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Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word, or How to Design Your Own Book for Desktop Publishing and Print on Demand (Word 97-2003 for Windows, Word 2004 for Mac)

77 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0938497332
ISBN-10: 0938497332
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

"If you want to make your layout and formatting as unproblematic as possible and you don't want to shell out $1-$2k for someone else to do it for you, then add this book to your library. . . . Using this book, I've found page layout pretty fun and now look forward to that part of the process." -- Zoe Winter, Indie Books Journal (blog of, Apr. 12, 2010
"If you want to use MS Word for typesetting, you really, really should own a copy of Aaron Shepard's book Perfect Pages. Nobody knows more about making Word produce acceptably typeset books." -- Walt Shiel, From the Publisher's Desk, Aug. 27, 2007
"If you are a self-publisher, the biggest favour you can possibly do for yourself is to learn how to present your work to its best possible advantage. And in that regard, Aaron Shepard is an invaluable aid." -- Michael Allen, Grumpy Old Bookman, Apr. 17, 2007
"Excellent not only as a guide to using Word to design books, but also as a concise guide to book design." -- Morris Rosenthal, author, Print-on-Demand Book Publishing
"On target . . . . Concisely addresses a lot of topics that Word users need to know about." -- James Felici, author, The Complete Manual of Typography
About This Book
Working with Word #1: Choosing a Version
Managing Updates
Managing Options or Preferences
Managing the Workspace
Managing Automatic Changes
Managing Features
Managing Old Files
Managing Safety
Managing Memory
Working with Word #2: Using Views
Setting Up Your File
Setting Your Page Size
Setting Your Page Margins
Setting Up Sections
Setting Up Headers and Footers
Setting Up Columns
Working with Word #3: Using Templates
Using Print Punctuation
Using Print Symbols
Using Print Emphasis
Using Print Spaces
Using Print Paragraphs
Using Print Vertical Spacing
Choosing Your Fonts
Choosing Your Font Size
Choosing Your Vertical Spacing
Controlling Horizontal Spacing
Controlling Justification
Controlling Hyphenation
Controlling Page Endings
Working with Word #4: Using Styles
Fixing Letterspacing
Fixing Line Endings
Fixing Paragraphs
Fixing Page Endings
Handling Headers and Footers
Handling Page Numbering
Handling Footnotes and Endnotes
Handling Automated Text
Handling Lists
Preparing Graphics
Placing Graphics
Adding Tables
Adding Text Boxes and Frames
Adding Borders and Backgrounds
Adding Ornaments
Working with Word #5: Using Alignment Aids
Choosing a Method
Listing Your Terms
Preparing Your Document
Marking Up Your Text
Generating Your Index
Choosing a Print Service
Centering Your Pages
Preparing Hard Copy
Preparing Word Files
Preparing PDF Files
Converting Your Colors
Placing Crop Marks
Checking Your Work
Designing a Simple Cover
Setting Your Cover Size
Setting Your Cover Margins
Handling Cover Text
Handling Cover Graphics
Adding a Bar Code
Preparing Your Cover for Print
Web Sites
Email Discussion Lists
Nowadays, new technologies and services have made it easier than ever to publish your book. But if you mean to design it yourself, you may face an important question: Do I need an expensive page layout program like Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker, or QuarkXPress? Or can I instead use a word processor like Microsoft Word?
Ask a publishing professional, and you will usually be told that you need a page layout program. Yet many upstart and even established publishers use Word instead. Most of my own books are produced in Word -- including this one.
It's true that Word lacks some advanced typographic features found in page layout programs. But if you know the basic principles of typography and book design and how to apply them, there's no reason a book you produce in Word should look less than professional. And if you don't know those principles, then a page layout program won't help you!
Besides that, a word processor can actually be the better choice for some books. Page layout programs excel at composing pages with substantial graphics and sophisticated layout, such as for magazines or textbooks. But they can be clumsy when handling long and complex text -- which is just what Word does well.
Also, use of a page layout program makes more sense when the book designer is someone other than the author. For an author-designer-publisher, using one program for both writing and layout can simplify and speed your work. This is especially true if your book will need revisions or updates. A program like Word can automatically adjust for text additions and deletions in such a way that little or no manual reformatting is required.
Word is seldom surpassed in its abilities to create automatic tables of contents, indexes, and cross-references. It's also excellent in its automatic handling of footnotes and endnotes -- something a page layout program might not even attempt.
Finally, some publishers who have tried both Word and a page layout program will tell you that the page layout program may produce slightly better text, but that Word can more than make up for it with easier, speedier formatting.

From the Inside Flap

"Perfect Pages" covers Word 97 to 2003 on Windows, and Word 2004 on the Mac. Because of hyphenation errors and incompatibility in later versions of Word, these are the only versions I recommend for publishing. But if you are forced to use later versions, this book can still help a good deal, despite big changes in the interface. For more thoughts on later versions, visit my Publishing Page on the Web. (Amazon doesn't allow me to give the address here, but it's in the book.)
Besides the question of which version you're using, there are certain kinds of people who probably will NOT find this book useful for themselves:
1. Publishing professionals who already have a strong grasp of typographic principles and Word's typographic capabilities. While this book should offer an occasional surprise, most of it you'll already know.
2. People with little knowledge of Word at all, who struggle with it even over simple tasks, or have no idea where to start. This is not an introductory text on Word.
3. People who need a lot of pictures in their books to show what to do. I use NO screen shots, because the book is meant to apply to various versions of Word, and on more than one kind of computer. 
4. People who think that books should look like magazines or otherwise look slick. I purposely use a very simple layout myself, designed for readability rather than stylishness. It's a layout that's well within the design capabilities of any self publisher, while taking account of the production limitations of print on demand. Though I touch on sophisticated options, you won't find lots of text boxes, ornaments, or other doohickeys in my book, or much about them, either. 
This book is meant mostly for people with a moderate knowledge of Word and not much knowledge of typography. It's meant to be used along with a good Word manual for your own version. And the book itself provides an example of good, clean text and layout -- similar to what I've used for a number of successful print-on-demand books here on Amazon -- with clear instructions on how to produce your own.
If that's what you need, then Perfect Pages is for you!
AIMING AT AMAZON: The NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books with Print on Demand and Online Book Marketing on There has never been a self publishing manual like this. "Aiming at Amazon" is NOT about getting your book into bookstores. Instead, it lays out an innovative approach that targets sales on It reveals how to make a book sell well online, with tips never before offered. And it doesn't stop there -- it gives you a way to publish your book that can greatly increase your profit per copy. Avoid publishing plans that handicap you almost before you begin. Let "Aiming at Amazon" introduce you to the NEW business of self publishing. 
POD FOR PROFIT: More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books With Online Book Marketing and Print on Demand by Lightning Source. CreateSpace uses it. uses it. So do AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and almost every other self publishing company in the US, Canada, and the UK. Lightning Source is the printer and distributor at the heart of the "print on demand" industry. So, why pay a middleman? In this follow-up to his groundbreaking book "Aiming at Amazon," Aaron Shepard explores how to greatly increase your profit by working directly with Lightning. If you're serious about making money with POD publishing, this book can show you the way.
PERFECT PAGES: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word, or How to Design Your Own Book for Desktop Publishing and Print on Demand (Word 97-2003 for Windows, Word 2004 for Mac). Nowadays, new technologies and services have made it easier than ever to publish your book, but there's one question you may still face: Do I need an expensive page layout program, or can I just use a word processor like Microsoft Word? With this book as guide, you'll soon be producing pages from Word that no reviewer will scoff at.
THE BUSINESS OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN. Writing books for children is both art and business. If you dream of becoming a children's author -- or even if you're well on your way -- this handbook can help you in writing sellable stories, getting them published, and promoting your books. Read "The Business of Writing for Children" to learn the secrets you might spend years discovering for yourself.
ADVENTURES IN WRITING FOR CHILDREN. Fifteen years after publishing "The Business of Writing for Children" --'s all-time bestseller among guides to children's writing -- Aaron returns with a new collection of articles on the art and business of creating literature for young people. Whether you're aiming at traditional publishers or choosing to self publish, let "Adventures in Writing for Children" help you pursue an adventure of your own. 
FROM WORD TO KINDLE: Self Publishing Your Kindle Book with Microsoft Word, or Tips for Formatting Your Text in MS Word So Your Ebook Doesn't Look Horrible (Like Everyone Else's). Using Word to prepare a Kindle book isn't nearly as difficult as many will tell you, but it's also not as simple and straightforward as others claim. In this short ebook, Aaron offers his own quick tips for creating attractive, professional text with reasonable effort. 
PICTURES ON KINDLE: Self Publishing Your Kindle Book with Photos, Drawings, and Other Graphics, or Tips for Formatting Images So Your Ebook Doesn't Look Horrible (Like Everyone Else's). Almost everything you've read about formatting pictures for Kindle is wrong. Aaron brings his years of experience in book design, webmastering, and photography to bear on a single question: How do you make pictures look great on the Kindle?
HTML FIXES FOR KINDLE: More on Self Publishing Your Kindle Book, or Tips for Touching Up HTML from Microsoft Word and Other Apps So Your Ebook Looks as Good as It Possibly Can. Saving HTML from Word or another program can bring you maybe 80% of the way to a well-formatted ebook -- but what about the other 20%? Aaron provides the tips to bring your Kindle book to the next level.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Shepard Publications (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938497332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938497332
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of numerous children's books, as well as books on reader's theater, children's writing, and publishing. He lives with his wife and fellow author, Anne L. Watson, in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Brian B on March 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I decided to self-publish my first book, I was intimidated by how expensive it was going to cost to buy Page Maker and I also didn't want to spend a month learning how to use it properly. Luckily, I found Aaron's ebook on Amazon and it made it possible for me to use Word and create a professional book that was accepted by the bookstores (they have a very high standard for quality print work). Now that I'm working on my second self-published book, I'm happy to see that Aaron's ebook has been updated in a paperback format. Just like the ebook, this book is essential for learning how to use Word to professionally produce your book.

The biggest benefit of Aaron's book is his experience with using both the MS and Mac versions of Word for self-publishing. He doesn't just tell you how to set the necessary properties and list the steps to perform, he also tells you the "gotchas" that can catch you off guard. His advice can save you many hours of headaches. For example, when I wrote my last book, I didn't take the advice of "Don't use Master pages. Buy more memory if necessary to store the entire book in one file." Stupid me, I used Master pages instead and literally lost most of my hair as I watched Word continuously corrupt my documents and lose my hard work. Even some of my backups were corrupted! What I do now is that as I write the book I keep each chapter in a separate file and store it in its own folder on my harddrive (with all supporting documents). When I'm ready to print the final version I copy and paste everything into one HUGE file (over 500 pages) and print that. That works much better and I haven't lost anymore hair since. ;-)

Another benefit is that he points out the differences between using Print On Demand services versus a commercial printing press.
Read more ›
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mike Wickham on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just received my copy of Aaron Shepard's new book, _Perfect Pages, Self Publishing with Microsoft Word_. It's an update of his former e-book, _Books, Typography, and Microsoft Word_.

I don't normally recommend Word for page layout. I prefer to use Word for writing, and then pump the manuscript into a proper page layout program for final book production. But then, I create heavily illustrated books, something Word just can't handle. Still, Word is perfectly capable of producing a simple, text-only book, if one knows what he is doing-- but not using the default Word settings! Luckily, Aaron Shepard knows what he is doing.

In _Perfect Pages_, Aaron does a great job of showing the user how to alter Word's defaults so that it produces professional looking text. He shows them how to use the program to format pages and how to avoid the typical typographic blunders that identify a publisher as an amateur. He explains styles and templates, and even shows how to create a simple book cover. I also like that he's not afraid to point out Word's limitations, even noting differences between versions and OS platforms. The information on preparing for press is indispensable for any newby publisher.

All in all, it's a great book for any self-publisher who is on a tight budget and can't justify the purchase of expensive page layout software. Even those who recommend true page layout software for book design can find useful tips in here for improving the performance of Word, or the typography of their own publications. Heck, I even learned that straight quotes were not the best choice to represent inches and feet. There are actually prime and double prime symbols available.

I highly recommend _Perfect Pages_.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lupa VINE VOICE on March 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked this up along with the author's "Aiming At Amazon" since the small press I work with is POD and works with Word and Lightning Source (as does Shepherd) so I figured this would be an excellent educational tool for the basics of layout.

This really is an excellent introduction to the basics laying out a book in Microsoft Word (2003 and older--the 2007 update hasn't appeared yet, but it's on my want list!). Everything from properly sizing pages to tweaking text to make it look nicer is covered. The author's writing style is clear without being loaded with jargon, and he manages to describe visuals without pictures quite effectively.

There are a few things missing that I would have like to have seen covered. For example, he doesn't explain how to deal with the invisible, nonembeddable fonts that can make Lightning Source send your manuscript back to you for reformatting, nor does he explain the various formatting marks that you may have to go through if something doesn't turn out right. Additionally, his main focus seems to be the bare-bones approach to layout, rather than covering the little details that can make POD look just as good, if not better, than traditionally printed books.

However, I have found this to be an absolutely invaluable guide to basic layout. Shepherd is an expert at POD, and this is a definite plus for any POD publisher or self-publisher's bookshelf.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. Bell on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Aaron Shepard's "Perfect Pages", a clear and accessible guide for book creation using Microsoft Word instead of expensive publishing software. Shepard shows that Word actually has some advantages for publishers, tells how to make Word do what's needed, while avoiding some of Word's hazards. Thus the book delivers worthwhile Word tips for novices and experts alike---and there are more web resources at the end of the book---but it's more than that, because a book is more than a manuscript: it has to look good and read easily. "Perfect Pages" covers the details (fonts, typography, trim sizes, formatting, covers, generating PDF files, common errors . . .), showing how to make manuscripts into attractive and readable books. The book provides the ideal bridge between a Word software manual and a publishing manual (such as Morris Rosenthal's) that teaches business and strategic decisions. "Perfect Pages" is a gracefully written book that wastes few words, and minces none.

The book will be helpful to authors, in-house publishers, students preparing theses, and others.
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