Self publishing software for DIY (do-it-yourself) publishers is plentiful, and it can be intimidating when it comes to choosing the best tools for the job. However, the rule of thumb when it comes to writing, designing, and publishing your own book is to come up with a professional look ... one that can produce books comparable to big name publishers.
We’ve come up with a list of tried-and-tested self publishing software for every essential step involved in the process of DIY publishing. As mentioned, the goal is to have a quality book that doesn’t scream amateur, content and look-wise. If you are unfamiliar with some of these software and do not have the time or inclination to learn how they work, it’s best to hire someone already learned in them. It will save time and effort, minimize frustration, significantly cut the learning curve, and free up your schedule to concentrate on writing the book.
Write with Word. Microsoft Word is arguably the most common program among DIY publishers to write manuscripts with. It’s relatively easy to figure out and has features that can help you shape and trim your story (such as a thesaurus, word count, spelling and grammar check, page numbers, phonetic guides, etc). If you know enough about it, you can also do page lay-out using Word or Publisher. If not, don’t fret. A competent editor or lay-out artist should know the intricacies of a word processor, including how to make a Word file printer-ready (so before hiring one, make sure to ask if they know how to thoroughly work with various editions of self publishing software, as well).
Design the Cover with Illustrator. As cliché as it may sound, readers do judge a book by its cover. So while it may seem like such a simple task to splash the book’s title on the cover and add a corresponding image to it, bear in mind that the smallest details can make or break a book sale and possible rave reviews. Surveys have shown that fonts perceived as incomprehensible or unattractive by book buyers can render the book undesirable and result in dismal sales. Adobe Illustrator is a design self publishing software that has become an industry standard because it works for both Mac and Windows users. It has sophisticated tools and features you can play around with. However, reviews point out a steep learning curve even for veteran users of it. It would be better to hire a competent graphic designer who has mastered Illustrator if making book cover designs isn’t your forte.
InDesign vs. QuarkXpress for Layout, You Choose. Which layout self publishing software is best for you and your book? Both InDesign and QuarkXpress are popular choices for book layout programs, but have different features to offer. Adobe InDesign integrates other products like lllustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver so you’ll have practically all the tools and peripherals you need to lay your book out with just one software. But as previously mentioned, it can be quite a daunting task to master all of InDesign’s features. Still, if you prefer using InDesign, consider outsourcing your book’s layout process to a competent artist who has a portfolio of works that utilized this software.
As for QuarkXpress, plenty of self publishers use it because it supports electronic document publishing, and it’s easier to import files with it compared to InDesign. However, it doesn’t come packaged with other self publishing software-friendly programs unlike InDesign.
Of course with today's digital publishing tools, you can avoid buying all these costly programs (except Word) by choosing a printing company that will create your book from the Word document and book cover file that you upload to their web site. To learn more about this process and for instructions on setting up your account, click on CreateSpace publishing.
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