I am new to InDesign and I am enojoying learning it and trying out different magazine type layouts and designs. As a more simple example for a book layout/typesetting that would come from a customer, what information would I ask for and how would it come? Would they tell me the book dimensions, the font that they want, how they want the pages numberd, titles, dropcaps, where they want any images to go etc. Or would that be up to me? The text would come in some kind of document that I can import, but would they break it up into chapters.
Thanks for any help
That would depend on your customers. Sometimes, I have customers who ask for specific details such as fonts, colors and layout. Sometimes, I am asked to come up with the design based on there instruction of a concept. I will use their ideas and information to create a visual layout for them and massage it from there. I will usually accept type in most formats, such as .doc, .rtf, text or straight from email. I do however ask them to send me all photos separately as .jpeg, pdf or .heic file. Most people like to place photos into word and word compresses them and they only look good for digital and not for printing. I have articles sent from many different people with various experience so I have had to be creative in adjusting what is sent. Such as when someone sends me the article as a pdf.
Enjoy learning InDesign.
Ultimately, it depends on who's printing the job. That person produces the book. Everyone else in the process is just setting that up, and should be tailoring their input to whatever's going to be the end product.
I don't know anything about Euro-sizes, but 5½ x 8½ inches, 6 x 9 inches, 8¼ x 10½ inches and 8½ x 11 inches are all common page dimensions for books produced in North America. Your book project may use any of these sizes, or none of them. You want to start from who will be printing the job and how, then work backwards. If you don't, I'll just about betcha you'll be doing it twice.
As for who decides how the book will ultimately look, that's between you and your client to work out. If you're working for a publisher, often a designer or production manager will specify how the book should look — fonts/leading, sizes, typographic flourishes like drop caps, dingbats/dividers, ligatures, etc. You'll often get specs and/or a template, then fill in the content and fine-tune it as necessary. If you're working with an author, you may get that kind of detailed direction, or not, or a confused and horrified look like you've just grown a second head while asking your questions.
As for text, it'd be great if the author provides you the text as individual chapters. Don't count on that happening. But even if the author doesn't do that for you, do yourself a favor and break it up yourself before you start laying out the job.
As you're learning more and more about this work, you'll likely realize you want to define exactly what the end product will be, then work backward to define to the best of your abilities what's going to happen when, and how much effort by whom is necessary to get you there. And nail all that down to the best of your abilities before you start — or if you plan to do this for a living, before you tell a client what it's going to cost in your proposal before accepting the job.
That's important for deadlines, for planning how you will meet those deadlines, for budgeting what it will take (and if you're in business, what you're going to make) to do the job. And most importantly, for setting realistic expectations for what can and will be done to meet your client's goals.
Consider how this applies to what you want to do. Good luck, and welcome to the joys and miseries of being an independent graphic artist.
Lucky me, I've never had a client dictate how to design their book. At least not at the beginning of a project. Sometimes clients might ask to see an example of an alternate font or folio location after viewing a draft, but it's really rare. Most clients are smart enough to know what they don't know.
That's generally the case. But not exclusively. Unfortunately ...
You are indeed lucky. Because those occasions where clients are absolutely sure they know what they clearly don't know will make life unnecessarily exciting. My memories of those experiences are tragically quite vivid.