I’ve been doing book layouts for over a year now and I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks for doing it on the cheap without anything more fancy than Microsoft Word.
Here’s a few hints for my fellow self publishers…
1) Learn how to use Styles: Styles are invaluable for creating bookmarked PDFs and files for EPub and Kindle conversion. They also allow you to set fonts for all Headings at once which can be useful when removing fancy stuff from EPub files.
2) Automatic Paragraph Spacing: With the default “Normal” style for body text you get an automatic paragraph spacing look. With the exception of some game text like profiles this is really useful. If there is one thing that irritates the Hell out of me in Layout it is “run on errors” where due to an edit or a misplaced space lines run into each other or leave gaps at the top of the page. With Headings it is worth removing the Space Above option on the default as this means headings on the top of the page are slightly below where they should be.
3) Kindle and EPub Both of these have their own in built converters (on Amazon and Lulu Respectively) that are easy to use once you get the hang of them. As a rule of thumb it is best to switch fonts back to Times New Roman, remove columns and keep image use to minimum if at all. My initial practice of laying out the print as I go will probably be changed in favour of typing the whole thing out first because of this. Much easier than extracting the text from the draft file.
4) Title Page It Massively saves on Art Costs and layout time to simply put a grey scale version of your cover as the Cover Page for the print. EPub and Kindle of course do this automatically.
Hope these are of some help to those of you wanting to get started and I wish you all the best of luck.