I was talking to a friend a couple days ago. He mentioned the primary trouble he has in using InDesign to format his books: when he gets into InDesign he can’t remember how to use it. Suddenly, it dawned on me that this is a primary reason why writing in InDesign is so effective.
Not only is writing fully formatted in InDesign the best method of communicating clearly with your readers [outside of excellent content], the simple act of writing in InDesign keeps up your skill level in InDesign and enables you to increase that skill level day by day. The result will be professionally formatted books, ready to go as soon as you are finished with the final edits and corrections. As InDesign becomes your normal writing tool, your writing will get better because you will be seeing how it will look in the book.
It will finally dawn on you that raw, unformatted copy is basically unreadable
A lot of your writing problems are exacerbated by the simple fact that reading your work in Word or Scrivener is very difficult. So, you miss many errors because of that lack of readability. Most rely more and more on the automatic grammar and spell checking options—not realizing that they tend to make your writing stilted and even more uncomfortable to read. Most authors have no idea how badly Word messes up your understanding of how copy should be put together.
Every week I hear yet another group of authors lamenting at the difficulty of formatting their books in Createspace. They have no concept that the same difficulties exist in formatting their Kindle books, but they have chosen to let Amazon do that for them. There is no understanding of how poor the layout and typography is when using that option. It is appalling [and obvious] to read a book formatted by Amazon or Smashwords. It’s like trying to make the family car into a Grand Prix racer. It can be done, but it’s very difficult and never as good as the real thing.
Letting coders and Web developers format your books produces poorly designed books
That is what happens when you let Smashwords, Kindle KDP, Draft2Digital, Lulu, or any other non-professional design your books. They are being designed by people who understand HTML and CSS, not typography. The results show it.
Can you produce raw copy in Word and Scrivener?
Of course! But it is a very clumsy place to produce books. It’s comfortable, but that’s just old and bad habits controlling your life. Will it take some adjustment to get into InDesign? Of course! Will it be a stretch? Certainly! You will be learning entirely new fields of knowledge:
- How to communicate clearly using type
- How to make a book professional
- What book distributors require
- How to design a cover
- How to set up margins, paragraph spacing, and all the rest of this essential knowledge
BOTTOM-LINE? If your readers have trouble reading your book, they won’t do it!
These are very important understandings which are required to make your book excellent. You can hire it out. But why? All it takes is a little study and practice.