As I have become more social online, the prevailing grief for me is listening to all the new authors whose main problem is that they are using Word. Whether it’s one of my Facebook groups like Christian Indie Authors or Indie Christian Authors, a Google+ community like Christian Authors, or the authors who tweet, the ones in Linked-In groups, or GoodReads groups, and many more, the common lament is, “How do I do this in Word?”
The true answer? It can’t be done in Word
I’m of two minds. Should I make myself a pest? Should I wait for specific questions? I normally choose the later. However, the true solution, InDesign CS6, is immediately attacked as impossible: too expensive, too difficult, too complicated, too scary to contemplate. It makes me sad.
Turning to a professional software solution would solve so many of their problems. The supposed solutions of Scrivener, Pages, OpenOffice, and the rest of the cheaper word processing solutions are all worse than what they are trying to cure. Even iBooks Author is a sidetrack using Pages—which is just a word processor from Apple.
You don’t want a word processor
Word processors are not designed to produce professional copy. You may like writing in Word because that’s all you know, but the output is really bad. PLUS! Word, and word processors in general, train your eye to actually believe that word processor output is acceptable. It is not. The typography is horrible. The image management is worse. Here’s a few of the countless articles I’ve written on the issues.
- Formatting your books: DIY or Paid?
- InDesign is the key to economy in self publishing
- The entire definition of a book has changed
- Books, even ebooks, need good tools
A lot of it is in the little stuff, but much of it is crucially important.
- Word can’t handle professional graphics: PSDs and PDFs. It can’t handle vector image data at all.
- Word processors justify line by line not a paragraph at a time: As a result, word spacing varies wildly from line to line.
- No link management: You must link graphics so you can swap out the high resolution gray images for the high resolution color images of downloadable PDFs and the low resolution color images of ePUBs and Kindle books when going from print to ebook.
- No CMYK color: This is the standard for printing and word processors cannot even import it.
- Direct export of ePUBs and KF8 files is limited, if available: InDesign has powerful controls and abilities for exporting professional quality ePUBs, PDFs, and KindleKF8 ebooks.
- No packaging or preflighting of documents
- No book function to assemble many chapters into one book
The list goes on and on.
Worst of all, you’re making it difficult for your readers!
All of our focus as authors and publishers is centered on clear, concise communication with our readers. Our goal is to present the content easily and effortlessly so they can access and retain the wonderful pearls of wisdom we have written.
- Smashwords Direct Offers ePub Uploads for Indie Authors (goodereader.com)
- The use of InDesign & Photoshop is essential stewardship for DIY publishers (bergsland.org)
- Formatting an e-Book on Scrivener (everythingscrivener.wordpress.com)
- Using Scrivener and iBooks Author to Create an iTunes iBook (writingishardwork.com)