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mackandblues
12-02-2011, 07:27 AM
I plan on self publishing two nonfiction books to a niche audience and obviously want to do it cheaply but professionally. So if I could buy InDesign to do my page layout for $200 (my sister is a student) would it be worth it? How bad is the learning curve? Thanks in advance!

merrihiatt
12-02-2011, 07:47 AM
I used Microsoft Word to format my self-published books (through CreateSpace). I believe OpenOffice is free (also Microsoft). It might take a while to recoup the $200, depending on how much your royalty is for each book. If you receive $2.00 per book, you'd need to sell 100 books before breaking even.

CreateSpace has templates that you can download and there is help available from the CS community if you get stuck at any point along the way. There is a learning curve, but it is not as steep as some I've encountered.

mackandblues
12-02-2011, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the reply - do the createspace templates look good/professional?

merrihiatt
12-02-2011, 08:11 AM
Yes. If you're curious to see a sample, you can check out one of my paperback books on Amazon (using the look inside feature). Here's a link: When Love's at Work (http://www.amazon.com/When-Loves-Work-Embracing-Trilogy/dp/1466280875/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1322798972&sr=8-3)

I chose the formatting I liked best, which included a line and the book title and my name at the top and a line and the page number at the bottom. You can choose other options, it depends on what you prefer.

pfinucan
12-02-2011, 08:57 AM
If you don't have graphic design experience, you might find inDesign to be difficult to learn. You may be able to hire someone to do each cover for $100. Just a thought.

AllisonK
12-03-2011, 01:29 AM
I personally love InDesign, but it does have a bit of a learning curve. I got it as a graphic design student and took a class on how to use it, but if you've used other page layout programs (such as PageMaker), it's similar.

defyalllogic
12-05-2011, 03:05 AM
I'm also a fan of indesign but my opinion is such because I was a graphic design student and took classes that got me comfortable in it so I find it easy to play around and learn from tutorials on my own.

You can try most adobe products for (IIRC) 30 days too see if you want to buy them. Maybe check it out and walk through some tutorials before deciding.

Max Vaehling
12-06-2011, 12:39 AM
InDesign has "a bit of a learning curve" in the same sense that the ocean has "a bit of water in it". If you're serious about layouting, it's definitely worth the $200. (But read the fine print first - Adobe is reputed to have versions that don't allow for commercial use of whatever you make with the program.)

For layouting one prose book, though, it's complete overkill. Or it may be. Depending on how ambitious you are about the layout. You may be better off with Open Office.

A free alternative is Scribus (http://docs.scribus.net/). It's frowned upon by some printers because a lot of people get the color export wrong (I know I did, at first), but it should work fine for the inside of your book. It also has a learning curve, and it doesn't necessarily lean to the same side as InDesign's, but once you get the hang of it, it's just as good.

The good thing is, you can first see if it works for you for as long as you want, and all you lose is time.

shaldna
12-07-2011, 02:18 PM
I plan on self publishing two nonfiction books to a niche audience and obviously want to do it cheaply but professionally. So if I could buy InDesign to do my page layout for $200 (my sister is a student) would it be worth it? How bad is the learning curve? Thanks in advance!

I use it and I'm not a huge fan to be honest. Dont' get me wrong, once you get the hang of it then it's alright to use, but it takes a while to figure it out and as others have said, it's a steep learning curve.

But, that said, I think it's the best of the programmes out there.

Gale Haut
12-24-2011, 11:19 PM
I plan on self publishing two nonfiction books to a niche audience and obviously want to do it cheaply but professionally. So if I could buy InDesign to do my page layout for $200 (my sister is a student) would it be worth it? How bad is the learning curve? Thanks in advance!

Decide for yourself. Here's the free trial version: linky (http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=indesign).

Medievalist
12-24-2011, 11:28 PM
If you don't have graphic design experience, you might find inDesign to be difficult to learn. You may be able to hire someone to do each cover for $100. Just a thought.

InDesign is for layout and typesetting, not cover design. Covers would typically be done using a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Sargentodiaz
12-26-2011, 08:33 PM
InDesign is for layout and typesetting, not cover design. Covers would typically be done using a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator.

You can also use Gimp - free download - but I haven't figured it out yet.

Max Vaehling
12-27-2011, 01:25 AM
There's a plugin for Gimp called "Gimpshop" or something. I've never used it, so this is just hearsay, but it's supposed to make the Gimp user experience more photoshoppy.

mackandblues
12-30-2011, 07:24 AM
I was planning on using InDesign for typesetting and layout and hiring a graphic designer for the book cover/back. My book has lots of bulleted lists since its a study guide and would probably cost a fortune to have someone format it for me. So hence why I'm curious about InDesign and possibly doing it myself....

Medievalist
12-30-2011, 07:57 AM
I was planning on using InDesign for typesetting and layout and hiring a graphic designer for the book cover/back. My book has lots of bulleted lists since its a study guide and would probably cost a fortune to have someone format it for me. So hence why I'm curious about InDesign and possibly doing it myself....

InDesign requires you to learn a fair amount about typesetting, and to have an eye for the shape of text. It's a learnable skill, but it's not something to pick up while you're working on your first publication.

Bulleted lists are dead easy, by the way; most word processors have a built in style for them, and you can easily customize it.

Given that you're creating a study guide, and they usually have lots of white space, honestly, you might be better off either paying a typesetter 250.00 or so (depending on the size of the work and the labor) to do it for you, or simply make do with MSWord or whatever word processor your use.

It isn't going to look fabulous, but you can certainly produce something that won't embarrass you, and you may very well learn enough about the basics of design and typesetting to make InDesign worth the extra expense and the learning curve for your next project.

Keep the design/layout and typography simple.

mackandblues
12-30-2011, 08:40 AM
Thank you very much taking the time to reply. I appreciate your advice.