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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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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_.
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.
The book will be helpful to authors, in-house publishers, students preparing theses, and others.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book: some good ideas--maybe a little dated now. Arrived when it said and in good packaging for protection.Published 22 months ago by onglee
I tried to read this book, but decided I could not do everything described in it myself, as I am not that good with computers.Published on March 11, 2014 by Dianne H. Lundy, Author of The Girl from Nip 'n' Tuck
I just love this guy. I ended up having to format my own book, because I could not find someone affordable and dependable. Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Sarah
Aaron Shepard organized his instructions logically and wrote them clearly. A few of his recommendations didn't work to my satisfaction, but by far most of them were very helpful. Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by Linda O
This book provides expert advice on using MSWord for book layout. So I if you are self-limited to MSWord then this is a must-have book. Read morePublished on August 8, 2013 by John Culleton