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coloneldax
09-26-2009, 03:22 AM
Does anyone know any good tutorials for typesetting a book (in PDF)?..

Daniel

Medievalist
09-26-2009, 04:00 AM
You would do as much as you can in a word processor, unless you're independently wealthy and can purchase InDesign or Framework--which are hundreds of dollars and require a fair amount of training to really use properly.

If you're on a Mac running OS X, I'd think about shelling out the 79.00 or so to buy iWorks which includes Pages--and Pages is not half bad for book layout/typesetting, and can import MSWord files.

You do pretty much everything up to Printing the book in your word processor, then go to .PDF. You want to print at least one copy of the .pdf before you have the book printed, as well as make sure that you look at it carefully on the computer.

Don't go nuts with Fonts/typefaces. Try to use two at most; one for display, one for the body text.

Here are some things to get you started:

http://www.evanstonpublishing.com/typesettingrules.htm

http://www.cameronmoll.com/archives/000240.html

http://ilovetypography.com/2008/04/04/on-choosing-type/

http://www.creativemindspress.com/interior.htm

http://www.writeandpublishyourbook.com/publishing/book-design/book-typesetting-101/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Can-You-Typeset-Your-Book-Using-Microsoft-Word?&id=1350777

http://1106design.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/how-to-typeset-a-book-part-2/

I'd also read, carefully, all the FAQs at LuLu or wherever you're printing.

cool_st_elizabeth
09-26-2009, 04:25 AM
You can download a TeX system, which is pronounced "tech" BTW, for free and teach yourself about typesetting. TeX was written for math geeks though.

http://www.tug.org - TeX Users Group

Madisonwrites
09-26-2009, 04:49 AM
:hi:

ResearchGuy
09-26-2009, 05:18 AM
Does anyone know any good tutorials for typesetting a book (in PDF)?..

Daniel
See Pete Masterson's book on Book Design and Production (http://www.amazon.com/Book-Design-Production-Pete-Masterson/dp/0966981901).

BTW, despite what Pete says, you CAN do an entirely presentable job of typesetting in Microsoft Word, if you know what you are doing. He gives a lot of hints after advising against using Word for the purpose. But it takes time and practice to learn.

--Ken

Medievalist
09-26-2009, 06:24 AM
You can download a TeX system, which is pronounced "tech" BTW, for free and teach yourself about typesetting. TeX was written for math geeks though.

http://www.tug.org - TeX Users Group

I do not recommend this for the un-geeky or faint hearted.

coloneldax
09-26-2009, 06:36 AM
You would do as much as you can in a word processor, unless you're independently wealthy and can purchase InDesign or Framework--which are hundreds of dollars and require a fair amount of training to really use properly.

If you're on a Mac running OS X, I'd think about shelling out the 79.00 or so to buy iWorks which includes Pages--and Pages is not half bad for book layout/typesetting, and can import MSWord files.

You do pretty much everything up to Printing the book in your word processor, then go to .PDF. You want to print at least one copy of the .pdf before you have the book printed, as well as make sure that you look at it carefully on the computer.

Don't go nuts with Fonts/typefaces. Try to use two at most; one for display, one for the body text.

Here are some things to get you started:

http://www.evanstonpublishing.com/typesettingrules.htm

http://www.cameronmoll.com/archives/000240.html

http://ilovetypography.com/2008/04/04/on-choosing-type/

http://www.creativemindspress.com/interior.htm

http://www.writeandpublishyourbook.com/publishing/book-design/book-typesetting-101/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Can-You-Typeset-Your-Book-Using-Microsoft-Word?&id=1350777

http://1106design.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/how-to-typeset-a-book-part-2/

I'd also read, carefully, all the FAQs at LuLu or wherever you're printing.

Thanks much for the info! :-)

Daniel

JFBookman
10-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Does anyone know any good tutorials for typesetting a book (in PDF)?..

Daniel,

Well, from the responses I'd say if you don't feel like reading the 7 linked items Medievalist thoughtfully provided, don't feel like learning TeX, don't want to spend hundreds of dollars buying InDesign or a month learning it, don't want to buy are read through several hundred pages of Pete Masterson's book, or have something else to do, why not just get a book designer to do it for you?

It will come out right (and as a bonus it won't look like the first book you ever typeset) it will get done a lot faster, and you will end up with a professional-looking book. Just a thought.

WWWWolf
10-12-2009, 12:32 PM
I do not recommend this for the un-geeky or faint hearted.

LaTeX isn't that hard to use. Installing and running it may be a bit tricky, but the actual LaTeX code is pretty easy. It's a good example of how you can get really good results if you just dare to invest a little bit of extra effort.

I've typeset some of my stories with LaTeX. Just minimal tweaking, and hey ho, it looks pretty awesome (http://www.beastwithin.org/users/wwwwolf/fantasy/avarthrel/stories/whencompassioncalls.pdf). (Stuff that changed from default setup: set page dimensions, used different font set, used an anfang, added explicit PDF metadata just for fancipantsiness, and... um... that's about it.)

Medievalist
10-12-2009, 08:26 PM
why not just get a book designer to do it for you?

It will come out right (and as a bonus it won't look like the first book you ever typeset) it will get done a lot faster, and you will end up with a professional-looking book. Just a thought.

It's not at all a bad thought. A good book design and professional typesetting really do make a difference.

Medievalist
10-12-2009, 08:31 PM
I've typeset some of my stories with LaTeX. Just minimal tweaking, and hey ho, it looks pretty awesome (http://www.beastwithin.org/users/wwwwolf/fantasy/avarthrel/stories/whencompassioncalls.pdf).

Well, no, actually it doesn't. It isn't typeset; you've essentially printed to LaTeX.

You have two spaces after periods. You have mixed em- and en-dashes and hyphens serving as em-dashes, some are open, and some are closed. You have non standard punctuation--it's neither British nor American.

There's no kerning at all, and no ligatures. You've essentially gone with automatic justification, and thus all the rivers.

I'm not saying this to be mean--but to make a point; there is work and art and skill involved in typesetting. It is not for the fainthearted.

WWWWolf
10-13-2009, 02:31 AM
You have two spaces after periods. You have mixed em- and en-dashes and hyphens serving as em-dashes, some are open, and some are closed. You have none standard punctuation--it's neither British nor American.

I admit my knowledge of exact style specifications is sometimes rather alarmingly lacking, on the account of me being a clueless foreigner. This just testifies that LaTeX will happily democratise the publication process by allowing us Weirdcountrians to use Automated Data Processing in the Field of Typesetting. t vn spprts Wrd d nsal cnts! A noticeable improvement over the 1980s!

I must, however, emphasise that it will print anything and as such my punctuation is not LaTeX's fault.


There's no kerning at all, and no ligatures. You've essentially gone with automatic justification, and thus all the rivers.

No ligatures? Look closer. There's "finest" and "flash", right on the first page. As far as kerning goes, I blame the font choice. Sometimes, the font choice can mess up ligatures too (I just noted Vera doesn't do "official" too well in another PDF I have on the site...) Perhaps I should quit messing around with crappy Type-1s and do Computer Modern, like the old man intended. Now that's ligatures and kerning.

And achtung, where are ze rivers? I printed this out and it was quite easy to read.

There are some admitted problems, though. The formatting is basically based on basic document classes and hence headings and other non-story stuff looks really weird. The metadata isn't well organised because I have little clue about the PDF metadata organisation. The example file doesn't have hyperlinks (to produce a clickable URL in the end of the text) when it probably should. But all of these are fixable.


I'm not saying this to be mean--but to make a point; there is work and art and skill involved in typesetting. It is not for the fainthearted.

And I'm presenting my work as an example of what I could do. For those who want to blow their minds, there's the TeX showcase (http://www.tug.org/texshowcase/). I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought such an awful example in. Ignore me, I'm just an Eternal Newbie.

JFBookman
10-13-2009, 03:24 AM
Wolf, your comments are well taken, and the TeX system can produce much better typography than your efforts may have shown.

However, that's really beside the point for many authors who want to self-publish their books. TeX seems more designed for hobbyists and the like.

I just came from a meeting where an author showed me his book, which he had self-published and then had picked up by a NY publisher, and the book of his partner. As we stood there, he remarked on how his partner's book "looked self-published" and it was obvious why. It looked a lot more like a term paper prepared (neatly and carefully) in MSWord. His book, on the other hand, looked like what we expect when we say "book".

I explained to him that it was a bit of a shame, since his friend's book cost the same to print and bind as his, yet the result was obviously inferior. Book design and typesetting is a one-time cost for a publisher, and both books could have looked quite superior.

For another take on this, check the book design samples (http://www.marinbookworksblog.com/2009/09/does-book-design-really-matter/) here.