Schools FAQ frequently asked questions

  • Choosing the theme and submitting book content
  • Writing and editing the stories and poems in Word or RTF files
  • Providing artwork/pictures/graphics for the interior (cover if desired) in JPG or PNG files
  • Getting permission to publish the students' work
  • Promoting the project and taking advance orders
  • Distributing advance orders and celebrating the book release

Some schools choose to do parts of the publishing process on their own, such as designing the cover, formatting the book, and more. This can be a great project for graphic design classes or book publishing courses. We can help with the technical details if your school chooses to go this route.

  • Formats the book and designs the cover with your input
  • Provides an electronic proof of the interior and cover for your review
  • Prints and delivers your books—advance and subsequent orders
  • Guides project design, sales, and promotion efforts
  • Publishes and distributes to the retail market, including online booksellers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble*
*Pen & Publish pays for the printing and distribution of books in the retail market, and you earn royalties for one year or more.

Stories, poems, essays, and themes can be chosen to encompass your curriculum and objectives. Social emotional issues can have a profound impact. Most schools include one piece from each student while others choose to host contests or select content for inclusion in other ways. Either way, your enthusiastic participants write their stories according to your decision.

We are happy to help design the project to meet any number of objectives as part of our base service. For an additional fee, we offer online or on-site writing and professional development assistance. Our Personal Identity Project curriculum will be available beginning summer 2015.

The preparation process flows from the writing and illustrating phase. We will accept your material in a variety of digital formats, most often Word or Rich Text documents for text and JPG or PNG for images.

You have the flexibility to do as much of the interior and cover preparation as you choose. If you engage staff or volunteers to prepare digital files, we will provide the specifications, guidance, and technical review. Pen & Publish will reduce the book pricing based on the time savings.

The printing process begins with providing an electronic galley proof of the inside pages and cover proof for your approval. Next, we print two or more copies for you to display while you take advanced orders. Your main order is delivered within 2 weeks, and subsequent orders of any size in even less time. We partner with the top POD (Print On Demand) printer in the world.

Our printed books are professional trade quality, which is the dominant quality you see in bookstores.

These are the most common types of books we print:

  • Perfect bound soft-cover books (hardcover by special arrangement)
  • Environmentally friendly acid-free opaque paper
  • Full-color covers professionally designed with your input
  • Grayscale interior graphics (full color also available)
  • Each book comes complete with ISBN and bar code, so bookstores can purchase your book through wholesalers or direct from us

Pen & Publish will provide templates you can use, and/or you can follow these guidelines to prepare your files:

  • Save text in Rich Text Format (RTF), Microsoft Word .doc or .docx, or contact us for other options.
  • All text should be saved as a single document per chapter/section/class (not individual student files).
  • Organize the text, illustrations, and advertisements in the order you want them to appear in your finished book: dedication, acknowledgments, foreword, Table of Contents, numbered sections or chapters, advertisements. We suggest a simple numbering system based on order of appearance.
  • We will add the title and copyright page unless you prefer to do so.
  • We recommend Times New Roman, Garamond, or Century Schoolbook, 12 point as an excellent choice for the body text.
  • Headings may be bold, italics, all caps, larger, and/or a different font than the body text. Consistency is key for all text!
  • Illustrations should be scanned at 300 DPI/PPI at the size in which they are to appear in the book (or larger): the standard size would be no larger than 4” x 7” in a 6” x 9” book. We will size at no extra cost, but scanning (when original artwork is provided) is extra ($1 each).
  • Save illustrations individually as grayscale (CMYK color for cover or or full-color interiors) as JPG or PNG (or TIF) files.
  • Label each illustration file with a number indicating its order in the chapter/section/class. For instance, the third graphic going with Tim Cooper's story to appear in Ms. Smith's class could be: 3TCooper.jpg.
  • Insert the file name surrounded by [brackets] as a placeholder to show where you want it to appear in the book: [3TCooper]. You may also insert the image in addition to the file name.
  • Captions may be included in [brackets] with file name: [3TCooper “Tim Cooper, 3rd grade, writing her story for the anthology project.”]
  • Pen & Publish uses black-and-white or grayscale illustrations on all inside pages, unless you have contracted to print in full-color. Color interiors will increase the printing cost based on the quality level you choose. Contact us for details.
  • Covers are always full color (unless you choose otherwise).
  • You may provide cover design ideas, photograph(s), or other art to be incorporated, as a digital file or on paper.
  • If you are providing optional front and/or back cover art, it should be in CMYK color, 300 DPI/PPI at the size it is to appear or larger. Pen & Publish will size as necessary.
  • Artwork can be submitted on paper, online, or on CD. Sending paper materials which cannot be replaced is discouraged, but if chosen use a shipment method requiring a signature for delivery confirmation and a tracking number.

There are no upfront costs with Pen & Publish. Your group takes advance orders and payment to eliminate risk and determine your initial order. You can order additional copies at any time, in any quantity. A larger initial order can mean a reduction in your per-book costs, thus increasing your profit on each book sold.

Your organization's cost per book is based primarily on the final page count, book size, quantity ordered, and any additional services you may choose. Once we talk with you about your book contents and number of contributors, we will provide you a price ($10–$12 for most books, delivery included) that you can base your sales price on. Your book cost could end up being lower. There are no upfront costs or hidden fees.

Your selling price and profit are totally up to you. Most organizations using the book as a fundraiser add $5 or more and non-fundraisers usually add $2+ for advance orders, and subsequent sales usually are priced an additional $2–$4. Bookstore sales generally pay $1–$3 per book . (Most of the sale price goes to the bookseller, wholesaler, and printer.) Your estimated price gives you a fixed cost to plan on and your actual cost may be lower than the estimate based on quantity ordered and various other factors. The estimated price will only increase if the scope of your project changes (large increase in pages, changing to color interior).

A student anthology can be a great opportunity for fundraising. The sales process usually begins early with setting goals, use for the funds, organizing volunteers as needed, and choosing a chairperson. Some options include:

  • Prepaid advanced orders
  • Direct sales
  • Retail market sales
  • Advertising and/or sponsor revenue
  • Crowdfunding (inquire for details and guidance)

You are free to include advertisers or sponsors in your book. Advertisements, special mentions, personal notes, or acknowledgments can easily be included in your publishing and fundraising plans. We will include as many ads or sponsor-related pages as you provide. There is no cost unless we have to invest excessive graphic artist time in creating the ads or add an unexpected number of pages.

Yes! Often people want additional copies once they have seen the book. You also may decide to offer books for direct sale through your school, local merchants, or on your website. There is no minimum order, and books are available to you direct indefinitely and through booksellers for at least one year.

In addition to your direct sales, we normally make your book available for order through most chain, independent, and online booksellers, including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, through our affiliation with national book wholesalers Ingram Book Group and/or Baker & Taylor. Out-of-town relatives and friends will be able to easily order books. Publisher direct orders from our website can also be arranged.

ISBN is an acronym for International Standard Book Number. This is the number you will find on the copyright page and on the back of your book. This number identifies a book and makes it possible to be sold in wholesale and retail markets around the world.

We're available by phone during business hours—(812) 837-9226 or (314) 827-6567—or anytime by email. We're here to help!