48 Hr Books Blog

We hope that the following blog entries will explain and simplify the process of turning your words into actual books. We'd love to hear from you, either with comments, or with suggestions for future blog posts. We're here to help!

Utilizing Our Resources

June 18, 2018

Self-publishing your book for the first time can be overwhelming.  Getting your books printed is not something you do every day, so we try to make our process as easy as possible, with some extra resources to help you along the way.

Here’s a list of some of our resources and how to navigate them on our website!

Free book templates: You can find our templates under the “How Easy” tab.  We have templates that open in most word processors and come in four standard sizes: 4.25 x 7, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9, and 8.5 x 11.  We require that your files already be set up to the size you want your books to be.  If you already have an existing document and just need the template for sizing, then you can copy and paste your text into the template.  If you’re just starting out and need a guideline for the setup, our templates offer suggestions for formatting like front and back matter pages.  You can delete any pages that are not applicable to your book.  Once your book is ready to go in our template, save a copy of the original.  You may need this if you have to go back and make changes.  You must also save a separate file as a PDF, which is the format we require.  A PDF is a locked document, so you can’t make changes.  This is why you must save a copy of the original as well. If you need help saving the file as a PDF, we have a free PDF converter you can download.  The converter is right next to a PDF of instructions on how to use our templates.  We suggest using this as well! If you scroll down to the end of the page, we have a YouTube tutorial on “Using Our Templates.” https://www.48hrbooks.com/free-book-templates

Cover size calculator: Our cover size calculators are located on the same page as our book templates. If you scroll down a little, you will see separate size calculators for perfect bound (paperback) and hard cover books.  If you click on the icons, a PDF will download where you can enter the size of your book, paper stock, and number of pages to get the measurements for your cover, including the spine width. You will need these calculations to build your cover in your design program.

**Printing a 5.5 x 8.5 book? We have cover templates (located under the cover size calculators) for InDesign.  Simply click on the link with your page range to download the appropriate template!

Cost calculator: If you click on the “How Much” tab, you will be directed to our instant cost calculator. This is the same tool we use to quote you over the phone and via email, and it’s available to you 24/7 if you ever need to get pricing.  The first page gives you a base price for binding and shipping.  If you know you will be using options beyond our standard paper and covers, or will be requesting additional services, you can click “next” to get further pricing.  If you plan to place an order, you can do so directly from the cost calculator if you keep pressing “next.” If you wish to order at a later date, you can close the page. https://www.48hrbooks.com/self-publishing-cost#step/QuickPrice/Binding

FAQ section: Our Frequently Asked Questions section provides a TON of information. You can find this page under the “Support” tab.   We’ve separated questions into different sections to make it easy to navigate.  We cover questions regarding the ordering process, file setup, additional options, shipping, and much more.  We recommend taking a look at this page before starting the process to see if there’s anything you’ve overlooked or need to know more about. https://www.48hrbooks.com/faq

Book Profile: This feature can be selected on your order form.  If you “opt-in” to the book profile option, you simply fill out the information, including a brief summary, a longer description, about the author, and genre. A webpage is created out of the information that you can share via email and on social media. Here is an example of a book profile page once completed: https://www.48hrbooks.com/book/VyOorayZ

Social Media: We often post offers with publisher codes and giveaways for free books you can participate in, on our Facebook page.  We will tease when these giveaways are coming up on our Instagram.  We encourage you to follow us for more content, including books we’ve recently printed, showcasing our different cover and binding options, blog post alerts, writing motivation, and more. If you’re thinking about printing with us, but want to see a close-up of our leather binding, foil stamping, diamond 3D, etc., our social media would be the place to go!


https://www.instagram.com/48hrbooks/ (@48hrbooks)

Customer Service: The most helpful resource of all is our customer service. We always answer our phones and email back within a few minutes. If you leave a voicemail, we call back as soon as we can. We try our best to make sure you speak to the same person every time you call. Our small, attentive staff ensures you get personal attention fast. You will always be able to call or email and receive a response from someone who is familiar with the details of your project.  We understand it’s much easier to work with the same person and establish those relationships.  If you have technical questions about setting up your files, customer service will connect you with one our prepress technicians to answer all of your questions.

Email: info@48hrbooks.com

Phone: 800-231-0521

Here are some additional services you can request on your order that you may find helpful.

Reformatting: You can find information about our reformatting services under the “How Easy” tab. If you request reformatting services on your order, we require that you upload a Word document, rather than a PDF. Your assigned prepress technician will lay out your book for you in the Word document then convert it to a PDF when finished. We keep the reformatted document on file in case changes ever need to be made on your next printing. If you have specific formatting requests, you can note these in the “customer comments” section of your order. You can see different reformatting options here: https://www.48hrbooks.com/reformatting-styles

Create-a-Cover: Setting up your cover is one of the most daunting tasks for people who are new at printing books.  If you’re not familiar with design software or do not have someone to outsource your design work to, our Create-a-Cover service may be a good option for you. You can select this service on your order form and it will prompt different selection for general cover design/ layout and background color. If there are graphics you want to include, you can upload these images along with your files once you submit your order.  Have specific instructions? Note them in the “customer comments” section.

eBooks:  If you are self-publishing and selling your books online, you’ve probably thought about offering an eBook version of your book as well.  You can request this as an additional service on your order.  We will set up your eBook for you then email you a MOBI file (Amazon) and an ePub file (other eBook readers).  You can find information about our eBook services under the “How We’re Different” tab if you click on “Our Exciting New Options.” https://www.48hrbooks.com/options

ISBN & Barcode: If you plan on selling your books in stores or online, you will need an ISBN and barcode.  We make this process seamless for you.  Simply request an ISBN and barcode on your order and will email you the ISBN application to fill out.  Once you send it back, we will order your ISBN number.  When we receive the ISBN, we will generate the barcode and place it on your back cover.  You can find information about ISBN’s and barcodes on the same page as eBooks.



Writer’s block is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.  If you are a writer and have never experienced this, you’re in the minority. Writer’s block is an extremely common condition amongst writers and can leave you feeling helpless and generally frustrated.

The first thing that will help combat writer’s block is establishing a routine. It’s proven that people are more productive when they get an early start in the morning. It may take time finding a routine that works for you, but when you find it, writer’s block becomes easier to manage.

If you’ve found a reliable routine that works, but still experience writer’s block, you may want to try altering your approach. For example, simply introducing a morning or mid-day walk helps get your blood flowing, increasing the oxygen to your brain.  Your mind needs tools to perform too.  Walking will help stimulate brain activity, putting you in a better position to focus and be creative.

When you are starting a new project, have a game plan to meet certain goals in your progress.  Have a number of pages or chapters in mind for the day, week, or month, etc. This will help prioritize your schedule for writing and give you accountability for staying on top of your book.  Even if you don’t always meet these benchmarks, you will at least have a clearer idea of where you are at in your progress.

Being distracted is a common trigger of writer’s block. Avoid time-wasting websites or anything else that is taking over your attention.  If you’re writing at home, curate an environment that you can feel comfortable and successful in. Maybe you enjoy going somewhere public for a different kind of atmosphere. Try out multiple spaces and take note of where you have been productive.

Sometimes your mind just needs to reset. There are multiple activities you can do to jumpstart different waves of thinking that can lead to productive writing.

Take a break from writing and read something completely different from your own project. What you consume helps to inspire what you produce. Deviating from your own content and switching to other reading material can help spark new ideas or just allow your brain to escape for a moment.

Buy a book of writing prompts or look some up online and do a new one each day.  This simple activity will help wake up your mind critically and creatively.

Self-awareness is key.  Be aware of how often and what times of day that writer’s block occurs. Take notes on how you are feeling in that moment, what section of the book you are having trouble with, etc. Taking notes like this may help you recognize certain patterns, making it easier to make adjustments in your approach in the long run.

Accepting that writer’s block is something you struggle with is part of being a writer. Don’t let frustration take over to the point where you feel defeated. Wake up and meditate. Go on a walk. Change your environment. Read an article that interests you. Experiment.


For more writer’s block tips, email us at sm@48hrbooks.com to subscribe to our newsletter!


The “front matter” of a book includes the title page, copyright page, dedication, table of contents, foreword or preface, and introduction. Your book can contain as much or as little preliminary information as you want. Depending on the genre, you may only choose to include a few of these pages, or even just a title page. It’s your book, so it’s up to you!  


Here’s a breakdown of the standard information found on each page:


Title page: This is normally the first official page of your book. It includes the title, subtitle if applicable, and the author’s name. If there were any major collaborators, such as an illustrator, this person’s name would be listed as well.


Copyright page: This page will contain your copyright information, which includes the book title, year of publication, the author or publisher, disclaimers, and ISBN number.  Here is an example of how this page is displayed:



Dedication/Acknowledgements: The dedication lists who you are dedicating your book to and why. You can opt to keep this page simple, without elaborating on the reasons for your dedications. Many authors have written as little as, “For Mom.”

An acknowledgments page is similar to a dedication, but purely acknowledges the people who have aided in the publication process.


Table of Contents: Novels may not require a Table of Contents, but reference books should always have one. This page lists your chapters or sections, and their corresponding page numbers. Here’s an example of how this page is set up:



*If your book contains multiple headings and useful material to reference, this information should be listed in the index (or indices) in the back matter of your book. For example, if you were writing a history book, the Index would list significant events, terms, dates, etc.

**You’ll notice that the title page, copyright page, and dedication are not included in this example.  These pages are often not numbered, therefore not listed in the contents.


Foreword: A foreword is written by someone other than the author, who has a personal connection to the author or the contents of the book. The Foreword usually reads like a short essay.


Preface: The preface is similar to the foreword, but is written by the author.  Your book can contain both a foreword and preface. The preface sheds light on the conception of the book and its journey to publication. 


Introduction: This page outlines the purpose or goals of your book. What do you hope the reader will take away from your writing?


A common question we get asked is how to send us the front matter pages.  These pages should be included in your final PDF of the inside pages, as they are part of your complete book.  They should be positioned in the order you want them printed. 


Need help getting started? Here is a link to our free book templates, which automate some of the set-up and formatting tasks, including the front matter pages. 







Every author has a different writing process. By researching some famous authors, it was interesting to see how each one differs in their individual approaches. However, there was a common thread among many of them, which was simply, in order to be a writer, you have to do just that: write.

Here’s a glimpse into the writing process according to:

Truman Capote referred to his writing process as “horizontal,” in the literal sense. He had to be lying down on a bed or couch in order to think.                                                                                                                  

Most notable works: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood

Quote: “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”    


J.D. Salinger famously gave very few interviews throughout his lifetime. A young Salinger said he had to be alone to write, with no distractions. His writing approach mirrored his reclusive lifestyle.

Most notable works: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories

Quote: “An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.”


J.K. Rowling, being a series writer, revealed that she tends to heavily plan everything before putting pen to paper.  Rowling first recorded her ideas for Harry Potter on napkins while on a train. In January 2018, she tweeted, “Pen, paper and then Microsoft Word.” Rowling has often associated her writing with cafes – her chosen environment to write in.

Notable works: The Harry Potter Series

Quote: “You sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.


F. Scott Fitzgerald was described as a natural, gifted writer, but when offering writing tips of his own, suggested detailed note-taking and plot outlines. 

Notable Works: The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise

Quote: “Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created--nothing.”


Stephen King has been open about his writing process, establishing a daily routine of walking, some writing, and revision.

Notable works: The Shining, Carrie

Quote: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”


Jane Austen didn’t leave many traces about her writing approach behind, but from her letters to friends and family, it is clear she placed an emphasis on character development and setting description.

Notable Works: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Quote: “I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am.”


If you find it difficult to sit down and write, you may need to start brainstorming different ways to motivate and inspire your writing.  Switch up your routine in different, unique ways to see what gets your wheels turning.  Consider adding more reading materials, unrelated to your own, into your rotation. Maybe a morning walk or a change in writing environment helps reset and clear your mind.   Whatever approach you take, work in something new and switch it up - this could lead to a writing routine more catered to your creative needs.











Our Unique Cover Options

April 25, 2018

…All in one place!


We wanted to outline some of the differences between our unique cover options and provide photos of each.  This way you can compare them, all in one place, and see the different combinations of options that pair well together. 


You’ve already poured your heart and soul into your project, and when it comes time to finally print, the process can be overwhelming and may require some guidance. It’s always helpful to go to a book store and physically look at different books that catch your eye.  What about these books drew you to them? Was it a design element? Glossy raised text? The dust jacket? These are questions you should ask yourself before committing to your book materials.


Here are some brief descriptions of our unique cover options and books we have printed using each one!


Cloth Covers: A beautiful yet economical cover material with a pronounced linen weave. These high-quality cloth book covers are available in several bright, vibrant colors. Cloth pairs well with dust jackets and foil stamping.  Here is a look at a couple case bound books with cloth covers and foil stamping.