Now, in the middle of the second decade of the new millennium, the new self-publishing paradigm has come into its own. Many, if not most, of the new authors are starting with the idea that doing it themselves is the only logical method of publishing in this period of history.
The best professional software for doing this is InDesign. Nothing else comes close, and Adobe works hard to keep it that way. The problem is that new authors normally start with Word (or maybe Scrivener) and think it’s wonderful. It’s not, unless you are willing to give up all the typographical, formatting, and layout possibilities of the professional world of publishing.
Many an author is brought to his or her knees by the complexity of publishing. Traditional publishing has a small army of highly skilled people doing everything necessary to get the book published. The good news is that all of the necessary design and publishing power is available on your computer and can be run from your desktop—desktop publishing has finally arrived.
The bad news is that there is a lot to learn: editing, proofing, formatting, page layout, exporting in a viable format, font usage, typography, image adjustment, cover creation, and the list goes on for quite a ways. This is all made more complicated because Word (or any word processor) is simply incapable of providing many of the capabilities needed. So, the author either has to hire it done or learn a lot to do it him or herself.
The good news is that it can be done fairly quickly. I used to teach completely ignorant students the basics of digital publishing in five three-credit courses—sometimes, all in one term. Writing In InDesign CC 2014 Producing Books: Adding Fixed Layout ePUBs & much more is a thorough book which will teach you all of the basics needed to get your book published. If this seems like too much, then you need to hire someone to get it done for you. Our charges at Radiqx Press are competitive and the work is competent.
CC 2014 has virtually redone ePUB export—adding fixed layout & radically improving reflowable ePUBs
The most recent book is titled Book Publishing With InDesign CC. It covers through CC2017. There a free PDF here covering the new features for CC2018. The new books don’t talk nearly so much on the benefits of writing in InDesign.
Indesign has always been the best software for publishing: print & ebook. I just talked about this a little, and I have posted quite a bit about the new software. Most of the improvements for this version seemed to be focused on us—the self-publishers. This version of the book is also redone— in places quite radically.
A review by Mary Campagna Findley for the CS6 version
“David Bergland has challenged me to think beyond the writing, editing, and cover design of a book. He has written this book to explain how an author can create a whole package, a whole presentation, step by step, in easy to follow lessons, with plenty of room for beginners and experienced InDesign users to gather around and get better. Many authors talk about the challenges of just getting their books into print. But think it through for a moment. You wrote and polished the book. Do you just hand it over to someone who doesn’t understand, perhaps doesn’t even care, about its content and how you want the world to receive it? Consider acquiring the tools and skills David carefully explains in this book to design your presentation, your first impression, if you will, as carefully as you worked to create your story in the first place.”
The Links are to the Gumroad archive which contains a color PDF, a fixed layout ePUB, and a reflowable ePUB. This enables you to directly compare the differences and benefits of each format. You’ll discover they are all different.
It’s very different from either a PDF or a reflowable ePUB with some of the capabilities of each, plus the possibility of selling it through the iBooks Store and Kobo. iTunes Connect & Kobo Writing Life both take it with no problems. Tables are virtually unlimited. Paragraph rules work. Plus, a lot more exciting stuff.
All graphics need to be formatted with object styles: either Above Line or Custom. Inline graphics are always re-rasterized. Tables are much better. You can control stroke and fill—but no gradients. Strokes can be solid, dashed, or dotted, but they all must be the same. A stroke of none does not work. You need to make it a 0 pt stroke. It all covered in the link above.
You’ve read my arguments for this position before. However, they have more bite now that the exported ePUBs are often better than those produced by Web developers. Here’s an edited version Adobe’s handout of all the new stuff for the new InDesign 10: One of the largest efforts was put into ePUB export: Not only do we get fixed layout ePUB3s, but there have been many improvements to tables [stroke, fill, and more]—especially in fixed layout where they can output virtually anything InDesign can produce.
- Fixed Layout (FXL) and Reflowable EPUB Export
- Live text that is selectable and searchable in FXL
- Ability to include audio, video and Edge Animate content in FXL
- Several other improvements in EPUB export, including writing stroke and fill, control over CSS width and height, improved support for tables, preview apps etc.
- Enhanced Metadata Controls in Export Dialogs
- Expanded Export dialogs for FXL and Reflowable ePUBs
- Additional accessibility support in EPUB through epub:type attribute
Some other stuff added:
- Drag and Drop Table Columns and Rows
- Enhanced Packaging with automatic IDML and/or PDF production
- Seamless Update: the automatic and manual migration of local settings from previous release to current release
- Find Previous in the Find & Change dialog
- Internal & External Text Wrap in Footnotes
- Support for Footnotes in Non-Rectangular Text Frames
- Behance Integration to share your portfolio
- What’s New Dialog with videos and tutorials
- Color Swatch Folders
- PDF Passthrough Printer Support
- QR Code support within data merge
- Enhanced Control Over Background PDF Export
- Scale Effects really means scale effects
- Win Hi-DPI and per monitor support
- CEP 5 Support for developers
- Integration with CC Add-ons via the “Browse Add-ons” menu item
- Fixed many bugs
Bottom line? Get the book [or one of the older versions]
For CS6 and CC9.2 versions: You are enabled to create your book as a whole and self-publish easily
This is the new phenomenon which makes the new paradigm of 21st century publishing so exciting. You can now write your book fully formatted with all the typographic tools you need to communicate clearly and effectively with your readers. You are set free from dependence upon editors and publishers who do not know your industry and have no understanding of your niche. You can speak to your readers in their own language—the language of your area of interest. This gives new power to your writing and new control to the process.
Get excited! You have more creative control than ever
You must be set free from the limitations of word processors. You need to learn the power of excellent typography. You should learn what printers require. But that is doable. I used to teach all of these basics to my students at the community college [with no prior knowledge on their part] in only five 3-credit courses [one semester]. The likelihood is that you know now quite a bit more than they did when they started a decade ago.
The Creative Suite is a phenomenal tool for publishing
There are only three versions of InDesign which really matter for the self-publisher: CS6, CC9.2, & CC2014. Anything earlier [CS5.5 or earlier], simply cannot make ePUBs of the quality we need. CS6 does fairly well. InDesign CC finally makes professional quality ePUBs without the need to quibble. 2014 really kicks it up a few more notches. Now we can export ePUB3 books, which are accepted by iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Page Foundry, and more.
You need InDesign, Photoshop, and Acrobat Professional for professional production, at the least. Illustrator is also helpful. If you find serious code manipulation palatable, you might also use Dreamweaver for Web production and Kindle books. For ePUB production, you will need InDesign 8 or better, which is Creative Suite CS6. InDesign CC9.2 is much better. CC2014.2 has made it a whole new ball game. And it is only going to get better from here on out. The Creative Suite which has everything named above is $49 a month with automatic updates to all newer versions. InDesign by itself is $19 a month also with the updates. For Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver you can use much older versions—back to CS5 or even CS4. You may be able to find old versions of the Design Suite Premium through eBay an other sellers of used software. Registered owners of CS get CC for $29 a month for the first year. Check on the links at the beginning of this paragraph to see the current offers.
Buy the CS6, CC, or the CC 2014 version of the book, NOW! Own your book!
As you probably know, books purchased through Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and Kobo are only leases. You have the book in your ereader software by the largesse of the retailer. They can revoke that access at any time, plus you cannot move your ePUB from one ereader to another. The archives purchased from this page will download to your computer and you can install them wherever you like: Mac, PC, or Linux computers, your iPad and any ereader on it, or any other tablet ion the ePUB ereader of choice. You should also be able to side load it on your Kindle device. You receive an archive with a full-color downloadable PDF and an ePUB with embedded fonts.
Released, January 15, 2014 for InDesign CC9.2
This is a largely rewritten and reedited version bringing everything up to date for 2013 and early 2014. InDesign CC9.2 changes the way we do ePUBs for the better. There are many improvements and some new capabilities which enable us to produce ePUBs on a professional level without the need for messing with the code. Here’s a brief list:
- Now ePUBs with embedded fonts upload directly to iBooks and Kobo
- Lists converted to text now match the indents of the rest of the text and include custom bullets
- Anchored objects can float right or left using text wrap for margin control
- Type can be colored with a gradient [lost for CC 2014]
- An index with live links can be added
- Tables of contents can be added anywhere they are needed: formatted with styles & live links
- The Hyperlink panel has gotten much better, easier to use with far fewer bad links
Robert Brown said: This is a well organized, easy to read book. The volume is packed with David’s no nonsense approach to not just how to but why. From the begining to now; essential graphic design, desktop publishing and e-publishing trade knowledge that David has acquired over a long career. I recommend this book for all experience levels of graphic designers and desktop publishers. Thanks David!
New Revised Edition 2.5 covering InDesign CS6 was Released December 15, 2012
You can purchase directly a package with the PDF and ePUB versions of Edition 2.5 for the normal price of $7.99. You can email them to your iPad or other tablet and upload into BlueFire to see the embedded fonts for iBooks, Kobo, or Bluefire. For the rest the fonts are dropped (for now).