Pocket books, sized 4.35 inches by 7 inches, are the least expensive format for book publishers to release printed books in. Several publishers began experimenting with paperbacks in the 1930s, and the Pocket Books imprint was founded by Robert de Graaf at Simon and Shuster in 1939. Small-format pocket books may be published and promoted much as a hardcover or trade book title.
Create a business name for your publishing company and register it at the county courthouse, and open a bank account. Prepare your manuscript for publishing by carefully editing it and making necessary corrections.
Lay out the book in a word processing program. Use Times Roman, Ariel or another easy to read typeface, sized 10 point and double spaced. Start the story on page five. Make page one the title page, page two is for copyright and publisher information, put the dedication on page three and leave page four blank. A table of contents is optional, and will move the start of the story back to the next available odd numbered page.
Design a cover for the book using a graphics software program such as Adobe Photoshop, with the title, a photo, illustration or graphic. Stong images and colors make the best impression for a book cover. Leave space on the lower back cover for a bar code. Research prices for pocket sized books and set an appropriate price for you book.
Buy an ISBN number, an International Standard Book Number, from bowker.com. This 13 digit number identifies the book to retailers, distributors and the book trade. It is necessary to get into bookstores. Use the ISBN number to create a bar code that must be printed on the back of your book. Bowker offers a one ISBN number, one bar code package for $150.00. A block of ten ISBN numbers is $250.00
Once you have an ISBN number and Bowker account, log onto your account and enter your book in the Books in Print database, maintained online by Bowker.
Contact several book printers and show them your book and cover files and ask for quotes on printing your pocket sized book. Traditional lithography book printing is appropriate for runs of 500 books or more. For smaller runs, consider using a POD, or print on demand book printer, as it may be wise to start with a small run. Lulu.com is a leading POD book printer. Choose a printer, and ask to see a proof book before the whole run is completed.
Announce your book to the book trade, sending advance copies and a press release to reviews. Compile a mailing list including Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist from American Library Association, The New York Time Book Review and other appropriate media outlets including your local media.
Try to sell your pocket books to book distributors. Bookmasters.com has a distribution division that works with small publishers on a fee for service basis. A list of trade book distributors is available from Parapublishing.com.
Create an ongoing marketing program to publicize and sell your book, including book signings, postcard mailings, publishing events, blogs and web sites.