Best Desktop Publishing Software
Desktop publishing software may be wise purchase because:
results will be more professional-looking, which translates into acceptance by bookshops and decent sales.
digital output (i.e. files) can be sent directly to commercial printers.
If you don't want to purchase the software yourself, then:
1. You can design the pages of your book with a word-processing package, and run off the camera-ready copy from your laser printer. You'll have limited control over complicated layouts, and the text won't look so pleasing, but that won't matter for the in-house publication or family history booklet.
2. You can get a friend, perhaps a graphics design student, to use her software (PageMaker, Quark Xpress or InDesign) to lay out the pages and save them onto CD. Half of professionally trained graphic designers seem to work outside their calling, and your friend may do a first-rate job for very little. (Or she may not: good layout comes with experience, and neither she nor you may spot what's immediately obvious to the trade.)
3. You can follow the practice of most small publishers and send the text out to a prepress company.
Typesetting is expensive, and it may be worth purchasing the best software and doing the job yourself if the plan includes more than the one book. Options:
More can be done with packages like Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect than is commonly supposed. For MS Word the recommended procedures are listed on ecommerce-digest.com.
Problems arise when you need to flow text around complicated arrangements, add appendices and make changes quickly. Not all commercial printers accept their file formats.
Desktop Publishing Software
DTP software is not cheap, but the programs make it easier to integrate text and images, manipulate the page elements, create artistic layouts and multi-page publications such as newsletters and books. The better programs offer colour separations, imposition, and fine typographic controls. Not all are difficult to learn. Some suggestions:
Home Publishing: The Print Shop, Sierra Print Artist
Small Business Publishing: Microsoft Office Publisher, Adobe PageMaker, Serif PagePlus
Professional Page Layout: Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress
Long Documents: Adobe FrameMaker, Corel Ventura, InDesign CS2 V.3
Business Publishing: Adobe FrameMaker, Corel Ventura, Quark XPress
Database Publishing: Adobe FrameMaker, Corel Ventura, QuarkXPress
Fiction is mostly text, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be made more appealing with illustrations or well-chosen photos.
Illustration programs work with vector graphics formats, which allow more flexibility when creating drawings that have to be resized or go through multiple edits. Well known programs include Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Macromedia Freehand.
Image editing programs, also called paint programs or photo editors, work with bitmap images, which are needed for work with photos, scans, or other "realistic" images. They are also best for web graphics. Well known programs include Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo-Paint and Jasc Paint Shop Pro.
DTP: Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is not a page layout program but a way of compiling pages created by other programs, anything from simple HTML to pages set to the most discerning requirements withInDesign. PDF files are rather large, but illustration and layout is attractive, and the pdf pages can placed inside webpages for Internet viewing. The program is increasingly used for company brochures and white papers, and will also make attractive literary documents.
The best software calls for design skill, and takes time to master. Do some reading before making up your mind:
Using PDF for Print Production. Some background on PDF.
Page Layout Programs. Look carefully at the typesetting examples.
The Self-Publishing Manual . A thorough and popular guide: $13.50
Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book. Includes much common sense. $13.60
Desktop Publishing StyleGuide. Basics of design, without which the best software is useless. $37.20
How to Start a Home-Based Desktop Publishing Business. In case you want to publish other people's work. $12.20
Microsoft Word for Publishing Professions. Editorium. Site also sells useful software.
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