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Old 11-02-2012, 12:59 AM   #1
ebenjamin30
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Layout Questions

Hi guys,

I’m just starting out with all of this and I’m a little overwhelmed with everything you can do in the world of epubs/digital publishing. I’m not really sure where to best focus my efforts for what I want to accomplish and was hoping to get some advice…

My end goal is to be able to provide layout services for independent authors. I’d also like to be able to do brochures, flyers, etc. - but really my main concern is layout (rather than actual content creation).

I’m not sure if there is certain terminology used for people who strictly do layout. I want to know terms to be on the lookout for. I’m someone who constantly likes to learn and is always searching for new materials…but without knowing the proper terms I’m a bit lost at what I should be looking for. Could anyone tell me if there are certain terms I need to know?

Also, I’m not sure of the best tools to use. I’ve been using Indesign and really like it so far. I did some of the tutorials on Lynda.com, and can definitely see why InDesign is so well respected. However, upon searching these forums, I feel like people are saying InDesign is a pain and that there are better alternatives. I wasn’t sure if this was in regards to the entire epub process….or if this was specifically in regards to layout too?

If InDesign really is the best option for layout I’d like to stick with it. I just don’t want to train myself with one software if there is another that is a better alternative.

Any advice/help you guys could give me would be very very appreciated. Also, feel free to ask me to clarify if parts don’t make sense – I know I can be a bit rambly.

Last edited by ebenjamin30; 11-02-2012 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:14 AM   #2
mncowboy
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I'm sure you will get a lot of opinions on this! I'll wade in with mine.
To provide services to a large potential client base you will need tools that can read the documents your customers send you with little or no conversion. Tools that can also handle your flyers and brochures as well as books. Tools that can create the different formats that you will be dealing with.
MS Word(or Open Office) combined with Sigil and Amazon's Kindle Previewer will give you all of these capabilities.
You will get most of your manuscripts in Word. Layout is easy and versatile. From the Word document you can create a pdf version.
Saved as a filtered web page and imported into Sigil will get you the epub version.
Run this through Kindle Preveiwer and you have the Kindle version.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:26 AM   #3
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There's nothing intrinsically wrong with Indesign. It is still one of the main programs people use to create books (printed or digital) throughout the world, and if your clients demand p-books and other printed materials, you just can't afford to ignore it. Also, you can do a lot of e-production with it, like iPad/Android apps, fluid and fixed layout ePUBs, and even kindle books – though I don't particularly recommend doing Kindle files within Indesign. If you plan to work as an independent eBook professional, it's an important, yet expensive, tool to master.

But, at the same time, I wouldn't say that it's the best option for ePUB and Kindle formats, not at all... It has advanced a lot in recent versions, but still have a lot of room for improvement. At least for this two particular formats, you should really be intimate with markup languages (HTML, CSS), eBook specs, source code editors, and even programming... This will save a lot of time and headaches later on, and will strengthen your knowlegde of the digital publishing as a hole.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
ebenjamin30
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Sorry I disappeared for a bit - but thank you so much PageLab and mncowboy! Your suggestions are very helpful and give me a better perspective on everything
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