How to Start a Typesetting Business

Suppose you're new to mail order, and you want to put your ads into the many ad sheets, tabloids and publications you're seeing in your mail box everyday. The only problem is, you don't HAVE any ads! Here's where a typesetting service comes into play.

Typesetting IS NOT as difficult as the name suggests. It's just another name for typing text based on a given layout or format. If you have a computer, you can produce professional quality typesetting easily and quickly. But you need a computer to offer a typesetting business.

Put ads in ad sheets and other publications for your typesetting service. Observe what other typesetters are charging and be competitive. You should probably expect to get $1 - $3 per inch. This doesn't sound like much, but the work is easy, and you will be doing other things besides just typesetting, as you will see later in this report.

Typesetting should be offered as an "add-on" service, best in connection with your own ad sheet. Your customers will be providing the ad copy, so all you have to do is arrange it. Usually, around 35 words will fit into a one-inch ad, leaving room for a border and a piece of clip art.

Here's sample wording for an ad: "PROFESSIONAL TYPESETTING - Get your ad typeset and mailed to 1000 hungry buyers! $5/inch (35 words max.), $1 each additional inch. You get 15 camera-ready proofs FREE! Send payment & 2 first class stamps to: (Your name and address)." What you will be doing here is typesetting the ad, inserting it into one of your ad sheets, and sending the customer 10 extra copies of their ad, along with as many of your other offers as you can for 2 stamps. You may be giving the typesetting for free, based on your ad sheet rates, but it's worth it, as this is a great way to get new ads, as well as new customers.

So, here's how to typeset a one-inch ad. First, don't worry about trying to fit everything into one inch! That's right. Make it twice the size it will be when printed. This gives you more room to work with, plus it will be a better quality when reduced to one inch on a photocopier (that's the trick!).

For a one-inch ad, make a 2 inch tall by 4 1/4 inch wide border on a piece of white paper with your rub-on borders. Next, make a light guideline with the blue pencil for the headline. Use rubdown letters of the appropriate size to make the headlines, being careful to follow the guideline to keep everything straight. Then, load the paper into your typewriter and neatly type the copy into the remaining space.

If your typewriter will do extra-bold words, use them to highlight important words in the ad, as well as the name and address. When you type the ad, leave a bit of space on one side for an appropriate piece of clip art. Cut the clip art from the book, and using either rubber cement, "spray-mount" glue or clear, non-shiny tape, attach it to the ad. Use liquid paper to cover any specks or smears on the ad. Then, reduce it 50% on a photocopier. You've just typeset an ad!

You should always offer extra copies of the ad to your customers. So, make five copies of the ad, cut them out, and place them straight face down on the copier glass. Make two copies of that, cut out the ads from the copies, and you have fifteen copies to send your customer, plus the original to put in your own ad sheet.

You must also have a laser printer and a good graphics program or word processor. Use your graphics program to do the layout steps above. You can add clip-art in the computer, or manually, after printing the ad. You won't have to worry about reducing the ad on a photocopier, as you can do that within your graphics program. Plus, printing extra copies is a snap. Most graphics programs will let you "copy and stamp," which means making a copy of what you have made (your ad), and stamping it elsewhere on the screen. Hence, you can make your fifteen copies all on one page and print them once, quickly and easily. And, your typesetting will look super- professional!

Remember how I asked for two first class stamps in my sample ad? That gives you plenty of "envelope space" for your other offers and ad sheets. You should be sure to include a copy of the ad sheet your customer's ad appears in, so they can be assured you delivered on your promises.

Offering typesetting will get customers who are new to mail order, as well as seasoned professionals who don't want to bother with doing their own ads. It will also expand the number of people who get your ad sheets and offers.

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