desirable book.

Quite often folks labor under the misconception that a smaller sized book is less expensive. Others feel that they save money by extending margins and page length. More often than not, the end result is not what was anticipated. There are several format sizes available and there are pros and cons for all of them. In the final analysis - manuscript preparation to finished book - the 8½x11 inch format has proven the best balance between cost effective and visually appealing. It allows more impression area for text, photos, documents and artwork, in a book that is relatively easy to handle and fits nicely on the library shelf. This may be altered somewhat based on the binding type, thickness of the book, and author's taste.

computer clip artBecause of the anticipated digital concerns (see below), we have developed a free/low cost proof service for publishing customers. This service is free on publishing's of at least 100 books, $9.00 (to cover postage) for smaller published manuscripts up to 200 pages, and $17.00 for manuscripts up to 999 pages. For publishing of 99 books or less, the cost is generally 5 cents per printed page (a dime per sheet), plus shipping.  Do not confuse this with proofreading or editing, or even an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC).  Although we offer proofreading/editing and ARC services, they have nothing to do with camera ready digital manuscripts. 

With our free/low cost proof service, once we receive your digital manuscript, we will print out a proof and return this by mail to you.  You can then double check page placement, fonts, etc.  This is not a galley or blue line.  This is generated from the computer printer and is not to be mistaken for your published book quality.  Because of the nature of this proof and the desire to produce the best book for you without raising prices, this proof is printed 9-up - 2 sided (18 manuscript pages per sheet of paper).  This service is great to check page placement, but should not be considered for photo exposure, etc.

If you prefer a full sized advanced reading copy (ARC - commonly referred to as a "proof"), one can be sent a quoted price. Generally speaking an ARC should cost no more than $100.00 up to 500 pages.  If something is found that was not expected on the ARC (or free proof), it can be fixed at that time, rather than having it show up in the published work. If you desire a true galley or blue line (bound or unbound), request an estimate - same as POD pricing, plus shipping and handling.

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Digital Submission of Book Manuscript
Checklist by publishing process
Have a hard copy manuscript you want digitized? Let us spare you the stress and work!

Go directly to Specific Digital Concerns for more information as to why all these files are suggested.

Offset Printing
Files to be included:

  • Font Files (one for each font used in the manuscript) if not standard "default" type - even if "imbedded" - licenses may prohibit use of some font files because of this need

  • Manuscript File(s) - includes all text and line graphics - everything for the book except photographs:  One to five files if possible, depending on size

  • Individual Graphic Files - one for each photograph and/or intricate artwork - even if "imbedded"

  • Optional: Cover layout/artwork file - inquire

  • Optional: Manuscript layout for a book that is not 8.5x11" - inquire

Digital Reproduction/POD
Files to be included:

  • Font Files (one for each font used in the manuscript) if not standard "default" type - even if "imbedded" - licenses may prohibit use of some font files because of this need

  • Manuscript File(s) - includes all text, photos and line graphics:  One to five files if possible, depending on size

  • Optional: Individual Photo Files - one for each photograph

  • Optional: Cover layout/artwork file - inquire

Camera ready disks should be:
USB drive, online upload, micro drives, and some memory card/chip are also options for digital file submission - inquire.

If sending file(s) online, contact us for full information - do not send by email.
Currently, we suggest Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive ( - you'll need a free account to use this service: Load your file(s) and restrict sharing to those with a link and add the email address we provide (upon request) and allow changes. We'll let you know once we've downloaded the files so you may remove them from online.

Another basic process is to  contact us for login information, then go to and log in using the information we provide (upon request). Next, double click to open the file folder designated for you and then follow the upload directions on the screen. The final step is to email us explaining the upload is complete and how you are handling payment.

Dropbox and other file sharing options can be used as well. Please note we use different email accounts for different reasons, and not all file sharing with this company is through the same email address.

Digital formats currently accepted (PC or universal only): 
Preferred: Adobe Acrobat or other portable document format files - .pdf
Many versions of Microsoft Word - .doc/.docx, .rtf, txt
Many versions of Microsoft Publisher
Graphics: Many standard files such as - .jpg, .gif, .tif(f), .bmp, .psd (& many other Adobe)
Some versions of Family Tree Maker and GEDCOM
Your format not listed?  Inquire if we can use yours!

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General/Specific Digital Concerns

Currently, there are two specific concerns, beyond software versions, that are common with camera ready digital manuscripts: photographs and fonts.
Due to the variety of hardware and software/programs, there may be other difficulties with a disk manuscript, but these are the most common.

  1. Photographs - due to the vast differences in hardware and software, a specific of "what works best" is not feasible.  In relation to photographs, there is such variation in not only what is produced but terminology.  What a photographer/printer has always called a gray scale is not what a computer user calls a gray scale, etc.  Gregath Company, Inc. works with it's clients to produce the best possible book.  Many scanners (hardware) automatically add a halftone pattern (some don't), however not all of these patterns are the right size to print well in our system.  Additionally many programs/scanners do not give the user the option of controlling this dot pattern.  Because of this, if the scanned photos will print better by halftoning them, we will advise this.

    • Photographs (Part 2 - for Offset Printing) - Instructions for Offset Printing digital photo submission are different from Digital Reproduction: Submitting your photographs by computer file (digitally) should be done in individual graphic files (such as .tif, .bmp, .psd, .jpg, .gif, etc.) that are well identified.  As in traditional manuscript preparation, blank spaces should be left in the text files for these photographs.

    • Photographs (Part 3 - POD - for Companion/Digital Reproduction) - Instructions for Digital Reproduction digital photo submission are different from printing: All photos used for a ultra short run book that is to be digitally reproduced from a computer file should be placed into (embedded) the book text file.  If extra photo work (fee service) is needed, double check to be sure file formats are compatible and write specific instructions as to what should be done to the graphic file, as well as the exact place it should be added to the manuscript. 

Photo Placement - Whether imbedding a photo itself, or using word processing options such as text boxes to add a photograph and caption as one item, placement may vary from the same file as it is viewed and printed on different printers, even different entire systems.  While wrapping text around a photo can save page space and make for a dynamic looking page, if it shifts, it could be more of a problem than a plus.  However, if you layout imbedded pictures traditionally (without wrapped text, or other position modifications), captions are as easy as "regular text" and the photos almost always stay in place.

  1. Fonts - the type style of the text can be problematic.  If a camera ready digital manuscript is sent that utilizes a font that our computer doesn't have, it will substitute the next best thing.  If we weren't talking about a formatted, many times indexed, book, this would be generally be just an artistic concern.  However, when font styles change, many times it alters what is on each specific page.  It is suggested that when checking about sending a disk, you provide us a list of fonts used in the book.  If there is a font (or version) we don't have, we will provide instructions on how to send that font file with your book.  This will only work on fonts that are licensed to be copied.  If the author/graphic designer already knows how to place font files on disk, they may still wish to send them anyway. Click here for more information from Gregath. | Click here for Adobe (PDF) help.

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For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$10.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit, by Gregath Company, Inc., *updated* 2015. ISBN: 0-944619-00-2, 8½x11", softbound book, 126 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user.
Also available on disk. Note: All G prefix books 100 pages or more, this one included, that are SB can be special ordered in hard cover edition - contact for details.

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Page Last Updated: January 30, 2022

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