Self Publishing with Marathon Press: An Overview of the Production Process

Self Publishing with Marathon Press: An Overview of the Production Process

Before you get started on your self publishing journey, we advocate for holding early discussions on your publishing plans so we can help you achieve the results  you are hoping for and be prepared for all aspects of the production.


Here’s an overview of steps in the process

  1. Choosing Format :  Hardcover of Soft Cover  Other options: Saddlestitch, Wire-O or Spiral binding
  2. Get preliminary pricing : Once you have a basic idea of the format and page count involved in your project, feel free to ask us us for preliminary pricing on a range of  3 quantities.  We can make suggestions on your options. We offer free consultation during this process to help. We can send you any samples or techniques you may be interested in exploring. Keep in mind, the quote you get today may need to be updated at time of order if too much time has passed . Paper supply and pricing has been very volatile in the last couple years. In all fairness we cannot guarantee old pricing if our costs have changed.
  3. Design/Layout: Using Adobe InDesign for most projects is the norm. Once a firm page count is established, Marathon Press can furnish cover templates for either hardcover or softcover versions.

    Marathon Press HC Sample Template Diagram (C)
  4. Editing: You’ve probably heard this before: Do not take short cuts on editing your book!  There are a number of ways to do this from hiring freelance professional editors ( we can recommend a few), or with the help of experienced friends who can offer suggestions beyond your own point of view.   For yourself: make several internal copies of it off your home printer and read through thoroughly before even sending PDF files to a printer. Use Spellcheck features to help spot any typographical errors. Once the printer receives the files, ideally there are no further editorial changes. It’s amazing how reading the book from a printed page vs. a computer monitor can make typo’s more visible.
  5. Confirm your Order as early as possible with Marathon Press, so materials  such as paper, book cover materials and binder’s boards can be secured in advance. This will involve confirming the quoted project and supplying us credit card payment information which we will hold until step # 12
  6. Final PDF Files to printer. We prefer that you send your cover + text file to us through
  7. Within 2-3 days we will have an email PDF proof sent back for confirmation. We send this to you through
  8. After approval of the email PDF proof, we can go directly to press or:
  9. For more color critical jobs, and an extra cost we will print a set of unbound, hard copy proofs  on the actual stock your job was quoted and that will usually take an extra 4-5 days to ship out.
  10. A clever use of digital printing at this point is to request some extra sets of proofs – which in traditional publishing vernacular might be called “galley proofs”. These copies are unbound but are often used by publishers to send to book reviewers at newspapers and magazines, or other spheres of interest to elicit testimonials from prior to publication.  Just make sure you allow time in your schedule to allow for this step.

    advance galley text proofs for reviewers and publicity
  11. If there are any changes in color or typographical, please make changes to your PDF files and re-submit new files.
  12. Once hard copy proofs are approved, the job can be sent for printing, binding and finishing procedures.  This process can take anywhere from 8-10 working days or longer depending on complexity of job, overall quantity of books and time of year. Peak seasons with our major customers at Marathon are in April/May for school yearbooks and November/December for photobook production. Any schedule overlapping these time frames may be subject to longer lead times.
  13. When the proofs are OK’d for printing we generally get full payment for the job at this time.
  14. While your job is printing, be planning for your potential book events, and book sales activities. Marathon can help with related commercial printing services such as postcard direct mailings, posters, and other marketing services that will help promote your book project.
  15. Advance Copies: Is there a need to get a few copies expedited in advance?  Let us know so we can accommodate those needs if possible.
  16. Bulk Shipment: Do you want your books individually shrink wrapped? Or is shrink wrapping in convenient bundles within the shipping box OK? Depending on size of book, we generally shrink wrap small sets of books together within the corrugated shipping box
  17. Split Shipment:  Will you need us to ship a certain amount to one location ( such as a book distributor) and the balance to another location? Let us know in advance so there are no surprises at the last moment
  18. Individual boxes: Sometimes the books need to be separately boxed, individually and then drop shipped or mailed individually. Let Marathon know your needs in advance so we can plan accordingly. Individual corrugated boxes are usually a custom order and can take extra time to arrive to us.
  19. Ground Shipping vs Freight shipping: We usually use Fedex Ground shipping  for shipment weights less than 200 lbs and/or a small number of boxes. For shipments over 200 lbs, we suggest having the books shipped via Fedex Freight so that the boxes travel across country to destination on a pallet with no jostling around. Keep in mind that sending a large freight truck to a residential location also involves some advance coordination to make sure there is a lift gate on the truck to lower the pallets onto the delivery location.
  20. Arrival of books: Please inspect shipment thoroughly upon arrival.  We strive very hard to have no defects or errors, but things can happen either during shipping or in manufacturing from time to time. The sooner we find out about an issue, the sooner we can correct and replace any defects. Should there be any issues, please take some pictures of the problems and notify your account representative.

Now you’re a Publisher! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back, but don’t rest on your laurels – the journey has just begun! Stay tuned for more tips and pointers on the Self Publishing process through Marathon Press.





If you would like to schedule a free consultation call to discuss options for printing, or any particular questions we can help you with, I welcome the opportunity to hear from you!


Martin Pugh


(402)-371-5040  ext 289

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Free Consultation for Individuals & organizations!

When it's time to print your book, let us be your guide!
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With over 30 years of Book Publishing experience, Marathon Press has helped thousands of clients self-publish anywhere from 20 to 50,000 copies of their book titles. Marathon has worked with several of the top names and organizations in the photography and photobook industry.

Wire-o Bound Booklets and Calendars

Twin Loop, Mechanical Binding

Wire-o Binding for Calendars, Cookbooks and more!
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Some of the style variations we offer are: *Soft cover Wire-O, *Hard cover Wire-O and *Concealed Wire-O (both hard cover and soft cover) * Twin Loop with Calendar Hanger

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Sizes from 8 x 8 up to 14 x 19" !

Layflat Albums
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Marathon’s Layflat Albums are produced with German Pro Photo paper which has a matte finish and a neutral white point with a slight shimmer. Water resistant so you can easily clean off a spill. Acid free and chlorine free.

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Let us be your Guide!

Choose between printed hard cover or cloth bound with optional foil stamping. Optional dust jacket printing with 3 lamination options

Let us help guide you to the most appropriate paper options for your book project. We have 9 standard text options and 6 standard soft cover weight options for paperback books.

We have a long track record of award winning quality work for some of the most demanding artists and photographers in the industry!

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